Books by Susan Vaught

ME AND SAM-SAM HANDLE THE APOCALYPSE by Susan Vaught
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 14, 2019

"An absorbing mystery about friendship, growth, and heroics. (author's note) (Mystery. 8-12)"
Jesse Broadview is trying to survive junior high just like everyone else—with the addition of doing it while having autism spectrum disorder—but it gets complicated when her English teacher father is arrested for stealing money from the school. Read full book review >
SUPER MAX AND THE MYSTERY OF THORNWOOD'S REVENGE by Susan Vaught
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 29, 2017

"Stubborn and clever without being superhuman, Max is a refreshing heroine who rises above a so-so mystery. (Mystery. 9-12)"
Vaught (Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry, 2016, etc.) examines the limits of expectations and electrical currents. Read full book review >
THINGS TOO HUGE TO FIX BY SAYING SORRY by Susan Vaught
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A provocative, sensitive, and oh-so-timely read. (author's note) (Fiction. 10-14)"
The rift between black scholar Ruth Beans and renowned white novelist Avadelle Richardson is ancient history in Oxford, Mississippi, but its cause is unknown until Ruth—now frail, living with her son, his white wife, and their child, Dani—asks her granddaughter to retrieve an envelope and key. Read full book review >
FOOTER DAVIS PROBABLY IS CRAZY by Susan Vaught
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 3, 2015

" A sensitive, suspenseful mystery that deftly navigates the uncertainty of mental illness. (Mystery. 10-12)"
"I was so far from normal, it wasn't even funny—except, of course, when it was," remarks Footer Davis, establishing the tone for an investigation into missing kids and parental mental illness. Read full book review >
INSANITY by Susan Vaught
YOUNG ADULT
Released: Feb. 18, 2014

"Readers content to do without the plotted throughline of a novel will find plenty of effective horror set pieces here. (Horror. 14 & up)"
A psychiatric hospital in Never, Ky., forms the locus for all sorts of occult and paranormal activities. Read full book review >
FREAKS LIKE US by Susan Vaught
YOUNG ADULT
Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"An illuminating, recommended read. (Fiction. 12 & up)"
Jason is "Freak" to his peers and even his ADHD friend Drip, but not to Sunshine, who—though selectively mute—shares her thoughts and feelings with him. Now she's vanished, and Jason, whose schizophrenia has shaped his life, is a suspect in her disappearance. Read full book review >
GOING UNDERGROUND by Susan Vaught
FICTION
Released: Sept. 13, 2011

Del, 17, high-school senior, convicted felon and registered sex offender for three years, keeps his head down at school, digs graves part-time and stays numb with the help of his iPod playlists. Read full book review >
EXPOSED by Susan Vaught
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Dec. 1, 2008

A too-obvious cautionary tale about Internet predators. Chan is determined to put her past behind her, and she believes the best way to do that is to find a new boyfriend, preferably someone sensitive, cute and, if possible, far away. Still reeling from a bad breakup, she wants nothing more than someone nice. A hard-nosed coach, an overbearing mother, an overly permissive father and a sister who is growing up too quickly all combine to keep Chan spinning. Paul, her online crush, is about the only easy thing in her life. Late-night chat sessions lure Chan into telling Paul all he needs to know to prey on her and her eight-year-old sister, Lauren. While the "ripped from the headlines" message is clear, it sometimes takes center stage to the detriment of the story. Chan is realistic and sympathetic, but her naïveté becomes both tiresome and unbelievable. Readers may well be frustrated by the uneven plot and the familiarity of the story. (Fiction. 14 & up)Read full book review >
MY BIG FAT MANIFESTO by Susan Vaught
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

Vaught boldly confronts anti-fat discrimination with a seductive mix of emotion and politics. High-school senior Jamie, pursuing a journalism scholarship to fund college, begins a school-newspaper feature called Fat Girl Manifesto. Her scathing, impassioned columns attract widespread media attention by tackling myriad prejudices against fat people, such as doctors who humiliate fat patients and stores that stock only small sizes while being staffed by clerks who taunt fat customers. When Jamie's beloved boyfriend Burke, a football player, chooses controversial bariatric surgery, Fat Girl chronicles it in excruciating detail. Jamie and Burke's relationship changes under duress. Fat Girl's voice shows Jamie's confident side, full of verve and wit and anger; underneath, she hides personal insecurity. Most of Vaught's narrative messages about fatness are empowering and humane, though they occasionally contain oddly stereotypical old myths that don't get questioned. This zesty page-turner will hook readers with romance and energy while addressing a woefully ignored subject. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
TRIGGER by Susan Vaught
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

After a botched suicide attempt leaves him with permanent neurological damage, Jersey Hatch attempts to piece his life back together again. Hindering him is his workaholic banker mother, overly sensitive teacher father and unsympathetic teachers, classmates and former friends. His allies include Mama Rush, the African-American mother hen of the neighborhood, and her granddaughter Leza. With his "memory book" beneath his arm, Jersey endures the humiliation of physical and mental impairment, and experiences crushing guilt over his action, which affected the lives of everyone in his world. Written by a neuropsychologist, the story strives for authenticity of voice, yet at times gets bogged down by repetition and Jersey's random vocalizations. There is also a tendency to essentialize good and evil characters, as Mama Rush and Leza are almost too good to be true, yet Jersey's former crowd is heinously mean (in one memorable scene, a former teammate urinates on Jersey in the boys' lavatory at school). Jersey's ex-best friend Todd's ambivalence and his mother's private anguish provide a more nuanced and realistic window into the tale. A worthwhile read. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
STORMWITCH by Susan Vaught
FANTASY
Released: Jan. 3, 2005

Haitian conjuring and American historical fiction boldly weave together weather, magic, religion, and ancestral history. It's August 1969. Sixteen-year-old Ruba's been in Pass Christian, a Mississippi coastal town, for three weeks. She moved there to live with her unfamiliar, Christian paternal grandmother because her maternal grandmother who raised her in Haiti has died. In Haiti, Ba taught Ruba how to conjure winds to fight evil Zashar, a stormwitch with an ancient grudge against their ancestors of Dahomey (Benin). With Ba dead, Ruba's the only warrior woman left. Now Hurricane Camille (possibly the worst storm to make land in American meteorological history) is bearing down, and Ruba knows Zashar's inside it. Meanwhile, Mississippi is rife with racial violence. With a few friends and family around her—including seven-year-old cousin Gisele, who may be the next warrior woman—Ruba faces Zashar, the hurricane, and the Ku Klux Klan. Gritty details of the civil-rights movement and Dahomey (and world-wide) history of slavery form a powerful story that's archetypal, magical, and realistic all at once. (historical notes, list of sources) (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >