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The Vinyl Underground

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Dig it. During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school. The four ou Dig it. During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school. The four outcasts find sanctuary in “The Vinyl Underground,” a record club where they spin music, joke, debate, and escape the stifling norms of their small southern town. But Ronnie’s eighteenth birthday is looming. Together, they hatch a plan to keep Ronnie from being drafted. But when a horrific act of racial-charged violence rocks the gang to their core, they decide it’s time for an epic act of rebellion.


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Dig it. During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school. The four ou Dig it. During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school. The four outcasts find sanctuary in “The Vinyl Underground,” a record club where they spin music, joke, debate, and escape the stifling norms of their small southern town. But Ronnie’s eighteenth birthday is looming. Together, they hatch a plan to keep Ronnie from being drafted. But when a horrific act of racial-charged violence rocks the gang to their core, they decide it’s time for an epic act of rebellion.

30 review for The Vinyl Underground

  1. 5 out of 5

    MissBecka

    The era, the music, the story and the characters were all fantastic pieces I enjoyed getting lost in. "It ain't easy being the only rose in an asshole parade." It felt like too many things were left unsaid/did when the book ended. I'm not sure if an epilogue would have destroyed the mystic or settled my questions? Much thanks goes to NetGalley & North Star Editions for my DRC. The era, the music, the story and the characters were all fantastic pieces I enjoyed getting lost in. "It ain't easy being the only rose in an asshole parade." It felt like too many things were left unsaid/did when the book ended. I'm not sure if an epilogue would have destroyed the mystic or settled my questions? Much thanks goes to NetGalley & North Star Editions for my DRC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roberta R. (Offbeat YA)

    Rated 3.5 really. Excerpt from my review - originally published at Offbeat YA. Pros: Vivid portrait of an era. Teen protagonists who feel real. Focus on friendship and coming of age (though there's some romance involved). Music fuels the story. Cons: Messy parent-child dynamics and conveniently clueless adults. Some inconsiderate choices. WARNING! Verbal and physical abuse (racially charged, for the most part). Unchallenged drug use. Underage drinking. Will appeal to: Those who appreciate a story wa Rated 3.5 really. Excerpt from my review - originally published at Offbeat YA. Pros: Vivid portrait of an era. Teen protagonists who feel real. Focus on friendship and coming of age (though there's some romance involved). Music fuels the story. Cons: Messy parent-child dynamics and conveniently clueless adults. Some inconsiderate choices. WARNING! Verbal and physical abuse (racially charged, for the most part). Unchallenged drug use. Underage drinking. Will appeal to: Those who appreciate a story walking the line between teen adventure and social/historical commentary. First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on Netgalley. Thanks to North Star Editions/Flux for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way. Also, please note that this is an uncorrected proof - I was able to spot some (genuine) typos that are most likely not to find their way into the final version 🙂. Fun fact: to match the book, all the headers for this review are US song titles from the '60s. THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' 1968 was a pivotal year in most of the Western countries, but there's no doubt that the US - with the Vietnam war draft, the still very much current segregation and Martin Luther King's assassination - were one of the hottest spots at the time. And probably more than anywhere else, music - rock music - embodied the spirit of protest of the young generation, or at least their restlessness. Now, I'm in no position to know firsthand, but it seems to me that TVU captures the feeling perfectly - that of a nation losing its (mostly fake, apparent at best) innocence, and being forced to come of age. Against the backdrop of the draft scare and of his uncertainty about the future, Ronnie - along with his friends - finally sees the bigger picture, and realises that not taking a stand against injustice is just as bad as being part of it. Music itself, for him and the whole Vinyl Underground, become less of a hiding place or a cure for heartbreak, and more of a rebellion flag and a way to make a statement. But it also plays a key role in the story...a role that, of course, I'm not going to spoil 😉. [...] Whole review here.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Louise-Andree

