Dead Rock Stars is the fifth novel from Guy Mankowski and examines the topic of grief through a story that is presented through two different interwoven narrators. With the primary focus being on Jeff, the younger brother of Emma, we see her journal acting as a means for him to continue to connect with her. This story shows how familial love can continue in your life through objects when it might not be possible for that person to physically be with you.
The wild summer Jeff is experiencing is tinged with the loss of his older sister Emma. She had been a rock star obsessed with Sylvia Plath and on the cusp of fame in the music scene in Camden in the nineties. When she died in mysterious circumstances he is sent to stay with family friends and while there he finds time to look through her diary. This holds the key to being able to continue connecting with her. As he faces his own challenges including first love and his own ambition, Emma is there and guides him to his own creative potential. She is there for him in a way that he can’t seem to find in the people who are still physically in his life.
This book unites two characters in a way that is beautifully crafted and speaks to the talent of Mankowski. He is able to fully flesh out Emma solely through her diary and Jeff’s connection to it. Beyond that we see Jeff finding himself and working through his grief with his sister there in a way that provides him with support. If you are looking for a read that fits well with the slowly changing tone of summer to fall, Dead Rock Stars is something that will naturally work for a read you won’t want to put down. This is something that you will want to make sure you make the time for because once you start you won’t want to stop. You can get your copy of Dead Rock Stars today.