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Born to Rock

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  2,192 Ratings  ·  319 Reviews
Leo Caraway--high school senior, president of the Young Republicans club, 4.0 GPA, future Harvard student--had his entire future perfectly planned out. That was, until the X factor. As in Marion X. McMurphy, aka King Maggot, the lead singer of Purge, the most popular, most destructive band punk rock has ever seen. He's also Leo's biological father.
When Leo discovers that
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Disney-Hyperion (first published April 1st 2006)
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Mar 01, 2016 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as YA books go, Korman is pretty much where it's at. Born to Rock is no exception. He manages to write about punk rock and the 80's without mentioning one curse word. He writes about love, drugs, womanizing, republicans, and crashing through windows on motorcycles and never once goes into any sort of detail that would strike up an image of disgust or have those "right for our kids" groups banging down his door. He is the antithesis of writers who go into too much detail scratching out eve ...more
Mar 19, 2008 Trin rated it really liked it
Leo Caraway, Harvard-bound Young Republican, discovers that his biological father is famed punk rocker King Maggot. He ends up going on the road with pop and his band Purge for a summer reunion tour, and wackiness ensues. This is some highly enjoyable wackiness, folks. I had a great time reading this book—though I really do wish the ending had been less rushed.
Jan 04, 2008 Atomicgirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I generally like Korman's books because they're funny quick reads. In this way, Born to Rock is representative of Korman's style.

The book may appeal more to adults who like young adult fiction, rather than teens. Adults may identify with the plastic "posers" and the aging music singer scene.

Still, the book ends positively and there's affection shown to most of the characters.
Jay T.
Oct 11, 2010 Jay T. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You know what punk is? A bunch of no-talent guys who really, really want to be in a band. Nobody reads music, nobody plays the mandolin, and you're too dumb to write songs about mythology or Middle Earth. So what's your style? Three chords, cranked out fast and loud and distorted because your instruments are crap and you can't play them worth a damn. And you scream your lungs out to cover up the fact that you can't sing. It should suck, but here's the thing- it doesn't."

This book is an amazing
Jan 05, 2009 Eileen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-music, ya-humor
Born to Rock was an amusing read. The idea of a Harvard bound young Republican from Connecticut on tour as a roadie with a notorious punk band sounds like the set up for a much funnier novel than Born to Rock. Somehow, Korman’s book fell a bit flat in the humor department for me.

I’m not sure teens would find it laugh out loud funny either. Again, I think it is a light, amusing read. Younger teens would probably enjoy reading about Leo’s adventure touring with Purge. While there is sex, drugs an
The cover to this fun tome grabs your interest right away. An infant with a spiky mohawk, perfectly formed. Is Leo, the Young Republican and Harvard-bound senior, really related to King Maggot, the greatest punk rocker of the 80's? Can Leo see that a childhood friend Melinda, behind the goth get-up and anti-establishment attitude, was perfect for him? Who is his biological father? King Maggot, who in a strange way he wishes it to be, or the unseemly and womanizing Tour manager cousin of the King ...more
Mar 27, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book blends two aspects of literature that I find refreshing: young adult lit and rock and roll fiction. The two tend to go hand-in-hand, and this one was no exception. Perhaps because the protagonist isn't a musician himself, or maybe I'm just softening my feelings in general for the genre, but I thought this book was actually pretty well written. There were some plot twists that caught even myself off guard, but for spoilers' sake, I won't get into those. Still, it was a really fun read, ...more
Mar 01, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leo Caraway has always been aware of a rage within. It comes as no surprise to him when he discovers that his biological father is the front man for a punk rock band. He finds an opportunity to meet his dad at a press conference for the beginning of a "comeback" tour. His dad invites him to join the tour, for the summer, as a roadie. (This is the summer after Leo graduates from high school.) Leo learns about the rock 'n' roll lifestyle and realizes his values are not aligned with it. Paradoxical ...more
Jan 17, 2013 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes a big turn from a couple chapters in. The main character thinks his life is normal and fine until he finds out his actual father is a rock n roll king. One of the quotes in the book is "McMurphy" which describes Leo's (the main character) inner anger and rage. He does not know where these random outburts come from when he gets too mad. It is later proved that his real father is the rock n roll guy where he got McMurphy from. The author uses a lot of humor in this book which I thi ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Jaemi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
eo Caraway considers himself to be at a slight disadvantage. You see, he has a genetic hijacker in his bloodstream–and how can he be held responsible? He knows nothing about the man who contributed half of his DNA, other than his name, which he really only stumbled onto by chance. Until he reads his best friend’s English Term Paper, that is.

