B-Sides and Broken Hearts

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Lisa Simon, age 37, still loves loud punk rock and hates Dave Matthews with an all-consuming passion. April 15, 2001 should have been just another Sunday night. But a news headline landing in Lisa’s email inbox changes everything: “Joey Ramone is dead.” More

Available formats: epub

First 15% Sample: epub read online
Published: July 11, 2011
Words: 103,340
Language: English
ISBN: 9780983502913
About Caryn Rose

Caryn Rose is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer who documents New York City, rock and roll, and Major League Baseball. From 2006-2011, she authored the groundbreaking blog metsgrrl.com, covering baseball and the New York Mets. Her first novel, B-sides and Broken Hearts, was published in 2011, followed by the non-fiction work Raise Your Hand: Adventures of an American Springsteen Fan In Europe in September of 2012. A Brand New Ballgame is her second novel.

You can find her at jukeboxgraduate.com and on Twitter at @carynrose and at @metsgrrl during the season. She believes bunting is for losers, hates the designated hitter, and thinks you should never walk the pitcher.


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Book trailer for B-Sides and Broken Hearts.

Also by This Author


Review by: Elizabeth Miller on March 20, 2013 : star star star star
The only think I could think after reading this was this is what it would have been like if Cameron Crowe was a girl. When Joey Ramone dies, Lisa realizes that her boyfriend is a dick and she misses her friends. She jumps in her car, leaving Seattle and heads to L.A. to meet up with rock legends Electric Blue, who she has known since before they were famous. The long drive brings up old memories of her days when she was young and she would pick up and go to see her favorite punk bands. If you are a music fan this this book is for you. It reminded me of all the great music that has come and gone. Good Stuff and a great way to spend an afternoon in the sun.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Shannon W on Jan. 02, 2012 : star star star
Caryn Rose's book is well-written, and engaging. My problem with it was the large amount of profanity, including liberal use of the F-word. I found it distracting to keep running into it, mainly because I don't talk like that myself (and try to avoid it around my children). Since there was so much of it, it was like constantly getting hit with water in the face, and for me, making it difficult to follow the story line. Lisa's story is good, and I enjoyed her trying to find herself and figure out her life in relation to her memories of music. Be warned, though, that if liberal profanity bothers you, this is not the book for you.

I received this as part of a Goodreads giveaway.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: arkgirl on Dec. 02, 2011 : star star star star star
You don't have to love the Ramones to love this book but if you are a music fan and have known the thrill of seeing your favourite band/artist live, or have enjoyed getting together with friends after a gig to dissect what you've seen, then you will recognise a kindred spirit in Lisa!!
This is an excellent read with a wonderful soundtrack and as you journey through her back catalogue touching on defining moments in her life it is wonderful life affirming book.
The starting point is the death of Joey Ramone and when her current boyfriend doesn't get her heartbreak over this event she realises she needs to head off to friends/soulmates who will. As she starts on the journey to meet her friends in a band, Blue Electric, in LA we jump back to the start of her love for music and the friends she has met on the way. There is tragedy and humour both beautifully woven into the story and there are twists and turns that surprise. It is a book that makes you laugh and cry so I was really delighted to have the opportunity to read this as a giveaway by the publishers.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Alex Draven on Nov. 19, 2011 : star star star star star
I loved this book. This book – this author - *gets it*, gets music as part of the warp and weft of someone's life, and being part of a musical chosen family, and dance floor communion. This isn't my scene, my city, my specifics or my story, but it felt utterly real and utterly familiar. The way some albums, some songs are like time machines, transporting you back to a very specific time and place. Those late night, post-gig conversations, in late night cafes or sitting on door steps. The way place and history and music stitch themselves together. The way life changes, and you're not 19 and a student any more, but life without music is still as incomprehensible as it was when you were.

The author has also done a masterful job of inserting a fictional major ban into the real musical landscape without breaking anything – the way that Blue Electric fit into the web of inspirations and inspirers is done so fluidly I had to check they were a fictional band, and that's some trick to pull off!

