Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Vinyl Underground” as Want to Read:
The Vinyl Underground
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Vinyl Underground

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Dig it.

During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school.

The four
Paperback, 328 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Flux
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  33 ratings  ·  29 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Vinyl Underground
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
***ARC provided by Netgalley and North Star Editions in exchange for an honest review***


I have to first admit that I completely forgot this book was approuved to read and so it took me a while. And then I wasn't in the right mindset and it took me multiple tries to read it. I'm not that familiar with the Vietnam war and I'm not a historical fiction buff either but I'm glad i gave this a go.

It's 1968. Ronnie's brother bruce died during the Vietnam war and he fears that when he turns 18, he's
Roberta R. (Offbeat YA)
Rated 3.5 really.

Excerpt from my review - originally published at Offbeat YA.

Pros: Vivid portrait of an era. Teen protagonists who feel real. Focus on friendship and coming of age (though there's some romance involved). Music fuels the story.
Cons: Messy parent-child dynamics and conveniently clueless adults. Some inconsiderate choices.
WARNING! Verbal and physical abuse (racially charged, for the most part). Unchallenged drug use. Underage drinking.
Will appeal to: Those who appreciate a story
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ya girl has issues with requesting arcs and TOTALLY forgetting the premise of them by the time approval sets in cause I remember this was centered around music but not Vietnam I started to read this and was instantly turned off, DESPITE REQUESTING, and almost put it down because I’m not one for historical fiction centered around a war. Instead, I pushed on and I am so glad that I did because this book was absolutely phenomenal!

Like I said, I’m not one for historical fiction centered around a
Queen Cronut
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, arcs, netgalley
Set in 1960-era America, The Vinyl Underground follows four outcast teens and the companionship they share through their record club called The Vinyl Underground.

Ronnie's older brother, Bruce has been killed in the Vietnam War, leaving Ronnie to cope with his loss and with high school graduation approaching, his father is determined to send his other son to fight overseas. Meanwhile, Hana, a Japanese girl with radically progressive ideas, moves next door to Ronnie and is often subject to racial
Thanks to Netgalley and Flux for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Who knew such an unassuming cover could hide such a cracker of a book? Rufus makes writing look like a Sunday stroll. Seriously, if I could sum up this book in three words it’d be ‘bloody good writing.’ I don’t just want to buy this book, I want to give it to everyone I know and then commission a press release to talk about how good it is. Unfortunately, I only know about four people and none of them like YA, which is a
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you NetGalley and North Star Editions for this digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Dig it.

During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school.

The four outcasts find
Thank you Netgally and the publisher for giving me a digital Arc to read and review.

The Vinyl Underground is set in 1968, during the peak of the Vietnam war. Ronnie's brother Bruce died during the war and he really doesn't want to sign up for the draft.
This book is the first book I've ever read that has a anti-Vietnam stance. That really interested me as I personally think that the whole draft was wrong and the Vietnam war should have been over way sooner.

The writing style of this book really
I enjoyed this book and its themes! I also enjoyed getting to experience a story in a time period that I'm less familiar with. While I'm glad the main characters came out on top, I'm not a fan of their methods. I'm with Ronnie when he was feeling conflicted at the end—what they did was honestly pretty cruel (my squeamish self was pretty disturbed by it), but I also understand that feeling of powerlessness, when you want so badly for something big to change but know that writing letters to your ...more
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a beautiful description of growing up in the late 60's when everyone was reeling from the devastating affects of the Vietnam war as well as the assassination of MLK Jr. When the grass roots movements were formed and the people wanted to try to make a change in the world.
This book follows 4 boys who each have their own demons to wrestle, but connect through their love of music. The vinyl underground drew me in from the first page and I couldn't put it down.
The author (rufus) has a
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A righteous book that combines the art of music with the cruelty, violence, and pain of the Vietnam war, and the discrimination in the 60’s. With the use of flamboyant language and and a slew of 60’s slang; I knew exactly when and where I was.
Khansa Dijoo
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book because of a Netgalley request for an honest review.

"Be whatever you have to be to get to the edge of the cliff. It doesn't matter how you get there, what matters is you jump." The Vinyl Underground by Rob Rufus is a story about brave choices and doing the right thing. It is a story about four friends who form a music club and face the worries of the world such as school, college applications, and the drafting for Vietnam War with their love for rock n' roll. I loved The
Jade  - theelderbooks
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Even though the whole story is set during the 60's, I still qualify this book as a contemporary. Which makes me say it's the first contemporary I truly enjoyed in over a year !

Ronnie, Milo, Lewis and Hana, 4 teens in Florida make up The Vinyl Underground, a club in which they can express themselves and gather around music. Together, they have to face the unfairness of the Vietnam war looming over them, and which has already taken Ronnie's brother, fight against the racism that Hana receives
Kate Larkindale
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this piece of historical fiction. Set in 1968, Ronnie's brother, Bruce, has recently been killed in Vietnam. Now he's about to graduate and the draft hangs over him. Despite having already lost one son to the war, Ronnie's father is determined to see his second son honor the country with his service too.

When Ronnie meets Hana, the new girl who moves in across the street, his thinking begins to change. She's half-Japanese and faces daily slurs about her race at the
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this free electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book started out slow for me. However, once the story really got going I felt it was the type of YA novel that was needed. It talks about how different people handle grief, how great friendships are formed and how even if the adults in your life don't seem to care, they really do. This book touches on the struggles of life and offers an honest perspective on both the good and bad parts of
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
*Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.*


Of all the historical fiction books I've read, The Vinyl Underground was one that stood out to me. There were many things to like about it: the vibe of the prose, the relatability of the main character (Ronnie), and the beautiful writing -- which links back to how Ronnie is one of those people with naturally poetic thoughts. I loved Milo and how he stood up for Hana
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy.

