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Battle of the Bands

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Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic—and interconnected—take on a memorable high school rite of passage. A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter stru Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic—and interconnected—take on a memorable high school rite of passage. A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter struggles to untangle her feelings for her best friend and his girlfriend. In this live-out-loud anthology, the disparate protagonists of sixteen stories are thrown together for one unforgettable event: their high school’s battle of the bands. Told in a harmonic blend of first- and third-person narrative voices, roughly chronological short stories offer a kaleidoscopic view of the same transformative night. Featuring an entry from Justin Courtney Pierre, lead vocalist of Motion City Soundtrack, Battle of the Bands is a celebration of youth, music, and meeting the challenges of life head-on.


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Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic—and interconnected—take on a memorable high school rite of passage. A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter stru Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic—and interconnected—take on a memorable high school rite of passage. A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter struggles to untangle her feelings for her best friend and his girlfriend. In this live-out-loud anthology, the disparate protagonists of sixteen stories are thrown together for one unforgettable event: their high school’s battle of the bands. Told in a harmonic blend of first- and third-person narrative voices, roughly chronological short stories offer a kaleidoscopic view of the same transformative night. Featuring an entry from Justin Courtney Pierre, lead vocalist of Motion City Soundtrack, Battle of the Bands is a celebration of youth, music, and meeting the challenges of life head-on.

30 review for Battle of the Bands

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Zentner

    I have a story in this, but it’s still an excellent book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    This was a lot of fun. The conceit to these interconnected stories is that they all occur at the same high school battle of the bands which leads to the reappearance of characters, callbacks to earlier stories, and viewing of events from other perspectives (sometimes handled cheesily, sometimes well). It does give the impression that this high school has SO. MUCH. DRAMA. But y'all it was good drama; YA stories about love, and friendship, and family, and betrayal, and self-betrayal, and self-disco This was a lot of fun. The conceit to these interconnected stories is that they all occur at the same high school battle of the bands which leads to the reappearance of characters, callbacks to earlier stories, and viewing of events from other perspectives (sometimes handled cheesily, sometimes well). It does give the impression that this high school has SO. MUCH. DRAMA. But y'all it was good drama; YA stories about love, and friendship, and family, and betrayal, and self-betrayal, and self-discovery, all of the drama that you get into in your teen years (and never really stop getting into if you keep growing, to be honest. Maybe a little less messy and with less cheese as you get older. But maybe not.). With different authors for each chapter (and different POVs and different main bands / characters) there are some big shifts in tone (and presentation and characterization of some people like the music teacher MC) but it's a nice reminder that different people see the world very differently. And in general the editors did a good job keeping things from getting too out of whack. A good read if you are a teen, know a teen, are in a band, know a band, or enjoy music and stories of self-discovery. **Thanks to the editors, authors, publisher, and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mora

    You had me at "interconnected stories" because (shockingly, I know) I have a weakness and it is get this interconnected stories You had me at "interconnected stories" because (shockingly, I know) I have a weakness and it is get this interconnected stories

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dahlia

    Unofficially: This was so. Much. Fun. It brought me waaaay back to going to shows with friends, both little and big, in high school, and reminded me how much life benefits from a soundtrack. The ways some of the stories tie together is SO cute, and honestly I could've read another ten of them. Love to see both some familiar faves in here and some authors I've never seen tackle short form before! Officially: Empowering, hilarious, romantic, and wildly fun, Battle of the Bands perfectly captures bo Unofficially: This was so. Much. Fun. It brought me waaaay back to going to shows with friends, both little and big, in high school, and reminded me how much life benefits from a soundtrack. The ways some of the stories tie together is SO cute, and honestly I could've read another ten of them. Love to see both some familiar faves in here and some authors I've never seen tackle short form before! Officially: Empowering, hilarious, romantic, and wildly fun, Battle of the Bands perfectly captures both the magic of music and the drama of competition. It’s hands down my new favorite playlist.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Jordan (yaallegiance)

    So... I have been seeing this book literally EVERYWHERE. It has been all over my feed for weeks.. and from the moment I saw the title I KNEW it would be right up my alley. Before I was obsessed with books, I was obsessed with bands..I grew up in the Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Paramore, Boys Like Girls, The Academy Is..., Cobra Starship, Warped Tour scene.. This book BROUGHT me back to those days. Back to going to shows with friends, spending all of our money on merch, standing for hours i So... I have been seeing this book literally EVERYWHERE. It has been all over my feed for weeks.. and from the moment I saw the title I KNEW it would be right up my alley. Before I was obsessed with books, I was obsessed with bands..I grew up in the Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Paramore, Boys Like Girls, The Academy Is..., Cobra Starship, Warped Tour scene.. This book BROUGHT me back to those days. Back to going to shows with friends, spending all of our money on merch, standing for hours in line to make it to the barricade, that feeling when the lights went dim just before the bands took the stage.. It was incredible to get such a great line up of authors, coupled with so many great references... It's incredible to me that so many authors were able to craft such a seamless story with such few pages per story. Overall this book was a lot of fun, with some really incredible heartfelt and empowering moments. I loved how character based and relatable every single story was, and how each story felt unified, yet so distinct. Highly recommend adding this to your reading queue!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay (pawsomereads)

