Born to Rock

( 18 )

Overview

Leo Caraway, president of the Young Republicans Club and a future Harvard student, has his entire future planned. But Leo is soon thrown for a loop when he discovers that the lead singer of punk rock's most destructive band is his biological father.

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Born to Rock

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Overview

Leo Caraway, president of the Young Republicans Club and a future Harvard student, has his entire future planned. But Leo is soon thrown for a loop when he discovers that the lead singer of punk rock's most destructive band is his biological father.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though Hammond gets off to a slightly bumpy, halting start, he soon catches the fun rhythm and youthful energy of Korman's latest novel, a fresh spin on the fish-out-of-water tale. Leo Caraway leads a charmed life as a fairly straight-laced Young Republican and A-student headed for Harvard on a scholarship. But then he finds out that his biological father is none other than Marion X. McMurphy (aka King Maggot), lead singer of the wildly popular punk band Purge. As Leo expects, this shocking bit of information brings with it some bad karma, and a misunderstanding costs him his Harvard scholarship. Only one out-there option makes sense at this point: Leo will work as a roadie for Purge, and get his father to cough up the tuition money. But life on a rock tour is even freakier than Leo imagined, and the truth he learns about dear old dad is freakiest of all. Rock fans will appreciate the short riffs at chapter breaks and the intriguing music-centric premise. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Leo Caraway has an imp hiding inside him, just waiting to explode. His name is McMurphy. Unfortunately for Leo—Young Republican, accepted early to Harvard, and future stocks annalist—it chooses to explode in his senior year of high school. Can buttoned-down Leo survive learning that the true identity of his birth father is the punk rock star King Maggot? Can Leo pry his first year's tuition out of Maggot by signing on to his nationwide summer tour as a roadie? Can anyone who hates punk rock as much as he does stand the physical and aural pain? Korman gives Leo's voice his usual sardonic cast as our hero narrates his escalating woes. Along the way the grungy world of comeback stars is unveiled in full glory. The reader also has the pleasure of meeting the gothic Melinda, the hapless and gay Owen looking for true love, and most especially, Leo's marvelous mom, who deals with her repressions by building miles of jigsaw puzzles through the ever-narrowing passageways of home. With such a sharp, wry mix, it is obvious Gordon Korman has another hit on his hands. 2006, Hyperion, Ages 12 up.
—Kathleen Karr
VOYA
Leo Caraway, high school senior and staunch member of the Young Republicans Club, takes more than one hit in this book suitable for readers in grades seven through ten. His acceptance to Harvard and subsequent dream of a future six-figure income have been derailed. Caught in an exam-cheating technicality, Leo's Ivy League fast track fizzles, but that is just one problem. McMurphy, a mysterious name haunting him, finally becomes clear. Leo discovers that his biological father is Marion X. McMurphy, aka. King Maggot, front man for Purge, the legendary 1980s punk band. Leo's mother admits being with King Maggot, shattering the teen's image of his middle-class parents. Finally Gothgirl Melinda-on whom Leo has a crush-informs him, "I would never date a Republican." Refusing to let these troubles destroy him and needing cash for Harvard, Leo confronts King Maggot and scores a summer roadie job with Purge on their reunion tour. From city to city, Leo observes the punk band's on- and off-stage nastiness. Purge is the Angriest Band in America, and their habits sear Leo's Republican persona. Should he be like bio-dad and ascend to Prince Maggot status? A baby sporting a Mohawk is great cover art and the familiar theme of not fitting in with unsavory family members will attract readers. Reminiscent of Son of the Mob (Hyperion, 2002/VOYA February 2003) and its sequel, Hollywood Hustle (2004/VOYA December 2004), this fast-moving and readable book is recommended but lacks the magic of Korman's two previous hits. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P J S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Hyperion, 272p., Ages12 to 18.
—Rollie Welch
Julie Jones
Woven with wit and anecdotal wisdom, Born to Rock is a charming story of adolescence, politics, music, sexuality, family, and friendship. When Leo, a typical 4.0 Young Republican bound for Harvard, finds out his biological father is the lead singer in an '80s punk rock group, one crazy summer ensues. King Maggot, said biological father, invites Leo along for the group's revival tour, and Leo commences to live the life of a roadie—minus the drugs, parties, and women—for two months. Amidst late-night poodle pursuits, drummers embezzling emeralds, best friend blog revelations, and cavity searches, Leo learns the meaning of friendship, loyalty, and responsibility. While the title and subject matter may suggest a racy book loaded with sex, drugs, and profanity, Korman manages to pack in the adventure and open the discussion without raising the censorship flag. With a cover that rocks on its own and a story that draws kids in from the first line, this novel is "born to rock."
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Leo, a high school senior and "Mr. Republican," has received a scholarship to Harvard. However, after being accused of helping another student during a test, he looses the financial assistance which he must have to enroll. Although he was talking, he was not giving answers to the other student and stands up for himself. At about the same time, he learns that his biological father is really King Maggot, the leader of a popular punk rock band. Leo manages to get a job as a roadie with the band hoping to get King to pay his college tuition. That summer, he learns who his real friends are and much more about himself. Billy Hammond becomes Leo, reading the first person narrative in the novel by Gordon Korman (Hyperion, 2006) at a lively pace and with plenty of emotion. He employs some voice changes to reflect the other characters. Teens will relate to the informal dialogue and enjoy eavesdropping on Leo as he reflects. Sound effects play a key role in this recording and are sure to please listeners. Short interludes of punk music are played frequently. There are noises of crowds, emails are read with an echo, and phone conversations sound realistic. An excellent choice.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Korman is a good date: Laugh-out-loud funny, honest, hot and sweet, he knows how to start a story with lines about Republicans and body-cavity searches in the first few pages. Leo, our hero, is a senior with a scholarship to Harvard, a tangential relationship to the Young Republicans, good, loving parents and Goth-goddess Melinda, whom he's known all his life. But shortly readers-and Leo-discover that a good deed gets him accused of cheating, loses him his scholarship and reveals to him his hitherto unknown parentage. One night's backstage indiscretion by his mom meant that Leo's biological father is none other than King Maggot, lead screamer of Purge, the band that practically founded punk, and Melinda's hero. Leo spends the summer after senior year as a roadie for Purge's reunion tour, with its standard excesses and odd charms chronicled in Leo's self-aware, slightly dorky voice. This has virtually the same plotline as Liza Conrad's "chicklet-lit" Rock My World (2005), and the two would make a great couple. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786809219
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 1/1/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 260,770
  • Age range: 18 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Gordon Korman
Gordon Korman wrote his first book when he was just fourteen years old. Since then, he has written over fifty-five popular young adult and middle grade novels, including the New York Times #1 bestselling THE 39 CLUES: ONE FALSE NOTE, THE JUVIE THREE, SCHOOLED, SON OF THE MOB (an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults), BORN TO ROCK, and NO MORE DEAD DOGS. Gordon lives with his family on Long Island.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Born To Rock