    ***ARC provided by Netgalley and North Star Editions in exchange for an honest review*** 3* I have to first admit that I completely forgot this book was approuved to read and so it took me a while. And then I wasn't in the right mindset and it took me multiple tries to read it. I'm not that familiar with the Vietnam war and I'm not a historical fiction buff either but I'm glad i gave this a go. It's 1968. Ronnie's brother bruce died during the Vietnam war and he fears that when he turns 18, he's g ***ARC provided by Netgalley and North Star Editions in exchange for an honest review*** 3* I have to first admit that I completely forgot this book was approuved to read and so it took me a while. And then I wasn't in the right mindset and it took me multiple tries to read it. I'm not that familiar with the Vietnam war and I'm not a historical fiction buff either but I'm glad i gave this a go. It's 1968. Ronnie's brother bruce died during the Vietnam war and he fears that when he turns 18, he's going to be drafted. Hana is a half Japanese girl completely anti-war and her parents make her move to Florida, away from all that protesting she's been doing. Bruce's best friend Ramrod, purposely fails at school so he won't be drafted. All together with Milo, they form this club called The Vinyl Underground and the purpose was to mainly listen to music but then it becomes more than that. They plot a scheme that will help Ronnie get disqualified from the draft. The Vinyl Underground has a strong setting and the world building for this story is obviously well done since it is based on a real event. As for the characters, i thought they were built up nicely but I had a few issues with Hana. The Asian representation was definitely a nice touch but I had a hard time getting her/understanding her at times.Maybe it's the character development, maybe it's something else. I'm not too sure. Characters like Lewis could have benefited in to more development. Also, I'm not sure if it's the time period or the restrictions of school or what exactly but I have a hard time believing that teens would be able to skip school as many times as these kids did without consequences?! Like I said, I'm not a history buff so i did have a hard time connecting to the idea of war and drafting but I did like that this book touched on racial discrimination, preferential treatment and other subject. Pretty sure that I would have liked this better had I been more knowledgeable with events like this, however.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    Ya girl has issues with requesting arcs and TOTALLY forgetting the premise of them by the time approval sets in cause I remember this was centered around music but not Vietnam 😂😂 I started to read this and was instantly turned off, DESPITE REQUESTING, and almost put it down because I’m not one for historical fiction centered around a war. Instead, I pushed on and I am so glad that I did because this book was absolutely phenomenal! Like I said, I’m not one for historical fiction centered around a Ya girl has issues with requesting arcs and TOTALLY forgetting the premise of them by the time approval sets in cause I remember this was centered around music but not Vietnam 😂😂 I started to read this and was instantly turned off, DESPITE REQUESTING, and almost put it down because I’m not one for historical fiction centered around a war. Instead, I pushed on and I am so glad that I did because this book was absolutely phenomenal! Like I said, I’m not one for historical fiction centered around a war but this one took an anti-Vietnam stance so I was super intrigued when that sentiment became the forefront of the book. I really enjoyed that it not only took that stand but it did so without shaming the soldiers who were forced to go over there and serve, which if you know anything about the Vietnam War, was a huge thing that happened back in the day. Soldiers who came back traumatized were further traumatized by anti-war protesters despite some not even wanting to go in the first place. The characters themselves were super fun to read about. Each one had their own distinct personality, voice, and taste in music. Here lately I’ve been reading a lot of books where the MC is well fleshed out but the side characters really aren’t and that isn’t the case with this novel at all. We get a bit of each characters backstory as well as plans for the future once the book starts coming to the end. I really loved that aspect of the book and though Rob did an excellent job with it. There is a lot of racism discussion and honestly, I was very apprehensive about this considering it is a book set in the ‘60s and those times were not at all friendly to anyone not white or American or, quite frankly, male. Again, Rob did a good job handling it! The MC was called out on his shitty behavior when it happened, he learned, he grew. A lot of 2019 woke-ness makes appearances in the book but it’s done in such a way that I really enjoyed. I mean, obviously not every white person in the ‘60′s was bigoted and racist so it’s plausible that some actually stood up and fought back, but I had never encountered that in a novel so I was extremely happy to see that aspect in a ‘60′s based story. As a matter of fact, besides the anti-Vietnam War theme, racism and bigotry is talked about a lot. The only female, Hana, in the group is half-Japanese, a badass, and has NO QUALMS with calling her friends out on their shitty behavior. Not only that but she isn’t hypersexualized as a lot of novels tend to do for Asian women. Hana’s this super smart, aspiring journalist with excellent taste in fashion and music. She isn’t just there to teach them not to be bigots. She’s got her own distinct point in the book.This is what I’m saying when I say the side characters are well fleshed out! There was once instance that was extremely hard to read so trigger warning for that because it involves racist induced violence and it really turned my stomach to read on the page. I’m not saying anything else because of spoilers but be mindful it’s there. There is also a teeny tiny hint of romance to the novel. It’s really more of a blink and you miss it kind of thing. Honestly, I could’ve done without it. The book stood up very well on it’s own without having to add it in at the end. All in all, I really enjoyed the book and will be purchasing my own copy when it comes out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tanvi

    Thanks to Netgalley and Flux for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Who knew such an unassuming cover could hide such a cracker of a book? Rufus makes writing look like a Sunday stroll. Seriously, if I could sum up this book in three words it’d be ‘bloody good writing.’ I don’t just want to buy this book, I want to give it to everyone I know and then commission a press release to talk about how good it is. Unfortunately, I only know about four people and none of them like YA, which is a cry Thanks to Netgalley and Flux for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Who knew such an unassuming cover could hide such a cracker of a book? Rufus makes writing look like a Sunday stroll. Seriously, if I could sum up this book in three words it’d be ‘bloody good writing.’ I don’t just want to buy this book, I want to give it to everyone I know and then commission a press release to talk about how good it is. Unfortunately, I only know about four people and none of them like YA, which is a crying shame because this is the best YA book I’ve read since The Book Thief. I’m not trying to imply that writing a YA book is somehow easier than writing one for adults, by the way. Reading one, however, is an exercise fraught with love triangles and swooning Mary Sues these days. What a relief to read a YA (or indeed, any) novel where finding one’s true love isn’t either the answer to some kind of life-threatening illness or just something someone does because the Powers that Be have decreed it and singleness is anathema. The Vinyl Underground hooked me from the first line, “Free love is bullshit.” Bang: 60s vibe. Short, snappy, crisp. There was no posturing, no purple prose, no minefields of metaphor or overdescription. Just straight into the story. The dialogue sounded real, right down to idioms such as “Give your momma some sugar” and the sentences were short and clear. I can’t emphasise enough how seamless the narration and the plot were and how authentic the characters’ voices sounded. That’s one of my dealbreakers: if I’m meant to be reading a thirty-year-old man and he sounds sixty, then I put the book down. Too many adults write YA books that don’t reflect the way teenagers actually talk. The constant references to segregation and real-life events, such as the Jacksonville riots of 1964, situated the story firmly in the 60s. And, of course, the war letters from Ronnie’s brother, who’s a casualty of the war, and the technology, and all the music. The storyline, too, was topical: four teenagers use a little Thursday-night record-swapping and a lot of weed to build a sanctuary and a campaign, in their own small way, against the Vietnam War and the government that sanctioned it. Or, as the characters themselves put it, against “the man”. The four main characters’ dislike of it never feels artificial- they all have compelling reasons, like Ronnie, not to want to go to war. Or, rather, their hatred of war shines out of the pages. From the beginning, there are high personal stakes because they’re all the right age to be drafted into the war, complete with early incentives (I had no idea high school students were drafted into the Vietnam War). Then we have Ronnie, freshly plunged into grief for his older brother, who has just died in Vietnam, and under pressure from his wrestling-coach, ex-US-Army father to do the manly thing and enlist early, before his upcoming birthday. Against this background, then, there are clear risks for Ronnie in joining a pacifist group, even one engaged in such a small act of rebellion as listening to records. And these pan out, but not in ways that the audience - or even the characters - expect. From our second encounter with Hana, the new girl in town, it’s clear that she is ambitious, intelligent, courageous, passionately and vocally anti-war and anti-US, and mad about records, just from the description of her room. All the generalised racism in the background of the book, including the mentions of segregation, takes on a personal dimension when it’s focused in on this one character. It’s hard to describe what I liked about her, because she could come off as a bit of a Mary Sue. She holds her own in a fight, but the real drawcard for me was her ambition. She isn’t just driven, she’s articulate, strident about her opinions (justifiably so) and she doesn’t hesitate to stand up and protest against injustice. She’s an admirable, well-rounded character and a deserving heroine. The other two characters were equally distinctive. If this review sounds like damning with faint praise, believe me, it isn’t. I’m just having a hard time articulating exactly what I loved about this story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    I fell in love with Rob Rufus’ writing when he published his teen memoir, Die Young with Me, so to say I was excited for The Vinyl Underground is an understatement. I had the opportunity to meet Rob when his band, The Bad Signs, toured to SF a few years ago and he introduced me to the story that would become The Vinyl Underground. Set against a background of resistance and punk rock music, The Vinyl Underground is a story set during a historic time period that wasn’t well taught in my high school I fell in love with Rob Rufus’ writing when he published his teen memoir, Die Young with Me, so to say I was excited for The Vinyl Underground is an understatement. I had the opportunity to meet Rob when his band, The Bad Signs, toured to SF a few years ago and he introduced me to the story that would become The Vinyl Underground. Set against a background of resistance and punk rock music, The Vinyl Underground is a story set during a historic time period that wasn’t well taught in my high school history classes. It’s 1968 and the draft is a real fear for graduating male seniors. For Ronnie, it’s especially worrisome, having lost his brother to the war. In the story, we also meet Hana, a girl who faces racism and charges back with an anti-war rebellion, and Milo, bookish and bff of Ronnie. Rounding out the bunch is Ramrod, who tries to fail school to avoid the draft. Each character brings a unique perspective to the story, so much that they practically jump off the page. Together, our main characters from The Vinyl Underground, focused on draft-dodging and punk rock music. What could go wrong…or what could go right? It’s easy to see Rob’s personal music experience bleed through the pages. That’s what I loved most about Die Young with Me - I too love rock n roll, with its rebellious roots and zinger lyrics (which are used as part of the storytelling here). This book does not shy away from the outright racism at the time but does confront it head on. The youth in this book are definitely doing things that adults might side eye, which I appreciated the realness. To balance, the adults are definitely doing the adult things you’d expect, driving the rebellion even further. I won’t spoil the end but I definitely fist pumped (sorry, shitty adults). Vividly told through setting, character, and story, The Vinyl Underground is a story many years in the making that I am glad has finally arrived!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Babs

