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Every so often you come across a book with a voice like a blast of pure oxygen. Aric Davis has that kind of voice: crackling, assured, energized. With Nickel Plated, he introduces an utterly unique character: 12-year-old Nickel, a former abused foster child, current runaway, and future force to be reckoned with (not that he isn’t already) with a keen brain, sharp sense of humor and hard-boiled self-awareness. Sworn never to return to foster care, Nickel supports himself by dealing pot, blackmailing online pedophiles, and taking on PI jobs, particularly anything involving a child in need. When pretty Arrow asks him to find her missing little sister, Nickel’s investigation uncovers a nasty corner of the suburbs involved in child trafficking. This is a dark but humane, chilling and sometimes heart-breaking work of noir, a reminder that children are vulnerable but also resilient, tough and resourceful. Davis takes on some very mature themes but never loses sight of the damaged but determined heart in his young narrator. Here is a character who demands a series, from a writer who will shake you wide awake. --Gillian Flynn
Aric Davis: Nickel came from a really dark time in my life. It sounds ridiculous in retrospect, but before I worked on Nickel Plated, I invested myself in a different novel completely, and after it was resoundingly rejected for publication, I thought I was done writing. I really felt like I'd wrung myself dry. About two months later, which was my longest dry spell without writing in years, three members of my wife's extended family were murdered by a drunk driver while they were walking on a deserted country road. In addition, a number of other family members and friends were hospitalized. I wanted to kill the driver, and of course, that's not a rational way of thinking. But I could make a character that could hurt bad people...
Question: Let's be honest. Nickel Plated is an edgy book. And you look edgy. Your job as a piercing artist even sounds edgy. But for all this "edginess," Nickel is actually very tenderhearted. How did you find the right mix of dark and sweet for this novel?
Aric Davis: I wanted an emotional character because most protagonists in this style of adult novel-like Richard Stark's infamous Parker-are so cold all the time. The emotions running through Nickel have a lot to do with his age, his lack of a family and the terrible things that he's seen and had done to him. I don't know that a boy his age could be cold and calculating all the time without coming off like a sociopath. As for the edgy side of Nickel, I think that just came about naturally. When you're working on a novel in the back of a tattoo shop, and have to take breaks to hurt people before you can get back to writing, you're going to get some blood on the keyboard.
Question: What made you decide to write a novel for teens? Did you always think you would be a YA writer?
Aric Davis: Because my mom told me to. Seriously, my mother's favorite unpublished manuscript of mine was the only other YA piece that I've written, and she's been bugging me for years to write another one. When I finally accepted the idea, I tried to remember what I liked best about reading at that age, and I was a Stephen King fiend. It was those memories that made me want to write a novel that wouldn't talk down to teenagers, certainly they can't all live fairy tale lives, right?
Question: You are a roller-coaster aficionado. What do you love about roller coasters? And, if you could only go on one more roller coaster ride for the rest of your life, which roller coaster would you ride?
Aric Davis: I love nearly everything about roller coasters. From the architecture, to watching my daughter share my passion, to just the pure bliss of riding, it's a love affair that I've been carrying on since I was very young. My favorite coaster right now is Maverick at Cedar Point. As far as I'm concerned, it can do no wrong, but I gleefully anticipate finding a ride that I enjoy even more, hopefully as soon as next spring.
I too had a bit of issue with the main character being only 12. However, with the rare 12 year old going to college, I suppose he could be a genius with street smarts..... Read morePublished 10 days ago by A. Heinen
I like the characters. It's an especially good book for a younger reader or someone who wants something that's simple fun.Published 11 days ago by Jean N
I really enjoyed reading this book. Nickel is not like any 12 year old out there. The situations and the people around him, I can't describe it and I don't want to ruin it for... Read morePublished 21 days ago by MICHELLE
I liked it; Nickel's voice is engaging and appropriately self-aware, but occasionally it's just too on the nose to do what it's trying to. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Caroline Jones
I enjoyed this book from the very first scene to the last line. Action packed. Good characters.Published 1 month ago by prewby
Just straight, in your face, politely, life from a perspective we hope children never come from. A world we don't really want to exist, hope doesn't, but Davis makes us wonder... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Valerian63
I wasn't sure what to expect from Nickel Plated but I definitely enjoyed the originality, the pace and the whole package. I didn't want to put it down. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kathy Setticase