"There are two kinds of people in this world- those who have had a cavity search, and those who haven't. This is the story of how I wound up in the wrong category."
Isn't that a great first page line?
Leo Caraway is a Young Republican who's going to Harvard in the fall...and he's got a strange secret. His father isn't his father- according to his birth certificate he's the product of a one-night stand between his mother and a guy named Marion X. McMurphy that she refuses to discuss. Leo has a temper, which he chalks up to the "McMurphy" within him, and he tries to keep it under wraps.
Then when he's reading his Goth friend Melinda's paper on rock music, he finds out that Marion X. McMurphy is better known as "King Maggot," the lead singer of Purge, "the world's angriest rock band." Who knew the McMurphy-ness was so bad? Oy.
Around the same time, Leo's McMurphy-ness gets him into trouble. He's tutoring a gay guy (Owen) in school, and ends up taking the fall and getting a big black mark on his record for cheating when Leo refuses to help the assistant principal screw over Owen. The good news is that Harvard doesn't care...but the bad news is that he loses his $40,000 scholarship to Harvard. So much for Harvard... but oh, wait, my biological dad is rich, right?
So Leo contacts King (as he's referred to in the book), and King offers him a job as a roadie on tour this summer. Leo goes (along with Owen and Melinda, who are following Purge on tour) and gets to know King, his cousin/manager Bernie, the band, and a fellow roadie named Cam that he doesn't get along with. And things get...surprising.
There are some fucking brilliant lines in this book, especially from King. King is awesome. I have to quote a few:
"Of all the cavity searches I've been through, I have to say this ranks about sixth."
"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."
Bwah. And the ending is just beautiful. I was kvelling. I only wish this book was longer. Four stars from me.
(P.S. Is it kind of sad that I got through most of the book while standing in line at the post office?)