    I know Rob Rufus was bummed that the official release of this book was out shined by the COVID shutdown and honestly, I am too, because although it is set in 1968, there are many issues highlighted that have continued to stir in cultural and political society since. For me, it has a lot of relatable content for a girl who was a senior in high school when 9/11 happened. I vividly remember the military officers camping out in the cafeteria of a high school segregated by the "Have" and "Have Nots", I know Rob Rufus was bummed that the official release of this book was out shined by the COVID shutdown and honestly, I am too, because although it is set in 1968, there are many issues highlighted that have continued to stir in cultural and political society since. For me, it has a lot of relatable content for a girl who was a senior in high school when 9/11 happened. I vividly remember the military officers camping out in the cafeteria of a high school segregated by the "Have" and "Have Nots", getting seniors and juniors to pledge their duty upon graduation, promising college tuition and scholarships, specifically to the poor kids. I remember the heightened hatred towards Muslims or anyone who appeared to be Middle Eastern at all. I remember the magnetic yellow ribbons on cars and many saying, "Never Forget!" with racism disguised as patriotism. And here we are, 52 years of civil unrest and protests later, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, still seeing needless racism, classism, bigotry, and false patriotism. While this book untangles a lot of strings attached to heavy topics of war and racism, there is also a compelling story of the kind of friendship that forces you to look inward and ask yourself how you can be better, not just to your friends, but to society as a whole; the kind of friendship that makes you want to see change and be a part of it (and have a killer rock n roll record club to set the tone!). I don't want to spoil details but where some might disagree, the ideas highlighted in this book are just as important now as they would have been then. I highly suggest picking it up and make sure you check out the playlist on Spotify that the author has thoughtfully put together in sync with the Vinyl Underground Club meetings! Excellent touch to make this book stand out.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Queen Cronut

    Set in 1960-era America, The Vinyl Underground follows four outcast teens and the companionship they share through their record club called The Vinyl Underground. Ronnie's older brother, Bruce has been killed in the Vietnam War, leaving Ronnie to cope with his loss and with high school graduation approaching, his father is determined to send his other son to fight overseas. Meanwhile, Hana, a Japanese girl with radically progressive ideas, moves next door to Ronnie and is often subject to racial Set in 1960-era America, The Vinyl Underground follows four outcast teens and the companionship they share through their record club called The Vinyl Underground. Ronnie's older brother, Bruce has been killed in the Vietnam War, leaving Ronnie to cope with his loss and with high school graduation approaching, his father is determined to send his other son to fight overseas. Meanwhile, Hana, a Japanese girl with radically progressive ideas, moves next door to Ronnie and is often subject to racial slurs in school. Together, with Ronnie's best friend, Milo and Bruce's best friend, Lewis, they form The Vinyl Underground, bonded by their love of music. The setting is vivid- Rufus does an excellent job weaving in pop culture and music references into this novel and discussing prejudice, racism, and grief/healing. Courage plays a huge role in this book and it was interesting to see what courage meant to each of the characters. An interesting historical fiction YA novel with themes that remain relevant today. *Thank you to NetGalley and North Star Editions publishers for providing a free ARC

