The Children’s Book Review | April 8, 2017
Die Young With Me: A Memoir
Written by Rob Rufus
Age Range: 16-18
Paperback: 382 pages
Publisher: Touchstone (2016)
What to Expect: True Story, Gritty Realism, Bad Language, Lots of Music
There are many novels available for young adult readers that explore the darker side of human experience, but it is less common to find memoirs and biographies with the same depth of intensity written for the young adult market. Rob Rufus’s Die Young With Me is an exception to this rule: written with a dark sense of humor and a flair for recapturing the mindset of adolescence, this memoir shows how non-conformity can become a recipe for survival.
Rob and Nat Rufus are identical twin brothers whose thirteen-year-old lives seem unbearably boring to them, as they struggle with adolescence, Appalachian heat, and small-town life. Their turning point comes when a record store appears in town, and the brother’s discover their raison d’être in punk music and the punk lifestyle. With the new-found sense of purpose they discover in music, their pointless rebellion becomes a road to success: the brothers are no longer friendless outcasts. They start a band, and discover girls, friends, and even success before finally scoring the ultimate prize in the music world: their own gig on a national tour. It all seems to good to be true: but that is when Rob discovers he has cancer. Not just any cancer, either: Rob’s rare germ-cell cancer has reached an advanced stage when it is detected, and stands to rob him of everything he and his brother have achieved. As both brothers struggle to cope with the changes which threaten to tear them apart, they learn the truly transformative power of music – not to mention, brotherly love.
Die Young With Me is extraordinary for the fact that it does not seek to disguise the imperfections of life, nor to gloss over the flaws of character and judgment that are an inevitable part of growing up. The language is gritty and harsh, the sentiments raw and undisguised, and the prose is moving and inspirational. If you like music and want proof of its power, then this is a story for you.
About Rob Rufus
Rob Rufus is a musician and writer living in Nashville. His band, Blacklist Royals, has released two full-length albums and played in sixteen countries over the past five years. Rob has written articles for Modern Drummer, Amp Magazine, Digital Tour Bus, and many music sites. Rob also works closely with the cancer community, including the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Stupid Cancer Podcast (the largest advocacy/support organization worldwide for teens with cancer), and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
RobRufus.net | Twitter | Instagram
Learn more here: My Writing and Reading Life: Rob Rufus, Author of Die Young with Me: A Memoir
Die Young with Me, by Rob Rufus, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Die Young with Me by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Books About Cancer, Books With Explicit Language, Books With Grit, Memoirs, and Music.