Ari Abramson’s life thus far has been lived in the shadows. The shadow of his super popular, ultra cool best friend Jonas Fein, the shadow of his parents ambitions for him to attend Brandeis University upon graduation, the shadow of…non-existence. But his junior year at Gittleman, a Jewish day school in North Jersey, is going to be different. This year he has a Plan to get noticed.
The Plan is to start a band. What quicker way is there from nobody to superstar? After some negotiation and conniving, the Tribe is born. There’s Jonas, lead singer and bassist and provider of charm; Yossi, the uber religious nerd drummer; Reena, Yossi’s younger indie sister on back-up vocals; and of course, Ari, lead guitarist and (hopefully) songwriter extraordinaire. Despite their differences and a few minor setbacks, this definitely-not-Motley crew has potential. Ari soon finds himself navigating the tricky waters of popularity. In this alternate universe, Ari gets noticed by long-time crush, Sari; becomes an idol to little brother, Ben; and must deal with mounting tension in his friendship with Jonas. So punk rock? Maybe…not.
In this prose/graphic novel blend, we follow the Tribe’s rise to high school stardom and Ari’s journey to self-discovery. So Punk Rock is a quirky, humorous read with a realistic voice, even if that meant at times the prose is awkward and sentence structure is non-existent. I would have no trouble recommending it to a reluctant reader.
(I read this for the Garden State Teen Book Awards 2012 ballot and even though it was a fun read, I’m not sure it ranks among other stronger works of literature.)