Friday, June 15, 2012

Rock God: The Legend Of BJ Levine by Barnabas Miller (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Contemporary, Comedy, Music
Publication.Date  January 17th 2012
Published By:  Sourcebooks Jabberwocky  | 
WebsiteBarnabas Miller 

Rock God: The Legend Of BJ Levine - Goodreads
My review copy:ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

B.J. Levine, a mild-mannered, 13-year-old boy voted most likely to become a tax accountant, moves to New York City and discovers his true purpose: he must transform himself into the most almighty rocker since Jon Bon Jovi. B.J. battles his father's disappointment, his mother's disapproval, his lack of apparent talent, and a secret society of middle-aged bikers as he gathers a ragtag band and embarks on a real life rock Odyssey. (Goodreads)

And then he screamed. He screamed like a little girl. Or not exactly like a little girl - more like some sort of frightened monkey. Like a frightened, heavy metal-singing monkey who'd just stepped on a rusty nail.
Whenever B.J. was particularly sad or ill, his mother gave him cash. Dad said it was part of her evil plan to convince him that, contrary to popular opinion, money was the solution to most of the world's problems.
The book said that the Good Supreme got his band in less than a week, and then the first big thing they did was play for a dog. A dog, Sammy. Like there was this one really important poodle in China who had to listen to me play. 

     Meet B.J. Levine, a Jewish boy from Cleveland, Ohio. After moving to Greenwich Village in New York City, B.J decides to turn his boring life around and do something truly different, something he'll be loved and remembered for. He decides to create a band and become an all-powerful god of rock. And not just a musician, not even a famous performance artist, but "a full-on, fire-breathing MEGALORD OF RRRRROCK". Yes, he's aware that it won't be easy, considering his total lack of musical talent what-so-ever, and the simple fact that he doesn't have any idea where to begin. At least not until a certain creepy guy shows up at his doorstep one day. A guy in a dusty old leather jacket, a red bandana, and tight-fit leather pants, who looks just like one of the members of ZZ Top. A guy who calls his dad "HOT WINGS" and screams something about "coming back", "destiny", a need to "mobilize", and "one finger, one pinky" (or "some Pringles and some Twinkies" - B.J still isn't sure which one it was). See, just before he storms away on his motorbike, this mysterious (and just a little bit scary) guy, Merv, drops something on the ground - a book titled "The Legend of the Good Supreme". And this one little book will change B.J's life forever...

     Just how exactly do you rock a face? That was all he wanted to know. What does it look like when someone's face gets rocked? Does it hurt? Is it awesome? Or is it contagious, like with zombies? Like, once your face gets rocked, do you wall into a cold, dead trance and try to chase some poor guy down the street so you can rock his face? And what if you don't want your face to be rocked? Can you unrock a face in an emergency? And did Jon Bon Jovi rock all one million faces he saw? Isn't it more likely that he missed one or two faces along the way?

     Filled with incredibly hilarious humour, real and loveable characters, and some serious full-on, knock-your-socks-off rocking, Rock God is one crazy and exhilarating read. Yes, it definitely rocked my face. And no, it wasn't painful, unless you count all the stomach cramps I got from the constant laugh fits it provoked! I loved it from the get-go. No joke. I've heard amazing things about this book even before I got my review copy. I knew it was going to be one fabulously enjoyable read (how could it not?! People were raving about it everywhere!). But what I didn't anticipate, is just how insanely fun, entertaining and totally absorbing it would turn out to be. It's a book that I literally couldn't put down. And I know what you're thinking: "Oh the cover isn't all that appealing", or "Why would I want to read a book about a Jewish rock-star wannabe?" (I know you're thinking that, because I had similar doubts and preconceptions). And all I can say to that is: Get over yourself. You really need to read this book! It will make your day, you will laugh to tears and you'll grow so attached to the wonderful characters that when you reach the last page, and the moment will come to say goodbye to them, your heart will be breaking to pieces. It's an absolute MUST-READ.

     I loved the humour in this book. I absolutely adored B.J.'s genuinely hysterical, believable narrative voice. His colourful, unique personality is what made this book for me. He was a great protagonist and following his crazy adventures was a real pleasure. In my opinion, Rock God is a character-driven story, and one executed in a truly gracious manner. The jokes are actually funny, and not in the least overdone or distasteful. B.J. is really cute. His many flaws and occasional awkwardness add a great, refreshing flavour to the overall awesomeness of the plot. One thing that really won me over was B.J.'s inner rambling. He would go on and on contemplating various topics and issues in his head, and his thoughts would be laugh-out-loud funny. And the wild monkey screams he would let out anytime someone would surprise/scare him? OMG - I am still laughing when remembering them!

     Another great thing about this book is its great pace. Rock God is a swiftly moving, action-packed, hold-on-tight-to-your-panties adventurous book. There are no slower moments, boring passages, or unnecessary details. Barnabas Miller maintains a great balance between the action and the comedy, occasionally throwing in some melancholic moments or even real tear-jerkers.  Most of all, though, it's just one extremely readable novel. Entertaining and mood-lifting, it's a perfect book for long summer nights, and I'm 100% sure everyone who decides to pick it up will come out of reading it feeling happy and satisfied.

     Don't let the cover scare you away from picking this book up. Sure, it isn't the most eye-catching cover you could imagine (not for YA at least), but it captures the essence of the book really well, and after reading it, you'll realize just how great a fit it is for this particular story. Rock on, book lovers!

This review is posted as part of the Contemporary Fiction Month feature!

Click on the picture for full schedule.

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Lexie said...

Okay, the moment I saw this was narrated by a Jewish boy I knew I had to read this. There are VERY few YA novels (well, this is MG/YA) narrated by boys nowadays, and far, FAR fewer narrated by Jews. This one sounds so different and fantastic. I love it! Great review.

Evie said...

Thanks, Lexie! :) I am glad you like the review. Definitely check out this book - it's seriously funny and full of charm! I'm sure you'll love it!

Rebecca said...

Fab review, Evie :) Thanks for introducing me to this book, I hadn't heard of it before!

Evie said...

Thank you for stopping by, Rebecca! :) I hope you'll get a chance to read this book, it really is amazing! :)

Michelle Chew said...

Haven't heard of the book before but your review makes me want to grab it! Great review! I think the cover is pretty cute, with those multi-colored fonts and those little pictures.

Amy said...

This sounds like such a fun book!! I always love your reviews, they are so entertaining to read. I love character driven stories so I think I would really enjoy this one. Characters are a major thing in my enjoyment of a a book. Fab review hon!!

Twisty J said...

This is a really great review. I have to say that the cover really did draw me in, though- I'm a rocker through and through! This sounds like a funny and compelling story.

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