  9. 4 out of 5

    Addie_read_this

    Thank you Netgally and the publisher for giving me a digital Arc to read and review. The Vinyl Underground is set in 1968, during the peak of the Vietnam war. Ronnie's brother Bruce died during the war and he really doesn't want to sign up for the draft. This book is the first book I've ever read that has a anti-Vietnam stance. That really interested me as I personally think that the whole draft was wrong and the Vietnam war should have been over way sooner. The writing style of this book really go Thank you Netgally and the publisher for giving me a digital Arc to read and review. The Vinyl Underground is set in 1968, during the peak of the Vietnam war. Ronnie's brother Bruce died during the war and he really doesn't want to sign up for the draft. This book is the first book I've ever read that has a anti-Vietnam stance. That really interested me as I personally think that the whole draft was wrong and the Vietnam war should have been over way sooner. The writing style of this book really got me. I started it out of boredom, but I finished the book in one sitting. I will be buying this book when it comes out. The book also deals with racism and hate crimes. It is sad to read about, but it was the reality in that time. The way it slips into the story is just so well written. There is also a hint of romance, but it is not the main focus of the book. The thing I liked most in this book was the way that records were the main point of the stories. Bruce send letters that should be read while listening to a song. I might go back to the book and read the letters while listening to the music. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    Thank you NetGalley and North Star Editions for this digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Description Dig it. During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school. The four outcasts find sanct Thank you NetGalley and North Star Editions for this digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Description Dig it. During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school. The four outcasts find sanctuary in “The Vinyl Underground,” a record club where they spin music, joke, debate, and escape the stifling norms of their small southern town. But Ronnie’s eighteenth birthday is looming. Together, they hatch a plan to keep Ronnie from being drafted. But when a horrific act of racial-charged violence rocks the gang to their core, they decide it’s time for an epic act of rebellion. I went into this read thinking that it would be music that drew them all together. I was hooked. Getting elbows deep, I found it seemed anti-war and filled with words I cringed reading. I wish we were never part of the Vietnam war, but we were.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meliciousbeauty

    This book is a beautiful description of growing up in the late 60's when everyone was reeling from the devastating affects of the Vietnam war as well as the assassination of MLK Jr. When the grass roots movements were formed and the people wanted to try to make a change in the world. This book follows 4 boys who each have their own demons to wrestle, but connect through their love of music. The vinyl underground drew me in from the first page and I couldn't put it down. The author (rufus) has a wa This book is a beautiful description of growing up in the late 60's when everyone was reeling from the devastating affects of the Vietnam war as well as the assassination of MLK Jr. When the grass roots movements were formed and the people wanted to try to make a change in the world. This book follows 4 boys who each have their own demons to wrestle, but connect through their love of music. The vinyl underground drew me in from the first page and I couldn't put it down. The author (rufus) has a way of weaving in an incredible story with pop culture references and music to make it relatable to teens growing up 50 years later. **Thank you to netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    I enjoyed this book and its themes! I also enjoyed getting to experience a story in a time period that I'm less familiar with. While I'm glad the main characters came out on top, I'm not a fan of their methods. I'm with Ronnie when he was feeling conflicted at the end—what they did was honestly pretty cruel (my squeamish self was pretty disturbed by it), but I also understand that feeling of powerlessness, when you want so badly for something big to change but know that writing letters to your c I enjoyed this book and its themes! I also enjoyed getting to experience a story in a time period that I'm less familiar with. While I'm glad the main characters came out on top, I'm not a fan of their methods. I'm with Ronnie when he was feeling conflicted at the end—what they did was honestly pretty cruel (my squeamish self was pretty disturbed by it), but I also understand that feeling of powerlessness, when you want so badly for something big to change but know that writing letters to your congress rep is probably useless. I did enjoy the book overall though and definitely felt personally for Ronnie as he grieved his brother's death. (Not a spoiler, btw ;))

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jazlyn

    A righteous book that combines the art of music with the cruelty, violence, and pain of the Vietnam war, and the discrimination in the 60’s. With the use of flamboyant language and and a slew of 60’s slang; I knew exactly when and where I was.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I originally picked this up because I love music from this time period. What I found was a book that moved me, rocked me and made me really think! With the Vietnam War as the background, this story centers around 4 high school kids: Ronnie, who is grieving his brother's death in the war; Milo, his film buff of a best friend; Lewis or "Ramrod", who was Ronnie's brother's best friend; and Hana, a half-Japanese new girl, who's a bad ass and new in their small-minded little town. These four come tog I originally picked this up because I love music from this time period. What I found was a book that moved me, rocked me and made me really think! With the Vietnam War as the background, this story centers around 4 high school kids: Ronnie, who is grieving his brother's death in the war; Milo, his film buff of a best friend; Lewis or "Ramrod", who was Ronnie's brother's best friend; and Hana, a half-Japanese new girl, who's a bad ass and new in their small-minded little town. These four come together and form The Vinyl Underground, a weekly record club where they play records and read Ronnie's brother, Bruce's letters. It's during these meeting that they come up with a plan to try and get Ronnie out of the draft. And then, as if that's not bad enough, racism rears its ugly head! And in their small, still segregated town, Hana is considered no better then the Vietnamese...I couldn't believe what happened! And yet when you think about the war, you think and hear ugly things...some people even here, if they are sick enough, can be impressionable. The group takes it upon themselves for the ultimate rebellion. I had so many emotions during this book. First of all, Ronnie, and I'm sure a lot of boys his age didn't plan his future past 18 because of the war . Ronnie couldn't think past the draft! Why bother. After his brother was killed, it was harder for Ronnie to see a different future for himself. It really made me wonder about boys in real life at that time. I can't even imagine! I loved this friendship that the kid's had! They were honest and real! You couldn't have better friends then them! As for what they did to try to save Ronnie from the draft, I won't ruin anything for anyone. All I will say is that....Wow! To be willing to put yourself through that! But I can see that! I think I would go through just about anything to avoid going to war! But it just goes to show you how desperate someone would have to be. I wonder, once again, how many boys in real life considered doing something? Attempted something? Anything? Would some have considered it being weak? Maybe. I had purchased the audiobook from Libro.fm, but I loved the book so much I just had to get the paperback because I know it's going to be a re-read! And it needs to be on my shelf! I highly recommend this! Well done! And the music.....the original reason I got it.....it's there.....and I could almost hear it in the background. And the way the author talks about it, I felt like we were part of The Vinyl Underground talking music ourselves! Until next week...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mona AlvaradoFrazier

