Battle of the Bands

Candlewick. Sept. 2021. 320p. ed. by Gibaldi, Lauren & Eric Smith, eds. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536214338.
Gr 9 Up–In this collection of interconnected short stories, 15 young adult authors place readers in the middle of an epic battle of the bands at one New Jersey high school. The contributors work in secret crushes, love triangles, music-hating judges, fangirls, band drama, merch kids, frustrated stage managers, feminist sound girls, and even acid trips, giving teens an exciting romp through a night of eclectic performances and experiences. Gibaldi and Smith artfully curated these first- and third-person entries, and readers will feel invested in the lives and experiences of each protagonist. The tales feature characters from different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, class backgrounds. 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.
VERDICT A must-have for all YA collections, especially where anthologies are popular.

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