After years of unanswered questions from his mother, Leo learns one simple internet search would have given him all he wanted to know. McMurphy, the genetic
Leo Caraway is president of the young republicans club, a great student, and has a scholarship to Harvard. But then he discovers that his biological father is King Maggot, the lead singer of Purge, the greatest punk band in history. He hates punk music, and doesn’t want anything to do with his real father. That is, until he is falsely accused of cheating on a test, and gets his scholarship to Harvard taken away. So then he has to accept a job as a roadie on purge’s summer tour, with hopes that b ...more
Aug 20, 2009 Brandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Gordon Korman, author of the hilarious books Son of the Mob and No More Dead Dogs produces yet another side-splitting novel. Born to Rock is the story of a smart boy named Leo. Leo is a founding member of his school's Young Republicans and has been accepted to Harvard with a full scholarship. Leo is accused of cheating on a test and loses his scholarship.

At the same time, his best friend punk rock Melinda tells him all about the reunion of the famous punk band Purge. Purge was considered the rud
Apr 20, 2009 Colleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I think this book primarily suffered from poor editing. The story's idea is compelling - young republican finds out he's the son of the baddest of the bad punk legends, King Maggot and is forced to survive a punk rock tour to earn money for a lost Harvard scholarship. But the summary was more flushed out than the actually story. It's seventy meandering pages before the tour begins. The crucial event that causes him to lose his scholarship takes up a mere two sentences. Tell it as background and ...more
May 17, 2010 Talia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leo is just another Harvard-bound, Young Republican when a bombshell hits him: he is the son of punk legend Marion X. McMurphy, aka King Maggot. When Leo unexpectedly gets his Harvard scholarship taken away from him, he takes the opportunity to contact “bio-Dad” with intentions of getting some money for college. While the DNA test is pending, King invites Leo to come with him on his band’s tour of the US. Between being a roadie, keeping doughnuts away from the band’s drummer, a roommate who hate ...more
Jul 25, 2009 Kit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the sweetest, funniest book about a punk rock band you're likely to find. As he's on the verge of high-school graduation and an Ivy League future, Young Republican Leo finds out that his biological father is not the dad he grew up with, but King Maggot, the lead singer of the fictional Greatest Punk Band Ever, Purge. He submits to a DNA test and goes on tour as a roadie with Purge to get to know King.

The problem, as you can guess from the fact that King is old enough to have a college-ag
Apr 09, 2009 Meagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, ya
Leo Caraway is not the type of character you'd usually expect to see in a novel for teens. He's a member of the Young Republicans, has earned early admission to Harvard complete with a much-needed scholarship, and has a best friend named Melinda who is a full-on Goth who thinks of punk music like a religion. When Leo agrees to do a favor for Melinda, the result is an accusation of cheating that loses Leo his scholarship and dreams of Harvard. His discovery that his biological father is actually ...more
Oct 25, 2010 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit, audiobook, 2010
Gordon Korman has been on my list of YA authors to check out for a while so when I found this audiobook at my library, I was pretty happy about it. But I found the story very eh. Leo, the main character, finds out that is biological father is a rock star and decides to join his tour for the summer. The story is what I think many people expect from YA -- a quick pace and problems that are magnified with strong emotions and reactions.

Leo is a Young Republican, which I thought was kind of a cool d
Nov 29, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Off beat story about a young teen, Leo, who is everything a mother could love.. smart, respectful, a 'Young Replublican', and up for a full ride scholarship to Harvard.
The only strange thing about him is his very close friendship with Melinda. Melinsa is brash, anti-establishment, liberal, goth/punker whoose hero is punk rocker King Maggot.
His life seems to be going along just fine until two major catastrophes happen, he looses his Harvard scholarship when he is falsely accused of cheating,
SBY Youth Services Rencsko
In this story the Republican Party meets Punk Rock when a high school senior by the name of Leo discovers that his father is the lead singer of the legendary punk rock band Purge. At first, Leo decides that he wants nothing to do with his biological father…going against everything that is conservative but when he is accused of cheating and his full ride to Harvard is ripped away Leo decides that he should take this biological connection all the way to the bank.

This funny and enlightening tale fo
Lady Knight
I've liked Gordon Korman's writing style for a while now, but I haven't been too impressed with his Young Adult offerings. "Born to Rock" started out rather like "Son of Interflux" for me, but got much, much better! The story follows Leo who after he gets caught suppossedly cheating on a test loses his full scholarship to Harvard. $40, 000 a year is way beyond his parents modest means and he has to come up with some other way to get the money. Enter Marion X McMurphy. McMurphy is the mysterious ...more
Michele Velthuizen
Interest level: 7th +
Reading level: medium
Genre: punk rock, music, adventure, humor

Here's another very funny book by the author of the "Son of the Mob" series (if you haven't read it do so soon!)

