Punk Rock Karaoke

Viking. Apr. 2024. 256p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780593464502.
Gr 10 Up–The summer after high school graduation is one of change for Ariel Jones; they can think of no better way than listening to live music with their friends and writing new songs for their band, Baby Hares. But life gets in the way and tensions increase between friends, especially when it comes to jobs and relationships. When a local band’s lead singer, Clyde, begins to see Ariel’s talents, will they work through their issues with their friends, or allow their path to be driven by infatuation? Xunise uses their experiences as a Black nonbinary Chicago punk to shine through in their characters. Carefully selected song suggestions placed at intervals throughout the story provide a wonderful audio element that allows readers to immerse themselves in the punk rock world; some may enjoy letting the song beat determine the reading tempo. The phenomenal art shows off the edgy and colorful tableau of the South Side Chicago punk scene, bringing reality and authenticity to the setting, and showcasing the author’s experience.
VERDICT Learning to stand tall and live their truths are lessons all teens need; this glimpse into a world of music and friendship will resonate with many readers searching the library for unique stories to fit them, or suit anyone who desires to express themselves, but finds the challenges of life getting in the way.

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