    The year is 1968, and the US military is in Vietnam. Ronnie and his older brother, Bruce, had plans to go west and become famous radio DJs, but their plans are derailed when Bruce ships out to war and is killed. Now, grieving and lost, Ronnie is terrified of being drafted, although his father expects Ronnie to join upon his rapidly approaching 18th birthday. The Vinyl Underground began as a record club to listen to music with Ronnie's friends, Milo, Ramrod (his brother's best friend who intentio The year is 1968, and the US military is in Vietnam. Ronnie and his older brother, Bruce, had plans to go west and become famous radio DJs, but their plans are derailed when Bruce ships out to war and is killed. Now, grieving and lost, Ronnie is terrified of being drafted, although his father expects Ronnie to join upon his rapidly approaching 18th birthday. The Vinyl Underground began as a record club to listen to music with Ronnie's friends, Milo, Ramrod (his brother's best friend who intentionally flunked to avoid the draft), and the new girl, Hana, who is biracial (half Japanese). Together, they hatch a plan to keep Ronnie from being drafted. Hana actively protests the war, which incenses several of her classmates who demonize her, ending with a terrible act of violence. The friends devise an act of rebellion and revenge on their classmates. There was much to like about the story. The writing contains authentic language and descriptors of life as well as realistic dialogue. I enjoyed the interplay of music into the novel and the dynamics between the friends. Themes of war, protest, racial divides, coming-of-age all explored. Events current to the time were included with the interior monologues of how this informed Ronnie. The story is well-paced but sometimes comes off fragmented. The characterization of Ronnie's father came off like the dad in "That 70's Show." The mother was almost non-existent. The antagonist seemed to be in the book for shock value and this seemed off. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    C.L.

    Really, really good. I loved the backdrop of the Vietnam War mixed with the ideas of what it means to be courageous. A wonderful story, a dynamic protagonist and a story that draws you along beautifully to its hopeful conclusion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Khansa Jan Dijoo

    I received this book because of a Netgalley request for an honest review. "Be whatever you have to be to get to the edge of the cliff. It doesn't matter how you get there, what matters is you jump." The Vinyl Underground by Rob Rufus is a story about brave choices and doing the right thing. It is a story about four friends who form a music club and face the worries of the world such as school, college applications, and the drafting for Vietnam War with their love for rock n' roll. I loved The Vi I received this book because of a Netgalley request for an honest review. "Be whatever you have to be to get to the edge of the cliff. It doesn't matter how you get there, what matters is you jump." The Vinyl Underground by Rob Rufus is a story about brave choices and doing the right thing. It is a story about four friends who form a music club and face the worries of the world such as school, college applications, and the drafting for Vietnam War with their love for rock n' roll. I loved The Vinyl Underground for its cool plot and the genre development. The plot was cool in terms of the issues that it addressed such a military drafting and racial discrimination. In the few books I have read about war, the protagonists are ready to fight for their country no matter how young they are. Many war fiction writers like to portray their protagonists as patriots, but Rufus does the opposite. This different perspective towards drafting for a war is what makes the book very interesting to read. In regards to racial discrimination, Rufus highlights how people of Asian origin were discriminated because of the Vietnam War and he gets to do it in-depth because one of his protagonists is half-Japanese. These two main themes of the plot make the book an insightful read because it provides the reader with a different perspective on the Vietnam War. The Vinyl Underground comes under the historical fiction and the young adult genres and for me, it was a unique combination. In the historical fiction books I have read so far, the plots have highlighted how young adults during wars are forced to grow up. They are forced to think like adults and be like adults and that is just not in the battle field, rather it is like that in every possible aspect of life. However in this book, Rufus has not forced his protagonists to quickly grow up and get ready for the Vietnam War. His characters fight off this kind of growing up in every way possible such as coming up with ways to avoid the draft. I felt that providing us with this perspective on the Vietnam War was important because it emphasizes on the need to end wars and work towards bringing social justice. For these reasons, I liked the genre combination and genre development of this book, which enhanced Rufus' different perspective on the Vietnam War. For me, The Vinyl Underground by Rob Rufus is about making different and brave choices. The story has been insightful in terms of highlighting the effects of the Vietnam War back in America. Rufus' story has also taught me a lot about doing what is right and not bothering with what others think of you. It is a moral lesson that I have come across numerous times, but Rufus' story makes it echo deep within me. The Vinyl Underground is a story that I would recommend to all historical fiction lovers and to those who like seeing things from all the different angles.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey (Bring My Books)

    I was immediately drawn to this book because of what I imagined would be a killer look at music and records in the 1960s, but I was sucked in even further when I saw that this was a book whose main plot centers around the Vietnam War. I have read a lot of historical fiction, but tend to pick up books about WWI or WWII, and don't really delve into other eras (to my own disappointment in myself). I'm glad I picked this up, and I'm so glad I read it. The way Rob Rufus writes about music and what it I was immediately drawn to this book because of what I imagined would be a killer look at music and records in the 1960s, but I was sucked in even further when I saw that this was a book whose main plot centers around the Vietnam War. I have read a lot of historical fiction, but tend to pick up books about WWI or WWII, and don't really delve into other eras (to my own disappointment in myself). I'm glad I picked this up, and I'm so glad I read it. The way Rob Rufus writes about music and what it meant to these teenagers is just as poignant as when he is discussing the war in Vietnam and what the prospect of being drafted into military services feels like for these teenagers. He was able to bring that time - the fears, the worries, the concerns, the anger, the sadness - to the forefront of this story and give them a tangible feel and believability. I think so much of this book is so important, but I especially loved the way that racism was discussed, and how the three young men in the story were held accountable for both their action and their inaction. Hana was a very strong character, even in parts of the story she did not have an active role in, and the other three men were all well created and relatable. The stories about the draft and how different people viewed it were also great, and I loved that at the end of the book you're left to make your own opinion about the "act of rebellion" that the group took part in. (Also, most all of the ways of draft dodging that were referenced were totally true and terrifying.) Thank you to NetGalley& North Star Editions for the opportunity to read and review this book before it's publication date! This in no way affected my review, opinions are my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Raathi Chota

