Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Brent Hartinger

Brent Hartinger is the award-winning author of a number of novels, mostly for and about teens, including Geography Club (2003) and five companion books, The Last Chance Texaco (2004); Grand & Humble (2006); Project Sweet Life (2008); and Shadow Walkers (2011).

His latest book is Three Truths and a Lie.

Recently I asked Hartinger about what he was reading:
I'm always juggling a combination of books. It's usually some books by friends of mine, soon to be published; books that I've read before and I know I'll love; and new books that intrigue me that I hope I'll like.

Lately, books by friends have included the 2017 YA novels Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg, and Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher. I don't always love books by my writer-friends, but I happened to love both of these. And do like reading advanced readers' copies, because they come with no preconceptions. There are no reviews yet, no "buzz," nothing to bias the jury, so I feel like my judgment is somehow a little more pure. Except, of course, the writers are my friends, so I'm probably never going to be too critical!

Books that I've read before that I'd thought I'd love include We Need to Talk About Kevin. While I really did like it when I read it years ago, this time I found it very heavy-handed and over-written. It was quite shocking how bad I thought it was, actually. But I also read Ursula le Guin's classic Earthsea Trilogy, and I really did love this.

Finally, in terms of new books, I recently finished Brother by Ania Ahlborn, which is the story of 19-year-old Michael Morrow, who was kidnapped at age four and is now being raised by a family of serial-killing sociopaths. Michael accepts the murders as inevitable, mostly because he’s never known anything different.

But now Michael is nineteen. If he was ten, he would be a victim of his circumstances. If he was thirty, he would be a villain — too old to continue participating in such brutality and not be somehow responsible. But at nineteen, he’s in between, not quite a victim, but maybe not yet a villain. Or is he a villain? That’s the whole point of the novel. He's the perfect literary character!

This might be the darkest novel I've ever read -- it's a lot darker than my latest book, a psychological thriller called Three Truths and a Lie, which is the darkest book I've ever written. Brother isn't for the faint of heart, but for those who can stand it, it's wonderful.
Visit Brent Hartinger's website.

The Page 69 Test: Three Truths and a Lie.

--Marshal Zeringue