Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beat The Band: By Don Calame



In this hilarious sequel to Swim the Fly,told from Coop’s point of.,view, it’s the beginning of the school year, and the tenth-grade health class must work in pairs on semester-long projects. Matt and Sean get partnered up (the jerks), but Coop is matched with the infamous “Hot Dog” Helen for a presentation on safe sex. Everybody’s laughing, except for Coop, who’s convinced that the only way to escape this social death sentence is to win “The Battle of the Bands” with their group, Arnold Murphy’s Bologna Dare. There’s just one problem: none of the guys actually plays an instrument. Will Coop regain his “cool” before it’s too late? Or will the forced one-on-one time with Helen teach him a lesson about social status he never saw coming? With ribald humor and a few sweet notes, screenwriter-turned-novelist Don Calame once again hits all the right chords.


I was lucky enough to have gotten an ARC of Swim The Fly back when it first came out a little over a year ago. It was fun, exciting, well written, and really connected with its audience.

Since then I’ve been waiting for Calame to come out with another book, but I have to say I was a little scared when I heard Beat The Band was going to be a sequel to Swim the Fly as I thought the Calame had finished the story of the three friends.

But after reading Beat The Band I should have never doubted Calame.

As opposed to Swim the Fly which comes from Matt’s point of view, Beat The Band follows Coop, the rowdy loud mouthed friend who seems to have nothing but sex, girls, and mischief on his mind. Calame really shows off his writing skills in this book as he retains Coop’s persona form Swim The Fly as well as creating a softer more emotional side to Coop, that ultimately makes the character much more likable.

But Coop isn’t the only character that’s engaging in this book. Matt, Sean, Coop’s father, and even Helen are all incredibly well developed and engaging. But the real impressive feat Calame pulls off is by making these characters imperfect. They aren’t angels, nor are they typical teenage stereotypes. Instead they’re strong, well built characters, who have clear flaws that make them human. And in my opinion it’s Calame’s ability to create these engaging realistic characters that make Beat The Band such a fantastic book.

All in all Beat The Band is funny, engaging, and has fantastic characters. Calame does a great job crafting the story and his impressive writing ability really shines through in this book, making this humorous young adult book a great addition for anyone looking for a great book to read.

10 out of 10


Publisher: Candlewick

Published: September 14, 2010

Price: $16.99

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