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The Escape of Light

The Escape of Light A Novel

Teenage burn survivor, Wilder Tate, begins high school ashamed of his disfigurement. He finds an outlet tapping into his one-dimensional basketball talent as a shutdown defender and courts his cheerleader dreamgirl, only to endure heartbreak and setbacks that drive him to have a tissue expander... more

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Overview

Teenage burn survivor, Wilder Tate, begins high school ashamed of his disfigurement. He finds an outlet tapping into his one-dimensional basketball talent as a shutdown defender and courts his cheerleader dreamgirl, only to endure heartbreak and setbacks that drive him to have a tissue expander operation to rid himself of his scar tissue for good, but at what price? The operation costs him his basketball career and puts a wedge between him and his best friend, his mother, and his classmates. The only girl who understands him is Lane Makansi, an ostracized and bullied cutter who sees the truth of Wilder's self-loathing. Their unlikely friendship begins to salve their deep internal wounds when tragedy strikes--and Lane is the culprit. In the aftermath, Wilder discovers a capacity to forgive and empathize that he has never once applied to himself, leading to a dramatic decision that will change his life, and Lane's life, forever.

Fred Venturini was born in Patoka, Illinois. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South '13. His story "Gasoline" is featured in Chuck...more

Reviews

Venturini's latest novel blends the star-crossed love story of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS with the rousing finale of the best ROCKY movies as he triumphantly mirrors his own incredible life story, using it as a launchpad to weave a tale about the the love and hope just waiting to be discovered within the dark, raw realities of modern teenage life. THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT is a compulsively readable marvel that demands to be read in one sitting, preferably with a box of tissues close at hand.

Dan Loflin, screenwriter, the CW’s Supernatural and This Is Jane

No one captures the life of a teenager in small-town America with as much empathy, humor, and complexity as Fred Venturini. In burn victim Wilder Tate, readers will discover a kid with a blunt and piercing resilience about loneliness and pain and has the valor needed to fight through a daily life of disappointment and suffering. THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT contains the powerful voices of grief told through the eyes of a young man filled, against all odds, with hope.

Michael Nye, author of All the Castles Burned

Turning a page can feel like ripping off a bandage in THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT, author Fred Venturini's love letter to the poignancy and pain of high school. It's a novel about the wonderful and terrible things that happen to us and that we inflict on others, all told through the tumult of friendship and first loves. Venturini's sweet and sour coming-of-age storytelling drips with heartbreaking authenticity and smartass voice as his characters are dragged kicking and screaming into the complexities of young adulthood. If you couldn't tear yourself away from THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, open your heart, slap on a basketball jersey and lose yourself in THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT. To paraphrase Venturini, 'laughing is always worth it, no matter how much it hurts.'

Taylor Zajonc, author of The Maw

THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT will appeal to the entire Breakfast Club, from outcasts to nerd to jocks, not only because it’s smart and tough and willing to look death in the eyes, but even more so because it’s authentic. This books comes from a real place—that’s what hits you right away, and that’s what matters to young adults most of all.

Josh Woods, author of O Monstrous World! and The Black Palace

Fred Venturini is an awesomely talented writer, and he proves it on every page...

Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time

Venturini has a voice that's something like noir poetry—alternately hard-boiled and beautiful—and the story he tells with it is intriguing, intense, and—dare I say it—visceral. Keep your eye on this guy. He's going to cause trouble.

Isaac Marion, author of Warm Bodies