Nov 27, 2012

Overnight Sensation by Hal Eisenberg review

Overnight Sensation cover
Fifteen year-old Jonah Levine is practically invisible at Applecrest High. His Facebook page is pathetic, his baseball skills are mediocre at best, and his IQ seems to drop 50 points when talking to girls. But everything changes when his rock band, Hitstreak, becomes the hottest teen sensation in the country. And now they’re about to perform in front of 15,000 screaming fans.

So why isn’t he jumping for joy?

Well, for starters, that hit on the radio wasn’t really recorded by his band. In fact, six months ago, he and his friends could barely play a note between them. And now they’re about to perform in front of 15,000 screaming fans. What begins as a mindless prank quickly spins out of control, involving his father’s secret past as a 70’s rocker, a high school bully who wants in on the action, and a powerful, ruthless, media mogul who will stop at nothing to claim the band as his own. Will Jonah prevail? Or will he and his band go down in flames and become the biggest farce in pop music history?

From Goodreads

Jonah has always loved music. His friends share his love as well and together they formed a band. The fact that none of them really play and mostly just want to be in a "band" for the girls is a moot point. He never expected that his own dad had a rock 'n roll past or that it would so greatly affect Jonah's band's future.

Through a series of missteps, miscommunication, and teenage hubris, Jonah and his friends find themselves pretending the be the band behind the hot new song on the radio. The truth? The song was recorded by Jonah's father's real band. It may start out small, but when a big wig producer sinks his hooks into these young guys, there is no time to stop what they started.

I'm gonna shoot this one completely straight. I loved the story behind this book. I did not love the writing.

Jonah, his friends, and his family are such great characters that I enjoy watching fumble through this impossible scenario. Their humor and history allow for quirky and fun exchanges to develop the story. The musical references are just nostalgic enough to still be relate-able. Even better was the story idea itself. I can see most of this story happening up to a point. The boys' hubris makes perfect sense for the ages and personalities they represent.

I had a really hard time overlooking the writing in this book. The content was good, but the execution was not quite as polished as it could have been. I think a more severe editing brush was needed to clean up the dialogue that seemed to have a "and then he said..." feel to it. Punctuation and paragraph structure were also off, but not so often that it detracted too much from the story.

So...if you like music and like teenage boy shenanigans (especially those embarrassing first date scenes) then be sure to pick this book up. I tore through it despite the writing flaws. I have a feeling that since this a relatively new addition to the YA writing scene, that the author will definitely learn as he goes. Overall though, a fun, light read for all!


Mardel said...

Was it the narrative or the editing lack? Because from your review, it kind of sounds like you enjoyed the book but the editing lost points for you.

I can stand a little lack of editing (key word "little") as long as the narrative is good. But if it sounds like a fourth grader writing, then that bothers me. Was it fourth grade like?

You're right, the subject matter sounds very interesting - a misguided prank that blows out of proportion - sounds like a good movie.

loreleimarsh said...

I think it would a decent basis for a film as well.

The narrative was thought out and balanced, but the editing was lacking a bit more than a little.

Again, I would totally suggest giving it a shot. I just think it could have used a more scrupulous editing.