My Favorite Band Does Not Exist: there are numerous instances where the book shifts to a "book within a book" that is presented in semi-graphic form with dog-eared pages and fancy fonts. Clicking through these sections of the eBook seems to slow loading something fierce, to the point you might think there's something wrong with your reader or the eBook file. I opened the file in two separate eReaders and encountered the same issue, and I have to admit that waiting for pages to load proved irritating. I promise, though, the following review doesn't take that into account - I just note it here for the reader to be warned should anyone decide to buy e.
My Favorite Band Does Not Exist seeks to convey an adventurous spirit that takes readers on, literally, a whirlwind tour - imagine the Beatles' bubblegum tour bus and its passengers compressed into a paranoid teenager and his flight companion, then hold a mirror to the result for a parallel story. Idea Deity is on a mission to save his parents from going through with a public suicide pact to preserve and promote the cult movement they have founded. While Vengeful and Loving Deity (and these are perhaps the tamest of the names bestowed upon this book's characters) are measuring potions or knife lengths on the other side of the country, Idea has hooked up with the bubbly Eunice who assists in keeping him hidden from the Deitys' toughs. Slipping under their radar might be easier to do if Idea weren't already preoccupied with the plan he's set in place to upstage media attention the suicide might receive: he's fabricated a rock group with a viral following for which Lady Gaga would give up her meat bra, and Youforia has left Bic lighters aglow from sea to sea. This is despite having never cut an album, played live, or existing.
Cut to Reacher Mirage, who would argue the point of Youforia's existence. His band rehearses in secret, travels incognito, and deflects pressure placed upon him by management and band mates to do something besides nothing. It's when Reacher gets wind of website updates made without his knowledge and songs leaked through "YoFace" and other aptly named social media sites that he suspects something he's apt to fear more than playing in public.
Meanwhile, Idea can't understand why people are scalping tickets and making money off a band that exists only in his mind, crammed in his conscious along with the belief that he is a literal Truman Show - a character in a book set to die in Chapter 64. Certainly it's not the same book he's carried around on his quest: Fireskull's Reverent, a hefty tome that also has Reacher turning pages. Suddenly any determination to save his parents is forgotten as Idea and Eunice detour to track down those profiting from Youforia's, er, presence.
When realities and fiction collide, one would think things start to make sense, yet in reading My Favorite Band Does Not Exist I find the narrative off-putting and at times frustrating. Whether the saturation of odd character names (Wicked Livenbladder comes to mind) are there as some satirical commentary on goofy names dreamed up in typical YA fantasy I can not say, but having to take it all in - while juggling three parallel universes within the book - left me weary. There is a good germ of a story here, but one may end up re-reading chapters and passages to make it come together. I would dare suggest having too much of the novel within the novel made it difficult for me to follow the complete story - it's like David Lynch remade A Hard Day's Night.
As an adult reading this book, I may also concede a younger reader - the target audience of this book - will have little problem getting through the story and enjoy the irreverent humor and moments of slapstick. My Favorite Band reads like an acid trip Saturday morning cartoon, and though I don't consider a book like this my cup of tea I wouldn't mind mixing some that drug in with it.
Kathryn Lively is a mystery author whose titles include Rock Deadly and Rock Til You Drop.