A new tween book by writer and musician Josh Farrar, Rules to Rock By, tells the story of a middle school student that starts her own rock band. The book has a soundtrack too: A studio band plays the part of the book’s band, The Bungles, and it includes a song called “What Would Joan Jett Do?”, a catchy tune that, ironically, partially “borrows” the melody from “I Want Candy”–the Bow Wow Wow version of which was produced by our own Kenny Laguna. I’ve only heard a snippet of the song on Amazon, but to me it sounds different than both The Launderettes’ and Tricksy’s songs of the same name, so I don’t think it’s a cover of either one. (If I’m wrong, please let me know and I’ll correct this post. How many different songs called “What Would Joan Jett Do?” are out there, anyway? Did I miss any?)
Here’s an excerpt from a review on parentdish.com:
The Book: Annabelle Cabrera, the protagonist of “Rules to Rock By” is not just any random teen looking to play music. By age 11, she was already fronting a kid rock band that had a devoted following and was opening for grown-up acts in New York City. Then her parents decided to move the family to Rhode Island.
Determined not to let her musical saga come to and early end, Annabelle seeks out new bandmates in her new school — and is shocked to find that her suburban community already has its fair share of local teen bands. She’s going to have to prove herself as a rocker all over again.
Annabelle makes a wonderfully likable narrator, a young girl who makes decisions by asking herself, “What would Joan Jett do?” She struggles with missing old friends, making new friends, becoming jealous of new friends, bonding with her former-musician parents and watching out for her troubled little brother. All the markings of a great coming-of-age novel are here, but with a layer of “Almost Famous” rock star angst added in. Don’t worry, though — no sex or drugs here. Just rock ‘n’ roll.
I’m not a tween, but as a Jetthead, the Joan Jett references and subject matter are irresistible to me. If you’ve read it, let me know how you liked it!