The Next Great Rock Star! by Ann Herrick
Publisher: Books We Love, Ltd.
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (68 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Will Jason ditch his best friends–including Layla–in his quest for fame and fortune?
When Jason and his friends form a garage band, they call it “No Frills” because they want to keep it real–even when they enter a band contest and pressures to alter their image mount. Then one day, due to a close encounter with lightning, Jason’s life changes in a big way–but is he magically cooler or is it just his perception?
As he goes from blah to cool, his head swells as he takes his fifteen minutes of fame too seriously. His too-busy mother and fortune-telling grandmother don’t get through to him. Even maybe-more-than-a-friend Layla is ready to give up on Jason, especially when he starts flirting with much-older Mindy. Only a rescued kitten keeps him even remotely grounded. It isn’t until he loses the friendships with the band mates he once counted on that he realizes he has a major problem, and he worries it might be too late to fix it.
Would you let fame go to your head?
It took me a while to figure out if I should include science fiction/fantasy as one of the genre tags for this book. Their influences were subtle. In many ways, this isn’t a typical example of those genres. There were definitely elements of them in the plot, though, and I was pleased to see just how they were included. Some of Ms. Herrick’s techniques for sliding them into everything else that was going on were things I never would have thought to try. I was often impressed with her creativity in this area.
There was a little too much going on with all of the subplots. I was entertained by all of them, but a story of this length simply wasn’t quite big enough to explore them as much as they deserved to be explored. This could have easily been expanded into a longer work. Had the subplots been given that extra time to develop, I would have chosen a much higher rating as I really enjoyed it overall.
Jason was an easy main character to like even though he occasionally did and said things that made me cringe. There were good reasons for all of his choices. All of those reasons were explained in enough detail that I always understood where he was coming from even though I didn’t necessarily agree with him. Writing it this way was a smart decision.
The Next Great Rock Star! was a fun read. It’s definitely something I’d recommend for a middle grade audience.