My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star

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Overview

 Rock ’n’ roll isn’t just about sex and drugs. It’s about self-expression, lasting friendships, and self-empowerment. That’s what Alex learns after she starts playing bass for a rock band in this almost true story. Joyce Raskin, author and musician, culls from her memories to create this funny, touching, and honest look at what it’s like to be a teenager, a girl, and a rock star all at the same time. 

Also included are a note from the author, instructions on how to ...

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My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star

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Overview

 Rock ’n’ roll isn’t just about sex and drugs. It’s about self-expression, lasting friendships, and self-empowerment. That’s what Alex learns after she starts playing bass for a rock band in this almost true story. Joyce Raskin, author and musician, culls from her memories to create this funny, touching, and honest look at what it’s like to be a teenager, a girl, and a rock star all at the same time. 

Also included are a note from the author, instructions on how to play basic guitar chords, advice on songwriting, and more!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In pared-down, almost skeletal first-person narration, 14-year-old Alex reveals how rock and roll changed her from a lonely, insecure girl to one with much more confidence and less need for the validation of boys. After Alex's brother teaches her to play bass so she can join his friend's band, she gives herself a "cool bass-player chick" makeover, with combat boots, thrift-store clothes, and an edgy haircut. She soon snags her first boyfriend, but heartbreak follows both with him and with a stoner band mate. Alex truly starts to come into her own after she befriends Sal, a slightly older teenager who invites Alex to join her up-and-coming, straight-edge band. Raskin, bass player for the rock band Scarce, can be a bit blatant with her girl power message, and although Alex's insecurities, anguish, and successes feel genuine, the flattened narration blunts the book's emotional impact and makes her come across as exceptionally naïve ("Tod's impressed. I'm flying high. All my problems are solved"). Concluding instructions on guitar playing and songwriting are included to encourage readers to follow Alex's path to greater self-assurance through music. Ages 12–up. (June)
From the Publisher
"Yay, Alex! Girls must rock like never before, and here's the guide for a new generation of young girls. Rock on!"—Exene Cervenka of the band X

"Alex is a great and complex girl (as we all are). She is strong and sensitive, brave and nervous, giddy and gritty, wise and young. And she rocks! Literally and figuratively. This is a true-feeling story about the power of picking up a guitar or some drumsticks, making some noise, and finding your voice. This is how it feels."—Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses, The Breeders, Belly, and the Tanya Donelly Band

"I love this book. I only wish I could have been able to read it when I was 14 and getting into music."— Mary Timony of The Mary Timony Band, Wild Flag, and Helium

"When I was a young teenager trying to learn how to play guitar and start a band I felt very alone. Girls today can turn to this book when they need some sisterly solidarity and guidance."—Juliana Hatfield of The Blake Babies, Juliana Hatfield Three, and Juliana Hatfield

"[Joyce] continues to be a remarkable female roll model in my life and I am so excited to know she will influence and inspire hundreds if not thousands of more girls from a whole new generation. Truly awesome stuff."—Lightning's Girl, blogger

" . . . Chu’s doodles and Raskin’s concluding personal experiences, as well as tips on playing the guitar and writing song lyrics, will strike just the right chord."—Booklist

VOYA - Lynn Evarts
Alexis, "Alex" for short, feels like an outsider. She is, in her words, "small, pasty, shy, greasy-haired," and she longs to be a tall, beautiful blonde like Jennifer. Her brother plays in a band with his friend, Tod, and Alex's salvation comes through bass lessons with Tod. Suddenly, Alex is, at fourteen, part of a band that plays in bars, and she no longer feels like a misfit. Alex finds and loses boyfriends, becomes part of a "straight-edge" band, meets new friends, and learns that skateboarding makes her feel better than anything she has ever done. Included as back matter is some basic information about guitars and how to play, as well as the fundamentals of writing song lyrics. This book struggles to find its identity. Is it a book for middle grade readers who feel like they are "zit fits" who do not fit in, or is it a book for teens that are at the age where they are joining bands and playing in bars? The writing style, especially initially, lends itself more toward the twelve-year-old reader indicated in the marketing blurb, but the situations are a bit older (pot smoking and working in a recording studio, for example). Older readers will not keep reading through the immature tone of the first few chapters. The author states that she wanted to "keep it simple," but in this case, she kept it too simple. Even the line drawings add to the awkward simplicity of this book, reinforcing the impression that this book is for younger readers. Reviewer: Lynn Evarts
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—Alex is a 14-year-old geek from New Jersey who loves unicorns and is plagued by acne. She wants nothing more than to be popular and have lots of friends, but that doesn't seem to be the way her life is going. That is, until her older brother must leave his rock band and suggests that Alex fill in for him. Although this is a decent premise, the novel never takes off or goes anywhere. After only a few lessons from her brother, the teen miraculously becomes an amazing bass player, to the envy of all her classmates and new fans. All of a sudden, she is playing to sold-out shows, has one boyfriend after the next, and becomes a great skateboarder after a girl at the local skate park shows her a few moves. Alex learns that she wants to be straight-edge, avoiding all drugs and alcohol, and while this is an admirable trait in a protagonist, the message is force-fed in after-school special didacticism. The one-dimensional characters won't keep readers interested. The author's writing style is repetitive and unimaginative, and Chu's simple line illustrations add nothing to the story. The author may have firsthand knowledge of playing in a popular band, but that cannot save this uninspired novel.—Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, East Columbus, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547393117
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/13/2011
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Raskin started playing guitar and bass when she was a young teen. She continued playing and, after graduating from RISD, joined the rock band Scarce. Ten years later, Joyce self-published a book about her experiences in the band entitled Aching to Be . She has since gone on to become a designer of children's books. She lives in Braintree, MA, with her family.

Check out more about Joyce and Scarce on Facebook/teenrockstar.

Carol hails originally from Tennessee, and from a very young age, made "I'm moving to New York" her battle cry. She has a degree in journalism and a master's in design and has worked at TeenPeople, InStyle, Redbook, and Lucky. Currently, Carol is an art director and she designs books of all sorts.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Hateful book reader

    This book sucks like crap

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