    Individual story ratings: Miss Somewhere by Brittany Cavallaro: 3⭐️ Cecilia (You’re Breaking My Heart) by Ashley Poston: 4⭐️ Sidelines by Sarah Nicole Smetana: 3.5⭐️ Battle of the Exes by Sarvenaz Taghavian: 3⭐️ Love is a Battlefield by Shaun David Hutchinson: 3⭐️ You Found Me by Ashley Woodfolk: 3.5⭐️ Adventures in Babysitting by Justin Courtney Pierre: 3⭐️ Peanut Butter Sandwiches by Jasmine Warga: 4.5⭐️ Reckless Love by Jay Coles: 3⭐️ The Ride by Jenn Marie Thorne: 3⭐️ Three Chords by Eric Smith: 4⭐️ Mer Individual story ratings: Miss Somewhere by Brittany Cavallaro: 3⭐️ Cecilia (You’re Breaking My Heart) by Ashley Poston: 4⭐️ Sidelines by Sarah Nicole Smetana: 3.5⭐️ Battle of the Exes by Sarvenaz Taghavian: 3⭐️ Love is a Battlefield by Shaun David Hutchinson: 3⭐️ You Found Me by Ashley Woodfolk: 3.5⭐️ Adventures in Babysitting by Justin Courtney Pierre: 3⭐️ Peanut Butter Sandwiches by Jasmine Warga: 4.5⭐️ Reckless Love by Jay Coles: 3⭐️ The Ride by Jenn Marie Thorne: 3⭐️ Three Chords by Eric Smith: 4⭐️ Merch to Do About Nothing by Preeti Chhibber: 4.5⭐️ All these Friends and Lovers by Katie Cotugno: 5⭐️ A Small Light by Jenny Torres Sanchez: 4.5⭐️ Set the World on Fire by Lauren Gibaldi: 4.5⭐️ The Sisterhood of Light and Sound by Jeff Zentner: 4⭐️ General thoughts: This anthology was such a fun collection of interwoven short stories for music lovers or anyone looking to enjoy the drama and romance of a night spent at a high school production. I’ve never read a story collection like this one before! I loved that the stories were interconnected and they each pulled small elements from each other. It made for one whole cohesive story with so many different voices. I’d love to know what the writing process was like and how the authors pulled this off! Each story was good on its own but the way they all created a larger narrative together was so special. Everything came really full circle in the end which was fitting for the theme and inclusion of feel-good stories with happy endings. I also really appreciated the diversity within the stories from race to gender identity to sexual orientation. This is always so important in literature, especially in a coming of age book like this one. This was such a fun read and I hope to find more books and anthologies like this in the future!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Tinker

    this is everything i could ever want????!!!!!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Devanshi

    ⭐⭐⭐. 5 Because sometimes, even a small light matters.

