The Band Room

Young Adult - Social Issues
284 Pages
Reviewed on 01/20/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

The Band Room is a coming of age story written by Bob Seay. Angel is a typical teenager and high school football player whose life is turned upside down when he gets a court-ordered sentence of 90-hour community service due to an accidental scuffle with a police officer. Lack of football and becoming a social pariah leads him to seek help from the school Band Director Paul Roberts, who assigns him to file music in the library. To his surprise, Angel finds kindred spirits in the Band Room and soon makes some loyal friends, who not only help him with his mandatory community service but also go out of their way to mend the relationship between Angel and his mother.

The Band Room is a poignant and introspective drama about a high school senior that deals with issues of acceptance, parental relationship, addiction, and the courage to stand up for your beliefs. Author Bob Seay delves deep into the pressures of being a teenager, and the narrative flawlessly captures the anxiety and loneliness that they can go through. The Band Room also perfectly showcases the impact a teacher or a parent can have on a teenager and the choices they make. With relatable and likable characters, a well thought out plot, and suitable dialogue, The Band Room feels like more than the sum of its parts. I am glad that I read it. If you are in the mood for a well-written drama with a healthy dose of social commentary, The Band Room is the way to go.

Jack Magnus

The Band Room is a young adult coming of age novel written by Bob Seay. Every aspect of Angel’s life had suddenly been turned upside-down at a time when he simply wanted to graduate from high school and maybe find a job as a coach. Coach had been his mentor and father figure ever since his parents had divorced. Now, Angel’s space on the team was forever gone, his mother was becoming more and more distant as she got involved with her newest boyfriend, and he had to somehow find a way to serve the 90 hours of community service the judge had imposed upon him. The guidance counselor was totally disinterested in helping him find a way to serve those 90 hours, finally relenting enough to suggest he check with the janitor. Angel wondered if the janitor would remember their brief interaction when he had acted up and caused a mess as a freshman, and, of course, he did. Working for him and, for that matter, for Coach, was out of the question. Another option though was the Band Room. What would band geeks and Mr. Roberts, the music teacher, have that could fill up the ninety hours, which seemed so incredibly long? Mr. Roberts was one of the more compelling and sometimes scary adults in the school. Somehow, however, he seemed to be the one hand reaching out that Angel felt comfortable grabbing. And with that decision, Angel’s world changed utterly and completely.

I love coming of age novels and something about the opening pages of Bob Seay’s social-issues-oriented novel, The Band Room, had me wanting to read more. I’m so glad I did. I loved seeing how Angel adapts to his altered reality at school while coping with an increasingly distant mother whose drinking and reckless behavior had become a source of worry for him. Seay’s characters are marvelous, fully-fledged, and authentic human beings. I loved how eloquently he fleshed out the character of Paul Roberts, a teacher whose love for his students and suppressed dark side become so real and compelling. Angel’s entrance into the world of the band room is an amazing odyssey, and seeing as the “band geeks” become his friends and the ones who form a support structure for him in this oh-so strangely changed senior year is transcendent. The Band Room is a beautifully written novel that works on so many levels. It kept me enthralled and involved in the story throughout my reading experience. The Band Room is most highly recommended.

Lisa McCombs

Angel anticipates a school year of riding high on his football success. When he shows up at the wrong place at the wrong time, his expectations are replaced with a ninety-day court assigned punishment of community service, expulsion from the football team, and an uncomfortable social circle. Labeled as a juvenile offender, his senior year turns into a prison of community service hours in, of all places, the Band Room. Struggling to remain civil in this foreign environment, Angel learns to adapt to the strange behavior of the band geeks while simultaneously learning the sincerity of true friendship when his mother doesn’t return from a date with her latest boy toy. When the trio of band geeks comes to his aid to locate his errant mother, Angel is filled with a new sense of gratitude and purpose.

The Band Room by Bob Seay is a unique story of social injustice, racial unfairness, and family dysfunction to which every reader will relate. The Band Room is a quick read filled with subtle humor and surprising maturity. Seay’s story is an essential addition to any school or classroom library and should be added to every teenager's reading list. Former and current members of the high school band will recognize the essence of The Band Room, from the smells of slide oil to the cacophony of multiple instruments preparing for practice. Including the unexpected existence of human conflict and struggles of the public school teacher, author Bob Seay touches on an unexpected subtopic. Yes, teachers are people too.