There’s a thing that happens when you totally crush out on someone. It’s like you can feel your heartbeat in every part of your body. There’s a euphoric kind of excitement mixed with sadness and terror. It’s hard to explain, but it happens in an instant and then just explodes and grows from there, consuming your every waking thought and sometimes your dreams. You can’t escape from it. It takes over and runs the controls that make you . . . you. Suddenly, you aren’t exactly the same. You’ve become a caricature of yourself, like the teenage version of a baby learning to walk and talk. None of your body parts work right, and you say the most ridiculous shit, repeatedly.
With James I felt none of this.
― Justin Courtney Pierre, Battle of the Bands
CBR15Bingo: On the Air
The book consists of sixteen chapters, each written by a different young-adult author. The book takes place over one day, jumping between the perspectives of band members as they prepare for the annual battle of the bands at their local high school.
My favorite chapter was written by Justin Courtney Pierre, lead singer for the American band “Motion City Soundtrack.” I found this book by searching for other works by the author Jeff Zentner, who wrote The Serpent King. Shaun David Hutchinson (Before We Disappear), also contributed.
The concept – having fifteen writers submit their own take, with original characters – is a fascinating way to put together a book. I like the concept and the execution. But it is too damn hard for me to care about any of the characters when I get a new band and a new story in each chapter. Also, I read enough YA to recognize the tropes. I LOVE YA tropes! But I don’t want to read the same trope in every second or third chapter. In my opinion, this only works if the reader is given time to follow the characters and experience it alongside them, which is impossible when nearly every character arc begins and ends within a single chapter. Since each chapter introduces a new set of characters, there is a LOT of exposition required.
I applaud the concept and the skill of the authors. But, once I recognized the pattern, finishing the book became a struggle. This is not the book’s fault. The style did not suit my tastes, that’s all.
The best thing about this is I discovered some new YA authors. I have added them to my TBR list and look forward to checking out their full-length novels.