No Returns (The Battleband Saga #1)

 
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No Returns (The Battleband Saga #1)
Age Range
9+
Release Date
February 12, 2014
ISBN
978-1940320045
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A gangster look-alike demon named Fred convinces the boys in the band they've made a deal with the devil—their souls swapped for a chance at fame. But once they nail a spot in the Battleband competition, each of the boys has his own reasons for wanting to win. Pod struggles to control his world since his mother disappeared. Flaco's abuelo is elderly and ill, and Manny longs for acceptance by the school’s jocks. As rising Battleband stars, they ascend from seeming invisibility to sudden popularity. The stakes rise when Fred, acting as their agent, snags a chance for their band, Fly, to open for a famous group called Seventh Circle. Complicating their struggles are conflicts with one another, their vacillating 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 "contract.” But will it be enough to save them?

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Reviewed by Cheryl Cooper for Readers' Favorite
No Returns by Gail Giles and Deb Vanasse is a tale of the unintended consequences of getting what you wish for. Pod, Manny, and Flaco, the 13-year-old members of Fly, aim to win Battleband — a competition to find the best under-sixteen band in the nation. They want to be famous. While the band is good, are they really good enough to win? Through the unexpected linking of seemingly random events, their dream is about to come true. Guaranteed. But there are strings. Faced with one moral dilemma after another, it gets progressively more difficult for the boys to distinguish right from wrong.

The three boys make an unlikely but loyal unit. Pod is a worrier and needs to feel in control. Manny is rebellious against his family’s expectations. Flaco wants the benefits that come with being a celebrity. Their common ground is a strong sense of family. On the fringes of the band is Becca, Manny’s cousin and the self-appointed manager of Fly, who has more enthusiasm and energy than the boys can handle. With Fred Ratt pulling the strings, none of their lives will ever be the same again. Gail Giles and Deb Vanasse have crafted an entertaining book with realistic characters that asks hard questions about the meaning of friendship, loyalty, and family. As the first book in the Battleband Saga, No Returns is an enjoyable story that ends with enough unsolved mysteries to make you want to read the next book to find out what happens.
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