Battle of the Bands, edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith

Published on November 19, 2021

Battle of the Bands Book Cover

Reviewed by Jayde Valosin

Sixteen stories of love, music, and the anxious anticipation of preparing for a New Jersey high school's Battle of the Bands. 

For some, Battle of the Bands is about the music. For others, it's about the relationships they have with their bandmates, and themselves. Some aren't even playing the show, while Beckett is drumming for one quarter of the bands performing that night. These authors have created sixteen short stories that effortlessly capture the nervousness that comes with preparing for a high stakes concert (studio time that could make or break a young band's career) while normal life continues on, with all its ups and downs.

I loved the ability of these stories to capture such specific feelings, like the strangeness of rehearsing or having a costume change in the same classroom you use for math class Monday through Friday. The authors do an amazing job of making the works feel cohesive by mentioning the same characters, bands, and lyrics throughout their writing. Stories by authors Brittany Cavallaro, Jay Coles, Sarvenaz Taghavian, and Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Courtney Pierre stand out as highlights for me, but all of the stories are fantastic and readers will certainly walk away with their own personal favorites.

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