cover image Born to Rock

Born to Rock

Gordon Korman, . . Hyperion, $15.99 (261pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0920-2

Every book should be this entertaining. Korman (No More Dead Dogs ) hooks readers with a prologue in which Young Republican Leo Caraway teasingly relates that he's had firsthand experience of a "cavity search.... It has nothing to do with the dentist. If only it did." The set-up is brilliant because, as readers are about to learn, Leo is on the verge of graduating from high school with Least-Likely-to-Have-a-Cavity-Searched honors—early acceptance to Harvard and a full scholarship—until two wrenches are thrown into the works. He's accused of helping another student cheat on a test and, trolling the Internet, he learns the identity of his birth father. Leo loses his scholarship because of his ethics violation; Dad is none other than King Maggot, lead singer of Purge, the "punk rebel who defined 'attitude' for an entire decade." Hoping those 25 million CDs and vinyl records Purge sold during its heyday means the King has the resources to finance an Ivy League education, Leo signs on as a roadie for his aging father's comeback tour. His mostly PG tour of duty keeps this suitable for middle school readers. What makes the book irresistible is its well-crafted plot, full of fate-reversing twists and bountiful humor. This one enters the chart with a bullet: it has the goods to go platinum. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)