One Hit Wonder

( 4 )


"Carillo has an easy way with breezy prose and likeable characters." -Publishers Weekly

From the acclaimed author of Raising Jake comes the hilarious, heartfelt story of a former pop star who goes back to his roots—to answer the age-old question,"Whatever happened to...?"

Back in the Eighties, Mickey DeFalco was America's teenage heartthrob with spiky gelled hair, slanted sideburns, and a number-one hit single—"Sweet Days"—a sappy love song he ...

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One Hit Wonder

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"Carillo has an easy way with breezy prose and likeable characters." -Publishers Weekly

From the acclaimed author of Raising Jake comes the hilarious, heartfelt story of a former pop star who goes back to his roots—to answer the age-old question,"Whatever happened to...?"

Back in the Eighties, Mickey DeFalco was America's teenage heartthrob with spiky gelled hair, slanted sideburns, and a number-one hit single—"Sweet Days"—a sappy love song he wrote after his high school sweetheart, Lynn Mahoney, broke his heart. Now approaching middle age, Mickey is lucky to land a singing gig at a bar mitzvah. So the one-hit wonder-boy is making a different kind of comeback—returning to his old stomping grounds in Queens, living with his parents, and sleeping in his childhood bed. Just like in high school. And speaking of blasts from the past, Lynn is also back in town—as beautiful, beguiling, and baffling as ever...

dfjknvbukdrnvuerjnvjernvj Sometimes life can feel like a broken record. But even a one-hit wonder deserves a second chance.

"A superb comic novelist...hilarious and truthful."—Sally Jenkins

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Eighteen-year-old Mickey DeFalco got dumped by his girlfriend and wrote a plaintive love ballad that became a huge hit. Since then, it’s been downhill. Twenty years later, broke and drinking too much, DeFalco moves in with his parents in Queens, toting plenty of baggage: a stash of ill-gotten money and two items busted almost beyond repair, his career and his heart. The onetime teen heartthrob is reduced to mowing lawns for a living; a resurgence of interest in his song, to which he foolishly sold the rights, only rubs salt in his wounds. But when his runaway love resurfaces after a mysterious 20-year absence, secrets and lies come to light, revealing the unpredictability of life. Wry insights and ironic twists of fate mix a bit uneasily with nostalgia in the latest novel from the author of Raising Jake, which scored a more direct hit in exploring the theme of a middle-aged man trying to grow up. This one pounds the same notes a few times too many, but the likable loser hero and old neighborhood vibe make the journey rewarding all the same. (Oct.)
Library Journal
It's back to the old Little Neck, NY, neighborhood for 38-year-old Mickey DeFalco, who hit it big 20 years ago with his first—and only—pop song, "Sweet Days." Then it was drop out of high school, off to L.A. to star in a brief and disastrous TV series based on the song, and bounce around for two decades before returning to his parents' home with a duffel bag full of memories and a mysterious coffee can full of money. Except for writing the song, nothing went right for Mickey after Lynn Mahoney ran away when they were teens. People still ask, Whatever happened to Mickey DeFalco? Mickey asks, Why did Lynn leave me? VERDICT Carillo (Raising Jake) paints Mickey with a wise-cracking flourish that best denotes this Queens, NY, native. The locale is the perfect setting for dreams that never quite make it out of the gate yet still paw the dirt years later. The sex here is of the bittersweet kind; guys really are from another planet. No one-hit wonder, Carillo takes readers on another funny and poignant ride. Recommended for those who like their heroes more flawed than flawless.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758235053
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Funny, smart, and couldn't stop reading it!!!!

    I liked this book had its funny parts. The message I got from it is that if you were meant to be w/ someone, it'll happen...even with a few bumps in the road. I couldn't put the book down. It kept me on the edge of my seat to see if he'll finally get whom he wanted years ago.

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  • Posted April 24, 2011

    Easy reading

    I loved this book!!!!!!Easy, funny, sad, honest

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  • Posted March 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    9 out of 10 stars!

    Oh, be still, my beating heart. Want to be swept away with charm, the kind we haven't seen since recluses like J.D. Salinger or S.E. Hinton? Want to laugh until your lungs ache, or giggle like a schoolgirl? Then read One Hit Wonder. Funny, poignant, and unforgettable, One Hit Wonder joins the leagues of my "favorites" shelf. And not only because Mickey DeFalco is my newest character crush either.
    Charlie Carillo writes in easy prose that doesn't take too much effort to enjoy. But rather than his writing style that is made prominent in this novel, it's the characters he creates that really shine. Even the supporting characters, even the antagonists -- the "villains" -- are made likable. Not in a way where I wish the attention is taken away from Mickey, but in a way that I want to meet ALL of them in real life.
    No one can describe heartbreak better than a heartbroken man. And Mickey DeFalco was heartbroken twenty years ago; he still hasn't let go of the girl, though. Lynn Mahoney didn't just leave him -- she disappeared. Everything had been going fine between her and Mickey, but she just vanished. Thus Mickey composed a song, a song only a girl like Lynn could appreciate, one that was heard by the wrong pair of ears and instantly made a #1 hit in the country. Mickey never asked for that kind of success, but with the numbness in his heart, he really couldn't tell the difference between fame and happiness.
    Twenty years later, his song is all but forgotten, but he's a broke man who's just lost his pool-cleaning job. The solution? To go live with his parents in his hometown -- the town where he lost Lynn Mahoney. I thought it was really interesting to really see what a one-hit wonder does after his success simmers. We all know of the ones from the eighties, and of the ones that are more recent. They're legends, but where are the physical people? One Hit Wonder gives a glimpse in the life of a former one-hit wonder, displaying how shockingly normal and uneventful it is.
    To Mickey's dear fright, Lynn Mahoney is back in Queens after all those years too -- finally. He attempts to rekindle the innocent childhood relationship they had, but she's more than reluctant, and Mickey's determined to find out why.
    Personal tragedy, loss, and misconception are all illustrated penetratingly in Carillo's novel, with plenty of wit and humor to spare. I think anyone will enjoy living the life of a celebrity who was once on top, then very abruptly fell to rock bottom.
    The only reason I'm not giving One Hit Wonder ten hearts is because some of it seems unrealistic. There are about fifteen random women Mickey describes having sex with throughout his lifetime. At first, it's pretty amusing, but got weary of it quickly because his "game" got stale after the first five times he described it.
    Other than that, Carillo's One Hit Wonder is one of those books you'll start reading immediately after you finish it -- yes, it's that good.

    Stephanie Loves: "I played ["Sweet Days"] twice a day -- once at the early show, then again at the later one. The rest of my repertoire included songs my the Carpenters, Captain & Tennille, The songs, nothing but love songs, one more dreadful than the next.
    It was what was known in the business as an Insulin Set. You needed an injection of the stuff at the end of the night to prevent a diabetic coma from all those sugary sounds."

    Radical Rating: 9 hearts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2010

    Very Highly Recommended - you must read this book!

    Charlie Carillo is truly a sublime, comedic genius!

    One Hit Wonder is a magic novel with a hero -- Mickey DeFalco -- who never gives up on Life or Love despites his many misadventures which range from comic to tragic to romantic.

    This is a very funny, fast-paced book that I didn't want to end. A movie should be made ASAP!

    Carillo blends plots, sub-plots and sub-sub-plots perfectly and seamlessly with panache and style.

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