Becca’s mouth gaped. She shut it, fast, as flies circled her head.
Manny swung at the winged frenzy. Flaco leapt up and beat at the dark, buzzing cloud. I flailed at the horror of insects that wriggled against my skin. Shouts turned to screams as the flies swarmed the stadium, thousands and thousands of crawling feet and glistening wings. Flies climbed the walls. The ventilation system choked and sputtered with them.
Then came Fred.
Flaco jumped over his drums and pitched his sticks straight at his head. Fedora skewed and face bulging red, Fred lunged. I braced for flames.
Manny grabbed the microphone stand and swept it along the floor, knocking Fred’s feet out from under him. He landed with a thump.
"Run for it!” Flaco screamed to Manny and me. He sprinted to the edge of the stage, opened his arms wide, and dove into the crowd.
Pod does card tricks to prove he’s in control. Flaco is rich and loyal beyond words to his abuelo. Manny is desperate to get out of his Bar Mitzvah. Together, what these middle-school misfits want most is for their fledgling band to get noticed. When their made-up song conjures a strange man in Pod’s ancient barn, fame follows so fast it’s scary. As strange things spew from Pod’s guitar, the boys in the band wonder how much of their success comes from talent and how much comes from a dark power they don’t understand.
Complicating their struggles are conflicts with one another, their relationships at school, and family problems. But when Fred threatens the people they love and his Big Boss wants them to sing a disturbing song about suicide, the boys know they can’t let their band be used as an instrument of destruction. With the help of their school librarian, they find problems with Fred's deal. But will that be enough to save them?
"Turn this book up to eleven! It puts the buzz in Beelzebub and the power in power chords. A musical, lyrical tale that must be read.”
Arthur Slade, author of The Hunchback Assignments
“A powerful story told in an equally powerful voice, with characters you love and root for from the very first pages. A novel of friendship, love and guts about three kids who refuse to surrender—brilliant and strikingly new!”
Terry Trueman, Printz Honor Author of Stuck in Neutral
“The first movement in an ambitious song cycle of a tale”
Gail Giles is the author of six young adult novels. Her debut novel, Shattering Glass, was an ALA Best of the Best Book, a Book Sense 76 selection, and a Booklist Top 10 Mystery for Youth selection. Her second, Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters, was an ALA Top 10 Quick pick and a Book Sense 76 selection. Formerly of Fairbanks and Anchorage, Gail now makes her home in Texas. She is available today only for Q & A at Goodreads "Ask Gail Giles."
Deb Vanasse is the author of more than a dozen books for readers of all ages. Her debut novel, A Distant Enemy, was a Junior Literary Guild selection and is featured in Best Books for Young Readers, as was Out of the Wilderness. Co-founder of 49 Writers, Deb lives and works on Hiland Mountain in Eagle River, Alaska.