Battle of the Bands by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith

Battle of the Bands by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith

Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith is an upbeat anthology of interconnected stories about a battle of the bands competition. I loved the wide range of perspectives, featuring characters with differing relationships to the event, and each of the works within it are strong. The audiobook version is equally engaging, and the full cast makes the world of the contest feel like a real community. This is a great read for those looking for something quick that will leave them with a smile on their face.

Battle of the Bands by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric SmithTitle: Battle of the Bands
Author: Lauren Gibaldi, Eric Smith
Also by this author: The Night We Said Yes
Narrator: Zoe Cross-Nelms
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genres: Contemporary
Publication Date: September 14, 2021
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic—and interconnected—take on a memorable high school rite of passage.

A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter struggles to untangle her feelings for her best friend and his girlfriend. In this live-out-loud anthology, the disparate protagonists of sixteen stories are thrown together for one unforgettable event: their high school’s battle of the bands. Told in a harmonic blend of first- and third-person narrative voices, roughly chronological short stories offer a kaleidoscopic view of the same transformative night. Featuring an entry from Justin Courtney Pierre, lead vocalist of Motion City Soundtrack, Battle of the Bands is a celebration of youth, music, and meeting the challenges of life head-on.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃


Audiobook: Battle of the Bands: Lauren Gibaldi, Eric Smith

This anthology features interconnected stories all centred around a high school battle of the bands contest. As a big fan of books about music, and an even bigger fan of books about competition, I was so excited to see 15 different stories with common themes of finding your place and working hard to achieve your dreams. I loved the way the stories are in dialogue with each other, with some characters making appearances in multiple authors’ contributions, and the wide range of perspectives and relationships to the competition, from a lead singer to a judge to a stage manager, is well-executed. While each story is about the same event, they all feel unique as all angles of the competition are included.

❀ An enjoyable anthology

I always find anthologies difficult to review since there are always a few stories that are inevitably a miss for me. However, this is one of the rare cases where I genuinely enjoyed each one, and I came away a list of new authors to check out. I especially enjoyed Preeti Chhibber’s contribution, following two people in charge of the merch table, and Lauren Gibaldi’s story, which stars the stage manager who is sick of being in the background. Out of all of them, Katie Cotugno’s work, “All These Friends and Lovers,” might have been my favourite. The characters are so well-written, and she packs so much into such a short space, somehow making the short story feel fully developed.

❀ Narrated by a Full Cast

Listening to the audiobook version of this book was a surprising and enjoyable experience. The anthology is narrated by a full cast, which each story read by someone new, and I found that each narrator suited their section so well. I wasn’t expecting so many different voices, and I loved the way this makes the world of Battle of the Bands feel like a real community. The variety of narrators also helped me keep the stories separate, and I would definitely recommend this format.

❀ Wide Range of Stories

Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith is a unique and entertaining anthology about the titular battle of the bands competition. I loved the wide range of stories within it, and I had many favourites. The audiobook version is also well-produced, with a full cast that captures the community of the event. Everyone, whether a music fan or a music hater, is sure to find something for them in the pages of this book.

About Eric Smith

Eric Smith

Eric Smith is an author and literary agent from Elizabeth, New Jersey.

When he's not busy writing books, he loves to work on (and talk about!) books by other people. He's represented New York Times bestselling and award-winning titles, and can be found talking about books on the popular HEY YA! podcast on Book Riot.

About Lauren Gibaldi

Image of Lauren Gibaldi.

Public librarian and author of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, MATT'S STORY (a Night We Said Yes novella), AUTOFOCUS, and THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD, all with HarperTeen / HarperCollins. Fan of dinosaurs and cheesy jokes. And you.

15 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith

  1. Sam@WLABB says:

    I struggled with my ARC download and couldn’t read this one. I was sad, but I am happy to see the audiobook was good. I can get that from Hoopla. YEAH! I had a feeling there would be some variety in the stories given the contributors.

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