Mind Riot Review

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About the Book

Salem Scott has one goal for his post-junior year summer vacation—carefree days spent jamming with his band. Too bad those plans are about to crash and burn, right into the side of his crush’s house. Now, he’s on the hook for the repairs, and instead of playing with his band, he’s stuck volunteering in a private mental institution.

Armed with an ugly yellow sweater and BFF Jace, Salem braves his new job. But getting up close and personal with the patients forces him to confront demons he’s not ready to face. And when the band kicks him to the curb for missing rehearsals, he’s left teetering on the brink. Only, he understands this darkness better now, and accepting it as part of him lets him see he’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. He’ll form a new band, with the hospital’s motley crew of characters.

His job just turned into the greatest summer of all time.

Hopeful and fun, Mind Riot explores the angst of being painfully hipster in small-town America, the pain of functional depression, and what happens when kids who are “too cool for feels” are dropped into a reality where emotions are too loud to ignore.


This is just the type of young adult book that sticks with me for years to come. It is both an in your face and vibrant story but also a quiet one where the little details creep up on you. It reminded me of those classic character driven YA stories that I always love but with a modern twist. Plus there is a sharp witty humor riddled throughout!

Now, while I love world building I also love a story with some solid character driven plot. And this book is beyond successful with this! All of the characters are that special combination of funny and realistic that makes it so you can’t help but fall in love with them. And because of how much you adore them you won’t want to let them go. So this is definitely also a binge worth book.

There are some books that just age so well and you hear people talking about them for years to come. I could see Mind Riot easily becoming one of them. It’s a timeless story that many people can relate to and just enjoy. It’s just got that special cast of characters you will instantly take to and adore.

About the Author

Ken Bagnis is an accomplished musician and practicing psychotherapist. He has been crafting stories and singing for rock-n roll bands since his early youth in Cleveland, Ohio. Musical success took the form of tens of records sold, supported by a North American tour in a filthy Econoline van which lasted several years. Ken shares at least four eerie connections with Hawaiian entertainer, Don Ho including a number one record on the island of Oahu for two straight weeks. When the tour ended on super sunny Christmas in Los Angeles, Ken vowed he would never drive in the snow again. Wandering down a side street lit by the Gazzarri’s parking lot, he contemplated starting a new life as close as possible to the Sunset Strip. With the fortuitousness which always surprises one in retrospect, he collided with the girl of his dreams. The marriage survives but Gazzarri’s has not.

Ken lives in Pasadena, California with his wife, two tireless children and two increasingly invisible cats. Seconds after the kids fall asleep, the pair boldly appear like a scene from Lady and the Tramp. When he is not writing books, Ken still enjoys writing songs and playing 80’s rock ballads on his acoustic guitar, which always sound best when his wife sings a perfect harmony over the chorus.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

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