Mojo

Mojo

4.6 3
by Tim Tharp
     
 

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All Dylan wants is mojo. What is mojo? It's power. The ability to command respect. It's everything Dylan doesn't have. He gets no respect at school, and when he finds the dead body of a classmate, even the police push him around. All the thanks he gets for trying to help the investigation with his crime drama skills is a new nickname at school: Body Bag. So

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Overview

All Dylan wants is mojo. What is mojo? It's power. The ability to command respect. It's everything Dylan doesn't have. He gets no respect at school, and when he finds the dead body of a classmate, even the police push him around. All the thanks he gets for trying to help the investigation with his crime drama skills is a new nickname at school: Body Bag. So when Dylan hears about a missing rich girl from the other side of town, he jumps at the chance to dive into this mystery. Surely if he cracks a case involving a girl this beautiful and this rich, he'll get not only a hefty cash reward, but the mojo he's looking for. 

His investigation takes him into the world of an elite private high school and an underground club called Gangland. As Dylan—along with his loyal friends Audrey and Randy—falls down the rabbit hole, lured by the power of privilege, he begins to lose himself. And the stakes of the game keep getting higher.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2013:
“Tharp’s plotting moves swiftly and succinctly; he injects just the right number of left turns and amount of humor to keep his readers guessing and laughing… Flawless fun.”
Publishers Weekly
Overweight and unnoticed, Dylan badly wants to acquire “mojo,” that ineffable something that would make him popular. Accidentally discovering the dead body of a classmate named Hector doesn’t do it but, inspired by his love of a bad TV detective show, 16-year-old Dylan decides he’s going to try to find rich girl Ashton, who has gone missing. With fellow outsiders Audrey and Randy, Dylan makes new friends at the exclusive Hollister School that Ashton attended and joins the search party. As Dylan’s investigation continues, he suspects that Ashton’s kidnapping might be related to Hector’s death. In this tongue-in-cheek tribute to hardboiled detectives, Tharp (Badd) contrasts the book’s serious subjects—including drug use, statutory rape, and murder—with a stylized narrative in a way that recalls Sean Beaudoin’s You Killed Wesley Payne. In this case, though, Dylan’s extemporaneous past-tense narration (which often uses the slightly jarring present-tense phrase “I’m like” to introduce dialogue) makes the entire wild escapade read as though he’s recounting it over burgers at his favorite local joint, Topper’s. Ages 12–up. Agent: Emily Sylvan Kim, Prospect Agency. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Dylan Jones feels he'd have a much better life if he just had mojo—that magical aura that makes people respect you. Since he does not, he feels he floats in the middle of his school's popularity rankings. Things only get worse when he and his work buddy, Randy, run from a couple of tough guys. Dylan hides in a dumpster and discovers a classmate, Hector Maldonado, is in there also. Only Hector is dead! The police are sure Dylan is the murderer, even more drastically depleting his mojo quota. He decides, with his friend Audrey, that if he finds a rich girl who is now missing, he'll be the king of mojo. He wonders if Ashton Browning's vanishing somehow connected with Hector's death? In the end, Dylan, with the help of his friends, learns not just the answer to the mysteries, he also learns what true friendship is and that being rich does not necessarily mean being virtuous. This is a good read with lots of character development and plot tension. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Dylan is literally thrown into a murder mystery when a group of thugs tosses him into a Dumpster and he lands next to Hector Maldonado, whom he recognizes from school, but just barely, as Hector Maldonado is very much dead. He has barely brushed off the garbage when wealthy teen Ashton Browning's disappearance hits the news, and when her father offers a $100,000 reward for information leading to her return, Dylan decides to find his mojo by putting on his detective cap to see what he can dig up. Along with his punky friend Audrey and girl-crazy sidekick Randy, Dylan attempts to infiltrate Gangland, an after-hours club of sorts run by the well-to-do teens from Hollister, the private school Ashton and her brother attend. While Audrey is quick to see through the overtly fake gestures of friendship that the Hollister kids offer up, Dylan just doesn't get it, and it takes an inordinate amount of obvious hints for him to figure out that the rich kid crew might be more invested in emulating the famous gangsters, whose pics hang on Gangland's walls, than he'd realized. Tharp's cast of characters consists mainly of savvy teens, except Dylan, whose obliviousness veers toward irritating, and at times can make the plot lag. The comic-book worthy conclusion, however, wherein the villain gets her due and the good guys walk off with a year's worth of free burgers, makes for an exciting end to an at times slow-moving plot.—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
An Oklahoma City high school loser becomes an amateur detective. Sixteen-year-old Dylan Jones has no game. He's pudgy, wears semi-ironic band T-shirts and a porkpie hat, and has a Wimpy-like affection for hamburgers. He gets no respect from his peers until he discovers the body of fellow student Hector Maldonado in a Dumpster near the school. His resulting investigation gains him some notoriety, but soon the douchebags at his school dub him "body bag" instead of hero. Dylan then vows to regain his mojo by putting his sleuthing skills to use to search for a wealthy missing teenage girl from the other side of town. There, he and his BFF Audrey are caught up in a web of deception, lies, cruelty, murder and juicy hamburgers. There's not a damn thing wrong with Tharp's third offering: It's dead-on. Characterizations are pitch-perfect. He harnesses loser teenspeak like no other author, and Dylan drops several quotable one-liners that teen readers will totally respect. They'll also love the two best friends who help him along the way: Audrey, who finds her first girlfriend on the fancier side of the tracks, and impulsive, loudmouthed, lovable Randy, who always gets Dylan into trouble. Finally, Tharp's plotting moves swiftly and succinctly; he injects just the right number of left turns and amount of humor to keep his readers guessing and laughing. Flawless fun. (Mystery. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375864025
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
04/08/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,111,648
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 5.56(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

TIM THARP lives in Oklahoma, where he teaches at Rose State College. He is  the author of the highly acclaimed YA novels Badd, Knights of the Hill Country and The Spectacular Now, which was a 2008 National Book Award finalist.

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