By Sharon Emerson
Illustrated by Renée Kurilla
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Copyright © 2010
One great rock show can change the world, but who knew it would hit so close to home.
Vita is starting in a new high school she doesn’t have many friends, so she buys a guitar and then she decides to start a band – The Vita-Mins. She realizes the name is pretty bad; she comes up with a better one when she visits her brother’s office in a medical research hospital. He is working with special transparent Zebra Fish, and there she finds her bands name the Zebrafish. Now all she has to do is find band members. They aren’t necessarily ideal band mates since they don’t play instruments, but Plinko, Jay, Tanya, and Walt put their special talents together to create a great song and music video. The band wants to perform it at the school and Tanya thinks that they should charge admission and the proceeds should go to a charity, but what charity should they pick. The answer is closer than they know.
This is a fun and light graphic novel that treads softly on issues of loss of parents and childhood illnesses. It expresses positive messages like how we all need friends and the importance of helping others. The artwork of Kurilla is colorful and playful but not too outlandish, which seems to fit the tone that the writer wants to take. This Graphic Novel has a great message, a nice cast of characters, and offers inspiration to go out and make a difference. I can’t think of a better reason to recommend this to tweens and teens alike.