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Exit Strategy Paperback – March 8, 2010

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A Detroit suburb on the skids makes an appropriately seedy setting for this decidedly dark comedy featuring plenty of drinking, smoking, risky behavior, and lives gone wrong. The summer before his senior year proves to be a real eye-opener for Zach as he watches his parents’ marriage dissolve after both get laid off; falls in love with Sarah, the twin sister of his hulking and fiercely protective best friend, Tank; finds evidence that Tank’s savage mood swings and bursts of violence are due to steroids supplied by an idolized high-school coach; and learns that Tank’s supposedly upright father, an undercover cop and the story’s closest approach to an adult role model, has a stash of porn magazines and is taking another man’s wife to sex parties. Though Zach promises no happy endings at the outset of his present-tense narrative, by the close he has made at least a few good choices (after several wince-worthy poor ones), and his determined goal to find a way to escape his town and its traps still looks attainable. Grades 9-12. --John Peters

About the Author

Ryan Potter's (Royal Oak, Michigan) short fiction has appeared in several literary journals. Exit Strategy is his debut novel. To learn more about Ryan Potter, visit

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Flux; 1 edition (March 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738715735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738715735
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,736,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

When he's not hard at work writing, Ryan Potter spends his time teaching seventh graders, reading, practicing yoga, imagining life as a rock star, and wishing he had more time to write. His dream of becoming an author began in middle school, where he wrote short stories about aliens and student teachers. He lives in the Detroit area with his wife.

Ryan is the author of numerous published short stories and novels for both young adults and adults. Visit him online at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Reeves VINE VOICE on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
4.5 Stars - Exit Strategy was far from many things I've read before. I seem to be saying that often these days. The characters and story were written from the view point of our main character Zach - a 17 year old boy who wants more from his life then what's happening around him, then what he knows his town can offer. It focuses on the months of the summer before his senior year of High School.

Zach wants nothing more then to get out of his hometown of Blaine. Much of the focus on his story is about the varying BEP - "Blain Escape Plans" for not only Zach, but the other characters throughout as well. It's something that Zach wants more then anything, not only for himself, but also for the people he cares about and this aspect of the story comes through clearly. There were many shocking truths that are brought to light, making the characters full of so many layers that the author sometimes only touches lightly upon. Giving the readers just enough to fully comprehend what each was going through throughout the story - via the eyes of Zach.

Potter makes being a 17 year old boy in a no where town real and true. From Zach and his search for more in his life and those around him, to Tank - his best friend, and his need for perfection on the wrestling mat; to the root of the subject matter and it's affects that ripple throughout so many lives, which wasn't nice or sweet - it all fit and worked in this well written story. Let's not forget about Sarah - Tank's twin sister who wasn't found often throughout the story, but Potter worked magic in what was there. I never felt like I missed anything in the complex relationship she had with her brother, father and Zach.

Strong characters make up a huge part of any great book and this one doesn't disappoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By flamingo1325 VINE VOICE on March 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
The basic plot idea behind this book is certainly interesting and not one I expected from reading the summary. From the start, this book had me hooked from the narrative voice, the somewhat cryptic first chapter, and the colorful cast of characters. Potter defines his characters and adds enough idiosyncracies to make them memorable.

Set in Zach's perspective, this is a very real story told from the mind of a 17 year old boy with everything that comes with it. Though he's on the football team, Zach isn't a typical jock, particularly compared to his best friend Tank, and has quite a bit going on in his head. Often times, I found myself wondering why these two were best friends but they simply were and Potter did a fantastic job creating their history and bond. Zach has his stupid moments but he has his times of clarity as well, helping to pull together the idea of a 17 year old and Potter nailed that aspect.

Tank is a very interesting character- a psycho by all accounts but as with all well developed characters, there are further underlying things related to this boy. His twin sister, Sarah, is an equally as unique character though for different reasons and Potter incorporated her very smoothly into the story.

The plot of this book is filled with twists and unexpected turns, keeping the reader enthralled the entire time. Even after the basic, main idea was revealed, the outcome remained uncertain and Potter kept the reader involved with drama and action as well as humor and banter. Potter covers a wide array of emotions throughout this story, pitching each on perfectly. Adding to the well developed, intriguing plot is the writing itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Wishard on March 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Stuck in Blaine, Michigan a small suburb of Detroit, Zach is desperate to leave after his senior year, hoping to avoid the fate of his parents, who have lived and worked there their whole lives. In the meantime, he becomes determined to expose his football coach, who he suspects is supplying steroids to athletes, and his best friend Tank's father, an undercover cop who he thinks is mistreating his children and having an affair with a married woman.

Zach is also a little bit stressed out about his brother's seeming lack of motivation to get out Blaine and is more than a little curious about why his talented and athletic brother quit the football team his senior year...another mystery to solve.

When Zach is forced to get a summer job he ends up working at the local "beverage" store across from the assembly plant, the box boy who had the job before him lets him in on a few secrets about the job. Will this job take him down the road to responsibility or just be another example of lame adults who once again fail to live up to Zach's righteous view of "adult behavior"?

It occurred to me while reading this book that there are a lot of teens out there that are in a very similar situation to Zach. With the economy the way it is and the slow death of industrial jobs there are a lot of "dead end" towns out there with kids hoping to escape the same fate as their parents.

Zach is a very realistic character...flawed but likable and struggling to figure out who he is and the path he wants to take in life. I predict a lot of boys who read this book will see themselves in Zach and the obstacles and questions he is facing.

I think this is a great story and the writing flowed nicely.
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