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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book Review: Epitaph Road by David Patneaude + Teaser Tuesday!

Book Review + Author Interview:
Epitaph Road by David Patneaude
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Release Date: March 23, 2010
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pages: 320

Summary: In 2097- thirty years after a powerful virus wiped out 97 percent of the male population- a new world order has emerged. With women at the helm of every leadership position, Earth has entered a virtual utopia. The ills of society, including poverty, crime, war, and hunger, have all ended. But when a rumored outbreak of the virus threatens the remote fishing community where his father lives, fourteen-year-old Kellen much warn him of the coming danger. During his desperate race to find his dad, Kellen uncovers a secret so frightening that the world's new golden age will never be the same. A fast-paced, post-apocalyptic thriller, Epitaph Road is an exciting and fresh new entry in his best-selling genre.
My Review: When I first heard about this book, I was super excited! The summary sounded amazing and refreshing to the YA world. The story started out a little slow for me, but picked up around the middle of the book. I enjoyed the main character Kellen, which played a huge role in uncovering the secret of this horrific danger that approached his world. However, I never really got to know Kellen or any of the other characters on a deeper level. Everything stayed on the surface and seemed vague at times especially with the character development. I was left feeling like something was missing as I read the book. However, I did love the action that occurred in the last 100 pages, many shocking facts were revealed. Overall, Epitaph Road was interesting but sadly it didn't meet my expectations. But, I do recommend it since the storyline is new and different.
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I just received the interview with David today, so here it is below:

David Patneaude is the author of Epitaph Road which is being released on March 23, 2010. He's also written nine mystery and suspense novels for children that have been nominated for more than 30 state awards. Check out all the books he's written here: David's List of Books

For more info on David Patneaude, check out his official website:

1) David, at what age did you know you wanted to become an author?
That's a tough one. I wasn't a little kid who walked around with a journal writing stories or poems or even one-liners. I didn't even have a journal. But by the time I was in my twenties I was writing bad poetry and thinking about someday doing something that other people might read. But thinking was about as far as I got until my thirties, when I began taking a few writing classes and writing a few things that I didn't even bother submitting. I finally got serious about it a while later, when I decided I wanted to write fiction for kids and began exploring how to do that. And finally I was focused enough and motivated enough to write regularly, which was the way I finally got to the point where I thought I had something worth submitting. After a lot of rejections, I got some short stories published. And then, after more rejections, my first book, SOMEONE WAS WATCHING, was published (in 1993).

2) What inspired you to write Epitaph Road?
EPITAPH ROAD is a bit of a departure for me, although I have written some speculative stuff in the past. I guess you could say I was negatively inspired (if there is such an animal) to write the story after growing frustrated with the way our so-called leaders, not just in this country but practically everywhere, have failed us over the years and centuries. The fact that almost all of these leaders were men, and they were to a large extent a reflection of male society as a whole, didn't escape me. So I began doing that What if? thing that writers do. What if men weren't in charge? What if women truly had all the power? What would that be like? The rest of the story came to me in months and years of brainstorming and writing and research and revision and on and on.

3) Are the characters in the book based on someone you know?
As with all my books, the characters are my creations. There may be pieces of real people (including me, naturally) taking up residence in some of the EPITAPH ROAD characters, but that's strictly accidental.

4) What was the hardest part of writing Epitaph Road?
I can't think of one specific thing that stands out as the hardest. Coming up with a story that works is always a challenge, but an enjoyable one. The research was a chore, but I learned a lot and found out there was a lot I didn't know. The actual writing was fun, and I've come to enjoy the revision part, because I know by now that revision is the key to getting published. Getting critiqued by my critique group and agent and editor can be painful, but I've got a great group of people giving me feedback, so it's in my best interest and the best interest of the story for me to pay attention to what they say, both positive and negative.

5) Out of all the books you've written, which one is your favorite and why?
Picking out my favorite book is like picking out my favorite kid--impossible and not recommended. But EPITAPH ROAD is right up there with my favorites. It's a bigger-picture story as opposed to most of my others, and in that it stands pretty much alone.

6) Do you have any other projects you're currently working on?
I'm always working on something, and right now I probably have half a dozen different things going in different stages of development. Let's see--there's a relatively short sports novel, a mystery set in the 1950's, a sequel to THIN WOOD WALLS, a young adult coming-of-age story told in a series of poems, another mystery, a very short early-reader, a picture book, and another bigger-picture story that is just in the thinking stages. I don't know the fate of any of them, but I'm an eternal optimist (when I'm not being an eternal pessimist).

7) Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest?
I've had a number of books by new authors recommended to me, but I haven't had a chance to read them. I know there's some amazing talent out there. One relative newcomer (although he's too talented and successful to be considered new anymore) who has impressed me a lot is Markus Zusak. His I AM THE MESSENGER and THE BOOK THIEF were good enough that they made me forget to be analytical and critical the way I usually am now when I read any piece of fiction. Those books simply drew me into the story.

8) What book are you currently reading?
I just finished reading Neil Gaiman's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. He's another impressive writer. And it made me feel less lonesome when I found out he'd been thinking about writing that story for decades. Right now I'm reading a nonfiction title--WITH THE POSSUM AND THE EAGLE, by Ralph Nutter, a bomber navigator during World War II. I'm reading it in connection with some research I'm doing for that thinking-stages-bigger-picture story. It's informative and interesting, and I'm enjoying it.

9) Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your current and future readers?
I'd like to thank all my readers--current, future, whatever--for being there. I thought it would be wonderful to get a book published, and I was right. It was wonderful and exciting and rewarding and all that. But hearing from readers who have read one or more of my books and enjoyed the story or found something that applied especially to their lives and were impressed enough to write to me about it, that's a huge thrill. I know how many demands there are on kids' time, and the fact that they took the time to read one of my books and more time to tell me about it is most gratifying.

10) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows about.
I don't have any big secrets, but if you're not in my relatively small circle of family and friends, probably most things about me are secrets. One thing most people wouldn't know is that I'm a runner. I've finished three marathons and dozens of shorter races. I continue to run (at a slower pace), but it's been a while since I've been in a race. I find that besides being good exercise, spending time on the trail is a great way to think about stories and revisions and all the stuff you need to do--the little things--to make a story interesting for the reader. Another kind of obscure fact about me is that I was in the helicopter squadron (HS-4) that picked up the Apollo 11, 12, and 13 astronauts (although I was back to being a civilian by the time 13 had its famous flight). I didn't fly, but I got to watch up-close from the deck as the 11 and 12 astronauts and command modules were brought on board. One more fact about me that most people don't know (and might not care to know): I'm a member of a media-happy family. Besides me (the writer), my wife Judy is a junior high librarian, our older son Matt used to write for a local newspaper, our daughter Jaime just graduated with a degree in studio art and is writing and illustrating a picture book, and our son Jeff is a film major at Montana State University.

Teaser Tuesday: Candor by Pam Bachorz

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their Align LeftTBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here's mine

"I want her back. Not the shiny, empty Nia. I want the mouthy, beautiful, sweet-and-sour girl who kissed me." Page 169 from Candor by Pam Bachorz.


celi.a said...

Love your teaser...and I'll have to check out Epitaph Road, as well.

Pizza said...

Epitaph Road, it seems really good, I feel like I've heard of it before. Nice review. Keep it up.


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