More than that, though, the whole sprawling cast, and all their interests and contact and influences and influencers also feel so real, there's no way not to be caught up in their emotional journey. Also masterful is the degree to which, even though the book sticks to a limited perspective, the internal lives of the rest of the cast are entirely manifest.

While the story and the setting might feel like an open-ended road trip of random associations, it's actually a very tightly plotted, structured novel, which is part of what gives it such strength. I loved that it wasn't a traditional romance, as things developed, and that the importance of friendship is treated as central, as much as music and love and taking action.

If you've ever followed a band, or sat up all night talking about life the universe and everything hung on a framework of music; if your life has or has had a soundtrack – read this book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Maria Savva on Nov. 10, 2011 : star star star star star
B-Sides and Broken Hearts is the story of 37 year-old Lisa, who is finding it hard coming to terms with the death of Joey Ramone, one of her favourite musicians. His death forces her to think about her life and she finds that she is not happy. Her relationship with the predictable, Ian, is not the type of relationship she had envisaged for herself when she was young. The death of Joey Ramone leads to a torrent of emails from Lisa’s music-loving friends, and puts her back in touch with Jake, the singer with a successful band, Blue Electric. Lisa had been there with Jake and the rest of the band right from the start when they were unknown and penniless. She watched them grow into a band that could fill arenas. However, for the past 5 years her relationship with the band has been overshadowed by the fact that her boyfriend shows little interest in getting to know them. From the outside, all of Lisa’s friends have always thought she should have ended up with Jake. None of her friends like Ian. After Joey Ramone’s death, when Ian fails to understand why she is so upset, Lisa makes the decision to visit her old friends in LA. She packs some belongings, mainly CDs for the journey, and drives all night to revisit her past. Lisa goes on a journey in this novel, to find the person she really is. After a tragic relationship when she was younger, she had lost her way. Will her old friends in LA help her reconnect with the real Lisa?

This book is about dreams, friends, love, relationships, and above all it is about music and how music can have a profound influence on our lives.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt that the world had ended because their favourite band split up, anyone who obsessively waited for new albums to be released by their favourite bands and spent their last pennies on gigs and records, anyone who has ever screamed the lyrics to their favourite songs while driving in their car... This is a book for dreamers, and reaffirms the importance of believing in your dreams, and following your heart.
It is well written and engaging. I found myself feeling sad when I knew that the story would soon end. The ending is poignant and uplifting at the same time. This is a must read for music lovers.

Reviewed by Maria Savva as a reviewer for Bookpleasures.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Alex Lux on Nov. 09, 2011 : star star star star star
This was a great book! I absolutely loved it. Anyone that spends their life devoted to music would relate to this. All the name drops of bands and places added so much to the story. I read it in only a few days, since I couldn't put it down.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Kathryn Merkel on Nov. 08, 2011 : star star star star star
If you ever spent every penny you earned babysitting or flipping burgers on vinyl records, concert tickets, band posters & rock tour t-shirts, you will identify with Lisa Simpson. Caryn Rose has skillfully woven a tale of love & heartache against the backdrop of the music scene of New York in the 80’s & Seattle in the 90’s.

At 37, reeling from the news that Joey Ramone has died, Lisa finds herself breaking up with her boyfriend of 5 yrs over his inability to sympathize with her devotion to the Ramones. Her best friend, Jake, who has hit the big time as lead singer of the Seattle born band, Blue Electric, offers to fly her to Los Angeles. Afraid she will change her mind before she can get booked on a flight, Lisa jumps in the car & leaves Seattle on an 1100+ mile odyssey in the middle of the night. Having packed mostly music CD’s & her rock wardrobe of jeans, t-shirts & high heels, Lisa drives through the dark listening to the music that has shaped her life while the ghosts of her past swirl through her mind. When she reaches LA, she finds parts of her relationship with the members of Blue Electric are exactly the same, while others have radically changed & her journey of self-discovery is not over.

