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Struts & Frets

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  734 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
Told in a voice that’s honest, urgent, and hilarious, Struts & Frets will resonate not only with teenage musicians but with anyone who ever sat up all night listening to a favorite album, wondering if they’d ever find their place in the world.

Music is in Sammy’s blood. His grandfather was a jazz musician, and Sammy’s indie rock band could be huge one day—if they don’t
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Harry N. Abrams
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,948)
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Dec 09, 2009 Heidi rated it it was amazing
STRUTS & FRETS has one of the hottest covers- and titles -around.
And what's inside is even better.
Honest, sweet, authentic boy voice.
Fully fleshed female characters.
Three dimensional grown-ups.
Surprises, drama and most importantly MUSIC!
I kept thinking while reading, "I can't wait to give this to my son when he's a teenager."
And my daughter.
One of the my favorite reads of 2009.
Enjoy the beat.
Feb 03, 2010 Carla rated it really liked it
It seems quite fitting to for my first review of 2010 to be of the last YA book I read in 2009. To put it lightly, I friggin loved this book, I even named by brand spanking new laptop "Macbook Sammy". I've only ever read one YA music book, which was so funny and unique, I went into reading this book quite guarded, I never expected to like it nearly as much as I did. Jon Skovron has this way with words that seems so real and raw, the openness of the writing style is heart breakingly beautiful, ye ...more
Sep 15, 2009 Christianne rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I hope this will be a hit with guy readers. I found it to be funny, touching, and honest. A strong male character who loves a strong female character and has great friends and goals and a great mom. Plus a cool soundtrack of alternative music. What more could you ask for? The title is genius too.
Jan 09, 2010 Jamie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 14-16, music, aging
Imagine picking a book up with no expectations and suddenly realizing it's set in your own past. That's the feeling I got from reading this Young adult debut by Jon Skovron. Set in my hometown of Columbus, OH, it namedrops places (Blue Danube/a re-named Bernie's) and real life bands and songs (Monster Zero, Charles Cicirella's WHITE JEEP, which I spent HOURS AND HOURS trying to find online last night, even though I know I at one point in time had some kind of recording of it.) Now, imagine that ...more
Jun 26, 2010 Heather rated it liked it
Recommends it for: music lovers or wannabes
If you love music this book would be great to read. I thought it was really cute.

I thought it was funny, because of the timing of reading it now- Jen5 so reminds me of Crystal Bowersocks from this seasons American Idol. It must be the dreadlocks.

I also thought back to the rock band my high school had. I could only imagine the drama swirling around their lives I didn't know about. I wonder what happened to them or how many high school bands make it big...hummmm.
Jul 02, 2010 kari rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, 2010, 5-star
I've had this book on my TBR for a bit and I should have read it sooner. Terrific. Fabulous. A wonderful and complete story with an authentic sounding voice.
Sam wants to be a musician. No, more than that, he has to be one, he can't imagine his life without music. I liked the chapter titles that were song titles or lyrics. They tied in well with the story and made sense as Sam is always thinking music, either listening, hearing it in his head or writing it.
The other characters are also well drawn
Jan 19, 2011 Melody rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melody by: Susann
Oh, this was fun! The authorial voice was completely authentic- so much so that I found myself saying stern motherly things to the protagonist. Out loud.

Sammy lives for music, but he's also a regular teenage kid with insecurities, blind spots, family issues and in short, a normal life. I love reading about kids with normal lives, kids who are not Representing A Disorder. Samuel is hilarious to read about from an adult perspective, too- this book works on more than one level, and hits on all cyli
American Mensa
Apr 08, 2016 American Mensa rated it it was ok
Struts and Frets is your typical coming-of-age teen novel. Its central character, Samuel, struggles with the expectations of his mother and society as he tries to make it as a songwriter for a band just getting on its feet. The book does a good job of relating to kids who feel like outsiders, or to anyone wishing to follow a dream, but where it runs into trouble is the gap between subject matter and reading rigor. While at first glance this book looks like a great book for young pre-teens (and a ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Hallie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
3.5 stars.

Lot of wonderful things in this sad, funny and happy book, but I didn't feel whole-heartedly crazy about it. Sammy was a great character, and his intermittent real immaturity combined with his strengths and kindness were quite winning. Maybe it was the way sometimes things were played for laughs, and got them, but in the process lost some of the subtlety of characterization that bounced me out. The main example of this, which I have other concerns about too, was when Sammy and his very
Oct 18, 2010 K rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Sometimes when I start a book, I can see the plot and outcome right away and end up going through the motions of reading. To feel all-knowing, maybe? While this book wasn’t a wild twist from what I’d foretold in the beginning, it did have personality I wasn’t expecting and told a story with heart that wasn’t totally transparent.

