July 2011

Meta rock’n’roll fantasy

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Robert T. Jeschonek takes metafiction to the extreme in his teen novel My Favorite Band Does Not Exist, which features no fewer than three alternate realities. Idea Deity has an unshakable fear that he is a character in a novel and that its malevolent author has doomed him to die in chapter 64. When not worrying about his fate, he’s working on his hoax website about a fake band called Youforia and marveling over its legions of followers on YoFace and Yapper. In alternating chapters, Reacher Mirage, lead singer of Youforia, wonders how so many people know about his secret band when they haven’t even gone public yet. (He’s waiting for that magic feeling, so quit pressuring him.) Interrupting Idea’s and Reacher’s stories are dog-eared chapters out of Idea’s favorite book, Fireskull’s Revenant, a parody of bad fantasy writing that features the ongoing battle between Lord Fireskull and his mortal enemy, Johnny Without. As the story—part Spinal Tap, part Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and part its own surreal invention—twists and turns, these four characters begin to parallel one another.

Confused yet? That’s all part of the fun in this urban fantasy that exudes tongue-in-cheek humor as it mocks everything from politics and the internet to literature and parenting. With the help of a (literally) two-faced character, Idea and Reacher (or is that Fireskull and Johnny?) not only confront their difficult pasts and their uncontrollable fears, but just may restore the Chain of Realities to their worlds. To reveal any more would spoil the intricate and irreverent plot; to call this novel unique would be an understatement.

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