Health, Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Die Young with Me by Rob Rufus (Review & Blog Tour)

Welcome to Day #4 of the Die Young With Me Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Die Young With Me by Rob Rufus (9/20/16), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Rob and 10 chances to win a copy of Die Young With Me, as well as two chances to win a Punk Rock Prize Pack in the Grand Prize Giveaway!

Die Young With Me Mixtape by Rob Rufus

When I was a kid, I loved making mixtapes.  No, my young readers, not Spotify playlists or burnt CDs – mixtapes.  This was a chore, a project, a damn art!  You had to pick the perfect songs for the vibe of the mix, you had to stick on the label evenly over the holes, you had to give it an amazing title and sync it up just right, pressing the buttons of your duel cassette stereo like you were writing a testimonial – which, in a way, you were.

Because talking about feelings sucks.  It’s hard enough as an adult, but as a teenager…forget about it.  The best way to express your feelings is to let someone else do it for you – especially when they can do it with a catchy hook.  So, in memory of the mixtape (RIP), here is a mix of songs that bring me back to the rose-tinted jams of my youth.

As a teenage cancer survivor punk rocker skateboarding loser, making a teen mix is a little complicated.  But dig it – whether songs about the hospital (“Paper Thin”) or songs about fitting in (“Cool Kids”), all these songs have an underlying theme of “screw it.”  Because, sick or not, I was still a kid, and I couldn’t grasp the reality of mortality.  Moreover, I didn’t care.  As River City Rebels so eloquently put it – life’s a drag, life’s a drag, why wait!  LETS SKATE!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – the amazing title.  Hm, how about we go with this:


Stop by A Dream Within a Dream tomorrow for the next stop on the tour!
Blog Tour Schedule:

September 19th - Mundie Moms
September 20th – BookHounds
September 21st – PageTurners
September 22nd – The Ravenous Reader <--That's us! 
September 23rd – A Dream Within a Dream
September 26th – Positively Book Crazy
September 27th – Crossroad Reviews
September 28th – Book Briefs
September 29th – Addicted 2 Novels
September 30th – Once Upon A Twilight

by Rob Rufus
Published: September 20th 2016
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Publisher
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 

Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Add on Goodreads

In the tradition of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl comes the incredibly moving true story of a teenager diagnosed with cancer and how music was the one thing that helped him get through his darkest days.

Punk’s not dead in rural West Virginia. In fact, it blares constantly from the basement of Rob and Nat Rufus—identical twin brothers with spiked hair, black leather jackets, and the most kick-ass record collection in Appalachia. To them, school (and pretty much everything else) sucks. But what can you expect when you’re the only punks in town?

When the brothers start their own band, their lives begin to change: they meet friends, they attract girls, and they finally get invited to join a national tour and get out of their rat box little town.

But their plans are cut short when Rob is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has already progressed to Stage Four. Not only are his dreams of punk rock stardom completely shredded, there is a very real threat that this is one battle that can’t be won.

While Rob suffers through nightmarish treatments and debilitating surgery, Nat continues on their band’s road to success alone. But as Rob’s life diverges from his brother’s, he learns to find strength within himself and through his music.Die Young With Me is a raw, honest account of a brave teen’s fight with cancer and the many ways music helped him cope through his recovery.

My Thoughts 

This year, I vowed to find non-fiction that caught my attention, as it's a genre I don't pick up, like, ever. After reading Being Jazz, I waited patiently for the next non-fiction book to drop into my lap. Folks, here it is in all its 5 star glory.

Die Young with Me is basically everything I want in a book and so much more. I am a huge huge fan of alternative music, huge fan of books I can't put down, and huge fan of books that leave me a little teary at the end. Die Young with Me wrapped all those up in a not-so-neat (because cancer sucks) bow. 

I knew this book was going to be a tearjerker but that it would have somewhat of a happy ending. I mean, Rob lived through cancer in his teenage years; he's here to tell his story. What got to me is how big of a role music played in that. Through the whole book, I was texting my best friend, who is as big of a music geek as I am, about how relatable his teenage experience is and how kids can find empathy and a little piece of themselves in the book.
[Quote from her side of our text convo]: Seriously... We talk about how everyone "likes" music, but it's not a priority to everyone, that's what makes the difference between people like us and others.
This isn't just Rob's story but his transformation through his teenage years and also the transformation his family and friends went through as he became sick and well again - and his journey through music. I love that he included things like the mixtape he made for his girlfriend and how he held nothing back. This is a story of hope but it's a realistic story with all the nitty-gritty details about both the teenage and cancer experience. We even got a little update on all the people in the book, a written version of VH1's "Where Are They Now?".  I also appreciate that there aren't a lot of books written from the male perspective on teenage love and this one brings an additional voice. If I didn't know this book was non-fiction, I would have thought it was contemporary novel. That says a lot about the writing and how compelling the story is, I think.

For those of us who are into the punk/counter culture movement and lived our teen years in the late 90s/00s, you might recognize the Blacklist Royals, Rob's band, as they played a few dates on the 2001 Warped Tour. I squealed a little when Rob spoke of their letter from Kevin Lyman. On top of all the Warped Tour and Punk Isn't Dead playlists on my Spotify account, I added the official Die Young With Me playlist AND followed Blacklist Royals. Really digging their sound and so glad the book exposed them to me. 

Catch an excerpt from the book over at our friends, The Fandom, and be sure to pick up Die Young With Me, in stores now!
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. You can find him online at, on Twitter @rob_rufus, and Instagram @dieyoungwithme_official.


We have two giveaways for you today! One for a huge grand prize pack and another for for one finished copy of the book. Be sure to enter both for the ultimate chance to win!

Grand Prize Pack

  • Two (2) winners will receive a Punk Rock Prize Pack featuring a finished copy of Die Young With Me, an exclusive poster, a mix tape (ft. an excerpt of the book), Die Young With Me switchback comb (not pictured), and Rob Rufus punk rock vinyls 
  • Enter via the rafflecopter below 
  • US Only 
  • Ends 10/2 at midnight ET
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Small Prize Pack


  1. Thanks for the review and a giveaway 😊

    1. Of course! Die Young With Me is an incredible read and I am thrilled to share it with everyone!

  2. I love when music and writing come together in books. This author comes with a natural rhythm! I'm so looking forward to reading this book.

    1. SAME! This book hooked me like you wouldn't believe it!


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