The numerous references to both well known & obscure musicians, songs & concerts throughout the book add a level of depth to this story, that someone less familiar with the growth of rock music from the late 70’s through the 90’s might not appreciate. However, I was 36 in 2001, when Joey Ramone died & the soundtrack of Lisa’s life is largely the same as mine, so even though she immersed herself more in the rock-n-roll lifestyle than I ever did, her experiences still resonate with me. Thanks Caryn Rose for taking me along on her journey.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: flomincucci on Nov. 01, 2011 : star star star star star
Once I got over thedesire to punch in the face the main character in the first chapter, I loved this book. Reminded me of my own teenage years, running through concerts of local band in dark and doubtfully legal places. Girls like punk rock, too.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: btuckertx on Nov. 01, 2011 : star star star star
The best part of B Sides and Broken Hearts was the soundtrack. While telling Lisa’s story, the author drops enough band names, song titles and lyrics to keep the music playing in your head from start to finish.

I would like to be able to say that the editing of the book was spot on, but while there were no major skips, there were a few scratches.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Luna Lovegood on Oct. 28, 2011 : star star star star
I really enjoyed this. The author fills a great niche for a female perspective rock and roll fan. I loved the mentions of songs and bands as it made me pull out tracks I hadn't listened to in awhile. As a former manager in a music store it was a ton of fun to read an engaging and vibrant tale. I will encourage others to pick this up!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Luna Lovegood on Oct. 28, 2011 : (no rating)
I really enjoyed this. The author fills a great niche for a female perspective rock and roll fan. I loved the mentions of songs and bands as it made me pull out tracks I hadn't listened to in awhile. As a former manager in a music store it was a ton of fun to read an engaging and vibrant tale. I will encourage others to pick this up!

I received this book as part of a librarything.com giveaway.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Mike Davis on Oct. 26, 2011 : star star star
I would characterize B-Sides and Broken Hearts as primarily a niche novel. Appropriately titled, it weaves rock bands, albums and songs into a background and support network of the main protagonist. Lisa, who is a groupie and follower now entering middle-age. As a disclaimer, I spent my early adult years into jazz and classical, and many of the names, albums and tunes named in the book were unfamiliar to me. I suspect that familiarity would add another level of interest to readers from that background. The writing is well done, with liberal sprinklings of profanity that help convey the reality of the character interactions. There is not much of a storyline, but the reader is carried along by the fanatical enthusiasm of Lisa which makes the book hard to put down. While not great literature, this would be a must-read for anyone associated with or interested in, or just remembers the punk rock scene of the 1980's.

I received this as an eBook in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: michele c'melo on Oct. 24, 2011 : (no rating)
i really loved this book!!!! anyone who is into music will love it,too! thanks for a great read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Diane Johnston on Oct. 11, 2011 : star star star star star
This was a free ebook i got through Library Thing/Smashwords and I really really enjoyed it. The book begins in April 2001 with the news of the death of musician Joey Ramone. Lisa was a dedicated fan of the Ramones and they were one of the bands that provided the sound track to her life along with many others, though her all time favourite band is the Rolling Stones. She has a boyfriend but he doesn't get why she is heart broken that Joey has died and she jumps in her car and decides to drive from Seattle to L.A. to meet up with her best friends, members of a band, Blue Electric. She met the boys in the band before they were famous, as they were neighbours of hers. During the drive she thinks back to various things that happened to her in her life, both before and after she met the band members and her current boyfriend. Her first really important boyfriend died suddenly and it's clear she's never really got over him. Music has always been a major passion for Lisa and her stories and memories always revolved around it.

As the stories unfold during her long drive, we start to suspect that her best friend Jake, lead singer of Blue Electric, might mean more to her than she realizes but things aren't always as they seem. Once she reaches L. A. we get fewer memories and more of what's happening as she reaches a turning point in her life.

As i said, I really loved this book and the characters in it. Music might not be the center of my life like it is hers, but I still felt somehow that I could emphathise with Lisa and that's down to how well the author tells the story. You get a good sense of backstage life of how hard a band works to make it and how it affects them when they have. It does have a love story but it's mainly about the music and Lisa and her friends. This is one of the best books I've read this year.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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