Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Writer Wednesday: A New Adventure of Music, Magic, and Myth from Gail Giles and Deb Vanasse

No Returns
Book One of the Battleband Saga

A dead rat and a song about blood sacrifice set off an adventure of music, magic, and myth that pits a boy band against the devil. “The first movement in an ambitious song cycle of a tale,” says Kirkus Reviews.


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. Their arms went up immediately, catching Flaco in a huge cradle.
Fred scrambled to his feet and grabbed for me with his jeweled fingers. I skidded out of reach. The crowd whooped and hollered like it was all part of the show. Someone hoisted Becca toward the stage. Manny shoved her back. “Get out of here,” he bellowed. She looked stunned as a clobbered fish.
The audience passed Flaco from person to person until he pointed to the ground. On his feet, he swept off his headband and bowed. Manny and I launched in imitation of his leap. Manny was down and running like a fullback while I was still bouncing in the air like a volleyball.
Fred scooted off the platform and began shoving his way through the throng. “Down,” I yelled. “Put me down.”

About the book

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. What will they risk for stardom?

A colorful cast, complex emotions, lively wording, rich allusions, evocative imagery, and multiple layers of meaning add appeal for all ages.

“Brilliant and strikingly new!” says Terry Trueman, Printz Honor Author of Stuck in Neutral. “You’ll be hard-pressed to find three greater kids to root for in this fight against the devil.”

Hunchback Assignments author Arthur Slade says, “Turn this book up to eleven! It puts the buzz in Beelzebub and the power in power chords.”

About the authors

Gail Giles is the author of six young adult novels, including What Happened to Cat McBride and Dark Song. 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. She has over 12,000 ratings and is in the top 50 followed on Goodreads.

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 inBest Books for Young Readers, as was Out of the Wilderness. Two of her books have been selected as “Battle Books.” Follow her at

You’ll also find No Returns at e-book vendors and through bookstores everywhere.

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