If Life Was Like a Song
Nina Simmons’ song would be “You Can’t Always Eat What You Want.” (Peanut allergies, ugh). But that’s okay, because as her best friend Brianna always said, “We’re All in This Together.”
Until the first day of the seventh grade, when Brianna dumps her to be BFFs with the popular new girl. Left all alone, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”–banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts. As a joke, she tells her new pals they should form a rock band called EpiPens. (Get it?) Apparently, allergy sufferers don’t understand sarcasm, because the next thing Nina knows she’s the lead drummer.
Now Nina has to decide: adopt a picture-perfect pop personality to fit in with Bri and her new BFF or embrace her inner rocker and the spotlight. Well…
Call Me a Rock Star, Maybe.
We have TWO great reasons to celebrate on the blog today. Not only do we have this awesome book and it’s author, Andrea Pyros, visiting us….but it’s the official release day for My Year of Epic Rock!! We’re so thrilled to be part of this exciting event!
Amie: Welcome to the blog, Andrea! Tell our readers a little about why you write MG books.
Andrea: I’ve always loved reading, but during my middle school years, I really needed my books the most. Books helped me feel less lonely, taught me about things no one else was talking about, and generally made me happy. So when I started writing fiction, I just naturally gravitated towards this age group. I’m also a former teen magazine writer and editor, so it’s a voice I’m comfortable using.
Amie: I love that! I think it’s true that those middle-grade years are the times we make connections that stick with us, such as with the impact of books. What was your inspiration for The Year of Epic Rock?
Andrea: I started working on this book after we found out our daughter had food allergies. I wondered how she’d feel as she got older. Would she feel left out? Embarrassed? How would she cope with them? So I made my main character, Nina, a food allergic kid and threw her in to a situation where her food allergies made her feel like she was sticking out when all she wanted was to fit in.
Amie: I think it’s great that you’ve featured a MC with food allergies, even naming the band The EpiPens! Tell me a little more about that. (I have them, too. Red meat if you can believe it! From a tick bite!!)
Andrea: Wow, I’ve heard about that happening after a tick bite. How crazy! Yes, my main character Nina has food allergies to eggs and nuts, and she hates hates hates them! The more I wrote My Year of Epic Rock, though, the more I realized that the book was about fitting in, being part of the group, and learning to stand on your own, which feels like a universal struggle for most kids during these tricky years rather than specifically about food allergies.
Amie: Agreed. I love how you were able to create a universal theme that all children could relate to. Peanuts or pistachios? Lava or quick sand?
Andrea: Peanut butter is my #1, but I’d take pistachios for snacking over peanuts any day. As for the second, I’d choose lava—hopefully it would all be over much sooner than the long slow sink of quicksand.
Amie: Queue the volcano! Start running now for your chance to win a copy of My Year of Epic Rock. Just enter the rafflecopter form below. Thanks Andrea for joining us here at The Mixed-Up Files!
Andrea Pyros is an experienced writer and former teen magazine editor. She’s also had jobs waiting tables (hard!), baking cookies (delicious!), steaming clothing (hot!) and interviewing celebs (terrifying!). But other than a brief period wanting to be a private detective like Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden, she’s dreamt of being a writer all her life. A native of New York City, she now lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and their two children. My Year of Epic Rock is her first novel. Visit her at her website and twitter.
Amie Borst is the author of Cinderskella, co-written by her 14 year old daughter. Little Dead Riding Hood releases October 14th, 2014!