  9. 4 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    Full Review on The Candid Cover Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith is an upbeat anthology of interconnected stories about a battle of the bands competition. I loved the wide range of perspectives, featuring characters with differing relationships to the event, and each of the works within it are strong. The audiobook version is equally engaging, and the full cast makes the world of the contest feel like a real community. This is a great read for those looking for somethin Full Review on The Candid Cover Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith is an upbeat anthology of interconnected stories about a battle of the bands competition. I loved the wide range of perspectives, featuring characters with differing relationships to the event, and each of the works within it are strong. The audiobook version is equally engaging, and the full cast makes the world of the contest feel like a real community. This is a great read for those looking for something quick that will leave them with a smile on their face. This anthology features interconnected stories all centred around a high school battle of the bands contest. As a big fan of books about music, and an even bigger fan of books about competition, I was so excited to see 15 different stories with common themes of finding your place and working hard to achieve your dreams. I loved the way the stories are in dialogue with each other, with some characters making appearances in multiple authors’ contributions, and the wide range of perspectives and relationships to the competition, from a lead singer to a judge to a stage manager, is well-executed. While each story is about the same event, they all feel unique as all angles of the competition are included. ❀ AN ENJOYABLE ANTHOLOGY I always find anthologies difficult to review since there are always a few stories that are inevitably a miss for me. However, this is one of the rare cases where I genuinely enjoyed each one, and I came away a list of new authors to check out. I especially enjoyed Preeti Chhibber’s contribution, following two people in charge of the merch table, and Lauren Gibaldi’s story, which stars the stage manager who is sick of being in the background. Out of all of them, Katie Cotugno’s work, “All These Friends and Lovers,” might have been my favourite. The characters are so well-written, and she packs so much into such a short space, somehow making the short story feel fully developed. ❀ NARRATED BY A FULL CAST Listening to the audiobook version of this book was a surprising and enjoyable experience. The anthology is narrated by a full cast, which each story read by someone new, and I found that each narrator suited their section so well. I wasn’t expecting so many different voices, and I loved the way this makes the world of Battle of the Bands feel like a real community. The variety of narrators also helped me keep the stories separate, and I would definitely recommend this format. ❀ WIDE RANGE OF STORIES Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith is a unique and entertaining anthology about the titular battle of the bands competition. I loved the wide range of stories within it, and I had many favourites. The audiobook version is also well-produced, with a full cast that captures the community of the event. Everyone, whether a music fan or a music hater, is sure to find something for them in the pages of this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    I enjoyed the theme of this book, centering around a battle of the bands competition. Some characters are members of the band, some are stage crew or ticket takers, one is even a judge. There are cute romances, terrible exes, and some pretty good songs. Each story interconnects with the others, showing us the bands in the show and who wins it all. I think there were too many stories in this, making each one very short. Some didn't seem to have a lot going on and I wanted to get to know the chara I enjoyed the theme of this book, centering around a battle of the bands competition. Some characters are members of the band, some are stage crew or ticket takers, one is even a judge. There are cute romances, terrible exes, and some pretty good songs. Each story interconnects with the others, showing us the bands in the show and who wins it all. I think there were too many stories in this, making each one very short. Some didn't seem to have a lot going on and I wanted to get to know the characters more. It was difficult keeping track of so many people and how they all fit in to the story. If there were half the stories, they could have taken more time to develop and I would have enjoyed this more. I did love that so many of the stories had LGBTQ characters. Some of them got together with someone they'd been crushing on and it was pretty adorable. There's also a theme of going for what you want, not letting others hold you back, and living your true self. This is a fun book and super quick to get through. The audiobook has several narrators to help differentiate each story, which helped a lot. There's also some music which fit the theme well and brought a bit of rock into the book. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and all opinions are my own. Thank you to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the copy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rameela (Star)

    Thank you to candlewick press for sending me this book! Initial Thoughts: I never know how to rate or review anthologies but overall I really enjoyed this!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Avid Reader and Geek Girl

    I received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I gave this book 4.25 stars This book had it all! Cute/funny stories and some a bit sadder stories. I'm glad both the authors and the characters are diverse. With some new to me authors as well as some new authors I'd never heard of but now want to check out their other works. The stories wove together beautifully, and everything came full circle which I enjoyed. Though some of I received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I gave this book 4.25 stars This book had it all! Cute/funny stories and some a bit sadder stories. I'm glad both the authors and the characters are diverse. With some new to me authors as well as some new authors I'd never heard of but now want to check out their other works. The stories wove together beautifully, and everything came full circle which I enjoyed. Though some of the stories I wish were longer or made into their own books! An overall a great anthology!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    This is an interconnected series of short stories about a concert and a competition: the titular Battle of the Bands... and it was ADORABLE. Despite having entries from 16 different authors, tonally, "Battle of the Bands" felt like one cohesive story: a snapshot of a single night from many different perspectives. This collection is fun, loose, diverse, funny, occasionally sad, but altogether it gets wrapped up in a perfect bow of optimism and charm. I honestly can't prefer any single stories out This is an interconnected series of short stories about a concert and a competition: the titular Battle of the Bands... and it was ADORABLE. Despite having entries from 16 different authors, tonally, "Battle of the Bands" felt like one cohesive story: a snapshot of a single night from many different perspectives. This collection is fun, loose, diverse, funny, occasionally sad, but altogether it gets wrapped up in a perfect bow of optimism and charm. I honestly can't prefer any single stories out of this collection; they were all strong (but I did have a soft spot for Cecilia and Roxy). I recommend this book for any music-lover wanting to relive those moments in high school when anything and everything seemed possible. "Battle of the Bands" was a wonderful palette cleanser between heavier works, and utterly sweet to enjoy. Thank you to Candlewick for my ARC!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    4 1/2 stars RTC Thank you to candlewick for my review copy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarvenaz Tash

