Robert T. Jeschonek "sees the world like no one else sees it, and makes incredibly witty, incisive stories out of that skewed worldview."—Mike Resnick, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Starship series
"Recalling outsider films like Donnie Darko or Gregg Araki's Teenage Apocalypse trilogy, this proudly surreal piece of metafiction could develop a cult following."—Publishers Weekly
"This first novel has all the look of a cult fave: baffling to many, an anthem for a few, and unlike anything else out there."—Booklist, starred review
"It is also, however, a brilliantly developed and impeccably presented story that will engage readers immediately and keep them intrigued through to the last twists."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Libraries looking for a strong addition to their science-fiction collections will want to invest in this sophisticated novel."—School Library Journal
Chaos theory meets rock 'n' roll in adult author Jeschonek's ambitious, reality-bending YA debut. In one of three plot threads, 16-year-old Idea Deity is convinced that he is a character in a novel, who is going to be killed off by the author; Idea has also created an imaginary band, Youforia, which has developed a big following, despite its nonexistence. Meanwhile, Reacher Mirage, Youforia's lead singer, is frustrated that the band's secrets keep getting leaked online, and both Idea and Reacher's lives are intertwined with that of a girl who has a face drawn on the back of her head. The third story line is a gory fantasy novel that both Idea and Reacher are reading, which comes to play an important role in both their lives. It's a complex, meandering novel, full of portentous character names, nonplaces and nontimes (Pennsyltucky, Junuary), and many parallels, opposites, and allusions that keep readers wondering what's real. Recalling outsider films like Donnie Darko or Gregg Araki's Teenage Apocalypse trilogy, this proudly surreal piece of metafiction could develop a cult following—not unlike Youforia—but isn't likely to attract a mainstream readership. Ages 12–up. (July)
Gr 8 Up—Idea Deity suffers from the delusion that someone else is writing the story of his life; that he is living in a book. To combat his paranoia, he creates a fake band, Youforia. As it gains a cult following, even though it has never performed, Idea realizes that someone out there is pretending to be Youforia, and he's furious. Alternately, Reacher Mirage is Youforia's lead singer. Somewhere, someone is posting all kinds of secret information about his band online. He can't figure out how they know what they know, but he's determined to figure it out. As both boys head for the same concert venue with an enigmatic girl in tow, both Reacher and Idea feel as though someone else is pulling the strings, guiding their lives, but neither of them knows to what point. When their alternate worlds collide, the consequences have the power to affect the entire universe. Jeschonek has created a quirky, time- and space-bending adventure that might just gather a cult following of its own. This novel will probably appeal to fans of Libba Bray's Going Bovine (Delacorte, 2009), whose hallucinogenic road trip also induced thought-provoking and chaotic reactions. Libraries looking for a strong addition to their science-fiction collections will want to invest in this sophisticated novel.—Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT
Guys with weird names, girls with creepy tattoos and a splintered universe form the core of this novel that's so meta it loses itself to its own cleverness.
Idea Deity (yes, that's his real name) spends most of his life inventing the online world of Youforia, a rock-'n'-roll band that's taken the Internet by storm, even though they don't exist. He suffers from Deity Syndrome, a fear that he might exist only in the pages of a novel. Somewhere else lives Reacher Mirage, the lead singer of Youforia, a band that's taken the Internet by storm, even though they've never recorded a song or an album. Neither knows the other exists. Both have girlfriends with strangely similar names and tattoos, and both are reading a hokey horror/fantasy novel calledFireskull's Revenantwith two warring characters who might hold a clue to their existence. Bizarre? Yes. Complex? Yes. Hard to follow? Absolutely. Jesschonek's puzzling, if ambitious debut mashes too many characters, too many plots and too many oddities together, making it more of a hot mess than a cohesive narrative. Just when readers think they've wrapped their brains around what's going on, he throws another curve ball. The back stories to Idea's and Reacher's lives aren't revealed until the end, and by then readers might have already given up.
Will the band get back together, or will the world end? Who cares?(Science fiction. 14 & up)