    For twenty-four chapters, it’s written at a good pace with rising tension, conflict and resolution visible. Rufus does a good job constructing a novel with such controversial themes that’s still applicable in today’s society. Taking place in the USA (1968) yet revolving around the Vietnam war and how our protagonist, Ronnie, deals with the death of his older brother, Bruce after being drafted and killed in the war. I loved how Rufus covered all the grief and problems that the characters go throu For twenty-four chapters, it’s written at a good pace with rising tension, conflict and resolution visible. Rufus does a good job constructing a novel with such controversial themes that’s still applicable in today’s society. Taking place in the USA (1968) yet revolving around the Vietnam war and how our protagonist, Ronnie, deals with the death of his older brother, Bruce after being drafted and killed in the war. I loved how Rufus covered all the grief and problems that the characters go through, with pop culture. Hence, The Vinyl Underground. Music brought them together, it’s what still made them teenagers through the difficult times. Hana, the Japanese girl is the key to the story. She brings out the racist slurs portrayed on Asians that time being assumed bad as the Vietnamese. Yet Hana is the character we need to shut up people like that! Any chance she got, she stood up and spoke her truth. Nothing got in her way. She was a bad bitch, the kind that you wanted to be like. In her leather jacket and cigarettes galore, nothing stopped her from speaking her mind.  It was hard for me to picture Ronnie; it described him to have a gruff voice… other than that; I enjoyed the story from his eyes. The stages of grief, not only him but his father went through. It was important to see the father’s development as back then, fathers were very persistent to their sons doing the ‘manly’ thing for the pride and family. I loved that subplot of Ronnie not wanting to end up like his brother.  Milo and Lewis were the greatest friends! Ronnie’s dad was the coach, so he wasn’t exactly an outsider, he climbed the ladder of hierarchy thanks to his dad and Lewis being the captain. The friend group and connection between the three of them, including Hana, was original. They each fought for what they believed in but still came together to help each other.  It’s an inspirational story with strong themes and emotional characters. I hope I can purchase a copy and recommend it to everyone I know!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ley

    I think this might be one of my favorite books I've read this year! This book is one of those that, when you read it, you can truly feel the music. It's the story of a small revolution, and, considering the state of the United States right now, it's timely despite the over 50 year gap. Ronnie's life is just go to school, wrestle, work with his best friend Milo at the theatre, come home, get high, and listen to his dead brother Bruce's albums. Bruce was shipped off to Vietnam, throwing a wrench in I think this might be one of my favorite books I've read this year! This book is one of those that, when you read it, you can truly feel the music. It's the story of a small revolution, and, considering the state of the United States right now, it's timely despite the over 50 year gap. Ronnie's life is just go to school, wrestle, work with his best friend Milo at the theatre, come home, get high, and listen to his dead brother Bruce's albums. Bruce was shipped off to Vietnam, throwing a wrench in his and Ronnie's plans to head to Los Angeles to be radio djs. All Ronnie has left are his letterman jacket, his car, and his killer collection of vinyl. Enter Hana: a truly radical girl from Chicago, biding her time before she can run off and be a journalist. Hana is punk before punk knew what it was. She's into MC5, she's attended more protests than you can shake a stick at. Milo and Ronnie are immediately drawn to her. Why wouldn't they be? She's snarky, she's into music. Oh, and she's half-Japanese. Ronnie stops some of his racist ass team members from roughing her up, only to get punched in the nose. Thus, the Vinyl Underground is born! There's so much to love about every one of our four leads (Ramrod, though he didn't get as much page time, is wonderful),  but their sheer drive is what makes me want to protect all of these babies. Their plan for getting Ronnie out of the draft? GENIUS, but also, as a sound engineer, HOLY SHIT DO NOT DO WHAT THEY DID, THAT'S A BAD MOVE. But it still makes so much sense! A timely story despite the history, The Vinyl Underground is a story that carries hope and revolution in the forefront. I give it 5 out of 5 45 adapters.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Madi

    I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this from NetGalley, thank you so much. I loved this book so much! I think the biggest thing I loved about this book is how authentic it felt. The dialogue between these characters never felt forced and I loved that while they were all different they showed a truly great friendship. They argued and disagreed, but these four teens were not forced together, they were simply friends dealing with terrifying and uncertain circumstances. Plus, the real life events a I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this from NetGalley, thank you so much. I loved this book so much! I think the biggest thing I loved about this book is how authentic it felt. The dialogue between these characters never felt forced and I loved that while they were all different they showed a truly great friendship. They argued and disagreed, but these four teens were not forced together, they were simply friends dealing with terrifying and uncertain circumstances. Plus, the real life events and issues that were present throughout still feel very contemporary. . The Vinyl Underground is a book about the power of music, rebellion, hope and the complex layers of courageous actions. I think both YA and historical fictions fans will find this to be fantastic read. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up immediately.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kate Larkindale