    I don’t rate my own books so please consider this a rating for the other stories in here and know I HAD to give it 5 stars because this collection is a pure delight. Every story is wonderful in its own right, but how they meld together is both a feat and a treat. So many kudos go to editors Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith for making it so. And as for me, I just feel honored to be part of something so viscerally joyful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellie M

    This is reminding me of the old YouTube series "Little White Lie" and I need it more than anything. This is reminding me of the old YouTube series "Little White Lie" and I need it more than anything.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    This is an anthology revolving around a Battle of the Bands competition and each story focuses on different characters at said competition. It's different from any anythology I've read before; all the stories interconnected so well. I would highly recommend this if you're a huge music lover. But despite me enjoying the majority of the stories, there were just some I didn't care for. So I have to dock down a rating for that. Some of my personal faves were: "Peanut Butter Sandwiches" and "Reckless This is an anthology revolving around a Battle of the Bands competition and each story focuses on different characters at said competition. It's different from any anythology I've read before; all the stories interconnected so well. I would highly recommend this if you're a huge music lover. But despite me enjoying the majority of the stories, there were just some I didn't care for. So I have to dock down a rating for that. Some of my personal faves were: "Peanut Butter Sandwiches" and "Reckless Love." "Advenutres in Babysitting" was a story I felt uncomfortable with at first, but I will admit got better as it progressed. Individual ratings: Miss Somewhere 2 ⭐️'s Cecilia (You're Breaking My Heart) 3.5 ⭐️'s Sidelines 2 ⭐️'s Battle of the Exes 4 ⭐️'s Love is a Battlefield 4 ⭐️'s You Found Me 3.75 ⭐️'s Adventures in Babysitting 3.75 ⭐️'s Peanut Butter Sandwiches 4.5 ⭐️'s Reckless Love 5 ⭐️'s The Ride 4 ⭐️'s Three Cords 3 ⭐️'s Merch to Do About Nothing 4 ⭐️'s All These Friends and Lovers 3 ⭐️'s A Small Light 3 ⭐️'s Set the World on Fire 3 ⭐️'s Sisterhood of Lights and Sound 3.5 ⭐️'s I recieved an audio-galley from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'll admit that I was pretty excited to dive into Battle of the Bands once I got accepted. It just seemed like it was going to be a fun book to dive into. With a little bit of rock 'n' roll, and a whole dash of drama toppled over this, you are constantly questioning what the heck is even going on here. Or maybe that's just me? Now I will also say that I liked the whole battle of the band theme throughout this. Each story was I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'll admit that I was pretty excited to dive into Battle of the Bands once I got accepted. It just seemed like it was going to be a fun book to dive into. With a little bit of rock 'n' roll, and a whole dash of drama toppled over this, you are constantly questioning what the heck is even going on here. Or maybe that's just me? Now I will also say that I liked the whole battle of the band theme throughout this. Each story was woven so perfectly that it was pretty easy to figure out who the next story was going to be about. Or at least which point of view would be next. Some of the bands were a hot mess though and I honestly had no idea how they were even a band to begin with. Other than that, I thought some of them were hilarious like the adventures of babysitting. Not sure what I would do with a bunch of kids high on acid but it did seem like everyone was having a blast. I also agree with what was said towards the last two stories about how bands didn't care about starting/having drama before the show. It happens and they deal with it right then and there. Which, in this case, meant lots of bands breaking up. In the end, I'm glad that I got the chance to dive into this audiobook but it definitely had potential to be a little bit better. Mostly because in some stories it felt like nothing really happened and we were just meeting people that I would never remember down the line.

