|Author: Adam Rapp|
|An award-winning writer and playwright ("33 Snowfish") hits the open road for a searing novel-in-letters about a street kid on a high-stakes trek across America.|
From the Publisher:
As a runaway on the streets of Portland who sustains himself through petty crimes, a 14-year-old boy nicknamed Punkzilla decides to try to kick his meth habit and turn his life around; putting him on a cross-country, soul-searching journey to Tennessee to visit his older brother who is dying of cancer.An award-winning writer and playwright hits the open road for a searing novel-in-letters about a street kid on a highstakes trek across America.
For a runaway boy who goes by the name "Punkzilla," kicking a meth habit and a life of petty crime in Portland, Oregon, is a prelude to a mission: reconnecting with his older brother, a gay man dying of cancer in Memphis. Against a backdrop of seedy motels, dicey bus stations, and hitched rides, the desperate fourteen-year-old meets a colorful, sometimes dangerous cast of characters. And in letters to his sibling, he catalogs them all - from an abusive stranger and a ghostly girl to a kind transsexual and an old woman with an oozing eye. The language is raw and revealing, crackling with visceral details and dark humor, yet with each interstate exit Punkzilla's journey grows more urgent: will he make it to Tennessee in time? This daring novel offers a narrative worthy of Kerouac and a keen insight into the power of chance encounters.
Adam Rapp isn't known for his warm and gentle YA novels. In fact, he writes some of the most stark and realistic novels for his young audiences. Adam never thought about becoming a writer when he was younger, and never really knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. That all changed when he happened to wind up in poetry class his sophomore year of college. When the poetry class finished, he signed up for a fiction course and changed his major to writing. After graduating from college and landing a job at a publishing house, he wrote his first draft of MISSING THE PIANO, which would be his first published novel. An editor at Penguin wanted to meet with him and read it. Adam was nervous and excited--he didn't even have an agent, and here was a publisher who might be interested in his book! After it was published, it received the 1995 Best Book for Young Adults Award, as well as the 1995 Best Book for Reluctant Readers Award. Adam says that though his books haven't been banned from schools or libraries, they have been "kept off the shelves" by a few. His books, such as THE COPPER ELEPHANT and THE BUFFALO TREE, could be called "crossover novels"--they fall into both the young adult and adult fiction categories. When Adam's writing, he tries not to think about who the audience might be. He just writes. Adam also enjoys writing plays and has received the Princess Grace Fellowship for Playwrighting, as well as the prestigious honor to attend Julliard as a Playwright-in-Residence. He loves to write fiction and plays, but feels that he is a better novelist. Adam gets some of his best ideas when he's just walking around New York City, playing basketball, or just lying in bed, but his words of advice for young readers go far beyond that. He encourages young writers to read and write as much as they can. He once wrote 600 (terrible, as he says) short stories during a summer, and that was the best practice he ever had. Adam starts his days by playing basketball and then writing for about four or five hours. After he's finished writing, he edits--he usually edits right up until the book is going to be published! A fun fact: THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by JD Salinger and IN THE SKIN OF A LION by Michael Ondaatje are two books that Adam loves so much, he wish he would have written them first!