Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: MY FAVORITE BAND DOES NOT EXIST by Robert T. Jeschonek

Photo property of HMH Books

Title:My Favorite Band Does Not Exist
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Imprint:Clarion Books
Pub Date:07/11/2011

 Sixteen-year-old genius Idea Deity believes that he exists only in the pages of a novel written by a malevolent, omnipotent author . . . and that he will die in chapter 64. Meanwhile, another teen named Reacher Mirage sings lead vocals for the undercover rock band Youforia . . . a band that exists in Idea’s world only as an Internet hoax that Idea himself perpetuated. Then there’s beautiful and mysterious Eunice Truant, who links their destinies. When Idea and Reacher plunge into the reality of Fireskull's Revenant, the twisted epic fantasy novel they’ve both been reading, chapter 64 bears down on them like a speeding freight train on an unstoppable collision course. Being trapped in a bad book can be a nightmare. Just ask Idea Deity. 

Description: Okay, if you've read my reviews, you KNOW I'm not a fantasy/magical type reader.  I always get bored with description and scene setting.  This, however was NOT the case with My Favorite Band.  There were a lot of little details that I expected to confuse and/or bore me...but happily, they didn't.  Overall, even the simple girl I am, could follow the descriptions and create adequate pictures in my head.  I must admit, though, it did get a little repetitive.  In defense of that statement, the continuous reminders are rather appropriate for the type of book and audience.  Overall, it was rather readeable, even if it's not my "thing". (Score: 7/10)

Narrative:  In this type of story, I expect a lot of narrative.  My Favorite Band had quite a bit and none of it bored me-except at the very end.  But I'll touch upon that later.  Overall, the three, yes THREE, concurrent/intermingling stories moved along easily.  I liked bouncing between the character's different worlds- Idea Deity, Reacher Mirage, and Fireskull had individual settings with unique qualities.  The sequence of events played along nicely, complimenting each plot line without getting confusing.  My only disappointment was the whole novel seemed so formulated.  It followed the rules/techniques of writing perfectly.  NOW, as a non-writing reader, I probably wouldn't even notice.  I'm studying technique now, so I'm willing to bet that's why it stood out.  Anyway, I liked the way the story came together and played out.  Yeah, I predicted the end pretty early on, but I found that comforting.  And the few surprises that did come along, I really enjoyed.  Overall, this book was a pretty good read. (Score: 7/10) 

Dialogue: Robert T. Jeschonek's background in short stories and comics really shines through in his dialogue. It's full of information, action and all pertinent to the story. The voices stay true to the character, making it easy to follow who's who-- and with the number of characters in My Favorite Band, that must have been quite a task for him. Even, I-an easily confused reader--never felt lost or overwhelmed during conversations. (Score: 8/10)

Characterization:  Okay-so-THREE concurrent stories are maintained in this novel.  That means, for each plot line, there's a main character and a secondary character, with many more  along for the ride.  HOW Robert T. Jeschonek kept them all straight is a mystery to me.  I noticed a lot of visual cues to keep the mind focused on the proper character, which I found very interesting.  At the same time, the details set the ending up to be predictable to me but, like I said above, I didn't dislike that.  Anyway, the characters are all very unique with interesting perspectives.  To me, the author's creative skills really shone through in Idea, Mirage, Fireskull and everyone else.  (Score: 8/10) 

Resolution: As I mentioned above, I predicted the ending to My Favorite Band rather early on. But, really, I didn't mind. The resolution was creatively weaved with insight and forward thinking. The characters Idea and Mirage had lessons to learn--which they did, in a non-preachy sort of way. Even the "kings" Fireskull and Johnny grew throughout the novel. Though I felt the ending was rather contrived, it resonated with me on a deeper level. And I feel that other readers, who enjoy this genre would feel the same. To be brutally honest, I could have done without the epilogue. I'm sure the author had his reasons, but mostly I skimmed it. As far as I was concerned, the book ended at the end of the last chapter. The most surprising part of the ending to me? It was neatly packaged, but I still LIKED it! And for those of you who know my tastes, that's something. (Score: 8/10)

My Favorite Band Does Not Exist was a nice, easy read. It's another good story with a MALE PROTAGONIST...(I really need to spotlight these on my blog...all I hear at conferences is how desperate readers are to find main male characters!) I think Robert T. Jeschonek's style is one that could be entertaining to many audiences, especially middle grade and teen boys. The book is fast paced but not overwhelming. Three story lines are detailed just enough to prevent confusion and create interest. If you're looking for an amusing book that's a little different the rest, I suggest you try this one. Overall, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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