Release date: 1st February 2012
Genre: Comic Realism
Target audience: 12+
UK Publisher: Templar
Beat the Band is the sequel to the hilarious Swim the Fly. You can read my review of the first novel HERE.
This novel is another comical, daft teenage drama. Told from Coop’s point of view, the story follows the three guys through their first semester of the new school year. After an epic summer, Coop, Matt and Sean are back to reality. Matt is still hopelessly devoted to the lovely Valerie. Sean is still loopy. Coop is the guy who ropes them into all kinds of trouble.
Cooper is a really funny viewpoint character. He is crude, all about self-preservation and has pretty much a one track mind. When the hand of fate deals up Helen Harriwick as his health partner, Coop is desperate to save his image. What could be worse than having to do a project with the school outcast? Doing a project with the school outcast on the topic of contraception. Coop is traumatised by the thought that his sex life will be over before it has even begun. He can’t face the social ridicule dumped on him because he has to work with Helen. He isn’t exactly your heroic type of guy. But that just adds to the believability factor. Cooper is really self-centred. He decides the answer to his problems lays in the Beat the Band contest because who gets more respect and chicks than a rock god?!
Coop is on a mission to revive the band and convinces Matt and Sean that they must help. I really liked that Coop was always leading the other two guys astray. The plot was perhaps not all that surprising but it had its own unique voice and twists which carried it off in glorious fashion. In fact, I was completely invested in the story. Despite all his self-centredness, Coop can’t help but see beyond the hideous reputation Helen has to see the funny, caring, intelligent girl underneath. But odd habits die hard for Coop and even though he begins to have feelings for Helen, the prospect of ruining his chances with the popular girls, stops him from confessing his mistakes.
One of the things that I really liked about this book was the portrayal of Cooper’s parents. His dad recently lost his job and he is having trouble dealing with it so he throws himself into managing Cooper’s band. The themes of recession, employment and parental illness all feature in the novel and it was refreshing to see an author engaging with them. It is all too tempting to “get rid of the parents” and let’s face it, most teenagers are dealing with them. Beat the Band is full of issues that teen readers with identify with.
It’s a fantastically funny story, full of vibrant characters and brilliant dialogue. Beat the Band is a must read! (Especially if you want to know how a teenage boy’s mind works!)
Recommended for fans of:
Source: Bought from Blackwells.