  19. 4 out of 5

    emma davis

    I’m giving this a 5/5 not because it was flawless, but because reading it was a blast. Ever since a lesson on it in middle school, I’ve been a sucker for the interconnected anthology format. I barely read the first sentence of the summary before buying this book, I needed next to no convincing. It had everything I like, teenage shenanigans, concerts, and an out of the box concept beautifully executed by a diverse group of contributors that all share a common love of writing and music. By the end I’m giving this a 5/5 not because it was flawless, but because reading it was a blast. Ever since a lesson on it in middle school, I’ve been a sucker for the interconnected anthology format. I barely read the first sentence of the summary before buying this book, I needed next to no convincing. It had everything I like, teenage shenanigans, concerts, and an out of the box concept beautifully executed by a diverse group of contributors that all share a common love of writing and music. By the end of the book I found I didn’t even care who won the contest the entire book was based around. But then again, I think that was the point. Is this book “perfect” in a technical sense? Probably not, but I haven’t taken an English class since 2015 and I admittedly don’t know how to properly use a comma making me one unqualified critic. Might some people think Battle of the Bands feels disjointed and inconsistent? Maybe. There are 16 authors involved here with all varying degrees of experience in writing. I personally find that to be a beautiful thing, but there are always people who will find something to nitpick. TL;DR- While some might not find this collection of stories to be a technical 5 star piece of literature, this is my account and I make the rules. What isn’t to love about a revolving door of fun characters through the perspectives of a bunch of music lovers? Bonus points for amazing references ranging from great bands to great anime and multiple jokes poking fun at ska.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Mediafor providing me an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review I picked up this book because I loved the concept of an anthology where all of the stories focus on the same event and essentially happen simultaneously. This collection really brought Raritan River High School's Battle of the Bands to life in a way a traditional novel just wouldn't be able to. The excitement and chaos of a real event was conveyed in this short story collection throu Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Mediafor providing me an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review I picked up this book because I loved the concept of an anthology where all of the stories focus on the same event and essentially happen simultaneously. This collection really brought Raritan River High School's Battle of the Bands to life in a way a traditional novel just wouldn't be able to. The excitement and chaos of a real event was conveyed in this short story collection through the voices of the different authors and the stories of the participants. The variety of stories was really nice too. There was more romance (including breakups) than anything else but even all of those stories were very different. In addition to romance there were stories about sibling bonds, drugs, and abusive relationships. There was one I particularly enjoyed that hinted at non-traditional relationship structures. I imagine writing these interconnected stories was very fun, and hearing them read was too. I listened to the audiobook of this anthology and it was very well done. I liked that there were different readers for each story which helped to give each character their own voice. If you are a fan of short fiction or a musician looking for a fun and different read, I recommend Battle of the Bands

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Battle of the Bands is an anthology of several stories that all revolve around a high school Battle of the Bands. Because these stories are all written by different authors, they're not all created equal. Most of them are good though. My favorite of the stories was "Reckless Love". I loved the bi-positive message in it. The worst of the stories was Adventures in Babysitting which is a dumb story about teenagers doing acid. Mostly this book is a bunch of teenage drama with musical undertones. Than Battle of the Bands is an anthology of several stories that all revolve around a high school Battle of the Bands. Because these stories are all written by different authors, they're not all created equal. Most of them are good though. My favorite of the stories was "Reckless Love". I loved the bi-positive message in it. The worst of the stories was Adventures in Babysitting which is a dumb story about teenagers doing acid. Mostly this book is a bunch of teenage drama with musical undertones. Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for this ALC. The narrators, too many to list here, all did an amazing job at bringing the stories they narrated to life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Miguel Valentin

    An interesting collection of short stories that revolve around one night. Clever and nostalgic. I was a musician in high school and it brought me back to the days where we thought we were cool. Good read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy! My review can be found on my blog! https://laurenbodiford123.wordpress.c... Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy! My review can be found on my blog! https://laurenbodiford123.wordpress.c...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danielle H

    This one was due back at the library so I returned it, I am a responsible member of my community. Definitely jumped ahead to read Katie Cotugno's story though before dropping it in the book bin. She knows how to write a hot guy. This one was due back at the library so I returned it, I am a responsible member of my community. Definitely jumped ahead to read Katie Cotugno's story though before dropping it in the book bin. She knows how to write a hot guy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    chrysa

