Pay the Piper

Written by: Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple

Pay the Piper Book Cover
A rock 'n' roll band to die for . . .

When fourteen-year-old Callie McCallan scores a backstage pass to interview the lead singer of the famous band Brass Rat, she's thrilled. Peter Gringras is so cool. When he plays his flute, it's as if he has some kind of hypnotic power. But there is something strange about him, something Callie can't quite put her finger on. Then, on Halloween night, Callie's little brother Nicky disappears, along with all the other children in town. It's crazy, but Callie thinks she knows where the children have gone--and who took them. To prove it, and to rescue Nicky and the other children, Callie must journey to a mythical world filled with fantastical creatures. A world from which there may be no return . . .
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Pay the Piper Reviews

Heather
Callie McCallan has a case of the middle child blues. Her parents refuse to let her do the exciting things her friends are doing. Luckily she has come up with a plan to go to the best thing to happen in her town ever, a Brass Rat concert. While gathering information for her article, Callie starts to notice some odd things about the band and its lead singer, Peter Gringas. Mixed in with Callie's story is the real background of Peter Gringas. The Pied Piper of Hamelin has come to town.

I couldn't Callie McCallan has a case of the middle child blues. Her parents refuse to let her do the exciting things her friends are doing. Luckily she has come up with a plan to go to the best thing to happen in her town ever, a Brass Rat concert. While gathering information for her article, Callie starts to notice some odd things about the band and its lead singer, Peter Gringas. Mixed in with Callie's story is the real background of Peter Gringas. The Pied Piper of Hamelin has come to town.

I couldn't really get into it. The premise just felt off. It took two months, off and on, to finish despite its short length. RWF 2011
Matia
I really hope Jane and Adam will team up to write more of these rock-and-roll fairy tales. This one is based on the legend of the Pied Piper. You guessed it: the Piper is the lead musician in a rock band. It turns out that he is really a prince of Faerie, not a nice fairy land, but the somewhat formidable place of very long-lived, magical people who do not particularly care what happens to humans. The heroine of the story is a fourteen year old girl who attends a rock concert and accidentally di I really hope Jane and Adam will team up to write more of these rock-and-roll fairy tales. This one is based on the legend of the Pied Piper. You guessed it: the Piper is the lead musician in a rock band. It turns out that he is really a prince of Faerie, not a nice fairy land, but the somewhat formidable place of very long-lived, magical people who do not particularly care what happens to humans. The heroine of the story is a fourteen year old girl who attends a rock concert and accidentally discovers the band is not exactly what it seems. Recommended for young people.
Christina
A fun, slightly-spooky adventure that is a new version of the Pied Piper of Hameln tale. What if the Piper, who lured away all those children hundreds of years ago, was still alive? Only now he's a rock star! Callie's little brother and all the kids in town have disappeared, and she suspects it has something to do with the weird rock musician who's in town for a concert. She's seen how he seems to enchant others, and can he really be 800 years old?? But will she be able to break the curse in tim A fun, slightly-spooky adventure that is a new version of the Pied Piper of Hameln tale. What if the Piper, who lured away all those children hundreds of years ago, was still alive? Only now he's a rock star! Callie's little brother and all the kids in town have disappeared, and she suspects it has something to do with the weird rock musician who's in town for a concert. She's seen how he seems to enchant others, and can he really be 800 years old?? But will she be able to break the curse in time to save the kids? Great modern faerie tale with a spunky heroine.
Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood :: The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984 :: Archy and Mehitabel :: Welcome to the Ice House :: Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque
Hilary
While this is certainly not Yolen's first book (or collaboration) it is the first novel published by her son, Adam Stemple. The story is enjoyable and reads quickly -- and the mother/son collaboration is more successful that Anne/Todd McCaffrey's... The pied piper as a rock flautist? It works. I like the lyrics by the band, "Brass Rat," at the end -- now I'll mosey around online and find out if any one has set these to music...
Elizabeth
This is about a girl, Callie, who unravels the mystery of the peid piper of hamelin. It is set in modern day US and the pied piper is an exiled fairy prince who is now in a rock band called brass rat.

