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Beat the Band

Review

Beat the Band

Matt, Sean and Cooper are back in this hilarious sequel
to SWIM THE FLY. In Don Calame’s previous novel, Cooper
“Coop” Redmond, the leader of this teen trio, decided
that their summer goal would be to see a naked woman. They
succeeded in their quest, but not quite in the way they had
expected.

Now sophomore year has started, and Coop has made it the
group’s goal to tag “as many bases as possible”
by the end of the year. And what better way to impress the girls
than by becoming rock stars? So he enters them in the
school’s “Battle of the Bands.” Of course, things
don’t go as planned; with Coop, they never do.

Coop has set his sights on Prudence Nash, a seriously hot girl
in his class. As a project for Health class, their teacher assigns
an assortment of health-related topics to pairs of randomly picked
names who then must work together to create a set of lesson plans
around the assigned topic. Instead of being partnered with
Prudence, Coop gets stuck with Helen Harriwick. Not only is
“Hotdog Helen” the lowest girl on the social food chain
as far as Coop is concerned, the two have to collaborate on the
issue of contraceptives. His best efforts to get out of doing the
assignment with her do not work.

Convinced that spending time with Helen will ruin his high
school career, Coop tries to find a way to salvage his reputation.
That’s when he comes up with the brilliant idea of entering
“The Battle of the Bands.” Coop needs to distance
himself from Helen and impress the ladies, so he figures that if
he, Matt and Sean can win the contest, they’ll have girls
flinging themselves at their feet. The only problem is that their
band is pretty terrible --- that is, until Coop’s dad, who
ends up being the band’s manager, convinces Helen to be the
lead singer.

As it turns out, Helen is a great crooner, and in spite of her
loser status, Coop can’t help but be impressed by her talent.
But the fact that he’s fascinated with her isn’t
exactly going to earn him any cool points. So what’s the kid
to do?

I enjoyed BEAT THE BAND because, like its predecessor, the
writing is fast-paced and, in many places, laugh-out-loud funny.
But, like the previous book, it’s also filled with raunchy
language and a plethora of four-letter words. Personally, I think
the novel would have been just as funny without all the colorful
language. If you’re easily offended by foul words and frank
talk about teenage sex and contraceptives, this might not be the
book for you. But if you’re looking for a good laugh and a
great plot, give this one a try. It’s a fantastic story
that’s quite entertaining.

   -

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on October 18, 2011

Beat the Band
by Don Calame

  • Publication Date: September 14, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763646334
  • ISBN-13: 9780763646332