    As a rock (as in music) loving fan I would possibly read anything with rock in it so when I saw the cover it spoke to me. Born to rock is an interesting title and the idea of putting a Mohawk on a baby's head goes with me. Just the cover itself grasped my attention so I decided to read it. Born to rock is about Leo Caraway (future Harvard student and president of the Young Republicans). Leo has his whole life planned out but in a matter of seconds it all goes down the drain. To make things even worse for Leo, he finds out that his biological father is King Maggot (lead singer of punk/rock band, Purge). While trying to get money out of his "real" father, Leo gets more than he asks for. Born to rock is full of action, suspense and a little bit of romance. I highly recommend this book to any rock loving fan.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 18, 2008

    Born to Rock

    The book I am reviewing is Born To Rock, by Gordon Korman. This book is narrated by the main character, Leo, who is a senior in high school. The main plot of the story takes off when Leo learns his father is the lead singer of a legendary rock band from the 80¿s called ¿Purge¿. ¿Potbellies and receding Mohawks notwithstanding, they were still the angriest band in America, capable of raising a roof in a place that didn¿t even have one.¿(Korman).<BR/>The author wastes no time on moving through the plot, and keeping the reader engaged. This book was defiantly directed towards teens because they can best relate to the characters in the story, and to some of the problems. The character I can mostly relate to has to be Melinda. I relate to her because I used to be like her and I went through some very similar transitions. The author was defiantly trying to purvey an arrangement of messages when he wrote this book. I believe that one of the main messages purveyed is; even when you think no one cares about you, the most unlikely person shows you that they do. I enjoyed this book very much; I found it humorous and engaging. I also enjoyed many of the puns made and the twist in the end which did bring the story line together. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys comedy and rock music. I give this book five stars.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