    that's my first time reading an anthology but it certainly won't be the last. there were exactly three selling points for me and they were: a. motion city soundtrack's justin courtney pierre (if you haven't listened to i am the movie i'd highly recommend it). b. battle of the bands!?! i mean come on, i live and breathe music. you remember school of rock? that's the energy i was looking for and it delivered. c. shaun david hutchinson and jeff zentner. i've read books from both of them before and i'v that's my first time reading an anthology but it certainly won't be the last. there were exactly three selling points for me and they were: a. motion city soundtrack's justin courtney pierre (if you haven't listened to i am the movie i'd highly recommend it). b. battle of the bands!?! i mean come on, i live and breathe music. you remember school of rock? that's the energy i was looking for and it delivered. c. shaun david hutchinson and jeff zentner. i've read books from both of them before and i've really enjoyed them so i wanted to see where they would take their stories. but, honestly, the best thing about anthologies is getting introduced to authors you haven't tried out yet. those authors for me were: brittany cavallaro (miss somewhere), ashley poston (cecilia (you’re breaking my heart)), ashley woodfolk (you found me), eric smith (three chords) (technically i've read don't read the comments but unfortunately it wasn't my cup of tea), preeti chhibber (merch to do about nothing), katie cotugno (all these friends and lovers) and jenny torres sanchez (a small light). i loved their stories so much, i'd gladly read full length novels that follow these storylines. i know a lot of details are skipped and arguments are quickly resolved in anthologies, but while that would normally annoy me i could easily overlook it as the stories were truly that engaging and diverse. as far as the content/tropes go i'd like to point out two things that stood out to me the most. first of all, i loved seeing the kids (and especially the girls, because fuck knows how young women used to be portrayed in romances) *not* go back to their asshole boyfriends. on the other hand, the bi (potentially pan) characters going out with two people at the same time (NOT of the same gender because passing as straight or gay is unacceptable. you need to carry proof at all times that you are attracted to more than one genders) in multiple stories? not cool. i loved how there were kids who loved music and kids who didn't. i loved how there were teens who enjoyed experimenting and those who preferred to stay in their comfort zones. most of all i loved the stories about siblings. about them drifting apart and coming back together. about finding common ground and admitting to their share of mistakes. vulnerability and devotion at their finest. all in all i'd say it's a well put together collection. the stories on their own are beautiful and touching and the way they interconnect is captivating (though i'm still bitter we didn't meet the ukulele guy. or the boy who almost missed his date. (unless a reference went over my head, in which case do correct me)). if you've ever been in a band or made music on your own, if you're trying to find a box that expresses you instead of one that contains you or if you simply like to sit by the window and wonder about the lives of the people that pass you by then this book is for you.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free from LibraryThing and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. Battle of the Bands feels a lot like a chain story where one author wrote a scene and then the next author had to write another scene and so forth. I’ve never read a short story collection that was both short story collection and a complete story all at once, and it was really interesting. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I felt certain stories to be stronger than others. So Disclaimer: I received this book for free from LibraryThing and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. Battle of the Bands feels a lot like a chain story where one author wrote a scene and then the next author had to write another scene and so forth. I’ve never read a short story collection that was both short story collection and a complete story all at once, and it was really interesting. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I felt certain stories to be stronger than others. Sometimes they flowed really well from one story to the next, and sometimes they didn’t. One thing I think the book did excellently was maintain the atmosphere and the setting. Each story buzzes – some with anticipation, some with excitement, some with simple relief. In that way, the mood remained consistent and it was more difficult to set the book down after a single story. Battle of the Bands falters a little in its character work and complexity. There are a lot of different band names to remember, a lot of different character names, and a lot of different relationships. By about three-quarters through, I found myself pausing and asking myself, “Was the drummer from the first story in that band?” and “Is that the ex of the sister of the guy in gym?” and so forth. The threads get a little tangled here because there are so many POVs. There was also a section in the middle where stories started to blur. Protagonists were starting to seem cookie-cutter, and the quick plot was always “get to know this person you’ve never come across before and kiss them before the end of the story”. Romance, in general, is the main plot of all these stories. Which is fine, but six times in a row with very similar story arcs can be repetitive. Not all of the stories felt well self-contained. I think there’s a tricky balance to be had when trying to write something like this where the stories are supposed to both stand on your own and further an overall plot. The planning of the book must have been complicated, and I can respect that. There were some stories here that were excellent! I really liked Merch Ado About Nothing, Miss Somewhere, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, All These Friends and Loves, and The Sisterhood of Light and Sound in particular. Listen, for all my technical droning and and poking at the chaos of the book, I also need you to know… this book is super fun. There is so much energy in it and it’s so easy to get invested because you want to know who’s going to win the Battle but also because every single author does such an amazing job of building excitement the same way as if you were actually there. My high school didn’t have a Battle of the Bands, but it was so easy to imagine all these things were happening there. It was easy to fall into the overall interconnected story. So it’s not perfect, but it’s also… pretty great. Considering the breadth of the topic here and how neatly the web was woven, there’s not much that can be done about all the names and characters. If you let yourself go and take it slowly, it’s astounding what the authors did so well here – they’ve all worked together to bring this world to life and the book is incredibly unique. I recommend it to anyone who likes YA, romance, and/or music. It’s a quick, fun read and worth the delve.

