Road Rash by Mark Huntley Parsons Book Review

Road Rash by Mark Huntley Parsons 
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 11, 2014

Zach is a talented drummer playing for a local band until he wasn't. Kicked out for reasons that he doesn't know, he resigns himself to a summer working a menial job at a fast food joint or the local plant nursery. Then he gets the gig of a lifetime, touring with Bad Habit, a legendary band who gets paid and everything. However, drums are a lot easier to understand than people and Zach soon learns that the jealousies and rivalries in his new group are always throwing off his rhythm.

This is the second "drummer" book that I have read in as many weeks and I absolutely love both of them, even though they are completely different stories. I have played violin since I was eight and even though I wasn't in a band at any point, I understand the love of music and need to express oneself through that medium of art. I have also witnessed through my brother, the pain and heartbreak that a person experiences when they have been kicked out of a band for no good reason. I don't think one has to be a musician or band member to relate to this book though.

Zach is a great character in that he is a nice guy. He tries, even when he is angry, to be polite, kind, persuasive, honest, and diplomatic. There is quite a lot of evidence that Zach has a very promising future in the music industry. However, being a nice guy doesn't always mean that you make the best decisions, like telling a white lie to the girl you like which comes back to haunt you. At one point Zach decides to create a demo of a song written by another band mate and then enter it into a contest, not for fame or fortune, but that doesn't matter--he used someone else's song. Interspersed throughout the story are drummer jokes, a budding romance via email, and a contest win that turns out to not be so awesome.

The pacing was a little slow at times. Zach wanders throughout the various towns they are touring and although I understand this was world building, sometimes it felt like a little too much meandering. Also, sometimes there would be jumps in time without warning and it wouldn't be until a few paragraphs in that I would realize that we were now a few hours ahead.

On the whole though this was a great book that I think guys, drummers, and your band aficionados are really going to get.