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Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Favorite Band Does Not Exist - Robert Jeschonek

Released July 2011

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Honestly, I don't know where to begin. I struggled with My Favorite Band Does Not Exist. I had a hard time getting into the swing of things. The basic story is this, teenager Idea Deity believes he lives in a novel and he's going to die in chapter 64. Idea spends his free time creating a  website for the band Youforia. The thing is Youforia is solely fictional. They don't exist.

The novel starts with Idea being chased by strange men. A mysterious girl, Eunice, helps him escape. Soon, Idea and Eunice learn that Youforia is really out there. They're performing live, have a song available for download and merchandise is readily available. Idea's not thrilled that someone's making money off his fictional band.

Meanwhile, the lead singer of Youforia, Reacher Mirage, cannot understand why someone created a website about him. He's especially annoyed that the person seems to know things about the band before Reacher does. The basis of the story then delves into a fictional book, Fireskull's Revenant, and how it ties their worlds together.

The promotional material I read compared the book to Alice in Wonderland meets School of Rock. I loved School of Rock and didn't get that warm, cozy feeling from this book. I have to say it struck me more as a Spinal Tap meets Alice in Wonderland.

There were aspects of the story that intrigued me. I love the idea of a character knowing he's trapped within a book. It's that whole dream within a dream premise. I also liked seeing things from Reacher's side of the spectrum, though I still preferred Idea. Throw in Fireskull's Revenant and I got too antsy to get away from that storyline and back to the others.

I hate when I struggle to read a book. Had I been more involved with every character and not struggling to figure out the three storylines, it might have worked better for me. But quick chapters jumping back and forth from Idea to Reacher to Fireskull's Revenant made it difficult to catch on. By the time I did, I found myself just not caring anymore.

Now pushing that aside, I can see my teen son, who I admit is a lot more philosophical than I am, really getting into the depth of My Favorite Band Does Not Exist. This is the type of story that I see both him and his friends reading and discussing. Given that, I have to say I know the book will have an audience and make for some interesting discussions between those who dislike it and those who really love it.

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