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.