Rock On, A Story of Guitars, Gigs, Girls and a Brother (Not Necessarily in that Order) by Denise Vega


The book “Rock On” by Denise Vega details an ordinary 16 year old’s life in a band. In short, it is a story of guitars, family feuds, love, and rock and roll. What is there not to like?
Orion “Ori” Taylor is a high school boy who lives in Colorado. He is a rock and roll geek and he has a fairly ordinary life. He lives with his mom, dad, his younger sister Vega, and his brother Delphius (Del). His whole life has been shadowed by Del’s Lacrosse success. Ori is sick and tired of being unnoticed and he is finally given the chance to become his own person. His band is made up of two guitarists, himself and Troy, a drummer named Nick and Troy’s girlfriend, Alli, who is just a groupie and webmaster of their website/blog. They are still in search of a bassist and a name for their garage band. Their first gig is at a small restaurant/bar near their hometown. Throughout the book, Ori must fight to keep his confidence, even when his troublemaking college dropout brother is back home again. He must also try and work up the confidence to talk to a girl he met on the band’s blog even though she has clearly fallen for Del. On top of that, he wants the world to know that they are “the Rolling Stones of their generation”. To do that, they must defeat all of the other high school bands in a battle of the bands competition. All the while there are exciting, unexpected events and many obstacles are thrown in their way.
The best thing about this story was the music, so anyone passionate about playing or listening to music will enjoy it. I felt that it was a very personal and the author was writing about something she really knew. I also enjoyed the end of each chapter, where there were “snapshots” from the band’s blog. You could then read what their fans were saying and it was a very creative piece to include.
I think that both boys and girls between the grades 5-8 will enjoy this book. It was 296 pages long but still a fairly easy read. There were a few bad words and some mild violent situations in the story, but I think it fit well with the story line. It is a must read for those thinking of starting a band, as it helps to see what issues need to be dealt with. I also enjoyed that the story took place in Colorado and there were many recognizable towns mentioned. Maybe it will even inspire readers to want to make music of their own. You can learn more about the book and the author at