    One good deed changes Leo's life forever. <BR/><BR/>When his best friend asks him to tutor her friend, Owen, in math, he can't turn her down. He discovers that Owen can relate his math issues to pinballs and understand. So, during a test, Leo sees Own panicking and whispers "pinballs." <BR/><BR/>In that moment, he's accused of cheating. <BR/><BR/>There goes his scholarship to Harvard, the one he's been counting on, since his family doesn't have enough money for college. Then comes another curveball--Leo finds out the identity of his biological father, the man who's currently making a comeback: the King of Purge, the leader of the most popular punk band ever. <BR/><BR/>Leo meets his father and joins the reunion tour for the summer working as a stage hand. Can he bond with his father, survive the mess he's made of his life, and figure out where to go from here? <BR/><BR/>BORN TO ROCK focuses around music, standing up against bullies, and finding your strengths. I recommend this one to music lovers or anyone fighting the system.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2008

    Hardcore,Funny,Caring Book

    a teen figures out his father is a punk rocker,his soon to be girlfriend is punk and his father is her idol!!!! READ THIS BOOK IT IS GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2007

    Born To Rock is such an outstanding book

    Born To Rock by Gordon Korman is so Awesom. When I first saw the cover and the title, it looked kind of good but not really. I looked around the library and I didn't find any good books, so I just picked up Born to Rock and started to read it. I was expecting this book to be so stupid and non-exciting. I even thought that I would rate this book an one out of ten on my rating scale, but I didn't. After I read the first chapter, I was hooked on this book. To think that Leo Caraway - this straight A, young republican leader that's set to go to Harverd - could be related to the leader of the angriest band in America of the 80's is just out of this world. Born To Rock is a very exciting and suspencful book. All of these events and twists and turns make this book so good. I felt as if I were watching a movie. This book made a great change in my reading 'career'!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    Leo Caraway had a bright future with early acceptance into Harvard. All that is cast aside because he loses the scholarship he needed to pay for college after he was caught ¿cheating¿ on a math quiz by helping Owen Stevenson. Owen was being tutored by Leo Caraway whose friend Melinda Rapport had persuaded him to. So Leo has to find a way to pay the tuition. Answer, he has to find a way to find real father Marion X. McMurphay. Leo finds out that Marion X. McMurphay is King Maggot the punk rock god and front man of the notorious punk band Purge. He found out on Melinda¿s blog: Kafka Dreams the name of his real father. So Leo has to find a way to see his biological father. So when Purge who had not preformed in sixteen years signed to headline the Concussed Punk World Tour he saw a way to get to his father. The question is can Leo find his father. I loved how the dialogue was easy to follow. There were many good parts of the book, but it did not pick up till after the first few chapters. The plotline was very good with many twists that helped the story all the way until the end. The characters were easy to relate to and you could feel what they were feeling. The way Leo is new to Rock n Roll is funny to see unfold.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2007

    a reviewer

    One good deed changes Leo's life forever. When his best friend asks him to tutor her friend, Owen, in math, he can¿t turn her down. He discovers that Owen can relate his math issues to pinballs and understand. So, during a test, Leo sees Own panicking and whispers 'pinballs.' In that moment, he's accused of cheating. There goes his scholarship to Harvard, the one he's been counting on, since his family doesn't have enough money for college. Then comes another curveball--Leo finds out the identity of his biological father, the man who's currently making a comeback: the King of Purge, the leader of the most popular punk band ever. Leo meets his father and joins the reunion tour for the summer working as a stage hand. Can he bond with his father, survive the mess he's made of his life, and figure out where to go from here? BORN TO ROCK focuses around music, standing up against bullies, and finding your strengths. I recommend this one to music lovers or anyone fighting the system. **Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2007

