Riley has been hurled into a life she never intended for herself. She had a plan and it was a good one. Work hard and obtain a scholarship to an out of state college and participate in its drumline. It all falls through the cracks when her parents divorce. Her father has a girlfriend, her mother sinks into a dark depression and her little sister is left with no one else to rely on.The characteristics displayed by Riley are admirable ones for an adult, let alone a girl fresh out of highschool. She selflessly drops her plans to leave home, instead enrolling in a local college and planning her schedule to work around what suits her younger sister. She is offered a raw deal by both her parents and as many people would rebel and rant against them, she doesn't. She quietly moves through her life doing what needs doing and inwardly becoming less and less happy.When an opportunity to play drums for a local band arises, she plays with the idea and even goes to the auditions but really has not intention of actually following through. However, the rush she gets when behind the drums and the challenge in the eyes of the lead guitarist pushes her to prove that she can do this.Romeo comes across as a self indulgent 'me monster'. All about the band, his image and keeping an entourage of pretty girls around - but there is more to him. Though Riley is the best drummer to audition, Romeo fights for someone else. He loses the battle but continually pushes Riley to quit. “Why is it if a person looks like they stepped off the cover of a magazine, they're usually a certified dickhead.” The interactions between Riley and Romeo were equally amusing and frustrating. They both struggle with personal issues and need the band to keep their lives balanced. Yet the more they push each others buttons, the closer they get to each other and the thicker the sexual tension gets which threatens to tear the band apart.Ultimately, it is Riley's chaotic life that bursts her fragile heart at the seems and threatens to bury her in the same depressed world her mother has been living in. “My stupid, stupid heart is twisting and fracturing, but I can't look away. I'm wilting, morphing into a wallflower with torn petals and a broken stem. I'm suffocating yet alive.” In the Band deals with some very real life issues and Haus does it with a graceful responsibility. She doesn't brush any issues under the rug or dismiss them carelessly. Though I didn't experience a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking reaction - I still felt very deeply for the situation these characters are in and ultimately swept through the book in one sitting.There were a few hiccups in the storyline, some added drama that I had a hard time finding a place for. The pacing and humor are both great and overall it was an enjoyable read with a very real element to it.