Publisher's Note:  

Leo Caraway—high school senior, president of the Young Republicans club, 4.0 GPA, future Harvard student—had his entire future perfectly planned out. That was, until the X factor. As in Marion X. McMurphy, aka King Maggot, the lead singer of Purge, the most popular, most destructive band punk rock has ever seen. He's also Leo’s biological father.

When Leo discovers that his real father is a punk rock legend, he is disgusted.  Not only is Leo not a punk rock fan, but he believes the X factor (the Maggot blood that is running through his veins) is a dangerous time bomb just waiting to explode.  And sure enough it does—Leo stubbornly defends the unlikeliest of people, thereby getting himself falsely accused of cheating on a test. 

Because of the blemish on his record, the once star pupil finds his scholarship to Harvard taken away.  So he hatches the crazy plan of going on tour with King Maggot for Purge’s summer revival tour, all the while secretly hoping to convince Maggot to pay for his tuition. But life on the road is even crazier than Leo ever bargained for, and before the summer is out, he will finally discover the surprising truth about his dad, his friends, and most important, himself.

Born To Rock

by Gordon Korman

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Overall Review:  

With author Gordon Korman's ability to write a story in such an easy, amiable fashion there is no doubt why he is a best-selling author with more than 50 published works. Korman brings that same accessible style to Born To Rock, a humorous yet heart-warming approach to the music world of “sex, drugs, and rock & roll.”


Told though first person narrative, readers align themselves quickly with protagonist Leo Caraway, a straight-laced teen who thinks he has it all figured out until a misunderstanding occurs at school, which ricochets into a whole host of other problems, one of them being the (awful?) truth of his paternity. Conservative Republican turned Concussed tour roadie, Leo must navigate the abashed world of punk rock while trying to bond with his angst driven paternal father.


Aside from the somewhat cheesy ending (no spoilers!), the novel offers a flurry of playful sardonic rhetoric, and a gut-busting offbeat cast of supporting characters, constituting this novel as an entertainingly swift read.

A perfect book for those young adult looking to liberate themselves from the excessive dystopian dramas abounding the literary shelves, Born To Rock just might be the amusing cumbersome tale you've been looking for.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  16 religious exclamations; 25 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names; 2 scatological terms; 1 anatomical term; 1 offensive hand gesture.


Violence/Gore:  Character reports to having been punched in the shoulder; character punches another character, blood mentioned; character slaps another character across the face; character punches another character; idle verbal threat is made; character crashes through a window (unhurt).

Sex/Nudity:  Character briefly recounts receiving a cavity search from police; the word “homophobia” and “homosexuality/gay” is used as characters briefly discuss a character's sexual orientation, these words are used throughout the book as one of the supporting characters is gay; secondhand report of characters making out; male character admits to having thoughts about a female character in her underwear; 2 brief scenes in which a character is told about his/her true paternity and/or conception; the words “conception”, and “sex” are used a few (no more than 10) times throughout the book, “sperm-bank” is used once; character makes a joke that has a sexual undertone; character refers to a female as a “hoochie”; characters encounter a couple who are being physically intimate in a public place; character reports to watching a band remove their clothes, covering their genitalia; character finds a male character with a half nude female, making the deduction that sexual activity took place; character describes a male character is “mauling a leggy blonde”; teen characters briefly hug and kiss 2x; male and female characters sleep in the same tent (non-sexual innuendo); character describes another character as a “sex maniac”.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Adult(s) sexual exploits, paternity, use of drugs in the music scene.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Mention of the issue of legalizing marijuana; heroin is mentioned; character asks mother if she was “drunk” or “high” when she made a decision; adult character reports to having attended a party where drugs and alcohol were present, he/she partook of the alcohol; characters appear to be stoned; adult characters drink champagne; character reports that other characters drink beer and appear to be drunk; character witnesses another character snorting cocaine; characters attend club where there is drinking; character admits to having been high; the word “drug(s)” is used a few times throughout the book.

Reviewed By MaryLou
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