Andrew Demcak* is an American poet and novelist, the author of four poetry collections and five Young Adult novels. His books have been featured by The American Library Association, Verse Daily, The Lambda Literary Foundation, The Best American Poetry, and Poets and Writers. He was a *FINALIST* for the prestigious Dorset Poetry Prize, the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and the Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence in Poetry. He recently released two new YA/Teen GLBTQ2-S novels, How Do You Deal with a Dead Girl? (Big 23 Press, 2018) which Kirkus Reviews called "An eerily amusing horror tale that will have readers rooting for the characters," and Alpha Wave, The Elusive Spark series, Book 2, (Harmony Ink Press, 2018). His newest YA/Teen GLBTQ2-S novel, Darkfeather, The Elusive Spark series, Book 3, (Harmony Ink Press, 2019) will be published next year. About his Teen GLBTQ Sci-Fi Coming-Out novel, A Little Bit Langston, The Elusive Spark series, Book 1, Kirkus Reviews raved "This book really ... takes its place in the marginalized-will-lead-us genre, as popularized by The Matrix and the X-Men franchises." His first Young Adult (YA) novel, Ghost Songs, was published March 13, 2014. His first literary novel, If There's A Heaven Above, was published January 5, 2013 by JMS Books, and was nominated by The American Library Association as an "Outstanding" novel for older Teens (17+). His first play, The Inevitable Crunch Factor, won the Cal Arts' New Playwrights Series and was cast and produced in a multi-week run. His fourth book of poetry, Night Chant, was published by Lethe Press. His other poetry books are: A Single Hurt Color, GOSS 183::Casa Menendez Press, 2010, Zero Summer, BlazeVOX [Books], NY, 2009 and his first poetry book, Catching Tigers in Red Weather, three candles press, 2007, which was selected by Joan Larkin to win the Three Candles Press Open Book Award. He was a 2010 Finalist for The Crazyhorse Poetry Award. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Lambda Award, Thom Gunn Poetry Award, both the California and Northern California Book Awards, Best of the Web, and others. He has an M. F. A. in English/Creative Writing from St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA , where he studied with Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Michael Palmer, Carol Snow, Frank Bidart, Gary Snyder, Charles Wright, and Sharon Olds. Andrew is also a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, where he studied with Galway Kinnell, Richard Howard, and Lucille Clifton. His poems, including Young Man With iPod (Poetry Midwest, #13), are taught at Ohio State University as part of both its English 110.02 class, "The Genius and the Madman," and in its "American Poetry Since 1945" class. At the age of 23, Andrew published his first chapbook, The Psalms (Big 23 Press), which was favorably reviewed by Dr. Clifton Snider in the Small Press Review (issue 226, vol. 23, no. 11.) *"Andrew Demcak." Contemporary Authors, Gale, 2017. Literature Resource Center, go.galegroup.com. Accessed 27 May 2017. OCLC WorldCat Author Identities: https://www.worldcat.org/wcidentities/lccn-no2009080970 Library of Congress Author Authority file: http://viaf.org/viaf/88547073/ Contact/Booking Information: email: andrew [at] andrewdemcak [dot] com phone: 510.394.5821
“An eerily amusing horror tale that will have readers rooting for the characters.”
– Kirkus Reviews
Los Angeles kids tangle with a mostly friendly ghost and a not-so-congenial spirit in this YA paranormal novel.
Ben D’Argento, fresh out of high school, is nursing a broken heart. His childhood sweetheart, Mark, found religion and left him for a woman. Looking for somewhere to lick his wounds, he absconds to his stepfather’s eerie summer house on Fawnskin Lake—where he is strictly forbidden from going. For company, he breaks his autistic 6-year old brother, Tadzio (“Taddy”), out of his group home, hoping to give him “the summer vacation he’s never had.” As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Quickly, Taddy unearths a creepy basement and establishes a rapport with Flora, a dead girl in a blue dress who claims: “This is my house. I live here.” Thankfully, the only neighbors for miles, Jayne and Ozzy, are an amiable couple—and it also doesn’t hurt that she is a psychic. Jayne tells the boys about Ainila, a spirit who is meant to guard the lake. But, as Taddy says, “There’s a bad thing at the bottom of the lake.” And it’s out to collect souls, the most prized of which turns out to be Taddy’s. In this rollicking series opener, Demcak (Alpha Wave, 2018, etc.) presents the gamut of spooky happenings—on this wild ride, readers will encounter tarot readings, séances, ghostly bee swarms, and “the Los Angeles Paranormal Investigation Society.” But he doesn’t try too hard to make it all fit into one neat package. Sure, some loose ends are left wafting in the ghostly breeze, a couple of coincidences stretch readers’ spectrum of credulity, and the ending seems to resolve a little too quickly, but horror can be a messy mistress. Besides, what counts are the moments of tension, elements of surprise, appealing cast, and ultimately the fun—is that voyeuristic ghost who’s peeping at Ben and a friend about to get down and dirty? With Demcak, that’s decidedly possible.
An eerily amusing horror tale that will have readers rooting for the characters.
Pub Date: March 21, 2018
Page count: 232pp
Review Posted Online: May 25, 2018
There’s something to be said about an undiluted message.
Demcak drops readers directly into the first-person perspective of James Kerr, a 14-year-old white gay boy with an undefined learning disability living in Los Angeles. Under last-minute pressure to finish an English class assignment, he writes a fully visualized poem thanks to the otherworldly hand of fictional Harlem Renaissance writer Montgomery Langston (whose equally fictional “An Undreamed Dream” is an appalling pastiche of “Harlem (Dream Deferred)”). When James does this again—and on the principal’s desk while under a trance—James finds out that he has both a gift or two and a half sister, a teenage Korean girl named Lumen, thanks to shared extraterrestrial DNA contained at Paragon Academy, a “school” that is a front for the U.S. government. In all of this, James falls mutually in love with his only friend, Paul Schmitz, a 15-year-old mixed-race Filipino/white neighbor and fellow ninth-grader whose father tries to “toughen up” through weightlifting, controlling contact between James and Paul, and homophobia-based physical abuse. They even become genetically manipulated cousins while remaining lovers. This book really wants to take its place in the marginalized-will-lead-us genre, as popularized by The Matrix and the X-Men franchises. But when that positive message is delivered with acceptance of taboos and negative stereotypes—such as mixed-race people’s “magical exoticism” and Magical Negroes using their supernatural powers to solely aid white protagonists—the message gets lost.
Well intended but desperately unsuccessful.
Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015
Teens review my teen novel Ghost Songs
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