by Dave Amaditz and
Welcome to December’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.
This month we're pleased to highlight debut YA novelist, Margaux Froley and her novel, Escape Theory. This page turner will keep you up at night. We hope you enjoy our answers and encourage you to buy the book.
1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?
Dave – In this particular section, we're at the point of the story where Devon, the main character, begins to feel comfortable with what she is doing as a student-counselor. In turn, some of the students begin to respect her, which ultimately leads to her beginning to respect herself.
I think he respects me.
Could that be right? The thought was unfamiliar, like trying a new language. Devon was used to being out of the loop, on the fringe of everything. It was almost comforting to know that her place would always be as an observer, not be observed. But now something had shifted. Matt wasn't looking for her to simply reflect his personality back to him. He cared what she thought. For the first time, she mattered.
Marcy – For me, this is the point where Devon has finally admitted to herself what she needs to do. Her roommate finds some stuff in her drawer and turns her in out of concern. Devon finally admits to herself that she will prove the truth to everyone at Keaton and responds this way to her friend:
Devon shifted her weight on her plastic cleats. “Yeah, well, I care, too. Still do.” She ran off toward the field. Maybe she was a nightmare to deal with right now. But she had her reasons. And she would prove them to Keaton.
2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?
Dave - I cannot say that Marcy's pick didn't have me turning the page quickly to see what happened next, but I chose this cliffhanger from earlier in the story.
"He confirmed it was Oxy in Hutch's system. A lot of it. But he said the weird thing was, usually with overdoses you find a few pills undigested in the stomach. Not with Hutch. The Oxy must have been crushed up before he took it. The only reason someone does that is if they plan on never waking up."
Raven sniffed and stopped crying. She glanced up at her brother.
"Or, if they don't know they were taking it," Devon said.
Marcy – I can’t say why this is an awesome cliffhanger without giving away the story. All I’ll say is that an unexpected girl is getting out of Hutch’s brother’s car and Devon witnesses it.
She locked eyes with Eric Hutchins.
3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Dave – Hutch, is definitely my favorite secondary character. His relationship with Devon is open and honest. I believe this quote will give some insight into that attitude.
"... Would have liked a choice in the matter," he finished for her. "I get it. The freaky thing is that our parents were easier than this place. Every minute here is accounted for, regimented. It's like the creepy ooze that just gets in everywhere, and eventually takes over your life. I hate it. I'd take public school, or even just being a day student any day. When you live here you can't escape it."
Marcy – Even though Devon’s the main character, the story revolves around Hutch. I enjoyed the depth of many of the secondary characters, but his wit and humor outshined the others. In this paragraph, we get deep inside Hutch’s head as he talks about his older brother, Eric.
Hutch chuckled. “That’s my brother, Eric. Everything fazes him. He got the burden of being older and worried about what everyone thinks of him, especially our dad. That’s just not me. I don’t care what anyone thinks. I refuse to bend over backward for everyone else until I’m broken like he is. I’m broken in my own way, I guess.”
Then there’s another line when Hutch talks to Devon from his heart:
“I have a feeling you’re the only good thing about this whole place.”
Devon laughed off the compliment. “We just got here.”
“But what if I’m right? What if tonight is the best it will get around here for the next four years and everything is just downhill.”
“If getting locked in the kitchen together is the best it gets, that doesn’t bode well for the next four years.”
4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?
Dave – There were quite a few I wanted to choose, all of which gave great insight into a particular character or a great visual image, but this particular section let me in on the mindset of the characters, the whole town, the setting in which the novel was placed.
The Town of Monte Vista was full of secrets that only Keaton students found valuable. The Monte Vista Deli would sell cigarettes without carding for one. The grocery store always carded, but the gas station would sell liquor to the fakest of IDs. Presley had once used her gym membership card from home to buy vodka, and the clerk never questioned it. They knew that as long as the cameras caught them showing something to the clerk, no one would get in trouble. Devon figured it was because Keaton students lived by so many rules on campus, rules in real life were just another set of boundaries to be pushed and worked around. Working around rules was the true cornerstone of the Keaton education, the one no one ever discussed.
Marcy – Can you tell by now that my favorite secondary character really is Hutch? It seems like all of my top picks are his lines. He’s definitely stealing the show for me in this novel during this conversation with Devon.
“Do you ever have those moments where you feel like you’re in the middle of making a really good memory? One that you’re going to remember when you get old? I think we just lived one of those moments.”
You really think when you’re like fifty and have a wife and two kids and the house and fancy career, you’ll really remember this one little night?”
He didn’t so much as blink. “I’m going to remember this night until I die. Maybe even after that.”
5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?
Dave – This novel contained so many great lines of dialogue. All of the conversations flow quite naturally. This particular line comes from Devon's friend, Presley, who is always telling it like it is.
"Devon, I'm saying this because I love you, because you’re my best friend, and you don't talk to a ton of other people. So someone has to say it. You have got to get over this Hutch thing. No, I never slept with Hutch. Never even kissed the guy. Thought about it, yes. Did anything about it, no. But you? You're obsessing. It's annoying. But more than that, it's disturbing. Go find Grant. Go make out with that hot boy and forget about the dead one. You hear me? This is for your own good."
Marcy – Hutch doesn’t hold back his thoughts. Hutch and Devon are in the unlocked school kitchen after hours. He makes this astute comment to Devon.
“A place that bases everything on an honor system leaves a lot of room for stupidity,” Hutch said.