Friday, April 14, 2017

Excerpt Release: Bang by Barry Lyga


 photo cover102706-small_zpspkurmkcw.pngAbout the book

A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Unflinching and honest, Bang is the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed, as true and as relevant as tomorrow's headlines. Readers of This is Where It EndsThe Hate List, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock will appreciate this extraordinary novel.

''Heartbreaking and brutally compelling.'' --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

''[A] raw exploration of persistent social stigmas, a beautiful study of forgiveness, and an unflinching portrait of a parent's worst nightmare.'' -Publishers Weekly, starred review

''Lyga tackles a number of relevant issues in this heartbreaking novel, including gun control, suicide, and religious and racial prejudice. The pain and anguish Sebastian feels every day are raw and chafing, and the chemistry between Sebastian and Aneesa is tender and realistic.'' -School Library Journal, starred review

''Lyga manages his intensely emotional material well, creating in Sebastian a highly empathetic character....'' -Booklist

Excerpt:
Aneesa has snatched one of her own marshmallows and tucked it between her lips. Her mouth is comically distended around the whitish-brown plug of sugar and her throat works for a moment. Then, slowly, the marshmallow splits down the middle and melted goo plops onto the grass at her feet. Her tongue, coated in marshmallow, wags for a moment. 

She inhales the remains and laughs in good-natured frustration. “I thought that was going to look cool!” 

“It looked way cool,” I deadpan. 

“I don’t know what I expected.” 

“So, what did your mom whisper to you?”

Aneesa rolls her eyes. “She said, ‘Remember that we trust you.’ Which is totally some passive-aggressive parenting tactic they learned on the Internet. Please.” 

Trust. Does that mean they think there’s a chance— Just then, the first firework splits the sky to the east, just above the tree line. It’s red and white, tracers falling out of the night sky like the despondent branches of a weeping willow. 

Aneesa oohs, and an instant later, the bang comes, the explosion of the cannon that launched the firework. She startles. 

“Light moves faster than sound,” I tell her. “We’re just barely far enough away that you can see the colors before you hear the noise.” 

“It’s like watching a badly dubbed movie.” She chuckles. 

“I’m sorry. I could get my mom to take us to—” 

“I like badly dubbed movies, you idiot.” She pops her other marshmallow in her mouth and scampers up the wooden stairs to the deck. “Come on!” 

There’s a lounger and an old beach chair on the deck. Aneesa drags them next to each other and, still chewing her marshmallow, slips onto the lounger. She fiddles with her phone and soon the 1812 Overture is playing. I settle into the chair, and we stare up and out together. 

“Did you know he hated this piece?” she asks. 

“Who, Tchaikovsky?” 

“Yeah. He thought it was just a lot of noise and no art.”

“That’s crazy.” 

“We played it in band at my old school.” She grins. “Is it terminally geeky if I tell you I play a mean oboe?” 

“Don’t they have a vaccine for that yet?” 

“They should. All of those old, classical composers . . . Honestly, I can’t stand them.” 

“Then why play this?” 

“Because I have to admit—it just doesn’t seem like fireworks without it.” 

I mull that over for a moment. “Why the oboe, then?” I’ve never heard an oboe without one of those old, classical composers

“Because the oboe is awesome.” 

“I’ll take your word for it.” 

On overcast Fourths, all you can see of the fireworks is their pulsing glow behind the scrim of clouds with undersides gone briefly red, blue, green, and yellow in staccato bursts. But this is a clear night, and we have perfect seats to a panoply of rings and fish and spiders and peonies and all the rest, the whole gamut of fireworks in scarlet and sapphire and brilliant silver and dazzling gold. With Tchaikovsky pulsating from Aneesa’s phone, we don’t even notice the mismatched cannon blasts from a mile away. It’s a private concert, a private light show, and my hand is achingly close to hers, resting on the arm of the chair, a gap of inches separating us. 

It’s the sort of time when a boy kisses a girl, I suppose. 

Not that Independence Day is a romantic holiday, but there is something about a warm night, a clear sky, a full belly, and the sweet burnt smell of sugar. And maybe it’s cool to touch her hand now, at least. She helped me up; she bandaged my knee. Maybe that much is all right. 

And it might be. I don’t know, but it might be. 

But with the night sky alight with pop and crimson, I can only swallow hard, the taste of charred marshmallow skin still on my tongue, and the overture builds to the part where the cannons come in. 

Bang, they say. 

Bang. And bang. And bang. 

I pull my hand into my lap, lest my acid touch sear her. 

Bang. 

Guns. Big guns. 

Yes, I’ve fired one once. Yes, I’ll do it again. But maybe. 

I look over at Aneesa. 

Maybe not just yet. 

Maybe not right away.

I don’t touch her. Not until it’s time for me to leave and we fist-bump our farewell, she lightly tapping my knuckles with hers after a moment’s pause. 

On the walk home, I think, I can do this. I think I can do this. I think I can make it through the summer. One last summer. That’s not so bad, right? 

In bed, the voice says nothing, but its silence tells me everything.

Excerpted from BANG © Copyright 2017 by Barry Lyga. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Pre-order a copy of BANG

 photo Barry Lyga Devon John Photography_zpsjm2h2tth.jpgAbout the author
Called a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus ReviewsBarry Lyga has published seventeen novels in various genres in his eleven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in more than a dozen different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. Publishers Weekly named Lyga a “Flying Start” in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.

His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJPublishers Weekly, and KirkusVOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA “proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”

Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).

His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times “one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author” and an “extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture.” The first book landed on both the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers lists.

Lyga lives and podcasts near New York City with his wife, Morgan Baden, and their nigh-omnipotent daughter. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.
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