YA Friday: For Those About to Rock…

We Salute You!

Now I am a librarian, but when I was younger I dreamed of living those hot, sweaty summers as a rock star in band on Warped Tour (RIP) and meeting fans and other bands and rocking out all day and night. And if I couldn't be the rock star, at least one could fall madly in love with me and write a song about us that goes to number 1 on the charts. Is that too much to ask?

That's why books and plots involving music, musicians, fans, and bands are one of my favorite sub-genres of YA fiction. And in the summer, there's nothing better than reading in the sunshine or sweating the night away at a loud, loud show. Music just makes everything better, so with a little wish fulfillment, I give you this list of music-loving YA books, featuring rock music, drama, dreams, and romance. Like a good summer musical festival, there’s a little bit of something here for everyone.

Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the OffBeat by Becky Albertalli

The sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Leah Burke is an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom; her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she's bisexual, she hasn't mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. When her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways, it's hard for Leah to strike the right note. And with prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. If only real life was as rhythmic as her drumming...

The Midnights book cover

The Midnights by Sarah Nicole Smetana

Susannah Hayes has never been in the spotlight, but she dreams of following her father, a former rock star, onto the stage. As senior year begins, she’s more interested in composing impressive chord patterns than college essays, certain that if she writes the perfect song, her father might finally look up from the past long enough to see her. But when he dies unexpectedly, her dreams—and her reality—shatter.

The Disenchantments book cover

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Colby's post-high school plans have long been that he and his best friend Beth would tour with her band, then spend a year in Europe, but when she announces that she will start college just after the tour, Colby struggles to understand why she changed her mind and what losing her means for his future.

The Victoria in My Head book cover

The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes

Shy fifteen-year-old Cuban American Victoria Cruz feels trapped by the monotony of running on the cross country team and keeping up with her studies to maintain her scholarship to her prestigious college prep school, but the chance to join a rock band inneed of a lead singer gives her the opportunity to confront her anxieties, find love and disappointment, and create a new playlist for her life.

The Haters

The Haters by Jesse Andrews

For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

For the Record book cover

For the Record by Charlotte Huang

As the new lead singer of the band Melbourne, Chelsea is performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule... Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

Further Reading

All the Wrong Chords book coverThe Secrets of Attraction book coverBrooklyn Burning book coverThe Scar BoysSolo book coverLove Songs & Other Lies book coverWise Young Fool book coverMirror Mirror book coverExile book coverRoad Rash book coverKill the Boy Band book coverFive Flavors of Dumb book cover