Leo is leading a seemingly happy life, getting ready for Harvard University when, one day, he notices something strange on his birth certificate - his surname is different to the one he has been using all his life. Having to squeeze the truth out of his mother, Leo is horrified to discover that his biolo
Thomas McBride
Born To Rock was an ok book it had a little comedy, a little adventure. I would recommend this book to younger teens. I've read some of Gordon Korman's books and was a almost awesome one of his.
Oct 21, 2012 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Korman, Gordan. "B O R N T O R O C K." B O R N T O R O C K. Hyperion Paperbacks, 2006. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. .

How would you feel if you were one of the smartest kids in America, but you got your scholarship taken away from you?

The book Born to Rock is a fascinating book about a high school senior who learns the bizarre truth about his biological father. Gordan Korman is an amazing author, but this book just takes it to the next level of greatness. With many unexpected twists and turns, as well a
Deborah Takahashi
Leo Caraway had a bright future ahead of him. He got into Harvard will a full-ride, President of the Young Republicans Club, and he was going places. However, beneath the straight-laced and hard-working exterior, is a an animal inside that he inherited from his biological father: Marion X. McMurphy. After years of suppressing McMurphy, he is on the verge of melt down when his best friend, Melinda, asked him to tutor, Owen, the the "smartest" and gayest guy in school. Granted, Owen should not nee ...more
Dec 30, 2011 Dawni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like sharp humor
Born to Rock is a novel full of stereotypes, contradictions to those stereotypes, it’s predictable, and a little silly at times. And you know what? It’s absolutely hilarious. This novel is about a young man graduating from high school, guaranteed a full ride into Harvard, and is proudly a part of The Young Republicans. Oddly enough, his best friend is a hardcore goth chick with a grudge against anyone money hungry or against animal rights. Well, what happens when Mr. Harvard Bound loses his scho ...more
Oct 13, 2013 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2013
Leo's a semi-uptight, play-by-the-rules high school senior who loses his scholarship to college after he's accused of cheating on a test. He's crushed and knows he can't afford to otherwise attend Harvard until he discovers the secret that his mom's been keeping for 18 years: his biological dad is actually King Maggot, the lead singer of an old punk band, Purge. Completely embarrassed by this fact, as he hates the music, Leo also realizes that his dad is rich and can afford to pay his tuition. A ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Rory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: laugh-likers
So. I read my first Gordon Korman book when I was in sixth grade. It was called Who Is Bugs Potter?. (I think that was the title, at least--I'm afraid to look it up and learn I've remembered it wrong because I LOVE this memory.) I got it for free, as part of my school's R.I.F. (Reading is Fun/Fundamental) program. I think I chose it because I thought one of the guys on the cover was cute. (Again--I refuse to look up this cover and be faced with what I thought was cute when I was 11.)

It was SO FU
I have to hand it to Gordon Korman. His books almost always deal with fairly improbable plots (improbably at least to adult readers of his YA fiction), and yet he always creates characters and a story that you care about. Leo Carraway is a pretty normal graduating high school senior (other than being a Young Republican whose best friend is a goth girl), who lives with his pretty normal parents (except when his mother gets nervous and goes into a jigsaw puzzling frenzy), and who is convinced he h ...more
Jan 28, 2015 LouLou rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read review in its entirety at

With author Gordon Korman's ability to write a story in such an easy, amiable fashion there is no doubt why he is a best-selling author with more than 50 published works. Korman brings that same accessible style to Born To Rock, a humorous yet heart-warming approach to the music world of “sex, drugs, and rock & roll.”

Told though first person narrative, readers align themselves quickly with protagonist Leo Caraway, a stra
Nov 18, 2008 Brittiney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes comedy and rock music.
Recommended to Brittiney by: A class mate.
The book I am reviewing is Born To Rock, by Gordon Korman. This book is narrated by the main character, Leo, who is a senior in high school. The main plot of the story takes off when Leo learns his father is the lead singer of a legendary rock band from the 80’s called “Purge”. “Potbellies and receding Mohawks notwithstanding, they were still the angriest band in America, capable of raising a roof in a place that didn’t even have one.”(Korman).
The author wastes no time on moving through the plot
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Korman wrote his first book, "This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall", when he was 12 years old, for a coach who suddenly found himself teaching 7th grade English. He later took that episode and created a book out of it, as well, in "The Sixth Grade Nickname Game", wherein Mr. Huge was based on that 7th grade teacher.

Korman moved to New York City, where he studied film and film writing. While i
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“You know what punk is? a bunch of no-talent guys who really, really want to be in a band. Nobody reads music, nobody plays the mandolin, and you're too dumb to write songs about mythology or Middle-earth. So what's your style? Three chords, cranked out fast and loud and distorted because your instruments are crap and you can't play them worth a damn. And you scream your lungs out to cover up the fact that you can't sing. It should suck, but here's the thing - it doesn't. Rock and roll can be so full of itself, but not this. It's simple and angry and raw.” 17 likes
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