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Road Rash


Road Rash

Q: What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? 

A: A drummer

Zach may not be the most reliable band member in The Sock Monkeys, but he’s committed and can hold a steady beat on the drums. Plus, he and his best friend Kyle have always dreamed their band will go somewhere someday.

All this makes it incredibly confusing when Kyle informs Zach that he’s out of the band, and Zach is left floundering for something to do for the summer. Zach’s dad wants him to work in landscaping, but Zach has other plans when he gets the call from a local band known as Bad Habit. Their leader, Glenn Taylor, informs Zach that Bad Habit has a summer concert tour around Montana, Wyoming, and Canada, and they need a drummer. Zach can’t wait to leave and put the hard feelings behind him.

For all of you readers out there who hold jam sessions with your friends in the garage, ROAD RASH is for you!

Of course, Zach isn’t leaving everyone and everything behind. He sends his parents and little sister postcards wherever he goes. And Zach is keeping up email relations with the one girl he’s afraid to admit he has feelings for: Kimber, Kyle’s little sister. Zach is hoping that time and distance may help to sort out what he feels for his ex-best friend’s younger sister, but all that is shoved to the background as Zach has to adjust to a new band. There is the co-leader and guitarist, Glenn, who happens to be an excellent songwriter; Danny on the bass; Jamie on the keyboards; and then the other co-leader and main singer, Brad, who suffers from what Zach calls LSD --- Lead Singer’s Disease.

Life on the road is more than Zach could have anticipated. First, there is always the excitement of seeing whether the club the band plays at will be luxurious or a total dive. Second, personalities among the group members don’t always match up well and hushed side conversations seem to always pop up. Most importantly, though, the music rocks and when everything clicks, it clicks. During the day the band usually travels around the local sights to take everything in, but Zach finds he has plenty of time to keep up his emails with Kimber and a little side project: recording original music. Zach puts together some of Glenn’s original music and sends it off to a battle of the bands competition just to see what will happen.

Five weeks into the summer tour, Zach notices that things start falling apart at the seams. Zach learns that Brad is unhappy with the fact that Glenn and Zach have been recording original music and appear to be taking over the band. Jamie reveals to Zach that while she’s in love with Glenn, he’s too focused on his music to care for anyone else. Zach and Kimber’s relationship hits a snag when she tells him she can’t trust him anymore. To make matters worse, just as the band is falling apart, Zach learns that the demo he sent into the competition was a hit and they’ve been chosen to be the opening act for a national tour. But if there’s no band to play, how can the music go on? 

For all of you readers out there who hold jam sessions with your friends in the garage, ROAD RASH is for you! Not only are there pages of jokes about the stupidity of drummers, but you also get an original story about life on the road for a small band trying to make it big. Although I was never part of a band, I’m willing to guess that ROAD RASH will hit close to home for anyone who has, and has struggled to make it work. Let’s just say that it’s less glamorous than you think, but also way more fun than you could imagine. And one last question: What do you get if you cross a drummer with a gorilla?  A: A really stupid gorilla!

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on February 4, 2014

Road Rash
by Mark Huntley Parsons

  • Publication Date: February 11, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 038575342X
  • ISBN-13: 9780385753425