Monday, March 14, 2011

REVIEW: Rockoholic by CJ Skuse

Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she’s right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It’s the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you’ve a rock-god in your garage who doesn’t want to leave? Jody’s stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place!

From the pen of C.J. Skuse, author of last year’s super cool debut Pretty Bad Things, comes a tale of rock star obsession gone nuts. Hilariously and sharply explores the fantasy and reality of celebrity obsession through a teenager’s eyes. C. J. Skuse has been billed as the new Nick Hornby for teens.

How much did I adore Rockoholic by CJ Skuse?! I love the characters and the premise and how hugely entertaining and funny it is while still touching on some serious topics. I thought the whole novel was really well done and I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Claire from Chicken House for sending me this book for review! It is excellent.

Jody does some really stupid things. Often. And her best friend Mac is usually around to help her get through whatever pickle she's landed herself in. Except this time, Jody's only gone and kidnapped her favourite rock star. And stashed him in her garage. Jody's had a major obsesssion with Jackson Gatlin, singer in her favourite band, The Regulators since forever. Jody really feels like if she just had some time alone with Jackson, that they'd connect in this really deep and emotional way, so when Jody accidentally kidnapped Jackson, it's kind of great, really. Only Jackson isn't at all like how Jody thinks he'd be. He's rude and arrogant and throws things at her and she'd quite like him to leave now, please. Only he won't go. And Jody finds herself hiding and looking after the strung-out musician far longer than she'd ever imagined.

Honestly, just writing out that simple plot description put a big smile on my face. I can remember quite clearly my own teenage obsessions and while not quite as prone to getting myself into huge messes like Jody, I can completely relate to the amount that she throws herself into believing that Jackson Gatlin will solve all her problems. Things are very strange for Jody since her grandfather died. She's confused about the last thing he told her 'Don't dream it, be it' and Jody isn't really sure what she wants to be at all.

While at the same time as sniggering at the importance that a Curly Wurly plays in the plot and other crazy hilarious situations, I was also really sympathising with Jody's character. She's so confused already and really pins all of her hopes on Jackson. So much so that the reality of who Jackson really is (as opposed to who she'd led to believe by the media) is such a major disappointment to her. But she doggedly hangs on, still hoping. Even though the reality of Jackson Gatlin is that he's a paranoid addict with wild mood swings. And her obsession with him might just be standing in the way of something really great.

Thankfully Jody has a really wonderful best friend with her. Mac, the boy who likes musicals and has a starring role in a local production of Rocky Horror and looks after his little sister, Cree, like she were her own. Two year old Cree seems to be the only person that can get through to Jackson with her childish openness and her honesty. There is an interesting (and at times harrowing) sub-plot to do with the parenting of little Cree that pushes the plot forward and into very uncertain territory. I was hanging off the edge of my seat! And I adore Jody and Mac - they are such great friends and have great banter between them, all of their shared history is plain to see and I was rooting for them from the very start.

Rockoholic is such fun! I love this zany cast of characters and the ways in which Jody really screws things up and then tries to fix them. Rockoholic really encompasses teenage obsession so well and I think so many teenagers and young people like myself (ahem) will really be able to connect with Jody's all-consuming thoughts about her favourite rockband. Like so many teenagers she gets so many things wrong but there's such a likeability about her and all of the characters. Jody, Mac, Cree, Jackson, I'd love to spend more time with them and I was actually sad when this book finisished. This one comes very highly recommended from me!


  1. Wow! You're not helping me curb my exclamation mark addiction, with your wonderful review! It rocks! Seriously, we are all huge fans of Rockoholic in the office here at Chicken House, and we are so thrilled with the Bloggers response, as we feel C.J. deserves to really get out there and be widely read. Thanks for your support!

  2. I can't wait to read this. I have it in my hands as we speak!

  3. Chicken House - HA :) I completely agree, I think Rockoholic is seriously wonderful and it does need to be read widely with lots of great support and feedback for it :)

    Viv - Hop to it, lady! :)


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