Born to Rock
Title: Born to Rock
Author: Gordon Korman
High school senior Leo Caraway, a conservative Republican, learns that his biological father is a punk rock legend.
Grade 7-10–President of his high school’s Young Republicans club and on a fast track to Harvard with a full scholarship, Leo Carraway finds his life turned upside down by two events. His unlikely best friend-a hip, nonconformist named Melinda, whose temperament, politics, and interests seemingly clash with his lifestyle–convinces him to help tutor a gay classmate. When the homophobic assistant principal observes Leo talking to Owen during a test, he accuses Leo of cheating and causes him to lose his scholarship. Then Leo learns, to his consternation, that Marion X. McMurphy (King Maggot)–the top punk singer of the 1980s with a reputation for destruction on stage and leader of the band Purge–is likely his biological father. He decides to confront King Maggot and get him to pay for his lost scholarship and joins the crew of roadies supporting the band on a summer revival tour. Leo is introduced to the decadent world of punk performers, production crews, agents, and groupies that confirms his dislike of the music, but at the same time, he re-examines his primary beliefs and principles and is fundamentally changed by his experiences. He and Melinda, who is spending the summer following the band, slowly realize that they have more in common than they had thought. At the end, Leo uncovers a surprise about his biological father and reflects on what this means to his life. Korman’s story has an appealing narrative voice, sharp dialogue, and vivid characterization to portray Leo’s coming of age