Alexanders (The Last Resistance: Dragon Tomb, 2017) tells the story of a teenager who wakes up in an alternate universe and becomes a rock star in this YA novel.
Sixteen-year-old American John Palmieri feels invisible at his Brooklyn, New York, high school—well, except when he’s getting bullied. Then he gets hit by a bus and is suddenly magically transported to 1958 India, where he’s doted upon by servants who call him “Raj Babu.” After getting over the initial shock, he realizes he isn’t too upset about the change of scenery: “Walking onto the balcony, John saw a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a fleet of vintage cars neatly parked to the side of the lawn….By now, he knew his life in Brooklyn was not coming back, yet he felt no real sadness.” At first, “Raj” is happy to smoke weed, have sex, and make predictions about the future, soon earning the affectionate nickname “Babaji” from friends and admirers. When this gets boring, Raj decides to start a band. They’re called the Beetos and play songs with names like “Yesterday” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which “Raj” claims to have written. He forsakes his arranged marriage to pursue the girl of his dreams, then sets out to conquer the world while emulating John Lennon (who, of course, no one in this world has yet heard of). Things go pretty great for a time, but then Raj starts to run into some of the same problems that the real Lennon encountered—and others that he never had to contend with. Alexanders’ prose is smooth, although his attempts to render the Indian accent come off as more than a little clumsy: “John attempted an Indian accent this time. ‘I’am taa’king like I aa’lways do,’ he said, shaking his head like a bobblehead.” The overall concept is certainly promising, and the author delivers some details that Beatles fans are likely to appreciate. He also makes a number of surprising, if not always satisfying, decisions regarding the plot; the ending, for instance, essentially negates all that’s come before it.
An imaginative, if rather shallow, rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.