Publication Date: September 2, 2014.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.
Genres: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Music, Contemporary, and Realistic Fiction.
Selling points: Amazing allergy rep, a cute gang of kids who all play in a band together, and calling out mean girls.
Synopsis: If Life Was Like a Song.
Nina Simmons’ song would be “You Can’t Always Eat What You Want.” (Peanut allergies, ugh). But that’s okay, because as her best friend Brianna always said, “We’re All in This Together.”
Until the first day of the seventh grade, when Brianna dumps her to be BFFs with the popular new girl. Left all alone, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”–banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts. As a joke, she tells her new pals they should form a rock band called EpiPens. (Get it?) Apparently, allergy sufferers don’t understand sarcasm, because the next thing Nina knows she’s the lead drummer.
Now Nina has to decide: adopt a picture-perfect pop personality to fit in with Bri and her new BFF or embrace her inner rocker and the spotlight. Well..
Call Me a Rock Star, Maybe.
“Bringing my EpiPen with me everywhere I went was like having a stupid pimple that never went away! Besides, like I was going to have the guts to stab myself with a giant needle in the leg if I ate something I was allergic to anyway. Wouldn’t I bet too busy barfing or fainting or something else awful to be my own doctor?”
I’ve had severe allergies since the day I was born, and it hasn’t really been easy or fun most of the time. Having allergies can be extremely lonely, and pretty scary too, especially when your allergies can kill you in a matter of minutes. This book is a book I wish I had when I was younger. We all know that representation matters, and as I read My Year of Epic Rock it was as for the first time someone else had all the same fears and quirks as I did about my allergies.
Thank you Andrea Pyros for giving a peanut allergic girl like me a book where I got to laugh, cry and just enjoy a whole gang of kids with different allergies just being themselves. No one dies in this book, the squad is all supportive of each other and to be honest having a band called The EpiPens is the most genius idea ever. I honestly hate my Epipen but I can’t go anywhere without it, and Nina just totally gets that, among other things like kissing and eating at a friend’s house. Nina’s mom also reminds me of my mom, which honestly makes me cry all over again. Because yes this book made me cry multiple times. I’ve never had anyone truly understand what I go through on a daily basis, and this book just hits right where it hurts.
All in all, what I wanted to say is this, if you are looking for a cute book about friendship and a group of kids starting a rock band together then pick this book. There are middle school crushes, lots of fun parts with all of the gang, and characters that feel completely genuine. The book community needs more books with main characters that have allergies, and if nothing else will convince you, I hope you might pick this book up to spread awareness about allergies. I know I will recommend this book to anyone that listens as I scream into the void. I want allergic teens to have what I didn’t.