Sammy is a guitarist in a band. He writes all the music and lyrics, but wants no part of being a front man. Instead he damns his band mates to Joe. Dude is scary. Sam’s
May 14, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I don't know about you but I love it when books are inspiring in a way that makes you have the impulse to chase after your own dreams as soon as possible. If you haven't guess already, Struts & Frets was exactly that- and more!

If I were asked to quickly sum up Struts & Frets in a few words, a lot would come to mind. One being inspirational, obviously, along with moving and poignant. Since in all honesty that's just how Sammy's coming of age tale was.

Sammy is a character who has a lot o
"He would talk about how important all music was. How it took us--not just the people who played it but the people who heard it--to a place above the normal boring world."

What I've realized with the world is that you cannot talk about music, good music, without being pretentious which 1) I don't really care. I love music so much that I just don't let it bother me anymore. And 2) There is something wrong about that because you should be able to talk about your opinions on everything from the pun
Nov 30, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Can't Stop This Music

I freaking loved this book. Any book that can make Jane's Addiction and Shakespeare come together to create a beautiful story has my full support. And it didn't hurt that the writing style has a rawness and openness about it that nearly broke my heart and kept me laughing all at once.

Sammy Bojar is going to be the next big thing--or will be after the current next big thing gets out of his way. All he has to do is figure out how to keep his indie/punk/emo band together, turn
Nov 23, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: age-ya, 2009, arcs
I received this book as an ARC from the publisher.

Sammy loves music. He loves it so much he's willing to be in a band with Joe, who scares the crap out of him. He loves it so much he can't see that his best friend, Jen5 (all the other Jennifer nicknames were taken), is in love with him. Music is his bond with his grandfather, who seems to be going a little crazy. Now Sammy's got a girlfriend, and his band, Tragedy of Wisdom, is going to enter a Battle of the Bands contest.

I fell in love with Sa
May 09, 2010 Terry rated it really liked it
Shelves: guy-books
A good book that has ambitions for more than adolescent humor. Musicians will really like it, as it takes creativity, performance, and passion for music seriously. There are some good one-liners, a solid love interest, and the relationship between the protagonist and his best friend is enjoyable. The grandfather isn't handled as well.

A highlight for me is the lack of melodrama (with one glaring exception). Whom to date is an issue, but not crushing. Mom is a single parent, AND completely reasona
Jan 01, 2014 Annalisa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: language
Recommended to Annalisa by: Jake
3.5 stars

This is my cousin's son's favorite book (that's my cousin-once-removed for those of you following along). It reminded me of him so much that I had to keep reminding myself that this was Sammy, not Jake, and the story took place in Ohio, not Arizona. Great authentic voice, one that reads very much like a teenager as opposed to the overly intelligent teenagers in much of YA (view spoiler). A great read for music lovers out there, especially those deeply artistic
Jan 10, 2010 Susann rated it really liked it
The high school Susann would have had a major crush on Sammy Bojar. He can talk Pixies *and* Miles Davis? Oh yeah. Skovron packs a lot in here: the music stuff, girl stuff, bully issues, gay issues, senile grandfather issues, mothers who sometimes unload way too much stuff on you issues. And it all works. Sammy's growth was believable and just plain fun to watch. The chapter titles and playlist are also a treat, and I loved that I always knew what Jen5 was wearing.
Shaun Heintz
Dec 23, 2015 Shaun Heintz rated it did not like it
I really don't like leaving reviews for things especially bad reviews but I have to make an exception in this case. This is probably the most contrived piece I have ever read. The main character is about as hypocritical as you can get. I still can't get over the pretentious names of the people and places either. "Jen5" or "Fiver" how unabashedly lame is that? Growing up I had similar experiences as far as having a tight knit group of friends who played music goes. There's no real drama here and ...more
Morninglight Mama
Feb 04, 2016 Morninglight Mama rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya
Oh to be a teenager again. And, more importantly, to be a teenager who's cool, even though he doesn't know it, and on the cusp of figuring out who he really wants to be...oh... I was seriously left wistfully remembering my late adolescence when I finished this book, even though the closest I had to any experiences this intense were definitely more college-timed than high school! Sammy, however, is definitely living through a hugely memorable time in his teen years-- with his musical ambition mor ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This book tackles a lot of tough issues in a short amount of space: the highs and gritty lows of being a musician, the relationship challenges teenagers face with friends and girlfriends and parents, growing old and all the terrible things that sometimes includes, sexual orientation, and identity, and what it’s like to tackle a creative life with varying levels of support from the people in your life.

