Born to Rock
by Gordon Korman
About the book:
Leo Caraway is on the fast track to six figures: President of the Young Republicans, 4.0 GPA and an early acceptance to Harvard. Then he learns that his biological father is none other than Marion X. McMurphy, aka King Maggot, the lead singer of Purge, the most popular, destructive punk rock band ever. When an unfair cheating accusation gets his scholarship pulled, Leo ends up as a roadie for the band trying to get tuition money for Harvard. Can he get King Maggot to pony up for his tuition? But life on tour is wilder than imagined and before the summer ends he will discover the truth about his best friend, his real father and even himself.
About the guide:
This guide includes discussion questions and projects intended to extend the use of the novel into classrooms, book clubs, and literature circles. It should promote discussion on the themes of the novel including friendship, music, parenthood, and identity.
- Describe Melinda. Why does she have so much influence on Leo? What does she get him to do that leads to trouble? Do you know anyone who can get you to do things you don’t want to do?
- Explain what happened during the infamous cheating incident. What does Leo suspect is behind the accusation? What would you have done? How prevalent is cheating in your school?
- How does Leo first learn of his paternity? Why does this offend him? How does his mom react to his questions? Why? Would you look for your parent if in the same situation?
- How does Leo end up on tour with Purge? In his situation, would you want to go? Why or why not? What are his motivations? Is it fair to expect King Maggot to pay for his college? Why or why not?
- Describe the concert atmosphere. Leo says, “The life of a rock band on tour was like boot camp.” (p130) Why?
- Why is King arrested in Phoenix? What does Melinda do? Do members of Purge really care about each other or not? Support your answer.
- What is KafkaDreams? Why doesn’t Leo admit he knows about it? Do you read any blogs? Whose? Why? How do you think blogs will change over time? Do you think Leo will ever admit to Melinda he knows?
- What causes the cavity search? Whose fault is it? How does it change the summer? Do you think Leo will tell his parents? Melinda?
- How do things change between Leo and Melinda through the course of the novel? Do you think their long distance relationship will work? Can a Punk-Goth and a Republican make it long term? Why or why not?
- Why does Leo not ask King for the money for Harvard? Would you have asked? What does King do to Mr. Borman? Does King know the truth? What does he offer to do? What does it mean to be a parent?
Create a blog that Leo posts about his travels with Purge. Add at least five entries about his experiences.
Research the big business of the music industry. What does the average rocker earn? What is a royalty? How much do agents, managers, and roadies make? How much does it cost to create an album and get it to market? What is the profit margin on concert tours?
Listen to vintage punk rock bands and write a brief journal about your response.