    I really enjoyed this piece of historical fiction. Set in 1968, Ronnie's brother, Bruce, has recently been killed in Vietnam. Now he's about to graduate and the draft hangs over him. Despite having already lost one son to the war, Ronnie's father is determined to see his second son honor the country with his service too. When Ronnie meets Hana, the new girl who moves in across the street, his thinking begins to change. She's half-Japanese and faces daily slurs about her race at the still-segregat I really enjoyed this piece of historical fiction. Set in 1968, Ronnie's brother, Bruce, has recently been killed in Vietnam. Now he's about to graduate and the draft hangs over him. Despite having already lost one son to the war, Ronnie's father is determined to see his second son honor the country with his service too. When Ronnie meets Hana, the new girl who moves in across the street, his thinking begins to change. She's half-Japanese and faces daily slurs about her race at the still-segregated school they attend in small-town Florida. Having come from Chicago, Hana has new ideas about the war and justice and many other things Ronnie has never thought about before. Along with Ronnie's best friend, Milo, and Bruce's best friend Lewis, Ronnie and Hana start up a club, The Vinyl Underground, as a way to share the music all four kid love. But their weekly meetings become more politically charged as the conversation flows. Before too long, the group have come up with an audacious plan to keep Ronnie from being drafted. Things should calm down for Ronnie once the threat of going to war is lifted from his future, but instead, an act of racially charged violence shatters their tight-knit group and together they plan an act of revenge that may just change the lives of their peers forever. The characters in this book feel very real and complex. They are children, yet face the very real possibility of being sent to a foreign country to be killed. How they are expected to go to school and study the heroics of American politicians in the face of this level of terror is beyond me. This would have been a very real fear at this time, and I loved how creative these characters are in their planning. I would definitely recommend this one, even if you're not interested in historical fiction. The themes explored here are just a relevant today. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review, so thanks, NetGalley!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jade - theelderbooks

    Even though the whole story is set during the 60's, I still qualify this book as a contemporary. Which makes me say it's the first contemporary I truly enjoyed in over a year ! Ronnie, Milo, Lewis and Hana, 4 teens in Florida make up The Vinyl Underground, a club in which they can express themselves and gather around music. Together, they have to face the unfairness of the Vietnam war looming over them, and which has already taken Ronnie's brother, fight against the racism that Hana receives ever Even though the whole story is set during the 60's, I still qualify this book as a contemporary. Which makes me say it's the first contemporary I truly enjoyed in over a year ! Ronnie, Milo, Lewis and Hana, 4 teens in Florida make up The Vinyl Underground, a club in which they can express themselves and gather around music. Together, they have to face the unfairness of the Vietnam war looming over them, and which has already taken Ronnie's brother, fight against the racism that Hana receives every day, and generally find a way to steer in this life where so many things seem unjust. It was the first time I read about teens in the 60's, and their views on the Vietnam war. I thought it was a really well written book, that propels the reader back in time. The 4 main characters bond together through the music Ronnie's brother left behind, as well as their dream of peace. To emphasize that, when the club meets, they listen to vinyls, and often Ronnie's brother's vinyls, that are paired with letter he sent from the war. That was something I really loved and found touching. Hana, clearly the leader of the club is a fierce lady, and an activist for peace. She is the catalyst that makes Ronnie, Lewis and Milo really think about the war, and the probability that THEY could be drafted soon after school ends. She was definitely my favorite character of the book. Generally, the way the 4 characters are loyal to each other is heart-warming and I truly felt their friendship seeping though the pages. They're adorable badass characters. Yes, that's possible. To prevent Ronnie from being drafted, and help Hana regarding the everyday racism she faces, to make the world they live in more just, the Vinyl Underground gathers, makes plans, dreams of a better world, and most of all, takes action. And that my friends, makes for an amazing book, filled with emotions and powerful messages. I truly hope you will all like this book <3

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    I really enjoyed this. Historicals are usually hit and miss with me but I most enjoy ones that dont feel like a historical. This fits the bill. The characters felt like genuine people. Ronnie's journey of self discovery felt honest (if not a bit rushed). He is coping with the loss of his brother while determining what his future looks like. I think it portrays grief in such an honest and all encompassing way that shows how grief impacts the rest of your life. I also enjoyed how open Ronnie was w I really enjoyed this. Historicals are usually hit and miss with me but I most enjoy ones that dont feel like a historical. This fits the bill. The characters felt like genuine people. Ronnie's journey of self discovery felt honest (if not a bit rushed). He is coping with the loss of his brother while determining what his future looks like. I think it portrays grief in such an honest and all encompassing way that shows how grief impacts the rest of your life. I also enjoyed how open Ronnie was with his emotions, especially towards his dad and in his relationship with his best friend Milo. It also really discusses race and class inequality while ultimately connecting how those inequalities tie into the political times as a whole (especially the draft). Hana was such a welcome addition to the story because she allowed for visibility of different perspectives and really propelled Ronnie's journey. I do wish Hana has existed outside her role to Ronnie, especially a less violent role, but her perspective was definitely needed. I also think the story briefly looses its focus by trying to tackle too much. It quickly comes back together but it's not as tight a story and the impact isn't as strong. Ultimately I really enjoyed this story. It was occasionally hard to read and definitely emotional but overall it worked. Content Warning for racial prejudice and violence. Thank you Netgalley and Flux for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Mckinney