That would be a lot to bite off, but with bright, realistic and likable characters, this author
Feb 25, 2010 Kat rated it really liked it
Struts & Frets was new and fresh debut from Jon Skavron! I loved the character of our main character, Sammy Bojar. His passion for his love of music just screamed out from each page I read. This was a strong debut for sure and I'm excited to see what else Mr. Skavron has to offer!
Oct 04, 2009 Armando rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
this book is great. perfect for high school students specially students who like music. I remembered my time in high school. and the music selection that is used through out the story is great. I highly recommend this book.
Aug 31, 2014 Maria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Okay, after 2 years I finally found this book. At that time I was 12 & I found it at the library and this definitely isn't what 12 years should read...let's just say I learned a lot. Its was judt that I misinterpreted the synopsis. It said his best friend moves from the friend zone and nest friend is attracted to guys (don't remember what it said exactly) I had to read this book in secret. So I went through a sex scene and sthff like that. It swore also but 12 year old Maria was going throug ...more
Jun 22, 2013 Thalia rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Cheesy, Hormonal, Hipster Books about Teenage Boys. Also maybe fans of classic rock.
Recommended to Thalia by: The Dollar Tree
Shelves: e-ufh, luhdasbunyno
Read the review on my blog:
Jessica B
Feb 19, 2011 Jessica B rated it really liked it

This isn't my normal type of book, and I hadn't heard much about it. I just randomly saw it at the bookstore, and decided that I needed to read it. Maybe I had some kind of contemporary craving, I don't know. But it must have been just what I needed, because I really enjoyed it.

I know I've mentioned this once or twice (or twenty times...), but I love music. So when my love of music and books combines, it usually agrees with me. I like indie rock, but I don't know
Serendipity Reviews
Sep 27, 2011 Serendipity Reviews rated it really liked it
Every time I thought about reviewing Struts and Frets, I was reminded of my initial response to the first couple of chapters. I was convinced that this book featured a group of hormonal teenagers who were milder in their tone than the Inbetweeners but still had their attitude. Imagine placing this bunch of teenagers at a High School Musical party which they are about to gatecrash! Get the picture?

For the first half of the book, this was the way I viewed it. The story line was entertaining as Sam
Feb 07, 2012 Carmel rated it really liked it
Read the review also at Book Filled Blog.

The first thing to be said about Struts & Frets is that the cover and inside are AMAZING. It looks so cool outside and inside!

Sammy, seventeen, wants to be a musician. Not a rock star, even though some times, he lets the daydreams excel that far. No, he wants to be a musician, to play music because he enjoys not for super fame and fortune. Yet, he also has to worry about family and daily life due to uncooperative band mates, his friends and as well as
Jan 28, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it
After reading non-stop paranormal, this book was a huge shift for me. I was afraid I’d get antsy, but luckily that was not the case. Struts & Frets was humorous and extremely entertaining.

My brother plays guitar. Every boyfriend I’ve ever had has played guitar. And my dad wishes he could play guitar. So needless to say, even though the only guitar I can play is for a videogame, this book felt really familiar to me. I’m definitely not saying that you have to have those kinds of connections to
Samantha Tai
When his band can't even decide on a name, Sammy should know that it isn't going to work out. Joe is a bully: he bosses everyone around and thinks he's in charge because he's the lead vocalist even though Sammy writes all the songs. Sammy's best friend Rick, the bass player, doesn't take the band seriously often messing up his parts. Sammy's the only one who cares about Tradegy of Wisdom. He's conflicted when he sees a sign for a Battle of the Bands in his area. On the one hand, Battle of the Ba ...more
Jul 05, 2009 Vania rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-shelf, to-review, arcs
Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron tells the coming of age story of Samuel Bojar a high school rock and roll member of a garage band. Skovron explores the rollercoaster moments of growing up, the moments of inspiration and the moments in life when things click. Sammy is a songwriter and musician who is struggling to find his place not only in his band but also in life. In a time span of two weeks Sammy struggles with friends, band mates, and worst of all with family all while trying to get ready fo ...more
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Jon Skovron has been an actor, musician, lifeguard, Broadway theater ticket seller, warehouse grunt, technical writer, and web developer. Now he is a father and the author of Young Adult novels Struts & Frets, Misfit and the forthcoming Man Made Boy (Fall, 2013), as well as many short stories and essays. He generally likes stories that are dark, strange, and occasionally funny.

Jon was born in
More about Jon Skovron...

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“I've heard people say that they lose themselves in a kiss. But in that moment, it was the opposite for me. I felt like I found myself. Not how I wished I was, or who I was afraid I was becoming, but who I really was.” 50 likes
“Because sometimes I was tired of feeling so much and I just wanted to shut down and not feel anything. But I guess I wasn't wired that way. All I could do was write about it. Get it out of my head and onto something like paper that I could manage easier.” 23 likes
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