This is a good middle school book. There are lots of good vocabulary words but over all the book is an easy read. Callie is a middle child (one older and one younger brother) and the piper is a middle child as well. Middle child themes are very prevalent in the book.
C.J.
This brief ballad of modern-meets-folklore, I'm enjoying for all manner of reasons. 'Tis brief, but tight. And the craft both Yolen and Stemple show in their wordsmithing is a pleasure in itself. Each characters has eyes, and a voice. Each description, comparison, naming is layered, telling both of interiors and exteriors. And the plot pulls on, piping like the pallid, direly playful lyric and song which weave their way through the story.
Lisa Rathbun
I don't really care for this book. When you see the cover it looks so magical and very fairytale like book. The thing is that I was expecting that in the book the most but you don't really get into the magical things until the end and that doesn't even last that long. It was also confusing at times and I had to read it over to make sure what was happening. That is why I didn't really care for this book.
Stephanie Harchar
I have to say that I wasn't all that fired up about this after reading reviews. Never will i judge by a review again. I loved this book because it's something that I would never read. It gave me chills about Noho and the Summit House, because I was there. "The Piper's calling you and you're in him..." Read it!
Douglas Summers-Stay
This reminded me of the Borderlands series, and of Loreena McKennitt (who is mentioned by name in the book.) A retelling of the Pied Piper, with rock stars and faerie. I always like Jane Yolen, even though she likes to have characters define archaic terms to each other. Short enough to read in one sitting, which is the best way to read any book if you can manage it.
Jules
I found that this book was okay. I thought the concept was interesting, but I did not really like the book itself. I felt like it was slow, and I only really got into it at the very end. I also did not like the main character Callie, I though she was very whinny. Also, she was perceived as a stereotypical teenager who is aggravated with her parents and I found that kind of annoying.
Jamie Cosgrove
I'm not finished with this book because I got to the last page, but because I lost interest by page 87. As much as I love the tale of the Pied piper, I was annoyed by the way this was written. Nothing I can put a finger on. I might try to finish it if someone gives me some kind of incentive, like the book suddenly getting more interesting, but until then, it's back to the library.
Tyrannosaurus regina
I'm beginning to think it's just impossible to write the experience of music and concerts in a way that doesn't seem contrived or overdone, and on top of that the dialogue of the parents and friends seemed overdone too. Still, beneath that the base story was a really interesting take on the Piper's tale and there were moments of beautifully evocative writing.
Alison
A twist on the Pied Piper tale. Pretty average fantasy, nothing terribly special. The rock'n'roll part of the title is bit misleading. It's not so much rock'n'roll as it is folk music. I do give them props for having a character named Alison, which is very rare in Fictionland. Overall, this was disappointing.
Sophia W
This book was a complicated modern fairytale with plenty of fantasy. It was a little complicated and it really had way too much fantasy for me. The characters were cool, but not very believable. They were also fairly shallow. The plot was pretty cool, though, with many unexpected twists and turns. Overall, Pay The Piper was a good book, but not one of my favorites.
Cami
A modern take on the legendary tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Add rock and roll, concerts, deep lyrics and you've got something right up my alley.
This is for 10 yrs and up. Well-woven tale, quick read.

My only problem is that I didn't really care about the main character. We got to see it all (almost) through her eyes, yet she was a bit forgetable.
Trina
Lyrically and magically woven! Sweeping action that invites you to devour the book in just one sitting, if you have the time. The love the two authors have for music and story telling shine beautifully from this great young adult novel. This is keeper; I want my daughters to experience the joy of reading and enchanting story.
Sam Sigelakis-Minski
This was a cute young adult tale that put a modern and different take on an old fairy tale. I would recommend it for the 9-13 bracket. The main character is fourteen, but I felt that the writing was a little more juvenile than that. My favorite thing about this book was the split narrative, between the Faerie court and the real world.
Phair
For a book set in the world of faerie I think Holly Black does a better job than this one. An interesting take on the motivation of the Pied Piper and the whole modern world, rock 'n' roll setting was different. This seemed kind of superficial & needed to be fleshed out more to be really enjoyable.
Anne
A fairy tale (Pied Piper) told from a 21st century setting. Enchanting! This is a quick read and Yolen (as usual) is great. Fast moving story. Adults can get this finished in a night. Good for 8th grade up.
Sebastian CLC
This book is really a horrible mashup of teenage girl stereotypes, generic characters, a really generic fairy tale plot, bland characters, and poor pacing. Don't read it. (Stolen from LeoCLC because it describes exactly how I feel about this book)
Aj
This is a "junior" level book which means 3-6th grade. The tale was interesting if a bit juvenile. It takes the fairy tale of the Pied Piper and gives it a back story and a conclusion. I love books that find meaning in fairy tales. Would have loved this to be a bit more on the mature side.
Susan
Gringas is sent away from the land of Fairie. In order to return he has to break a spell. A fun and quick read. It is a shame that it more wasn't built into the plot because I would have given it a higher rating. However, sometimes a little is just enough.
Linda
I enjoy reading interpretations of fairy tales and folktales. This had some clever ideas about the Pied Piper of Hamelin that I enjoyed. However, it isn't long enough to get to know the characters well.
Rose
Modern Pied Piper story involving rock musicians and Faerie. Included a standing-in-front-of-the-mirror scene to introduce MC and also several instances of defining words for the reader, neither thing of which I care for. It was an okay story, but maybe I'm too old for it.
Daraich
Pay the Piper was a pretty good book about a girl who is the only child in her neighborhood not to get kidnapped into Faery Land. In this book, Callie learns how much she loves her brother who is kidnapped along with the children
Victoria Fuller
I was re-reading this book. I had read it when I was about 12 and wanted to see if it was good because I didn't really remember it.
It was a fun retelling of an old tale and I would suggest it to anyone who likes fairy tales and rock music.
Cameron CLC
Pay the Piper is about a girl named Cally who tries to save her kidnapped brother. I did not really care for it because I couldn't really connect with the characters. At some points it was confusing. It is a good mystery, suspense read.
Mckenna CLC
The book Pay the Piper by Jane Yolen, was a decent book. I liked how the story was original and unique. However, I thought at the beginning of the book was slow and boring, but it started to get a little better at the end of the story. Overall, it was a good book with a unique twist.
Chris
It's a kids book, but even allowing that I wasn't much impressed by the story or characters. I'm guessing the slang and um-filled dialouge is intended to appeal to young adults of today... it is supremely annoying.
Jen


