by Dave Amaditz and
Welcome to February’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, Dawn Malone and her novel, Bingo Summer. Summer and her mom and sister struggle financially. Each birthday, Summer’s mom splurges on a BINGO lottery ticket. This year, Summer hits the jackpot and her life changes dramatically, but not all for the better.
We can’t wait for you to read this exciting novel!
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 chose this particular passage because I believe it is the first time Summer is aware of what she is doing to try to fit in.
I waited for him to tell me what he meant. Ever since school started, I felt like I was trying to slip inside someone else’s skin, and it fit me like a too-tight shirt. Sometimes, I wanted to do whatever it took to have friends, to be popular again like I was in Stanton.
Marcy – Summer is not happy in her new situation. She’s trying to make the best of it, but there are so many obstacles standing in her way. This paragraph demonstrates Summer’s attempt to work through some of her problems. And it’s a fabulous idea!
My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Bertram, once told us to write our troubles down on paper, to make a Worry List, and then get rid of those worries by throwing the list in the garbage. I’d done that before, when Mom and Frank were divorcing and she was too distracted to pay much attention to J.C. and me. I’d felt like I was J.C.’s mom, that my own mom had gone missing. Every day, I came home and listed my worries. Then I tore out the page, crumpled it, and banked the shot off the wall and into the garbage can. Sometimes writing stuff down worked. So I flipped to a new page in the notebook and tore it out. Instead of complaining to Dana, I’d make a Worry List.
2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?
Dave - This particular chapter ending comes from early in the novel. I chose it because when Summer moved it sets the stage for what happens in the rest of the novel.
I thought people who won the lottery had everything they could ever want. But I didn’t feel like a winner. In fact, I felt like the biggest loser of all, watching Stanton disappear in the side view mirror as we headed north to escape our small town that had become smaller still.
Marcy – Summer is having a rough day. When she arrives home, her situation only gets worse.
All I wanted was my bed, to pull the comforter over my head, and sleep September away.
But there was a pickup truck in the driveway. That meant I couldn’t disappear upstairs. I had expected a Harley, but he changed vehicles as often as people changed underwear. And the crystal horseshoe dangling from his rear view mirror was a dead giveaway. Mom had given it to him shortly after J.C. was born.
Frank was here.
3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Dave – I choose Dana as my favorite secondary character, although I also had Anna high on my list. Dana stays true to her best friend even after Summer moves and begins to socialize with neighbors and friends who have a lot of money. She’s not worried if she will be accepted or not and she still feels comfortable telling Summer exactly how she feels. Following, is an example.
She shrugged. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’re not exactly politician material. Sorry. It’s true,” she said, when she saw me frown. “You get defensive when no one likes your ideas. And you’re kind of grumpy.” She looked pointedly at my frown and smiled. “See? That’s what I mean. Grumpy.”
Marcy – There are a cast of great characters, but Dink is my favorite above all of the others because of his wit, humor and offbeat personality.
Summer has just delivered a speech because she is running for Student Council. She runs into Dink behind the stage.
“Way to deliver a speech.”
“What are you doing back here?” I turned in circles, looking for something. Anything.
“Working the sound system. Hey, you’re looking pretty green—”
Just then, I barfed into the nearest container, which happened to be a barrel of basketballs. Next to me, Dink nodded and grinned. I came up for air, wiping spit from my lips. Had my lunch not been making a repeat appearance, I would have smacked him.
“The basketball team won’t like that, you know,” he said.
I’d never felt so humiliated. I barely made it away from Dink and into the girl’s bathroom down the hall, before I threw up again.
4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?
Dave – This particular section depicts a perfect image. Not only does it describe this scene but it highlights personality traits of the character as well.
“Frank found his spot on the couch again, this time lying back and propping his boots on the arm. He chewed on his fingernails and spit the bits onto the front of his shirt.”
Marcy – Great line that describes the situation so well.
Announcing our good luck in front of Mrs. Hennessey was our first mistake. She didn’t mean to cause trouble, but telling Ruth Hennessey that you scored ten million dollars on a lottery ticket and expecting her to keep quiet is like telling a rooster he can’t crow. It’s just not possible.
5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?
Dave – This particular line of dialogue is spoken by Summer. I think there’s a touch of irony in what she says given the fact that this is advice given to her younger sister, yet Summer doesn’t apply it to herself when she moves to Dorrance.
“Friends aren’t something you can just whip up like a batch of cookies, you know. Dana and I were friends since kindergarten. Good friends take time.”
Marcy – J.C. is Summer’s little sister. She is an ornery, funny person and has no objection to moving into a new house in a nicer area after they hit the jackpot.
“I’m going to have a ton of friends here, and I’m not going to be a granny by the time I make them either.”