A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mojo is the story of an Oklahoma City high school journalist determined to solve a murder mystery after he discovers a classmate's dead body and the cops dismiss the death as a drug overdose. At the heart of the mystery is Gangland, a decadent private club run by two rich teenagers that's dehumanizing as well as alluring. The Gangland crowd freely consume alcohol and pot, and in one scene, there's a performance by an exotic dancer. The only serious violence happens off scene, when a teen is murdered by poison, except for a gunshot fired into the floor and the flashing of a switchblade. There's some talk of sex and a sexual predator, and the strongest language is "assh--e."
What's the story?
Dylan, a reporter on his high school newspaper in Oklahoma City, finds the body of a high school classmate who died, police believe, of a drug overdose. But Dylan doesn't believe it. Then a student at a private school across town goes missing. Setting out to find her (and collect a reward), he enters a world of wealth and partying he could never have imagined.
Is it any good?
Dylan Jones and his sidekicks, Audrey and Randy, have loads of unself-conscious charm. Dylan likes himself chubby, Audrey likes herself lesbian, Randy likes to fool cops by playing dumb. It's fun following Dylan as he negotiates the social nuances of the privileged the kids who live north of Tenth Avenue in Oklahoma City, and we're not surprised when he is nearly drawn into their world. Young readers will enjoy the spot-on dialogue.
Too bad the rich kids in this tale of them vs. the rest of us are given so little humanity. The world in MOJO is too starkly divided: all but one of the rich kids and their parents are hedonists, everyone else is noble. The book's climax and resolution have a sassy charm, spoofing hardboiled detective fiction, but too many of the bad guys are hard to believe.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why murder mysteries are so popular. Have you read any other ones featuring teen investigators? What makes a good mystery?
Sometimes journalists promise not to write about what they see and hear. Why would they do that? Should they ever break they promise? Why or why not?
How might you change inside if not only you, but also every one of your friends, had all the money they could spend on partying?
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