Battle of the Bands


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16 Stories, 16 Dreams, One Epic Night.

Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic—and interconnected—take on a memorable high school rite of passage.

A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter struggles to untangle her feelings for her best friend and his girlfriend. In this live-out-loud anthology, the disparate protagonists of sixteen stories are thrown together for one unforgettable event: their high school’s battle of the bands. Told in a harmonic blend of first- and third-person narrative voices, roughly chronological short stories offer a kaleidoscopic view of the same transformative night. Featuring an entry from Justin Courtney Pierre, lead vocalist of Motion City Soundtrack, Battle of the Bands is a celebration of youth, music, and meeting the challenges of life head-on.

With stories by Brittany Cavallaro, Preeti Chhibber, Jay Coles, Katie Cotugno, Lauren Gibaldi, Shaun David Hutchinson, Ashley Poston, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Sarah Nicole Smetana, Eric Smith, Jenn Marie Thorne, Sarvenaz Taghavian, Jasmine Warga, Ashley Woodfolk, and Jeff Zentner, and featuring Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Courtney Pierre.

Advance Praise:

This impressive collection manages to sustain its jubilant energy, and each author’s distinct voice shines through without the whole feeling at all inconsistent. The stories are original enough to keep readers turning pages, while the overall conceit—drama both on and off stage—ties it all together. . . . An impressive feat impeccably pulled off. –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[An] entertaining collection. . . Chronicling the breakups, make-ups, make-outs, and breakout performances of myriad intersectionally diverse teens, this anthology’s deliberate pacing allows each entry to stand on its own while harmonizing pleasantly with the larger melody of the night’s overlapping characters and events. –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The energy of this collection will draw young people into the drama of being in a band, falling in love, the ups and downs of competition, and the unknown after high school all through heartfelt and often hilarious moments that build up to an epic finish. . . . A must-have for all YA collections, especially where anthologies are popular. – School Library Journal

Musical teens can unite around this collection both for its unapologetic excitement for music and the representation it promotes. Teens will see themselves in the everyday elements and the desires of the characters, whether they want to live out their dreams to rock on, strike back against heartbreak, or be authentically themselves. –School Library Connection

Empowering, hilarious, romantic, and wildly fun, Battle of the Bands perfectly captures both the magic of music and the drama of competition. It’s hands down my new favorite playlist. –Dahlia Adler, author of Cool for the Summer and editor of His Hideous Heart

Check, check, one, two. This book will rock you. –David Arnold, New York Times best-selling author of Mosquitoland and The Electric Kingdom

What a delightful backstage pass to the angst, passion, and glory of high school music-making. Be prepared to laugh, root for your favorites, and find yourself all but singing along, front row. –Emery Lord, award-winning author of When We Collided

Children’s Book Council Selection