So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother

So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother

by Micol Ostow, David Ostow
     
 

Despite his dreams of hipster rock glory, Ari Abramson's band, the Tribe, is more white bread than indie-cred. Made up of four suburban teens from a wealthy Jewish school, their Mötley Crüe is about as hardcore as SAT prep and scripture studies.

But after a one-song gig at a friend's Bar Mitzvah—a ska cover of "Hava Nagilah"—the Tribe's

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Overview

Despite his dreams of hipster rock glory, Ari Abramson's band, the Tribe, is more white bread than indie-cred. Made up of four suburban teens from a wealthy Jewish school, their Mötley Crüe is about as hardcore as SAT prep and scripture studies.

But after a one-song gig at a friend's Bar Mitzvah—a ska cover of "Hava Nagilah"—the Tribe's popularity erupts overnight. Now, Ari is forced to navigate a minefield of inflated egos, misplaced romance, and the shallowness of indie-rock elitism. It's a hard lesson in the complex art of playing it cool.

So Punk Rock is...

a 2010 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teen Readers

"Awesome. Brilliant. Hilarious. So Punk Rock is so good!"
—Blake Nelson, author of Girl

"A downright hilarious read."—Elizabeth Bird, author of School Library Journal's A Fuse #8 Production

"[A] cutting-edge prose-graphic hybrid. . .smart, laugh-out-loud witty."—Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Tantalize and Eternal

A Booklist Top 10 Arts Books for Youth (2009) and Top 10 Religious Books for Youth (2009).

For more information, visit: www.kosherpunkrock.com.

Other links for So Punk Rock:

The Tribe Myspace page:
http://www.myspace.com/tribenj

Ari on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/rockonari

Reena on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/NJchoirGRRL

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Lucy Freeman
So Punk Rock is awkwardly timed, with some scenes dragging on endlessly while other more important ones are over in half a page. Readers will be bored by the lack of strength in Ari's character and with the writing. There are occasional laughs to be had, but overall the plot is predictable after the first few pages. So Punk Rock is not quite as punk rock as the title may suggest. Reviewer: Lucy Freeman, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Geri Diorio
Ari Abramson dreams of being in a punk rock band because guys in bands get girls like Sari Horowitz. At least that is what Ari hopes. He recruits his musically challenged but charismatic best friend, Jonas, to play bass and manages to convince two siblings who actually have some musical talent—drummer Yossi and singer Reena—to join as well. All four teens go to Leo R. Gittleman Jewish Day School together. The setting is key, as Ari and his friends define themselves by their culture. The band actually has a few semi-successful gigs before internal conflicts wreak havoc, someone else gets Sari, and the band breaks up. In the aftermath, Ari finds real love, starts to open up to his parents, and gains some direction in his life. The characters are stock—self-absorbed Jonas, smart-cookie-who-Ari-should-like Reena, heart-and-soul-of-the-group Yossi, looking-for-his-way Ari. The story is simple, predictable, and mildly fun. There are a few pages of comic art interspersed throughout the book. The art is charming, simple black-and-white line drawings, but the reasons for inclusion are curious because they do nothing to move the story along. Still for teens who love music and dream of being in a band, this novel might be a pleasant way to pass a rainy afternoon. Reviewer: Geri Diorio
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Sixteen-year-old Ari Abramson has a Plan: form a band, get famous, and get Sari Horowitz to finally notice him. Unfortunately, his parents have a different plan: study constantly, earn a perfect score on the SAT, and get accepted to Brandeis. Though Ari finds his classmates superficial and unsympathetic, he strives single-mindedly to gain their acceptance and admiration. He mocks frontman Jonas's shallowness and vanity; however, as he comes closer to achieving his goal, he becomes more shallow and vain himself. Scholarly and conscientious drummer Yossi, and Reena, the cool and perceptive chanteuse, are foils to Ari's ambivalence and willful ignorance. As Ari's band, The Tribe, gets more popular, things don't exactly work out according to The Plan. Ultimately, the teen is forced to face the truth about who he is and what he really wants. Set in the suburbs of New Jersey, Ostow's bildungsroman is also a witty study of Jewish day-school culture. Ari's breezy narration includes using nouns and adjectives as verbs (Jonas "obviouses," Ben "brats") to humorous effect. It's also peppered with Jewish vocabulary, which is defined in the illustrated glossary. Ari's black-and-white "doodles," some of which are in graphic-novel form, are some of the funniest parts of the book. The Tribe is living the rock-and-roll lifestyle, so there is some adult language and underage drinking. Readers will be engaged by Ari's droll account of his struggle to achieve indie rock stardom and his subsequent disillusionment.—Erin Carrillo, formerly at Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Judaism, bass guitars and SAT scores: the ingredients for a band's rise to fame-maybe. While his parents dream of elite Jewish colleges, Ari has visions of starting his own ska band. With his best friend's help, Ari recruits Yossi, the most devout kid at their Jewish prep school, who has both a drum set and a vocalist sister. Once the Tribe hits the stage, however, friendships start to fray, and Ari's band might only make the one-hit-wonder list. Ari's malleable personality could be dull, but Micol Ostow works hard to go beyond mere wannabe-musician angst. The pitch-perfect dialogue pairs seamlessly with David Ostow's black-and-white panels, which are dispersed throughout the text and pull the narrative threads together. Additional illustrations crop up in the text, introducing characters, places and moments of humor. The resolution isn't as original as the artwork, but the glossary at the end makes it well worth finishing. Heavy on the Jewish humor, but without the vulgarity of Adam Sandler, the Ostows successfully balance culture with teen experience. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738714714
Publisher:
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Publication date:
07/08/2009
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
731,035
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

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