by Dave Amaditz and
One of the best things about fall is snuggling up with a warm glass of apple cider and a great book in front of the fireplace or outside fire pit. If you’re looking for your next terrific debut novel, check out today’s post.
Welcome to October’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, Elle Cosimano and her novel, Nearly Gone. Leigh is on target to win the $25,000 scholarship for achieving the highest grade in her chemistry class, her ticket to getting out of the low-class trailers where she lives. One thing stands in her way, a killer set on destroying her.
And we’ve just learned from Elle that today is extra special. She is revealing the cover for book two – Nearly Found, which is slated to come out in June 2015. Congratulations, Elle! You can check out the cover reveal and read more in an article posted today in the Huffington Post.
1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?
Dave – I think this line of dialogue from Leigh, the main character, captures everything about her that she is and why she acts the way she does.
“When I touch someone, I feel what they feel. I can taste it. I don’t know how or why. I just know I can’t control it. The only way to stop it is not to touch anyone at all. So I don’t. Because it’s too hard to be inside someone’s heart. And that sucks.”
Marcy – Leigh doesn’t know why her father left. She has faith that he had to have a good reason to leave her and her mother behind. And even though he’s been gone for years, she knows or at least hopes that he’ll return to them one day.
“My father wouldn’t have just left. He must have had a reason. And I believed that one day, he’d come back. That it was all some necessary sleight of hand, and he’d turn up like a card in a trick, right back where he was supposed to be.”
2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?
Dave - Leigh has found one of her friends in a dark, deserted room. I’ll say no more as I don’t want to spoil anything about the mystery of the novel, but needless to say a chill or two - - or more, ran up my spine after reading this.
I pushed myself farther into the aisle toward his face, wedging myself between his shoulders and the seats. His glasses hung askew inside a clear plastic bag that clung to the opening of his nostrils and stuck in his mouth. The plastic sucked tight over his face - and I didn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. The bag was knotted at Teddy’s throat, tied with his own shoelace. I reached out to tear it, to rip it away from his face. Breathe, Teddy, breathe! A dark hand shot in front of me before I could reach the bag. A glove clamped over my mouth and I screamed into it.
Marcy – One of my favorite chapter endings in the novel.
At least Jeremy was honest with himself. He never tried to be anyone he wasn’t, accepting each of us for who we were, flaws and all. He was a real friend, not a paid one.
I knew he wouldn’t mind when I asked him to skip lunch to drive me home so I could pretend to be sick for the rest of the day. I knew he’d share half of his sandwich with me on the way.
And we both knew I wouldn’t have anything to give in return.
3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Dave – My favorite secondary character has to be Jeremy because he knows Leigh as well as she knows herself and he was there for her, willing to do anything he could for her, as long as she was willing to accept his help. This line gives an example of how he jokingly proposed to stand up for her.
“Seriously,” he insisted, holstering his pathetic guns. “I’d have challenged him to a spelling bee. Total jock obliteration. I’d have been ruthless in defense of your honor.”
Marcy – There were so many characters that I really enjoyed, it’s hard to pick one. I guess I would choose Lonny. He is this scary drug dealer guy. You would not want to get on this guy’s bad side. But Leigh stands up to him and he respects her for it. I won’t give you details because it would reveal too much, but there’s a scene at the end of the book where Lonny leaves Leigh a black rose and her bag that she has left behind. This sentiment reveals a lot about Lonny’s character and shows he has a soft side beneath the gruff exterior.
4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?
Dave – Okay. So many great ones to choose from. How would you like to run into this guy in a dark alley - - let alone have him as a neighbor? Someone has to let me know.
I jumped at the snap-clink of a lighter flipping shut. Lonny perched on his saggy front porch, elbows on his knees. His tank top was moist at the neck, tattoos blooming like ghosts through the thin white cotton. He squinted at me, reaching slowly behind himself into the waistband of his jeans. He laid something between his legs. The silver barrel glinted in the sun. We stared at each other while he lifted the cigarette to his lips. His exhale felt like a bullet between the eyes.
Marcy – I had a difficult time choosing because of all the terrific descriptions in this novel, but this scene painted a clear, vivid image, and I felt like a spectator in the room. Eric bets Oleksa that he can’t solve the Rubik’s cube in less than ten seconds.
Oleksa caught the cube and his fingers flashed over the surface in quick successive turns, each pass aligning the colors with increasing accuracy. My heart sped up as I counted down in my head.
There’s no way…” Eric clenched his hands, glancing at his money. “The world record is just under seven.”
I rocked forward, inching up on my toes for a better look. The timer looked from Oleksa to his watch. “Five… four… three…”
Oleksa gave the cube a final turn and slammed it down on the desk between them.
“I win,” he said.
5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?
Dave – This line comes from early in the novel from her mother. Pretty much lets us know why Leigh acts and thinks the way she does.
“Your education is the only thing you can count on to get you out of this trailer. If I’d spent more time on mine instead of chasing after a boy, neither of us would be here.”
Marcy – This one line has so many meanings. Love it!
“Just because it’s complicated, doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution.”