Published by Diversion Books
Publication Date: March 20th 2018
Purchase Links Amazon
In a town like Burro Hills, you either figure out who you are or die trying.
Seventeen-year-old Jack has lived in the troubled California town his entire life. He hides the truth about his sexuality from everyone, including his best friend Jess and his childhood rival and drug dealing partner, Toby. Keeping your head down, Jack knows, is the best way to survive.
But when Connor, a fearless new arrival, enrolls at school, he sees right through Jack’s façade. Jack finds himself falling for Connor, and the feeling is mutual―but their relationship will set into a motion a series of events with lasting consequences. After a falling out with Jess, Jack is worried to see her growing close to the manipulative Toby. To make matters worse, Jack is becoming increasingly paranoid that Toby will expose his relationship with Connor.
As tensions rise and more secrets come to a head, Jack cuts off ties with Toby. Hungry for revenge, Toby comes after Jack, jeopardizing his budding romance with Connor and the life he’s tried so hard to salvage in Burro Hills.
Character Interview + Aesthetics
Q: Hi Jack! Thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed by me, the author. I realize that it might be a bit awkward for you, as you are my character and all, but I promise to do my best and I appreciate you giving this a shot.
A: Yeah, cool. It’s no problem.
Q: Great. I guess my first question for you would be: When the story begins, what’s bothering you the most about your life?
A: Damn, you’re really just gonna go for it, huh? Uh, well, I guess my family situation bothers me the most from the start. My mom, she’s really depressed and kind of withdrawn. My dad’s an alcoholic, and he’s also an unreliable asshole. But yeah, I don’t really want to talk about him. My life is okay, I guess. It could be a lot worse, could be better. I’m lucky in a lot of ways, you know? I’ve got a roof over my head, food to eat. Usually. But also…I guess my friends bother me. I don’t know if they really get me, you know? I think they do. But sometimes they really piss me off. Except for Jess. Jess gets me in ways that no one else does.
Q: Interesting. What would you say is one of your favorite things about your relationship with Jess?
A: She’s funny. And I don’t mean like, just ha-ha-funny. She’s clever, you know? She’s witty, too. And she’s really smart, sensitive. She goes to bat for people she loves. Jess is awesome.
Q: And what’s one thing you wish you could change about your relationship with her?
A: Huh, I don’t know. I guess we’re not always as open as we could be about things. I don’t expect her to tell me everything, but I also can’t read her mind. It gets frustrating when I can tell she wants something from me but I don’t know what it is, you know?
Q: I hear that. Your story is an intense one, and often deals with the rougher side of life. What do you hope readers take away from it?
A: Honestly, I hope they take some strength from it. I hope they see that I’m not perfect, not at all, and I do really awful things sometimes, but – not to sound like an after-school special or anything – but I learn from it all, you know? And I learn that I can handle things. By the end of the story, I realize I’m a much stronger person than I ever thought I could be. And that’s insanely validating and cool in and of itself.
Q: Do you every worry about what readers will think when they get to know the “real you?”
A: Definitely. Doesn’t everyone? It’s scary to put yourself on display like that, to really be raw. But I also hope they see they’re not alone in the things they go through, the thoughts they have. Thoughts don’t make us bad people. It’s more like, what you do with those thoughts.
Q: We know you’re in high school. Do you consider yourself to be a “good student,” whatever that means to you?
A: [scoffs] No. Not at all. I mean, I’m smart, I guess, but I really don’t care about school. I like learning, I love reading and stuff, but I hate all the rules and the repetition of being in school. I hate that you spend almost all of your time there, and you have no say on it and you have to deal with all these awful people over and over and you can’t escape them. So, I guess…I kind of like the idea of school, what it represents, but I hate what it actually is.
Q: Let’s switch gears a bit. What’s one thing you learned to do recently that you’re really excited about?
A: Oh man, definitely mastering a kickflip on my skateboard! That took me forever to master. Fucking epic. Shit, am I allowed to curse?
Q: I certainly can’t stop you. What’s your favorite article of clothing right now?
A: Definitely my James Dean graphic t-shirt. It’s white, and it’s got this black and white photo of him on it, smoking a cigarette. I love it.
Q: I did want to ask about Connor…
A: Oh man…
Q: He’s obviously an important part of the story. Arguably, he’s the catalyst of the story. I mean, his name shows up in the very first passage of the story. But ultimately, this isn’t Connor’s story. This is your story. I’m just curious, how do you think the story might be different if he were the one telling it?
A: Shit. Well, you’d definitely get a much wiser perspective, I think. He’s been through some stuff. I mean, we all have, but his life has been pretty wild, and he’s got a little more self-awareness than most of us do. He listens well, and he’s really easy to talk to, so you’d probably meet more characters than you do with me. Get a better sense of the school and the people in it. And…I guess the story wouldn’t be as dramatic in some ways. Connor knows who he is and is proud of that. I’m not. Even after I come to terms with things, I’m still holding on to some shame, some denial. I’m still fundamentally scared. Connor is crazy fearless. But that can also get him into trouble. Sorry, does this answer your question at all?
Q: Most definitely. And finally, I’m not going to spoil the ending or anything, but where do you see yourself in five years?
A: Definitely not in Burro Hills. Doing something I love. Doing something meaningful with my life. Happy. Free. Whatever that really means.
*~~About the Author~~*
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to check out another enchantingly epic #EE18ers post! 😉