Monday, April 27, 2015

Blog Tour: Still Waters by Ash Parsons

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22521937-still-waters
Still Waters
by Ash Parsons
Website | Twitter

Publication Date: April 21st 2015
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780399168475
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary | Realistic Fiction
Source: Publisher

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A gritty, powerful debut that evokes The Outsiders. You won't be able to look away.

High school senior Jason knows how to take a punch. Living with an abusive father will teach a kid that. But he’s also learned how to hit back, earning a reputation at school that ensures no one will mess with him. Even so, all Jason truly wants is to survive his father long enough to turn eighteen, take his younger sister, Janie, and run away.

Then one day, the leader of the in crowd at school, Michael, offers to pay Jason to hang out with him. Jason figures Michael simply wants to be seen with someone with a tough rep and that the money will add up fast, making Jason’s escape plan a reality. Plus, there’s Michael’s girl, Cyndra, who looks at Jason as if she sees something behind his false smile. As Jason gets drawn deeper into Michael’s game, the money keeps flowing, but the stakes grow ever more dangerous. Soon, even Jason’s fists and his ability to think on his feet aren’t enough to keep his head above water.

Still Waters is an intense, gritty thriller that pulls no punches—yet leaves you rooting for the tough guy. A powerful, dynamic debut.
(Goodreads)
When I was first offered the chance to read Still Waters by Ash Parsons, I didn’t know what to expect. Just from reading the summary, I knew the novel would be gritty and dark. I don’t get the chance to read many novels that have a really dark storyline. I don’t actually read books of this nature very often, because sometimes they can be so realistic, it’s just painful to read. But the more I read these books, the more I realize how important they are, and how I’m glad so many authors are putting these books out into the world. While they tell a dark story, they also can give hope.

When Jason Robert’s is approached by the most popular jock at school, the offer sounds too good to be true. But it’s easy money, money that he desperately needs to finally get himself and his sister away from their drunk, abusive father once and for all. But what seemed like easy money at first, using his fists and bad boy image to help the jock out, starts getting out of control and even more dangerous, and Jason finds himself way over his head.

Jason is a complicated character, but you just can’t help but like him. He has gone through so much in his young life, especially at the hands of his abusive father, but he loves his sister fiercely and wants nothing more than to take her away from all of it as soon as he can. I love how much he loved his sister, and wanted to protect her at all costs from their father. Jason’s best friend Clay is the exact opposite of Jason. While Jason uses his fists and muscles at times to get his point across, Clay is the kid that refuses to fight even the bullies that pick on him, because he knows that violence is never the answer. These two boys, Jason and Clay, have an unlikely, but also kind of perfect, friendship.

The storyline for this book was raw and gritty, just as described. It leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat and flying through the book as quickly as you can. There were so many twists and turns throughout the story that were super intense, I just had to know what was going to happen next. I read this book in just a few hours time, and I could not put it down.

Overall; I don’t think that I normally would have picked up a book this dark, but I’m super glad that I did. The story was raw and realistic, and it sends out a very important message to those that read the book. I’m so glad I read this, and I’m looking forward to reading more by Parsons in the future!

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*Guest Post with Ash Parsons*

I was given the opportunity to come up with a guest prompt for Ash Parsons, so my dear friend Kathy and I brainstormed and came up with two really great, but also important questions. Read Ash's answer below!!


**Explain to us the significance of writing a book that deals with bullying and abuse. Also, how important is it to write books for teens that are a bit on the darker side.**

The world isn’t what we would have it be. It’s not safe. It’s not always welcoming. It’s wonderful and beautiful and challenging and hard. Life isn’t just happy moments, and it’s rarely fair. Even though Still Waters is fiction, no writer sets out to write something that isn’t true. The character of Jason isn’t real, but I desperately wanted him to feel true. It was important to me to write about bullying and abuse in that context. Because they are real things, and it felt true to include them.

The power of story is so strong, that when you tell a story and include harsh truths – that life isn’t fair, that some people seem to “have it all,” while others are struggling to get through a single day – that story can actually help a reader. Beyond being transported out of their ordinary life (which is itself enormously important), sometimes with certain readers and certain books, a story can assuage a need. Perhaps it’s a need for hope. Or a need to be recognized. A need to see your own struggles reflected in a book, and perhaps even triumphed over. Or just as importantly not triumphed over. Sometimes a book can validate a loss. Also when a reader sees harsh truths exposed in a book, it can sometimes give the reader the courage to face their own hardships, and if appropriate, expose them.

The playwright William Nicholson wrote, “We read to know we’re not alone.” I think that’s absolutely true. The alchemy of reading is so unique – it’s a singular, solo, subjective event – to read a book. And yet reading is also communal, especially when you have a community of passionate readers such as the readers of this blog. But when you sit down to read a book, that’s usually a personal magic that happens between your eyes and the words on the page. For myself, I find when I read that I do feel less alone, for all the reasons I mentioned above, when I have a need assuaged by a story. When characters become so real that it almost feels they are a part of me and I can carry them inside my heart - that is the best thing. It makes me think of another quote, from Seneca, “the comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one.” Books are like that, the comfort of the right book at the right time can be a life-long warmth that you carry with you, just remembering how it met or lessened a particular need at a particular time.

I think it’s important for teens to read “dark” books because life can be very dark. Telling the truth, reading the truth has its own power, which I discussed above. Beyond that, reading about other people – the struggles they have – if they’re vastly different from your own experiences, that also has power to cultivate empathy. For all these reasons, we need diverse books, to meet diverse needs, and to improve empathy and caring. I view writing about “dark” topics as being part of that necessary diversity. -- Ash Parsons

Thank you, Ash, for answering our questions! Your answer is spot on, and I love that you wrote this book for us. Readers, I hope that you will check out Ash's book, Still Waters!! It's definitely worth the read.

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1 comment:

  1. Your bookmark is so cute! And I haven't heard of this book before, but it certainly sounds a bit different, I'm glad you were able to enjoy it, even though it's not your usual kind of book :)

    - Wattle @ Whimsical Nature

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by! :)

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