“A painfully honest and powerful depiction of the changing nature of friendships in the face of hardship and an exploration of what it means ‘to be human and alive.’”
—Booklist on Breakaway, STARRED Review
“A compelling debut told with swagger and real depth.”
—Kirkus Reviews on Sway, STARRED Review
“There’s not a single canned emotion to be found...A rare study of growing pains that gives equal weight to humor and hardship.”
—Kirkus Reviews on Breakaway, STARRED Review
From the critically-acclaimed author of Sway and Breakaway, Kat Spears returns with THE BOY WHO KILLED GRANT PARKER (St. Martin’s Griffin; September 13, 2016), a high stakes young adult contemporary story of a city teen who moves to a small town and finds himself head to head with the local bully. With her newest novel, Spears pens a relatable story about social hierarchy in high school and exploring your identity when things don’t go quite as planned.
Luke Grayson’s life might as well be over when he’s sent to live with his Baptist pastor father in rural Tennessee after getting kicked out of his DC private school. His soulless stepmother is none too pleased to have him, and Luke’s bad boy status has done him no favors with his new principal or the local police chief. He’s also an easy target for Grant Parker, the local golden boy with a violent streak, who has the community of Ashland under his thumb and Luke directly in his crosshairs.
But things go topsy-turvy when, after a freak accident, Luke replaces Grant at the top of the social pyramid. This fish out of water has suddenly gone from social outcast to hero in a matter of twenty-four hours. For the students who have lived in fear of Grant all their lives, this is a welcome change. But Luke’s newfound fame comes with a price. Nobody knows the truth about what really happened to Grant Parker except for Luke, and the longer he keeps living the lie, the more like Grant he becomes.
This explosive coming of age story delves into the labels put on us not only by society but the ones we put on ourselves, and the work it takes to find out who we really are underneath all the lies. As school starts back up again and teens once again deal with the jungle of high school, THE BOY WHO KILLED GRANT PARKER is the perfect fall young adult read.
KAT SPEARS has worked as a bartender, museum director, housekeeper, park ranger, business manager, and painter (not the artistic kind). She holds an M.A. in anthropology, which has helped to advance her bartending career. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her three freeloading kids. She is also the author of Sway and Breakaway.
Additional Praise for Kat Spears:
"As in her debut novel, Sway, Spears showcases a talent for creating believably flawed characters seeking connection in the aftermath of tragedy."
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review on Breakaway
“This sad yet hopeful romance will appeal to readers of Steven Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.”
—School Library Journal on Breakaway
“Spears develops Jesse’s character so thoroughly readers will believe they know him. A compelling debut told with swagger and real depth.” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review on Sway
“Perspective is handled beautifully…Readers will be torn between wanting a guy like him around to make things happen and wanting to fix him so he isn’t that guy anymore, and they’ll be heartened when he ends up a little of both.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books on Sway
“Kat Spears debut novel is, quite simply, a delight. It has all the ingredients for an engaging and witty read, laced with honesty and insight that’s refreshingly real. If anything, Kat Spears may just be the one with some very valuable sway; get ready to be sold.” —The Children’s Book Review on Sway
“Spears’ debut novel sets an update on Cyrano de Bergerac in a contemporary high school, with noir undertones. Jesse’s first-person narration is raw, honest, and marks his growth over the course of the novel. A gritty take on the male high-school experience.” —Booklist on Sway
“At first glance, this novel seems like a typical Cyrano de Bergerac-type story, but it’s much deeper than that, touching on topics such as parent abandonment, disabilities, bullying and love. An engaging story that will stay with readers long past the final page.” —School Library Journal on Sway
Guest Post by author Kat Spears:
(On how to read in the shower)
Whenever people ask me how it is possible that I read in the shower, my first response is always—yes, the books get wet. Rest assured I never read library books in the shower and I have always preferred to own books rather than borrow them from the library. I trash my books—dog ear the corners to mark my place, leave them open facedown with the spines cracking under their own weight, and write notes in the margins or underline passages that appeal to me. My mother is a librarian and she absolutely despises people like me. Of course, my treatment of books is not my first or last offense in the eyes of my mother, nor even my most egregious, so I don’t really worry about it.
Showering is just too boring for me to do without a book. Once I had small children and no longer had time for long, leisurely showers, I was surprised to discover you really can be in and out if you aren’t reading. Until that point I was showering with one hand, the same way people read while they eat, and I can turn pages with the same hand that is holding the book—a critical skill for any devoted reader. I should also note that at a certain point during the shower I do have to switch hands, transferring the book from the dry to the wet hand so I can wash both sides of my body, and this is really when the book sustains the most injury.
Now that my children are a bit older and I can lock them in the attic with a box of dry cereal and an iPad, I have returned to reading in the shower. I’m a big fan of reading the books that I love over and over again. For books by authors like Jane Austen, R.L. Stevenson, Agatha Christie, etc. I usually have what I refer to as “shower copies.” These are books that are already wavy and brittle from being dampened repeatedly and the spine paper has started to lift and curl at the ends. I must own 50 or so paperbacks that are shower copies, all of my favorite mysteries and classic adventure stories.
I should also note that reading in the shower and, thus, taking long showers, is my only personal failing when it comes to being environmentally irresponsible. I don’t use drinking water to keep my grass green and I almost never use plastic in my home if I can help it. So, despite being evil for my treatment of books, I have a pretty good record for my treatment of the planet.