My to-read list is getting long. Lots of intriguing new books coming out!
From that post:
Looming above Zach Ramsey’s hometown of Blaine are the smokestacks of the truck-assembly plant, the greasy lifeblood of this Detroit suburb. Surrounded by drunks, broken marriages, and factory rats living in fear of the pink slip, Zach is getting the hell out of town after graduation. But first, he’s going to enjoy the summer before senior year.
Getting smashed with his best friend Tank and falling in love for the first time, Zach’s having a blast until he uncovers dark secrets that shake his faith in everyone–including Tank, a wrestler whose violent mood swings betray a shocking habit.
As he gets pulled deeper into an ugly scandal, Zach is faced with the toughest decision of his life–one that will prove just what kind of adult he’s destined to be.
Beyond the blurb, I really liked what Ryan Potter had to say in the interview. Among other things:
As a writer, I think you run into trouble if you start sounding preachy about the dangers of such “edgy” behavior. On the other hand, it’s real behavior. Many teens smoke. Many teens drink. Some kids experiment and decide they’ll live without that stuff. Others end up with lifelong habits. These are facts of life. In that sense, I decided nicotine, alcohol, and steroid use were important topics I wanted to explore in this book.
Teens are smart readers. What they don’t want is a health lesson disguised as a novel. For example, in my book, bad things happen whenever the main character decides to drink, but I never come right out and say that.
It’s the story that counts, so I say, make your characters as edgy as you want, but be honest about it. In other words, stay away from the moral bully pulpit. You can teach a lesson, but don’t be too blunt about it. It’s a fine line. You learn how to handle it effectively through practice and feedback.
Personally, I like edgy. But with a point.
One of my pet peeves is when any kind of substance abuse is thrown into a story solely as a detail – without any particular thought or care for the weight it carries. The fact is, drinking (as well as drug use) is illegal and risky. It changes people and situations. I’m not naive enough to think teens don’t engage in these and other risky behaviors but we’re talking about literature. Be purposeful in your details. It’s all about the story.
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK