Hi, everyone. It’s Sher here featuring Double Negative, by C. Lee McKenzie. Mom always told me not to use such language, and here I am recommending it! If you ask me, Double Negative is a very positive book title. Yes, there’s a giveaway, but first here’s a character conversation Lee sent me to give you a little flavor:
“While this scene never happens in Double Negative, it could. Hutch is always asking for Nyla’s help. He can barely read and she knows it, but she’s the only one in school that does. Hutch can trust her with his secret because Nyla has no friends, and even if she did, she’d never let Hutch down by telling them about his problem.”
Hutch spots Nyla alone at the back of the cafeteria. He hurries to where she’s sitting and takes the chair across from her. “Yo, Nyla. I’m in a mess.”
Nyla takes a chocolate kiss from the bag next to her and gives him the look, the one that screams, “What’s new?”
“Come on. I mean it.” He drops his English book on the table and flops it open to a page he’s bookmarked with a pencil. “Deek the Greek’s got a test up his sleeve for tomorrow, and I got no clue what this,” – he stabs his finger on the page – “says.”
“Okay. Let me see.” She spins the book to face her. “It’s a poem about love.” She smiles. “Don’t look that way. I like these kinds of poems. Most of the time poets write about death and ugly things.”
“Right. So give it to me. What do I need to know about. . .love?”
“Knock it off, Nyla. Just give me what I need to pass this test, okay?”
“How much can you remember?”
Hutch sits back and crosses his arms. “Give me three facts. I’ll memorize them and come back later for more.”
After she reads the poem more carefully she says, “Your teacher might ask about the allusion to Shakespeare.”
Hutch sits up and leans over the book. “Huh? Where?”
“The last line. ‘. . .all’s well.’”
“The allusion or the meaning of those words?”
“Look, just translate this. . .this poem to me in plain English.”
Nyla picks up the book and peers over the top at Hutch. “Fact: love doesn’t last long. Fact: love is everything. Fact: you don’t need heaven if you have love.”
“Oh, man. This is going to be one gnarly test.” Hutch grabs the book and starts to leave. “I’ll be back.”
“Hope so,” Nyla says as she pops a chocolate kiss into her mouth.
C. Lee McKenzie is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets. She writes most of the time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can.
She takes on modern issues that today’s teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Her short story, Premeditated Cat, appears in the anthology, The First Time, and her Into the Sea of Dew is part of a collection, Two and Twenty Dark Tales. In 2012, her first middle grade novel, Alligators Overhead, came out. Double Negative is her third young adult novel.
NEW YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
McKenzie’s newest book DOUBLE NEGATIVE, July 2014
C. Lee McKenzie moved her writing skills from the world of academia to the teen scene. Her newest book Double Negative (July, Evernight Teen.) creates a story about a functionally illiterate teen who struggles to escape his dysfunctional family.
Double Negative centers on Hutchison Mc Queen, a sixteen-year-old screw up, a member of Larkston High’s loser clique, the boy who’s on his way to nowhere—unless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesn’t work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person who’s in on his secret—he can barely read. And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years she’s saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.
McKenzie published her young adult novels with WestSide books in 2009 and 2010. Sliding on the Edge tackled the issue of cutting and suicide among young people and The Princess of Las Pulgas painted a picture of a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives together. In her third book she switched to writing for grade school readers. Her book Alligators Overhead (July, Outskirts Press, Inc.) created a fantasy adventure story about two seventh graders who must save a wetlands from developers.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Available from AMAZON starting July 25
I’d like to thank Lee for guesting today and for the great peek into Hutch’s life. Please tell Lee what you think of Double Negative, and don’t forget to put it on your TBR list. Then if you have time, please scroll back for other cool books and open giveaways, and come back Friday to meet Aimee Henley and find out her favorite books. Last but not least, thanks for visiting!