Friday, February 18, 2011

ARC Review: MY FAVORITE BAND DOES NOT EXIST

The Book: MY FAVORITE BAND DOES NOT EXIST
The Author: Robert T. Jeschonek
The Genre: YA Fantasy
The Publisher: Clarion Books (Imprint of: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  Children's Book Group)
Available for Purchase: July 11, 2011

Summary:
Being trapped in a book sounds like fun...unless, of course, you die in Chapter 64.  Just ask Idea Diety.  To most people, FIRESKULL'S REVENANT might be a fun, fantastical read, full of action and plot twists, but for Idea--who believes this book and the person writing it are controlling his life--it's a runaway train of catastrophe, plunging headlong into Chapter 64 and his imminent demise.

Meanwhile, Reacher Mirage, lead singer of the biggest rock band that never was, Youforia, can't figure out who's been leaking news--info that only he should know--of his group on the internet.  Seemingly overnight, his little, secret band becomes a national sensation.  A price is put on his head.  The rock magazine Tuned wants an interview, and they'll go to any lengths to get it...that includes offering up a reward for Reacher.

Now, the two boys, whose lives are inexplicably linked through this one book, are on a collision course that will irrevocably change the world as they know it.

My Take:
If I saw this book on the shelves, I'd snap it right up just by the book cover design and the blurb alone.  I mean, what greater concept can you ask for? ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets SCHOOL OF ROCK** actually describes the premise quite well.  And, the idea that Jeschonek had for this novel--layering Idea's story in with not only Reacher's but that of the FIRESKULL book--is, in my opinion, purely awesome.

But, that is as far as it went for me.  The writing came across a little flat, and at times, irritating.  There were many scenes in the book where the writer told me the conclusions that each character came to instead of just allowing the reader to use her brain and figure it out.  This was a little annoying, not to mention insulting.

Example:  (sorry for the spoiler, but I want to make myself clear as to what I'm talking about)  Idea is going through the Gauntlet of Realities and he encounters his parents.  Earlier, when the reader meets his parents, it's obvious that they are somewhat cold and very distant people.  In the Gauntlet of Realities, however, they are the exact opposite, and just as I'm thinking to myself, "Hey, what a complete turn-around" the writer launches into a monologue about how these loving, touchy-feeling people are so much the opposite of what his parents are normally like.  Gee, buddy.  Thanks for pointing that out.  I wouldn't have guessed it otherwise. 

Sadly, this is not the only time it happens throughout the book.  If it had been, I could overlook it, but this kind of telling happened so frequently, that soon it was all I could focus on. Which is not a good thing, people.

Another issue I had was the disjointed format.  There is a lot of hopping around, back and forth, over, under and sideways between Idea, Reacher, and the book FIRESKULL.  At first, all the jumping around was a little confusing.  Once I got into the rhythm, it wasn't too bad, but there were a few points where I had to stop and re-read a few pages of the previous chapter as I thought I'd missed something important going down. 

Come to find out, there were several blind spots in the book that I can only conclude were an intentional play on Jeschonek's part to have the reader just as off-kilter as Idea and Reacher.  I can respect that.  I really can, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  I'm just saying.

All in all, even with the issues I had with this book, I would recommend MY FAVORITE BAND DOES NOT EXIST...but only to those who love fantasy above all else...to the point that they can over-look the somewhat flat writing, disjointed formatting, instances of telling to the point of beating me over the head with it, and a few spots of confusion.  After all, this is a great premise...just not executed as well as I would have liked.

**direct quote from the ARC blurb, and I wholeheartedly agree with this description.