Are You Experienced?
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Are You Experienced?

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Rich is fifteen and plays guitar. When his girlfriend asks him to perform at protest rally, he jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, the police show up, and so does Rich’s dad. He’s in big trouble. Again. To make matters worse, this happens near the anniversary of his uncle’s death from a drug overdose years ago. Rich’s dad always gets depressed this time of year, but whenev...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
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Brenda Kahn
I'm a huge fan of Jordan Sonnenblick, but not a fan of time-travel books. I was not old enough to attend Woodstock, but remember the big deal it was. I also love the music of the 60's and 70's, but am not a scholar. This time-travel book worked for me. Featuring a likable main character, an instructive recreation of a weekend that changed the world and some truly laugh out loud moments, I raced through this book.
Richie Partington
Richie's Picks: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? by Jordan Sonnenblick, Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, September 2013, 304p., ISBN: 978-1-250-02564-7

"Then things got freaky. A flash of lightning illuminated the entire field. There was David, still on his back, still grinning. Michael and Willow, together, peering up at the sky in awe. Debbie, her mouth opened in mid-syllable.
"And Tina, shrieking, 'Here it is! Ten! Nine! Eight!'
"She only got down to three before the skies opened up and a pelting storm engulf...more
Ms. Yingling
Rich has always struggled with the demands of his much older, strict parents. He understands that his father has never recovered from the heroin overdoes death of his older brother in the fall of 1969, but thinks that his parents are still unreasonable. When Rich is arrested for playing guitar at a rally to support the legalization of marijuana, on the very anniversary of his uncle Mike's death, his father is angrier than usual. After visiting his father in the basement in the middle of the nigh...more
I've never read a book by Jordan Sonnenblick, but have heard nothing but raves about his stuff. I was pretty excited to see Are You Experienced? on and thankful to get an eARC of it. This was one really different and fun ride. Being too young to have experienced the 60s, this time in U.S. history has always intrigued me. I do have a friend who was at Woodstock and it was neat to talk to her about this book and find that her memories of it were pretty much online with what Sonnenbli...more
I was seven years old in August of 1969 when Woodstock happened in New York state. However, I have grown up knowing and listening to many of the artists who debuted and played there. What a crazy experience it would have been to hear live people and bands like Sweetwater, Janis Joplin, The who, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Grateful Dead, Santana, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, CCR, and others!

Are you experienced by Sonnenblick is a trip (pun intended) back in time literally to Woodstock. Rich is fift...more
Will I ever not love a realistic fiction book by local PA author Jordan Sonnenblick? I think not. The perfect word to describe this book is trippy, and I mean that in a good way. I loved the (twisted) family dynamics going on here, and Sonnenblick nailed an authentic teen voice just as he did in his last YA novel. The musical history (and setting) here is, I believe, pretty unique to YA fiction and I hope it will inspire teens to check out some of the songs/artists referenced throughout.
I just finished this amazing book five minutes ago and it had me surprised. Before this book I knew very little about Woodstock or what it meant to be a teenager in the 70s. After this book, I even felt like I was there. This book had a great balance of funny and sad. Rich is hilarious, kind, and considerate. I was laughing. Literally LAUGHING so loud at his jokes that people now avoid me at school. I just love the fact that I could relate to him and he actually spoke like he was 15. He was naiv...more
When Rich sneaks out and plays guitar at a rally to please Courntey, his father arrives unexpectedly and both end up in a cell. After arriving at home Rich can’t sleep and stumbles upon his father in the den surrounded by momentos of Uncle Michael who had died in 1969 from a heroin overdose. Later, along with photos of Michael and David (Dad), Rich finds the Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock with a note about how Gabriel is the only one who should play the guitar. Rich can’t res...more
The story: Rich Barber has never been able to figure out what's up with his dad--why he's so cold, aloof, and rigid. When dad busts him for playing guitar at a protest, Rich retaliates by breaking into a locked guitar case and discovering the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock--and when he plays the funky chord for which Jimi was famous, Rich finds himself transported back to 1969, to Woodstock. What he sees and does there will not only change his life forever, but it might change his futur...more
I love Sonnenblick. I know next to nothing about the 60s, Woodstock and Jimi Hendrix, but he transported me to that era and made me care - not just about the boy who was zapped 45 years back to the past (from 2014) to meet his teenage father and uncle, but also about the awesome talent and wasted potential of the great singers who lived fast and died young.