  27. 4 out of 5

    anna

    Thank you to NetGalley and dreamscape media for this audiobook copy of battle of the bands!! I never knew I needed my anthologies to be interconnected until now. This was sooooo good! As a whole, I would give this 5 stars! I loved how it was at the same event following all these different points of views and what everyone was doing without feeling like I heard the same scene over and over. The transition between stories was flawless! I loved getting little snippets of a character and then later Thank you to NetGalley and dreamscape media for this audiobook copy of battle of the bands!! I never knew I needed my anthologies to be interconnected until now. This was sooooo good! As a whole, I would give this 5 stars! I loved how it was at the same event following all these different points of views and what everyone was doing without feeling like I heard the same scene over and over. The transition between stories was flawless! I loved getting little snippets of a character and then later we came back to them and what they were doing. It was great! Here are my individual story ratings: Miss Somewhere by Brittany Cavallaro 3 stars Cecilia You’re Breaking my Heart by Ashley Poston 5 stars Sidelines by Sarah Nicole Smetana 5 stars Battle of the Exes by Sarvenaz Taghavian 5 stars Love is a Battlefield by Shaun David Hutchinson 5 stars You Found Me by Ashley Woodfolk 3 stars Adventures in Babysitting by Justin Courtney Pierre 3 stars Peanut Butter Sandwiches by Jasmine Warga 3 stars Reckless Love by Jay Coles 4 stars The Ride by Jenn Marie Thorne 4 stars Three Cords by Eric Smith 3 stars Merch to do About Nothing by Preeti Chhibber 4 stars All These Friends & Lovers by Katie Cotugno 3 stars A Small Light by Jenny Torres Sanchez 3 stars Set the World on Fire by Lauren Gibaldi 3 stars Sisterhood of Lights and Sound by Jeff Zentner 3 stars And here are mini summaries if your like me & have trouble remembering what each one is about! Miss Somewhere by Brittany Cavallaro -twin sisters have a falling out after moving to a new school Cecilia You’re Breaking my Heart by Ashley Poston -2 best friends admitting they like each other Sidelines by Sarah Nicole Smetana -a band breaks up leaving a girl crushed Battle of the Exes by Sarvenaz Taghavian -a new girl group about to go on stage when one sees her ex bf playing a song about her: they preform “heartshitter” in response Love is a Battlefield by Shaun David Hutchinson -a guy is dating a girl & a guy in a band but wants to date someone who would play video games with him You Found Me by Ashley Woodfolk -best friends prepare for their performance. One realizes that the other made out with his gf & now they have to breakup Adventures in Babysitting by Justin Courtney Pierre -a group of friends trip acid right before one of them preforms Peanut Butter Sandwiches by Jasmine Warga 3 stars -a girl starts writing songs while helping her bf’s band. When he cheats on her she takes her song & goes solo Reckless Love by Jay Coles -a boy discovers he’s bi and tells his gf & bandmates The Ride by Jenn Marie Thorne -a girl leaves her toxic bf at home & goes to the battle of the bands without him. She finds herself on stage singing his parts Three Cords by Eric Smith -a guy deals with going back on stage after being kicked out of his popular band. He gets stage fright & his friend builds him up Merch to do About Nothing by Preeti Chhibber -2 Indian kids work a merch stand and find they have things in common All These Friends & Lovers by Katie Cotugno -a girl with a crush on her bandmate meets a new boy in tutoring who she kinda likes while dealing with a fight with her BFF A Small Light by Jenny Torres Sanchez -a boy tries to save his sister from an abusive relationship thru their love of music Set the World on Fire by Lauren Gibaldi -a girl is tired of being in the background decides she’s gonna make a statement with some sparklers Sisterhood of Lights and Sound by Jeff Zentner -follow hailey from the first story as she lives thru her last battle of the bands as a techie. She also patches her relationship with her sister https://www.instagram.com/p/CT5aE0lrQ...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elisha Jachetti

    **RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars** BATTLE OF THE BANDS is a YA anthology from sixteen different authors, edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith. Each story is woven into the fabric of the ones before and after it, and are all uniquely related to one specific night: a high school music competition in which the winners will get recording time and a real chance of pursuing their rock n’ roll dreams. It all blends together seamlessly, showcasing that despite different circumstances, everyone is facing **RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars** BATTLE OF THE BANDS is a YA anthology from sixteen different authors, edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith. Each story is woven into the fabric of the ones before and after it, and are all uniquely related to one specific night: a high school music competition in which the winners will get recording time and a real chance of pursuing their rock n’ roll dreams. It all blends together seamlessly, showcasing that despite different circumstances, everyone is facing their fears, chasing their goals, discovering who they are, and in most cases, running late for the performance. This anthology is the best one I’ve ever read or watched. I absolutely love how the stories all relate to one another, call back characters from earlier, and even share characters in some cases. It’s so clever and gives us such a delicious slice of what it’s really like to be backstage. Everyone has a different reason for being at the Battle of the Bands. Some are there as performers, judges, groupies, audience members, crew, and whatever else you can imagine. Some have been preparing forever for this night, and others make a split decision to go on stage. As someone who works in entertainment, I can say with authority that this feels real and accurate. In other words, they got it right. Reading this book has been such a surprising comfort. I forgot how much I truly miss live events, and in a way, these stories have been a balm for the soul. I was living vicariously through them the entire time, as they put me back in a big crowd with friends, laughter, and good music. It’s such a nice way to celebrate that experience until we’re all able to be in big venues together again safely. Beyond that, the joy, angst, romance, and personal growth captured on these pages will continue to inspire as we are able to return to these activities again. I highly recommend BATTLE OF THE BANDS for anyone who has ever held an instrument, was captivated by a voice, or found themselves watching CAMP ROCK on repeat. Review originally published on YA Books Central: https://www.yabookscentral.com/index....

