Are You Experienced?
Jordan Sonnenblick. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-02564-7
On the 45th anniversary of his uncle Michael’s deadly heroin overdose, Rich Barber, an overprotected 15-year-old, travels back in time to Woodstock. At the music festival, he meets Michael for the first time—and gets to know his strict father as an enthusiastic teen. Rich also runs into rock star legends (The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian and Janis Joplin sing a private duet), inadvertently ingests psychedelic mushrooms with his father, and learns about the pressures Michael is under, including trying to protect his brother from their terrible parents. The characters are somewhat two-dimensional, but readers will enjoy seeing the 1960s through Rich’s eyes: he trips out watching people use payphones, expresses surprise at how much better Coke tastes with real sugar, and wonders what it was like for his father to grow up during Vietnam (“I had never known a single person who was in the army. Even though I had lived through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they hadn’t really touched my life”). These details and ideas are what make Rich’s story worth the journey. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/05/2013