This is exactly the sort of YA novel we need out in the world right now. It talks of rebellion and hope, of different layers of courage, it shows that some adults actually care and are involved (even if they are misguided at times), it depicts great friendships, it touches on grief and the struggles of life, and it's honest about both the good
Kelsey Hlavaty (readingwithkelsey)
I received an eARC copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I really wanted to enjoy this novel more than I did. I was initially hooked by the premise, as the Vietnam War is a moment in history I find, although harrowing, very interesting in American politics. The time period and setting felt very real, and part of it was due to Rufus' knowledge on the subject. I felt as though I was living in
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, read-2019
Strong sense of time period without seeming antiquated, and a lot of strong character work - I especially enjoyed Milo, Ronnie's best friend. I think Vietnam-era YA is valuable, considering the themes of that time are coming around again or haven't really left and will likely resonate with readers of today. I did feel that Hana had a bit of Manic Pixie DNA to her that nagged at me for nearly the whole book, but I did appreciate having a non-stereotypical character of Asian descent. I do wonder ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from North Star Editions - Flux in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I enjoyed this book because it was three unlikely teens coming together and forming a bond that will literally be their fate of one of their friends. Ronnie, Milo, Ramrod, and Hana are all different people with different heritages, different problems and different personalities that no one would ever see coming together. All goes
Erin Moulton
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for the early look!

I loved this book. 4.5 stars.

It's 1968 and Ronnie is grieving his older brother's death in Vietnam as his 18th birthday, and the draft, loom large in front of him. He spends time wrestling, working at the movie theater, playing his brother's records and reading the letters he sent during the war. Soon, Japanese-American high schooler, music lover and activist, Hana, enters his life and he and a few other outcasts form The Vinyl Underground: A club where
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
I absolutely loved the first part of this book, I thought it would be a five-star read.
Reading about the Vietnam war when most people were still in favor of it and particularly about the draft and the unfairness of it and how young men were affected by the politics of that time was an absolutely amazing read.

The book touches in several heavy themes such as racism, toxic masculinity, segregation, the draft,... in the first part of the book and I really enjoyed it but then the way that author went
Feb 12, 2020 added it
Shelves: arc
~~I have received the ARC thanks to NetGalley, Flux and Rob Rufus in exchange for my honest review~~

Before reading this book I thought it was going to be about musica and the history of kids that are changed by the power of music. But while I read it I discovered that it was more how the Vietnam War changes the youth.

I have learned so much about the draft system, I love reading and more if the book teaches me something about history or life.

This Historic Fiction is a wonderfull work I just
Jax  Quenault
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, dnfed-in-2020
My Rating: 2/5 stars

I was very generously given an e-Arc of this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I unfortunately had to DNF this book, as even though I was really interested by the premise and I love historical fiction, I just really couldn't get on with the narrator, I found it quite jarring, I know that it fits with the time period but also felt that it was quite out of place with some of serious topics and events in this book.
Ms. Yingling
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

I wish there were more middle grade books about the late 1960s. Sure, the older teens had all the fun, but they also swore, did drugs, and um, participated avidly in the summer of love. This was very interesting, but not what I need for my grade 6-8 library.
Sep 09, 2019 marked it as to-read
I have waited for this for more than 2 years....EXCITED
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

New Year’s Eve 1967. Ronnie’s brother is dead, killed in the Vietnam War. Ronnie’s dad is eager for Ronnie to register to serve as soon as he turns 18, even though Ronnie wants to do anything but follow in his brother’s footsteps.

He rereads his brother Bruce’s letters, tucked away in his brother’s record collection. Before Bruce got sent to Vietnam, they had plans to start a radio show together. Now, Ronnie doesn’t
Christine Deriso
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Taut and tender, urgent and timeless, bold and nuanced -- just like rock 'n roll.
Raathi Chota
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For twenty-four chapters, it’s written at a good pace with rising tension, conflict and resolution visible. Rufus does a good job constructing a novel with such controversial themes that’s still applicable in today’s society. Taking place in the USA (1968) yet revolving around the Vietnam war and how our protagonist, Ronnie, deals with the death of his older brother, Bruce after being drafted and killed in the war. I loved how Rufus covered all the grief and problems that the characters go ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-books
Review originally published on my blog here!

A stunning historical fiction about four teens who are misfits during 1968, during the midst of the Vietnam War, who try to begin an anti-war movement within their school.

The story takes place in current day 1968, with a few flashbacks (in the form of letters) to Bruce, Ronnie's older brother who died whilst in service. It is honest, and definitely can resonate to current-day teens in the ways of showing how segregation and racial prejudice can impact
rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2019
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Night Country (The Hazel Wood, #2)
  • The Fantastical Exploits of Gwendolyn Gray (Gwendolyn Gray, #2)
  • Every Reason We Shouldn't (Every Reason We Shouldn't, #1)
  • Anomaly (The Blood Race, #0.5)
  • The Will and the Wilds
  • Of Silver and Shadow
  • Fragile Remedy
  • The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
  • Sparrow
  • Woven in Moonlight
  • The Tyrant's Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4)
  • Heartstopper: Volume Two (Heartstopper, #2)
  • I'm Not Dying with You Tonight
  • Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #1)
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)
  • Break the Fall
  • Rewritten
  • The Seventh Sun (The Age of the Seventh Sun, #1)
See similar books…