Young Adult Literature


Jo-Jo and the Fiendish Lot
by Andrew Auseon


From Booklist
Few things intertwine so infamously than sex, death, and rock and roll. Auseon weaves all three in this tale of Jo-Jo Dyas, a Baltimore burnout whose suicide attempt is interrupted when a dead girl floating in a river stands up and kisses him. Her name is Max, and she’s the drummer for the Fiendish Lot, the best punk band in the Afterlife. She and her fellow musicians are briefly “life-tripping” back to the mortal world to test out some new material. Tragedy sends Jo-Jo to the Afterlife, where he struggles against administrative red tape in his quest to find an old murdered girlfriend (while Auseon makes brilliant use of footnotes explaining the death of everyone Jo-Jo meets). Soon Jo-Jo’s touring with the Fiendish Lot and pondering the strange concept of romance with an undead drummer. Despite the eye-catching cover art and outlandish premise, the tone is melancholic. It’s also a bit overlong, but music-obsessed teens will respond to Auseon’s firm grasp of the transformative and life-changing power of a kick-ass rock show. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus