DiscoverComing of Age

"Next Stop, Boston"


Loved it! 😍

Any teenager would love to tour with a famous rockstar, right? Well, maybe not. A unique story told through the world of rock and roll.

Sex, drugs and rock and roll—that is the lifestyle of Dez Deacon, the banished lead singer of the once successful Prophets, a hit American rock band. Then, in sweeps the responsible, kind Michelle, a gorgeous and successful model, whom Dez is immediately smitten with—so much so that they are soon engaged. Geri, Michelle’s sixteen-year-old sister (and also Michelle’s ward), is forced to adapt to a new person keeping Michelle’s attention. When a car accident kills Michelle, Geri is left orphaned, and Dez is appointed her legal guardian. It doesn’t take long for Geri to realize Dez going to be everything but a good guardian. While Dez has always been infamous for his bad attitude and hot temper, the loss of Michelle only seems to exacerbate his unhealthy lifestyle. Not wanting to give up music to look after Geri, he convinces her to drop out of school and go on tour with him to launch his solo career. What could possibly go wrong?

Next Stop, Boston was super enjoyable and well-written. It’s an addictive read that, despite being a relatively quiet novel, has a narrative flow that propels the story forward. The honesty and passion in the writing is what truly makes this story shine—no sugar coating to be found here. This is complimented with Dorbian’s meticulous research: referencing famous musicians, models, photographers and real hotels along the tour locations. Dorbian even includes a mini-tutorial on how to properly clean a guitar. It’s great!

The characters are well done. Each person stands out clearly on their own, their flaws, wants and redeeming qualities clear to the reader.

The main character, Geri, is a quiet and naïve teenager who has trouble navigating social cues. She also has severe dyslexia, which the other characters in the book misunderstand to mean that she is slow (Page 193). In Geri’s words: “He (Dez) says I’m a moron who can barely read.” (Page 124). Through the opinions of other characters in Next Stop, Boston, Dorbian successfully uses Geri’s character to highlight some of the stereotypes and misunderstandings of dyslexia, creating a wonderful space to educate readers. Other than her dyslexia and social awkwardness, Geri is a typical moody and broody teen trying to navigate a world she has no control over. She has big dreams, but is being cheated of reaching those dreams due to the inconsiderate behavior of those around her. It is easy to empathize with Geri and cheer her on, because most women will have at least once found themselves in a situation where they need to put aside the opinions of others in order to thrive.

Dez, Geri’s ‘guardian’, is a horrible person, mostly caring about himself and his music. He was an interesting insight into how too much power and fame can corrupt the human psyche. He made a very good ‘real-life’ villain.

Val Monroe, in turn, was a likable character with many good qualities. Being six years Geri’s elder, he acted as the protector and mentor that Geri so dearly needed, giving her a space to confide and grow aware of her mistreatment. There was a point when it seemed as though he and Geri might become romantically involved, but thankfully the story did not take this turn. Sadly, Val’s story felt incomplete by the novel’s ending. This was due to the events occurring in Chapter 26. This chapter threw a curveball into the book. While the perspective explored here added an interesting, extra real-life spin to the story, it might have been more successful if Dorbian had eased into it a bit more.

Next stop, Boston is a worthwhile read that those who love rock and roll and coming-of-age stories will enjoy. Just as a warning to sensitive readers: this book contains mentions and minor scenes of sexual- and drug abuse. If you find these topics triggering, then I would not recommend this book. Readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories can also check out Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver—one of my favorite 2023 reads!

Reviewed by

I'm an artist, Graphic Designer and writer. I love reading books that are creative and visually detailed! I started my blog, Maan Atelier, in 2023. I love analysing books from an academic perspective. My Master's Degree in the arts helps me analyse both the good and the bad in the work I read.

Geri, April 2019

About the author

Iris Dorbian is a journalist whose bylines have appeared in myriad outlets that include Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Crain's New York Business, Business Insider, Playbill, Backstage and Stage Directions, where she served as editor-in-chief for eight years. "Next Stop, Boston" is her third novel. view profile

Published on October 06, 2023

Published by Black Pawn Press

70000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Coming of Age

Reviewed by