    This one is worth your time! I admit that I picked up Rob Rufus’s novel because it promised to be prose suffused with the music of the Sixties and Seventies. While it certainly lived up to this promise, The Vinyl Underground has a lot more to offer than nostalgic earworms. The prose is excellent – even thoughtful as the characters work out the beliefs they will carry into their adult lives – the sense of history is spot on, and the group of friends that make up the club from which the novel take This one is worth your time! I admit that I picked up Rob Rufus’s novel because it promised to be prose suffused with the music of the Sixties and Seventies. While it certainly lived up to this promise, The Vinyl Underground has a lot more to offer than nostalgic earworms. The prose is excellent – even thoughtful as the characters work out the beliefs they will carry into their adult lives – the sense of history is spot on, and the group of friends that make up the club from which the novel takes its name are engaging and authentic. The book takes place against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, with its young protagonists suffering from the loss of friends, relatives, and classmates and fearing that they, too, will be called to war. As the war goes on, the characters must decide what they believe about war and courage and resistance. I guarantee you’ll want to be there as they struggle through and suffer for their choices. There are no simple and easy answers in this one, but it never becomes patronizing. This would be an excellent book to include in a history class to bring the days of race riots, assassination, and the draft to life.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Disclaimer: I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. New Year’s Eve 1967. Ronnie’s brother is dead, killed in the Vietnam War. Ronnie’s dad is eager for Ronnie to register to serve as soon as he turns 18, even though Ronnie wants to do anything but follow in his brother’s footsteps. He rereads his brother Bruce’s letters, tucked away in his brother’s record collection. Before Bruce got sent to Vietnam, they had plans to start a radio show together. Now, Ronnie doesn’t kn Disclaimer: I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. New Year’s Eve 1967. Ronnie’s brother is dead, killed in the Vietnam War. Ronnie’s dad is eager for Ronnie to register to serve as soon as he turns 18, even though Ronnie wants to do anything but follow in his brother’s footsteps. He rereads his brother Bruce’s letters, tucked away in his brother’s record collection. Before Bruce got sent to Vietnam, they had plans to start a radio show together. Now, Ronnie doesn’t know what to do, but he finds comfort in music. As 1968 starts, that tumultuous historical year, Ronnie is filled with dread. But then he meets Hana, a half-Japanese girl, and his life begins to change. Hana vehemently opposes the war in Vietnam, so much so that her parents temporarily moved her to Florida to get her away from the active violent protesting that she had been doing. With Hana, Bruce’s best friend Ramrod who’s been avoiding the draft by purposely failing at high school, and Ronnie’s best friend Milo, they form a Vinyl Underground club whose purpose at first is just listening to music. But when they unleash a plot to make sure that Ronnie is disqualified for the draft, their plans may begin to go too far. And when Hana is a victim of a hate crime that police don’t care about, they decide to fight back with everything that they have. The Vinyl Underground is a solid historical YA that solidly world builds for the time period, and the characters come to life. It’s easy to believe that this all really happened among the historical backdrop of 1968. The Vinyl Underground releases on March 3, 2020.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    A brilliant coming of age story, engrossing and entertaining. I liked the description of the '60s, the great cast of characters and loved the references to the music. It's a great picture of a past era even if some of the social themes it talks about are relevant in the current world. An excellent read, highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this free electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book started out slow for me. However, once the story really got going I felt it was the type of YA novel that was needed. It talks about how different people handle grief, how great friendships are formed and how even if the adults in your life don't seem to care, they really do. This book touches on the struggles of life and offers an honest perspective on both the good and bad parts of Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this free electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book started out slow for me. However, once the story really got going I felt it was the type of YA novel that was needed. It talks about how different people handle grief, how great friendships are formed and how even if the adults in your life don't seem to care, they really do. This book touches on the struggles of life and offers an honest perspective on both the good and bad parts of life. While YA readers may not be able to directly connect with the idea of Vietnam and the draft lottery, they can connect with the ideas of racial discrimination, preferential treatment, privilege and other topics that are present within the book. Rob Rufus does a great job at acknowledging the fact that people can be ignorant without even realizing they are. One of my favorite topics that this book talked about is the idea of courage and what it means to be courageous. There are many different characters throughout the novel and all have a different idea, none of which were necessarily wrong. It showed that courage means different things to different people and that it is okay to not feel the same way as someone else, as long as you remain true to what you believe and respect the beliefs of others. Hopefully this book is able to show young readers that it is okay to believe in different things and be passionate about those things so long as they are conscious of the beliefs of others and are respectful towards those beliefs.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kacey

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy. This is exactly the sort of YA novel we need out in the world right now. It talks of rebellion and hope, of different layers of courage, it shows that some adults actually care and are involved (even if they are misguided at times), it depicts great friendships, it touches on grief and the struggles of life, and it's honest about both the good an Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy. This is exactly the sort of YA novel we need out in the world right now. It talks of rebellion and hope, of different layers of courage, it shows that some adults actually care and are involved (even if they are misguided at times), it depicts great friendships, it touches on grief and the struggles of life, and it's honest about both the good and the bad. I requested this book because I'm a music nerd and anything with music as a focal point is good by me, but also because of the point in history this is focusing on. Like I said, it's very honest about things. It goes into segregation and racial discrimination, it shows preferential treatment and privilege, and it acknowledges how many times people are unknowingly ignorant about things or not speaking up even when they feel there is injustice in the world. To me it didn't feel like those who were ignorant and not speaking up were bad, just that they needed their eyes opened. I like that though these friends fight and disagree, they come back together to talk about it. And as I mentioned, I liked the examination of courage and how there are many different ways of showing it. There are many ways one can stand up for what they believe in and have their voices be heard. I hope this book inspires everyone who reads it to find their way, and to find their courage.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Spedden

    **I received a free ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review** You're never supposed to judge a book by it's cover but I wanted to read The Vinyl Underground the moment I saw the cover. I didn't even read the description before deciding it because it just screamed old school for me. Or maybe it's because my brother is now obsessed with records. Either way I wasn't disappointed. It's not often that you have a YA novel that focuses on Vietnam and honestly I don't think I've **I received a free ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review** You're never supposed to judge a book by it's cover but I wanted to read The Vinyl Underground the moment I saw the cover. I didn't even read the description before deciding it because it just screamed old school for me. Or maybe it's because my brother is now obsessed with records. Either way I wasn't disappointed. It's not often that you have a YA novel that focuses on Vietnam and honestly I don't think I've ever read one. but Rob Rufus did an amazing job with this novel. It weaves such an important story about what teenagers went through knowing there was a draft happening and music together perfectly. Rob also didn't shy away from the racism people faced because of the war. Just because you were in the US didn't mean you were safe from the darkness of the world and Hana saw that first hand. And while I did thing some things went a bit far for a YA novel (the description of what happened to Hana and Milo for example) it was still well written. Things weren't gratuitous and while there was a fuck load (get it) of cursing it didn't feel forced. Honestly I would recommend this novel to just about anyone. I read it in a day because I couldn't put it down. It was the perfect Leap Day read.

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