Josh Jones said that the best stories have the ability to both make you laugh and to break your heart.
Blue Dream Playlist is now available for book reviewers to read in advance of its release. It is a 93,000-word offbeat coming-of-age novel about a young music blogger’s search for happiness. Imagine High Fidelity meets On the Road. As the story’s narrator, Noel Casey’s voice walks a line between self-deprecating and irreverent while spinning a tale of unrequited love, music, drugs, mental illness, and family dysfunction.
The story opens in New York City’s East Village, where Noel works at a failing record store, a job that pairs him with Jolia Getz—his punky best friend and secret crush. Too bad she only sees him as a brother, or so he thinks. His mom is an eccentric artist, an alcoholic with a wildly inappropriate sense of humor. His dad is a self-absorbed booking agent, divorced from Noel’s mom and married to her younger sister. Something has to give. And then it does.
On the morning that Noel and his friends are set to attend a concert, an old classmate named Chloe, who is visiting from California, waltzes into Max World Music and dazzles shy Noel. He somehow musters the courage to invite her to the concert. After they embark on an impulsive tryst, she persuades Noel to leave New York City behind for a new life in San Francisco. What ensues is a sprawling twist-filled road trip that would make Jack Kerouac proud. While on this bus, Noel’s wry narrative slowly gives way to poignant reflection as he writes a collection of short memoirs (included as titled chapters) describing his childhood battles with mental health issues. This poignancy is balanced by a revolving cast of humorous misfits, chiefly a wise drifter and a chubby prostitute who teach young Noel some valuable lessons.
While in San Francisco, life opens up for Noel as he experiences his first taste of independence. And as is often the case with young adults thrust into this scenario, he endures his fair share of bumps and bruises, some at the hands of Chloe, who proceeds to turn his life upside down. But along the way, Noel learns the value of friendship, love, and staring down one’s demons until they no longer hold sway. Follow him on his sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking road to adulthood and his quest to create the perfect playlist.