Time travel is used here mainly as a device to place Rich Barber in the 60s; beyond some casual musing about the butterfly effect and (view s...more
Tammy Turner
Jordan Sonnenblick has once again written a book I love. Having never done any research on Woodstock myself, I felt as if I wasn't just immersed in the story, but also getting a backstage pass to one of the most famous concert experiences of all time. The realistic portrayal of the effects of drugs, both short and long term, and the gut-wrenching portrayal of the multitude of abuses the main characters have experienced in their short lives, resulted in a powerful novel I won't soon forget. This...more
Flower Mound Public Library
Through a bizarre incident with a Fender Stratocaster that once belonged to Jimi Hendrix, Rich accidentally travels back in time to his dad's youth during the Woodstock music festival. He is struck by a van containing his 15-year-old father, David; 18-year-old uncle, Michael; and Willow, the most beautiful, sad, amazing hippie goddess in the universe. Soon Rich is living Woodstock firsthand, including special brownies, make-out sessions, mud, smoke, and the sort of music that changes lives. Awar...more
A more mature offering from Sonnenvlick, this is a time travel story about a boy who travels back to Woodstock through the power of a magical guitar once wielded by Jimi Hendrix. While there, he meets his own 15 year old father and his brother, and a number of girls - along with many late 60s icons of rock. Fairly liberal drug taking, drinking, and sex put this strictly in the high school range. The time line is somewhat tortured to get a teen from today to have a father of Woodstock age, and I'...more
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
Rich is fifteen and loves playing his guitar. This time is gets him in trouble, when he plays at a rally not realizing it's for the legalization of marijuana and he gets himself arrested. His Mom and Dad are a lot older that any of his friend's parents and Rich's Dad is especially hard on him, because his brother (Rich's Uncle) died of a drug overdose when they were teenagers. After a really horrible fight, Rich breaks into his Dad's office and finds a signed guitar from Jimi Hendrix. When he pl...more
Oct 26, 2013 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lauren by: duh, Jordan Sonnenblick wrote it
This was a lot heavier and for older audiences than some of his other books, but oh, how I loved it. Not-so-historical historical fiction is underrepresented in YA literature. I loved how Sonnenblick wasn't scared to attack big ideas, big concepts, big events and big people. A lot of research clearly went into this, but I also love that he put his own emotions into his portrayal of them. The whole thing definitely had a wistful feel, not only because the author I'm sure wanted to be experiencing...more
Sally Kruger
Rich Barber is fifteen and completely annoyed with his parents. Having older, over-protective parents who don't let him do anything is really cramping his style. It's almost impossible to have a girl friend and even more difficult to develop his talent on the guitar when playing in a band usually involves staying out later than his parents allow.

In an effort to advance his relationship with Courtney, Rich agrees to figure out a way to attend a protest rally to play his guitar. After lying to hi...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Are You Experienced? by Jordan Sonnenblick is a skillful melding of contemporary realistic and historical fiction. At its core this is a story about healing. We meet our main character as he is regaining consciousness in the hospital. Within the first few pages we know Rich is the teenaged son of older parents. In those first feeble, unsuccessful attempts to communicate with his parents from his hospital bed we learn that this particular difficulty in reaching them through his physical state mir...more
FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the back of the book:


Rich is fifteen and plays guitar. When his girlfriend asks him to perform at a protest rally, he jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, the police show up and so does Rich’s dad. He’s in big trouble. Again. To make matters worse, this happens near the anniversary of his uncle’s death from a drug overdose years ago. Rich’s dad a...more
This book reminds me of Dan Gutman's Baseball Card Adventures, but for an older audience, and with a Jimi Hendrix guitar instead of baseball cards. When Richard Gabriel Barber plays Jimi's chord on the white Fender Stratocaster his father has kept untouched for 45 years, he is magically transported to Woodstock, where he is hit by his now-dead uncle, Michael's, car. Using his middle name, Rich spends the weekend with his uncle, uncle's girlfriend Willow, and his 15-year-old father David listenin...more
I love time travel stories (Sherman Alexie's Flight is one fav), and this premise of a rebellious son going back in time to meet his hippie dad is cool and touching. And I especially like the 21st century perspective on a decidedly less technologically-oriented 20th century: "I have to tell you, the concert experience of 1969 was mind-blowingly different from what we are used to in our time.....There was no Jumbotro, so the performers were just teeny, tiny dots. Nobody around us in the audience...more
Fun book to read! I am working with my freshman and sophomore English teachers to develop a list of book suggestions for summer reading for rising 9th and 10th grade students, and this is one I will recommend. Of course, I am nearly 60 and love the historical musical memories of Woodstock husband was there.
Do kids still get into Hendrix, and Joplin for the plot to keep them engaged? Surely the father/son relationship will ring true.
Great read! Woodstock took place the summer after I was born but I have always been intrigued by the music and the culture of the 60's. Although, the times were turbulent some great social change came out of that era. Are You Experienced is a time travel book in which the protagonist ends up back at Woodstock with his father and uncle who are 15 and18 at the time. Rich the main character has parents who had him late in life and who seem overprotective and not very affectionate. When Rich meets h...more
Read this on our cruise and loved every second of it. Seriously, Jordan Sonnenblick is one of my all-time favorite YA authors.

This book is a bit edgier than the other books of his I've read (mainly because it takes place during Woodstock), but still nothing I'd hesitate to recommend.
I am certainly glad that teens today, who did not grow up with ex-hippie parents like mine, have some way of understanding what hippies were like, what Woodstock meant to the world, etc. This is a great book that illuminates that history, though I'm not sure I found the time travel story nearly as compelling as I wanted to. I am impressed, however, by the frankness with which Sonnenblick addresses drug use at Woodstock, especially by the rock stars and other celebrities. Make no mistake, there i...more
Shawn Humphrey
Sonnenblick's use of time travel is a stretch but it works. Are You Experienced? takes the reader on a wild ride to Woodstock but it isn't all fun and games. There are serious things going on such as drug use, substance abuse, death and family relationships. Sonnenblick is no stranger to those topics but AYE delivers them in an interesting way. Richie (or Gabriel) struggles with his role in history and how he might impact the future during his three day pass to Woodstock. Content is a little mor...more
Matthew Good
Great book! Read it in one night, couldn't put it down. While I initially was a little put off by the time travel storyline the pay off was outstanding. The historical and historical fiction elements of Woodstock are great. The love of music from the characters is an obvious expression of the love Jordan Sonnenblick has of music and of that musical period.
Jordan Sonnenblick creates great characters that you empathize with and become attached too. He takes challenging situations and handles them...more
Best Jordan Sonnenblick book I've read! This one is definitely for an older audience and had me captivated from the very beginning. I couldn't put it down. I loved the the time-travel element, learned a heck of a lot about Woodstock (I felt like I was there!) and just loved all the relationships between the characters in 1969. Very realistic depiction of drugs in the 60's - I'm glad Sonnenblick didn't water it down. Sometimes I think he keeps things pretty PG in his YA books, but he definitely p...more
Veronica Boeve
As a huge Jimi Hendrix fan, this book was so much fun to read! It tells the story of a 15-year-old boy named Richard who finds a Hendrix guitar in his basement, and after strumming Jimi's chord, he gets thrown back in time to Woodstock. While there, he ends up meeting his dad (who was 15 years old), and his uncle, who did of a heroin overdose two months after the festival.

Sonnenblick describes Woodstock very quintessentially, and aside from all the mud and bad trips, I am once again jealous of e...more
Read it in two days. I love his books. I also love time travel books. Lots of drug use so on the fence about school library. But drug use not positively projected.
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I am the author of seven books for children and young adults, including Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie. So if youʼre looking for info about some other guy named Jordan Sonnenblick, youʼve got the wrong website.
Anyway, I know a lot of people are looking for stuff they can use in reports for school, so Iʼll just get this out of the way right up front:
My favorite color is blue.
I have a wife and two...more
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