Rob Clarke loves music. When he starts up a band, Out of Sight, with some friends, he’s sure that they are going to be a huge hit. There’s just one problem. As much as he loves music, he is terrible at the guitar, and a dreadful singer. It isn’t looking good for Rob, until he realises that he has a talent as a band manager, which happens to be exactly what Out of Sight needs.
I’m a big fan of music young adult books – probably something to do with my unrealised teenage dream of becoming a rock-star – and Out of Sight takes us into the Wellington music scene in a way that feels authentic. There is the right mix of conflict between band members, and the struggle of juggling music and school. It is a fun read, but Out of Sight is more about a teen realising his potential, and reveals that just because one dream isn’t going to come true, doesn’t mean that your dreams can’t change.
Rob is a character that takes a little time to get to like. At first he’s sulky and almost too “teenagery” (I know it is a book for teens, but there’s only so much teenage angst a reader can take) when he doesn’t get his own way. Rob really turns things around however, and he shows a huge amount of personal growth. He has the courage to take his dream, and shape it so that he’s not giving up, but rather turning it into something more reachable.
I would have liked to see more resolved between Rob and his parents. It’s not that they weren’t supportive of their son, its just that they didn’t take an active interest, and it makes them appear more as placeholders on paper rather than rounded out characters. That being said, their lack of attention gives Rob the independence he needs to manage Out of Sight, and to stage a charity gig for his crush Sarah, who needs to raise money for medical treatment overseas.
If you enjoy young adult books with a music/band twist, then Benedict Reid’s Out of Sight is well worth picking up, if only to show you that there is more to the music industry than playing an instrument on stage.
Out of Sight, by Benedict Reid is available from outofsighthq.com