Pretty good. Nothing overly special and not bad. A quick, pleasant read. I liked how the faerie prince got his wish and how it didn't work out the way he expected. Nice twist. That's what saved the book from being boring or too pat.
Martin CLC
I was not thrilled about this book. However, I liked the ending, but that was about all that I liked. I did not like the main character that much. Just because of the ending, this book is ok in stead of a complete waste of time.
Libby Ames
I enjoyed the creative retelling of the Piper of Hamlin. However, Yolen seemed to be rushing through the story. I would have appreciated more plot and character development to support the creative idea.
Jo Oehrlein
Tries to explain the Pied Piper by making the Piper be a faerie prince exiled from faerie who has to pay a teinde every 7 years. Brings the story into present day, but says this has been going on for 800 years.

A strong girl manages to break the curse causing the exile and thus ends the teinde.
Rachel
It's a fun reinterpretation of the Pied Piper story, set in the modern day. Elves, curses, and a suspiciously long-lasting boy band. Good stuff.
Melissa
Not a bad fairy tale retelling. But the ending was rushed.
Jessica
Interesting take on the Pied Piper of Hamelin. I liked the fanatasy back history parts better than the contemporary ones. Very clever way of wrapping up the book.
Liltánel
I thought this was a great book, if a bit confusing at first. However, I thought the plot was good and I thought it was quite interesting how the perspectives flipped.
Eli
About the Pied Piper that seeks souls to pay the toll of a curse put onto him.
Ilana
This book was a fun, quick read. I loved the fact that it took place in Northampton, a place very close to where I live. It was a very real fairy tale, and I like that in my fairy tales.
Tam
Nice twist at the end. It remains a children's book however and can't ever really rise above that genre.
Stephanie
I liked this story. I liked how it was different. I wish it was longer, but I love the way Jane Yolen writes.
Shannon
didn't make it through this one. sorry yolen.
Inga
It was an interesting story, but I found some of the relationships were too forced.
Kate
Honestly, I'm having trouble getting into this. The overly-fanciful dialogue is distracting, and the characters haven't grabbed me even a little. Not sure I'll be finishing this one.
Kendra
Interesting story. Although I wasn't into the "rock and roll" part of this, the story itself was ok. If the story had been more developed, I think the book would have been better.
Isabela
A wonderful short book with old fairie tales modernized somewhat. A great mix of glimpses into horror and lighter, funnier parts.
Viva
Juliette, you might like this one... rather Weetziebattish... hippie kids living in northhampton, a retelling of a fairy tale... fun summer kid fluff
Kc7nan
An interpretation of the Pied Piper story. A quick read.
Jill Cd
Not one of my favorite fairy tale spins off but it was ok. An interesting concept and the first one I have read about The Pied Piper.
Tammy Kesteloot
This was an ok retelling of an old classic tale.
Debrarian
Thought I had read this before that's why I brought it but with references to Harry Potter I can't have. But really enjoyed it even though it's a teenage book.
Olive CLC
This book was a fun fantasy read that i recommend to people who like to imagine the scenes in their heads.
Lime184
imaginative retelling of the pied piper but the characters had no substances to them. Big points for useing my stomping grounds yah mt skinner.
michael CLC
This book was a good, funny, adventurous, spontaneous book with lots of great scenes.
Jamie CLC
I thought this book was ok. The memory's of the prince were vague though.
Leo CLC
This book is really a horrible mashup of teenage girl stereotypes, generic characters, a really generic fairy tale plot, bland characters, and poor pacing. Don't read it.
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