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Thursday, July 7, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Spinning Out by David Stahler Jr

Hi there readers!

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today I have a special treat for you, courtesy of the wonderful folks over at Chronicle Books.  (Hi guys!)  What kind of treat?  Good question.  It's actually a two part treat to be exact, so let's get to part number one....the blog tour! 

That's right!  Today, I get to play host to a blog tour for a title that just celebrated its book birthday a few weeks ago and features a unique story indeed.  It's made for the young adult sect (though certain to be found enjoyable to those beyond this age group.... *raises hand*), geared for male readers (with a predominantly male cast, it was bound to be....but rest assured there's plenty for the female audience as well....*keeps hand raised*), and will have you curious to find out what's really going on behind the bright lights right up til the end.  Ready for the big reveal?  Thought you might be.  Todays' book of choice and blog tour guest is....

David Stahler

Frenchy and Stewart.  Stewart and Frenchy.  If peas in a pod are close, this duo is the human equivalent.....or at least until recent days.  Allow we to illuminate the situation.  Every morning starts the same.  Stewart picks Frenchy (whose real name is Gerry....but looks the part of his nickname, so it stuck) up for school and they head down to their favorite "clear" their heads (read those quotation marks as "smoke pot"...yep, there is drug use here).  Dually ready to face the day, they head out with a smile and a laugh in their signature carefree style.  This camaraderie, this bond is what helps them through life's ups and downs, its tragedies and triumphs (and despite their seemingly carefree demeanor, they've each got troubles of their own). 

It carries them into trouble and right back out.  This's carrying them into the spotlight as Stewart convinces Frenchy to try out for the school musical with him.  Frenchy thinks it's a big joke, but goes along with him....after all, what are friends for?  Funny thing is though....Stewart seems to have been planning this theatrical interlude for a while and just how long becomes apparent with the school's performance selection; Man of La Mancha.  Stewart is aiming for the part of Cervantes aka Don Quixote; Frenchy (as can easily be gleaned), will try for Sancho.  (Art imitating life and all that.)  Friends til the end, do or die.  Supporting each other in their own way through thick and thin....but this time, the supporting role is taking a serious turn as the line between fantasy and reality is blurred beyond recognition.  It's gonna take more than "the wild winds of fortune" to carry them onward from the obstacles ahead.  Let's hope it does though....before it's too late.

There are so many layers to this story, even more so than at first glance.  It's being toted as a GLEE-like mashup with a serious look at the bonds of friendship.  They are not far off course with that description, but it really is just scratching the surface.  First, let me warn you of a few things....for those sensitive to them or younger readers, there is drug use, swearing, suicide and mental illness within this story.  It's a fictitious look at something that could happen in real life to you, to your best friend George down the street.  In fact, a lot of what occurs is probably happening in one away or another in your neighborhood right now....that's the scary reality of a story like this.  It hits "home" whether you have actually experienced the situations first hand or not.  Now back to the other story aspects....

It deals with all those off colored items mentioned above, but it also takes a look at family and friendship...with the realization that often they become one in the same.  If not for Frenchy, Stewart would have been beside himself....but the same could be said of Frenchy in his times of need and there have been plenty especially with the recent passing of his father (and certainly with how he passed away).  Then take the relationship between Stewart and his hippie parents.  It serves its purpose for allowing him free reign of his life, but we also see how that lose approach can create other problems (such as trust, and hesitance to step in when it suits the situation verses their needs) that may not be anticipated at first.  Move to Frenchy's Mom, a dedicated woman of today that works long hours to provide for her family, but loves them all the same.  Enter Ralph, potential love interest and local drug dealer...sorta.  Even though he's the supplier for most of the area, you'll find it hard to really dislike him....much as Frenchy chastises himself about from time to time.  Suffice it to say that person to person bonds are explored to their fullest.

Aside from the story, readers also get a bit of a culture lesson from the smarty pants side of Stewart and courtesy of Cervantes.  Never heard of Man of La Mancha?  Don't know who Don Quixote is?  Sancho is not ringing a bell?  They will be by stories end.  It's a great way to expose readers of all ages to the classics and instill that seed of curiosity to investigate the work further.  Just try to escape this story without singing the infamous "I, Don Quixote" song (which I conveniently linked to a video of the performance, or if you'd like to hear a GREAT rendition by Ronan Tynan, check this link for a sample)....betcha it won't happen.  It's the perfect play for the leading men in our story.  In fact, the events that occur pretty much play out like a modern day Quixote-type its full rainbow of colors.

In short, the characters are easy to relate to, the story believable, the ending unimaginable....all of which add up to a great reading experience waiting for you beyond the greenish haze from the Smoking Rock (which by the way, isn't what you'll have to read it to find out more).  Recommended read for older teens through adults for the very reasons mentioned previously (no worries, I won't re-hash it....get it?).  ARC for review courtesy of Laura at Chronicle Books. (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog of bookish goodness, feel free to check out their website or follow along on Twitter


Now, it's time for part TWO of the surprise....the CONTEST!
Here's the scoop!

The prize:

(1) copy of Spinning Out by David Stahler, Jr

How to enter:
Fill out THIS FORM.

* Open for entries Thursday, July 7th, 2011 through Friday, July 15th, 2011 at midnight CST.
* US addresses only, no P.O. Boxes please.
* Winner will be contacted via email by Sunday, July 17th, 2011 and have 48 hours to respond with their mailing information.  Failure to send the requested information will result in another winner being selected.  That's the breaks!  BUT, if you include your mailing information with your entry, that chance of missing out is erased.  POOF.  Your choice, but I promise after the contest, your information will be deleted.
* Winning name and mailing information will be forwarded to Laura at Chronicle Books for prize send out and then discarded.


So there you have it!
Another book adventure has come and gone with the to speak.
Good luck to those that enter....and happy reading to one and all!


Misha said...

Ooh! A GLEE-like mashup?!
I am glad to hear that the book deals with some realistic teen issues. It seems like a very different kind of book, and I wouldn't have heard of it without your review. So thanks!

David said...

Thanks for the enthusiastic review! What a cool idea to provide a link to the song.

A lot of love and work went into this one, so it's wonderful to read a review from a reader who appreciates all the different elements at play. As you say, there are a lot of layers.

There is a bit of drug use, especially early on, but as you indicate in the review, it's not gratuitous.

Great overview of the book's characters and themes. Reading your review, I got excited to read the book and I wrote the darn thing!

Thanks again!

David Stahler Jr.

Susan @ The Book Bag said...

Interesting to read comments from the author about your review - how nice. This books sounds great. And takes me back to my high school days - we played Man of La Mancha in our band. The book sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway.

Gina said...

Misha: Fantastic! Just what I aim to do. ^_^

David: My pleasure! Thank YOU for the great read and the visit! Always exciting when an author takes a moment to stop by. ^_^

Susan: I know, right? Can't help but's nice to see them reach out to readers. Glad you had a nice stroll down memory lane, and best of luck in the contest!

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

I could use a lesson or 2 in culture. great review

David said...

Do you like me? Do you really like me?

Okay, so I now have a Facebook author page. Now I just need to get 25 fans to "like" my page, and I can get my own username. (Whatever that means.)

You can find me at: If you would be so kind, pay a visit, feel free to post a question or something, and most of all, "like" me. You don't have to even really like me. You can just pretend--Facebook won't know the difference, and neither will I for that matter.

David Stahler Jr.

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