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Jojo Unplugged
Jamie Orr. Verdell, $16.99 trade paper (328p) ISBN 979-8-9877780-0-5
Orr debuts with a sweet contemporary romance that proves there’s more to life than ambition and fame. Pop superstar Jojo needs a break from her latest grueling tour, her demanding manager/ex-boyfriend, and the fervor surrounding her recent cover of former teen indie rocker—and Jojo’s teen crush—Matt Heston. She escapes to her best friend’s lakeside Vermont cabin, removes her wigs and makeup, and starts going by Joelle, seeking anonymity, peace, and time to write new music. Her new neighbor? Matt Heston himself. Matt walked away from music 10 years ago to deal with his grief and raise his daughter, Gracie, after his wife died, and he’s not thrilled about the press’s renewed interest in him following Jojo’s cover. Gracie, meanwhile, is a massive Jojo fan and dreams of following in her parents’ musical footsteps. Neither of them knows Jojo’s true identity, but as she encourages Gracie to write songs, she also grows closer to Matt. Their connection is undeniable, but with paparazzi circling and Jojo lying about who she is, can they make a relationship work? Though the song lyrics included throughout aren’t entirely successful, Orr’s characters are easy to invest in and the setting is idyllic. Orr should win some fans with this. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 09/29/2023

Release date 02/01/2023