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Review FOR WHAT IT"S WORTH by JANET TASHJIAN @JanetTashjian @MacKidsBooks

Book Description

July 3, 2012

The year is 1971 and the place is Laurel Canyon, California. Quinn, a fourteen-year-old music “encyclopedia,” writes a music column—called "For What It's Worth"—for his school paper. But Quinn’s world is about to change when he is faced with helping a war dodger and must make some tough decisions. When he starts receiving cryptic Ouija board messages from Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix (all members of the 27 Club), he knows he is in over his head. Fortunately for Quinn, his new girlfriend Caroline helps him get a grip and channel his inner self. 

About the Author
Janet Tashjian is the author of many popular novels including My Life as a BookMy Life as a Stuntboy, and The Gospel According to Larry. She lives with her family in Los Angeles.



The story centers around Quinn who is pretty nerdy and a musician, although at this time in his life, he is nowhere near a cool kid.  He writes a column for the high school paper that gives some purpose to his life. His parents are pseudo hippies with his mother running a cool clothing store in Hollywood that caters to musicians and his blue collar father inspires his love of music.  It also doesn't hurt that he grows up in the heart of Laurel Canyon amidst the musical legends of the early 1970's.  Quinn thinks he is destined to never have a girlfriend until a transfer student shows up on the first day of school.  Caroline, a Connecticut transplant, is a photographer and the two connect when she joins the school newspaper as collaborators. 

Caroline has her own issues adjusting to life in California.  She dresses super preppy and is very politically aware which takes Quinn off guard. He learns a lot about the world from her, while Caroline takes on new musical knowledge from him.  When the pair discover that they can converse with the dead "J"'s - Jimi, Janice and Jim through it, a whole new way of life opens up to them.  They of course ask the three questions and then start charging money to let others talk to them.  With the Vietnam war always in the background of this story, there are a lot of interesting connections.

This story has to be one of my favorites this year.  I am always on the look out for anything with a music angle and this one even includes a bit of a paranormal angle.  There are a lot of mentions of the musical genius that lived in Laurel Canyon during this time period and you can only image what really went on during this time period. I also adored the running sound track that followed the characters and matched the moods.  This is just an exceptional story of young romance with a lot of political awareness.  


  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805093656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805093650


  1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful review - loved it! Best, Janet

  2. Yea! Can't wait to check it out. I've read several of her books, all the Larry ones, and have always found her to be a great author.


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