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For What It's Worth (2012)

by Janet Tashjian(Favorite Author)
3.75 of 5 Votes: 5
0805093656 (ISBN13: 9780805093650)
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
review 1: So now I know: just because a book focuses on music doesn't mean I'm guaranteed to like it. The research in here is obvious and painstaking, and I love the idea of setting a Young Adult book in Laurel Canyon during 1971, but it just didn't work for me. As a narrator, Quinn just isn't a very strong character – there's not much to him other than the fact that he loves music. And while I can appreciate the book's anti-authoritarian stance, setting it during the Vietnam War – when protest is one of the dominating images of that time – seems too obvious. It's heart is in the right place – and it reminded me of a few albums I haven't listened to in a while, which I need to rectify – but it just doesn't hold together.
review 2: The life of fourteen-year-
... moreold Quinn revolves around music--discovering, collecting, playing, and writing about great rock and roll. Since the story is set in 1971 and 1972 in Los Angeles's Laurel Canyon, where many musicians hung out or lived, Quinn has grown up knowing or seeing many of them. For instance, his mother is still friends with Cass Elliot of the Mamas and Papas since they grew up together in Baltimore. Quinn finds a first girlfriend in Caroline, a new girl at his high school, despite how little she knows about the music he loves. As they grow closer and he shares his musical knowledge, he becomes plagued by doubts about her faithfulness, in part because of messages he receives from his Ouiji board. Against his will, he is drawn into political activism because of his older sister's friendship with a draft resister trying to make his way to Canada rather than serve in the Vietnam War. Mr. Woodrow, his substitute teacher, also helps raise his awareness through intense discussions of current events, including provocative pictures. Meanwhile, at home, there seems to be increased tension between his parents, and Quinn isn't sure what's going on. Interspersed with Quinn's story are his wonderful columns about music. Entitled "For What It's Worth" and containing sketches of the musicians of the time--Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Frank Zappa and more--these columns contain fascinating trivia about the men and women behind the music Quinn loves. As she always does in her books, this author creates believable characters in Quinn and his friends, describing the wonders and fears of first love while folding the storyline in authentic details about that particular period of time. She nails the paranoia that filled the nation after the violent acts laid at the feet of the "Family" of Charles Manson a few months earlier as well as the emerging news stories about the Watergate break-ins near the story's end. What's more she provides the perfect musical soundtrack--er, playlist! I fear I'm dating myself here--to crank up while reading the book. Or if you like your books read in solitude, play the songs or albums/CDs that Quinn loves so much afterward and think about the book's message and Quinn's unexpected heroism. The power of music and the power of art--of a photograph--permeate the pages of this wonderful title. And yeah, I think she got it right. I was in high school during this time, and I remember hearing this music for the first time and being blown away by Todd Rundgren and my beloved Eagles. I wore those records out! (This, of course, was when we listened to music on black vinyl records and marveled at the artistry of record album covers.)You won't be sorry that you read this book since it will continue to haunt you or tickle at your conscience long after it's back on the shelf. less
Reviews (see all)
Easy read geared more towards an adolescent. Lots of rock references.
Probably 3 or 3.5 stars. Slurped down the music parts.
ugggh. it looked so good.
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