    i recommend this book to Gordon Korman fans

    People that like other great titles by Gordon Korman like, Son of the Mob,and No More Dead Dogs,or even the On the Run series will love the book Born to Rock book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    I am A high school student who generally hates to read, but being that I had a project for English'was do to today but I have until tomorrow now' I took this book out and read it. It only took five and a half to 6 hours to read the whole book. The book it's self was great, and being that I am into real puck-rock, metal, and hardcore, so I really like the story. It reflects Leo Caraway. He is a future College student destin to go to Harvard University from a scholarship. He is a senior, and president of The Young Republicans Club. So the young man Leo has his whole life planned out, but one thing inside of him grows. An evil, angry, mean thing which in the beginning of the story is known as McMurphy. When he was a young boy in elementary school he was going on a class trip to Montreal. He needed his birth cetificate to go get across the boarder. When his mother brings it and hands in. He sees that his last name is McMurphy and he sees his father's name was not signed where it said ' Father's Name.' When he asked his mom and dad why this is they get in an argument with or not to tell him the truth. They eventually tell him that his father is his father, but not his bological father. He finds out the his mother and current father got married while he was still a baby. Also while he was on the trip he learned about his McMurphy side when he ran on to a cement rail on the overpass of a highway and started tap dancing on it. He did other things on that trip that he doesn't remember, but the elementray school does and are legendary in the teachers lounge at the elementary school. Even though he was a Young Republican he didn't really care for the kids as they were kind of snobby, but he was really good friends with one of them and he was known as Gates'nickname'. He had a crush and Leo's long time friend Melinda. Who was an opininated, gothic, puck rock girl. Gates tells Leo that while he was surfing the schools internet file and using a serch word from Melinda's account and found Graffiti Wall-Usa. Here website. She post blogs about her thoughts and hates of society. One day Melinda makes Leo tutor her friend Own. After tutoring him they take an exam. during the Exam Owen was seated near Leo. Leo noticed that Owen was at the part that Leo tiredlessly tutored him on. So Leo whispered a hint that would jog Owen's memory so he could remember. He was caught by an assisnant princapal. Who told him if he wasn't cheating then Owen was, and Leo said no, and that no one was cheating. The assistant princapal said if Owen that he needed to tell the truth and if Owen did it to tell him so they could suspend Owen. The assistant princapal hated Owen for one reason and the reason was because Owen was gay. Leo finally let a small bit of his Mcmurphy side out on the assistant princaple. The princapal said Leo was giving him a zero and before Leo walked out before his Mcmurphy side would do/say something he would regret. Every now and then Leo would check on Melinda's website. While reading here post he saw she posted a report she did for one of her classes, and while reading it he read something about one of the legendary punk rock bands and 'The Angeriest Band in America' in the eighties which was the band Purge. He read about Marion X. McMurphy better know as King Maggot. After seeing the name McMurphy he remembered his last name on the birth certificate was McMurphy. So now he knew who his biological father was. He was horrified none the less that his fater was a crazy, dirty punk rocker. One day his sapposive 'cheating' came back to haunt him. One day he got a letter in the mail saying that the company the was supporting his scholarship drop their support because cheating came up on his record. So know with Havard on the line Leo had to find $40,000 for tution. So know somewhere down the line Melinda says she is bringing him to a press confrence for the Concussed Tour in which Purge w

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2007

    READ THIS BOOK!!

    This book is a great read. The main character Leo Caraway, finds out that he is actually Leo McMurphy, and his real dad is actually a Punk Rock legend. Leo (with the help of his friend Melinda and future friend Owen) sets out to find all about his real dad Marion X. McMurphy. McMurphy's punk name is 'King Maggot,' he is the angriest man on the planet, and front man for the band PURGE. Leo first discovered this situation on a field trip to Montreal, he then attributes the ticking time bomb inside him to that fifty percent of his DNA. Leo was a star student, junior republican and destined for Harvard. When he is taking a test that he helped Owen study for, he whispers a code word (that isn¿t an answer) and gets in trouble for cheating. For cheating he gets his scholarship taken away and decides to ask his newfound father for the money. After meeting his real dad, King Maggot invites him on the bands reunion tour as a roadie. He's not really punk rock material, but after touring with the band and meeting up with Melinda and Owen halfway through the tour, he starts to get it down. Along the way he learns some important things about life (but never really turns punk). Being a punk myself I thought that this was a good story with a punk rock twist. Gordon Korman does a pretty good job of illustrating the eighty¿s punk scene, and the general anger and the gritty reality that is punk rock. I definitely recommend this book to any rock fans, particularly punk fans. It is a good read with a pretty good ending.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2006

    aewsome book

    this is my most recent favorite book !!! it kept me with questions and suspense that made me read on . i have read it 3 times !!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2006

    A real page turner

    this book was great and i couldnt stop reading it. I read it on vacation and i didn' stop reading it the entire plane ride (which in fact was 12 hours). It has a great plot and i really liked how everything fit together. Hope for a sequel!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2006

    It's Ah-MAZING!!

    Pick up this book. It is not a waste of your time. Being a Gordon Korman Mega-Fan (!), I read this book. And I luved it. I can relate to Leo, the main character, who finds out his dad is a Punk GOD!!! Found 'cheating' on a test, Leo gets his scholarship taken away and ends up touring with his dad's band, PURGE. Along the way Leo learns some tuff life lessons & learns a lot more about himself. 5 STARS!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2006

    GREAT BOOK

    i dunno how to Xplain it, but it was fantastic, suspenseful, and a real page turner! Hope There's a sequal!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2006

    Totally awsome

    I swear, this book has given new meaning to punk rock everywhere. Highly reccomended.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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