  29. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    As a devoted music fan and someone who was briefly in a band in high school, there’s no way I could pass up requesting Battle of the Bands. It’s been on my radar for quite a while. This book was so much fun. If there had been a Battle of the Bands when I was in high school, you can bet I would have been there. Fifteen amazing YA authors contributed to this anthology, but the overall feeling is one cohesive story. Some characters make brief appearances or are casually mentioned in other stories. I As a devoted music fan and someone who was briefly in a band in high school, there’s no way I could pass up requesting Battle of the Bands. It’s been on my radar for quite a while. This book was so much fun. If there had been a Battle of the Bands when I was in high school, you can bet I would have been there. Fifteen amazing YA authors contributed to this anthology, but the overall feeling is one cohesive story. Some characters make brief appearances or are casually mentioned in other stories. I can’t imagine the level of coordination and organization that went into this. At the beginning of the book is a list of the participating bands and their members – something that was very helpful. Some of the creative and unusual band names and their songs sure put a smile on my face. Most of the narratives are about finding love, but stories of revenge, self-realization, sibling disputes, finding your people, and a heartwarming coming out are also included. The character diversity is outstanding, and one of my favorite aspects of this anthology. Being high school students, a lot is going on with these teens, and not every disagreement or doubt is left behind once they take the stage. You can feel the vibe of excitement over the event from every musician and the enthusiastic audience and the determination of each band to win. I had my favorites and couldn’t wait to see who took the prize at the end. Not every story is about the musicians. Some feature the students who work behind the scenes at merch tables, on tech/lighting crews, and the stage manager. Even being short stories, it was so easy to get invested in these characters and their lives. As with all anthologies, readers will enjoy some selections more than others, but this is a pretty quick read. I had a difficult time putting it down after finishing a story, and I’m thrilled someone finally put together a book like this. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kaitee Tredway

    Battle of the Bands is a collection of interconnected short stories. And the point of intersection is — you guessed it — a high school Battle of the Bands. I love these kinds of collections, and when I see them, they are usually written by the same author, all the stories set in the same town or centered around the same event. Battle of the Bands does this, but with sixteen different authors. There are so many ways this collection could have fallen flat: It doesn’t. Each story is unique and hits Battle of the Bands is a collection of interconnected short stories. And the point of intersection is — you guessed it — a high school Battle of the Bands. I love these kinds of collections, and when I see them, they are usually written by the same author, all the stories set in the same town or centered around the same event. Battle of the Bands does this, but with sixteen different authors. There are so many ways this collection could have fallen flat: It doesn’t. Each story is unique and hits a different note, much like the bands would. Even if I never played in a band, I found aspects of my teenage self in every single story. In love with your best friend but unable to say anything: Me. Growing apart and it breaking you: Me. Sitting on the sidelines, telling yourself that’s where you should be before someone else puts you there: Me. The thrill and the peace that comes with performing: Me. Wanting to be remembered, wanting to claim your creativity: Me. These threads weave throughout the stories, alongside struggles with identity and sexuality, about finding your place and your people. The stories are best read in chronological order. Characters from an upcoming story run past you in the hall. Or you’re listening to the band from a previous story as you enter the newest one. “Hearing” the lineup is one of the most captivating parts of the book. I was constantly floored by was who was at the center of these stories. All of the teenagers in these stories - protagonists and supporting cast alike - weave a very colorful, very diverse tapestry. Girls, teens of color, queer kids. (SO MANY BI TEENS! YES!) I would have loved to read a book like this as a teenager in the arts. It would have made me feel less alone, assured me that I had a place as my mixed race self. “Celia (You’re Breaking My Heart)” by Ashley Poston “You Found Me” by Ashley Woodfolk “Reckless Love” by Jay Coles “Merch Ado about Nothing” by Preeti Cchibber “A Small Light” by Jenny Torres Sanchez “Set the World on Fire” by Lauren Gibaldi “The Sisterhood of Light and Sound” by Jeff Zenter Overall, this collection of short stories is fun and moving. I highly recommend it.

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