Oh… my… God. What a response at Lynn English High! The school adopted my novel Offside for its summer reading and on Friday, September 30, I spoke at two assemblies (one for Freshmen/Sophomores, the other for Juniors/Seniors). Those kids loved the novel and they loved me coming there to speak to them.
It took my breath away. The applause was thunderous, especially with the juniors and seniors, and went on and on and on, with one group chanting, “Offside! Offside! Offside! “
After the talk, I signed copy after copy after copy of the novel, with the students telling me how much they loved it, and for those students who didn’t have their books with them, I signed agenda books, post-it notes that the students were going to put in their books, and–no exaggeration– about a dozen bare arms and a couple backpacks.
This was Writers’ Heaven. There can be no drug possible to induce a high like the one those students made me feel. Just unbelievable. Thanks to everyone at LEHS for making the day possible.
[I’ll upload a couple photos as soon as I get past some formatting issues.]
Posted in Novels, Personal, Sports, Young Adult
Tagged Football, football novel, LEHS, Lynn English High School, novels, Offside, Young Adult, Young Adult novels
For Lynn English High School students who have read and enjoyed Offside this summer—and really for all potential readers—let me suggest that you also try Cracking the Ice, my other Young Adult novel. It’s also set in the late sixties with some of the action taking place in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Cracking the Ice is Jessie Stackhouse’s story, taking place a year after Offside. He leaves home to attend an elite, formerly all-white prep school so he can chase his dream of becoming the second black professional hockey player. He soon finds, however, that the coach doesn’t want him there and neither do most of his teammates. They’ll go to almost any extreme to make him leave. Jessie must overcome not only the team in the other locker room, but the even more dangerous one in his own.
I think you’ll like it. Order it for your e-book reader or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a special price on the paper version.
“I started Cracking the Ice and could not put it down. Jessie Stackhouse’s generosity, hope and intelligence touched my heart…I kept reading until the last page!” –Joyce Carol Thomas, National Book Award winner
Lynn English High School (Lynn, Massachusetts) has adopted my novel Offside for its entire student body and staff to read this summer. Needless to say, I’m thrilled. It’s especially gratifying because it all started with positive word of mouth.
It certainly didn’t hurt that I’m an alum and most of the book takes place in Lynn and in the hallways of that school, but ultimately the book’s qualities, applicable anywhere, made it the ideal choice.
“This coming-of-age tale of a young country boy from Maine who must adapt to a new life in the city is a perfect choice for the students of Lynn English High School,” said Anastasia Mower, the chair of the English Language Arts department. “It was a perfect match for high school students of all reading abilities. The quick pace of the story keeps the reader springing after “Rabbit” Labelle as he encounters all kinds of people in his new environment. Especially meaningful to us as a school are the book’s themes of bullying, alienation, friendship, and family, as these will offer much to talk about in discussion groups in the fall. We are excited for our students to connect with “Rabbit” and to join him as he learns about compassion and friendship in his new surroundings.”