• Alternative view 1 of Mojo
  • Alternative view 2 of Mojo


4.6 3
by Tim Tharp

View All Available Formats & Editions

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


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

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
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.)
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.”
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

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Mojo 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Destinyisntfree More than 1 year ago
I had applied a while back for the Ambuzzador Program through RandomBuzzers, a division of Random House, not expecting anything and not even knowing what book would be coming if I was selected. So when Mojo showed up in my mailbox, I had to do some serious backtracking to figure out where it had come from. I really had no idea what to expect when I read the book. It didn't seem like my usual kind of book, but I entered into it with a very open mind. I had a few false starts, having started reading the book when I first got it, and then setting it aside for some books with more pressing deadlines. I picked the book up again a few days ago and read through it completely. It was nothing like what I expected and yet, completely and totally blew me away. I am giving it four stars only because there were a few scenes that are just a little too far fetched for me. I mean, realistically, what would you do if you landed in a dumpster next to a dead body? Would you be able to remain calm and stay there trying to hide from the dudes chasing you? Because let me tell you, I would have completely crapped my pants and screamed like the girl I am. The characters, though, for the most part were believable and well rounded, fitting in with the story line well. With one notable exception. Randy really bugged me and I am not sure why. Something about him just seemed. Irritating and annoying. Maybe I have a bias against characters who serve no purpose other than to run their mouths and cause drama. Maybe that is my issue and I should not take it out on authors. But lets be honest, if we have a character in a book that bugs us, it is going to affect how we feel about the book, right? I am not alone in this, am I? But the storyline was awesome. The rich kids versus the "wrong side of the tracks" concept? I could totally see it going down like that. Fair warning to those faint of heart, however, is that this book does get a bit violent. There is death and drugs and illegal activity, and if your sensibilities are offended by such things, you should not read this book. Amazon bills this book as suitable for 12 and up, but I am not sure I agree with that. I would not feel comfortable recommending this one to someone under 15 unless they had a very solid maturity level and were able to clearly and securely separate fiction from reality, but that is just my "mom" point of view on that one.
sincethedawnoftime More than 1 year ago
Mojo by Tim Tharp is an amazing story. I loved it. I have to admit though that before I began it I wasn’t all that intrigued, I thought it would be one of those mysteries where you could guess the ending, but with Mojo you couldn’t. Tim jumps right into the plot. He writes very detailed descriptions but not with ones you don’t care about. They are the ones that ultimately lead to the outcome or ones that make it so we can feel sympathy or animosity towards the separate characters. He also, right from the beginning explains where the title came from. Dylan is tired of being called “Body Bag” and tells Audrey that he needs mojo or power and then he will get the respect he deserves. Then he comes up with a plan to get mojo with Audrey’s help. The whole novel is weaved together with care. Shocking discoveries are made at the right moments. Even Dylan gets shocked by the outcomes of his search. We, along with Dylan are mislead as to who the culprit is. His search leads him to many rash conclusions and decisions. Along the way he learns that he is not only solving one mystery but two and that they are interconnected. We are lead to believe that innocent people are guilty of heinous crimes and the wrong people are perceived to be the good ones. This is what leads to the shocking conclusion. His characters are complex and believable. They are people that I know. Randy and Dylan set the whole story into motion. Randy is a smart mouthed person. He’s not afraid of anyone or anything and that gets them into trouble with two big guys and when they run away from them. Dylan jumps into a dumpster and finds a dead body. Dylan is the opposite of Randy, he cares what people think and doesn’t like to get into trouble. He is a calculating character who chooses his words carefully. This burger loving, crime show watching character doesn’t like to be put in danger. Audrey, Dylan’s best friend is sweet and loving.. She doesn’t care what people think and she sticks up for the people she cares about and for what she believes in. Then there are the Hollisterites, the rich kids that Dylan befriends. Ashton went to school with them and Dylan thinks that they my be able to help him solve the mystery. Nash and Brett are nice to Dylan at first but we quickly learn that they aren’t as nice as they’d want you ti believe. They think that anybody that they believe to be beneath them, they can control. Rowan who is one of the main suspects seems flamboyant and idiosyncratic but he’s really just trying to keep up appearences. Then there’s Trix, Audrey’s newfound lve and although she attends Hollister, shes nothing like the reat of the kids that og there. She’s the one that remains loyal and honest to Dylan and she even helps in his investigation. Shes an intelligent girl, only there for those that she cares for. Tres and Ashton are siblings. We know right away that Tres is up to something. Ashton is missing and he doesn’t seem to care enough. We are lead to believe that Ashton is a person who went from being stuck up to sweet when she really didn’t. these two characters perform some evil actions that I wont go into because it would give away the whole story. The dialouge is realistic and each character has their own unique voice. They speak and act like real teenagers that live in the conditions that they placed in. I think that one of the major themes is friendship and trust. Also theres bulling involved and a persons true person
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The person meant at dojo not at mojo