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Exit Strategy Paperback – March 8, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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 www.exitstrategy17.com.
Top customer reviews
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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. Understanding early on what this book was about didn't take away from anything while reading. There was plenty to give me as a reader and I'd suspect anyone else - room to question just where the characters would find themselves at the end of the story. The end was bittersweet but worked perfectly and really, I don't think any other would have fit like this one did.
All in all author Ryan Potter has written a story that surpassed my expatiations and I for one am looking forward to seeing just what he writes next.
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. There are a few sub-plots in the story like Zach's realization that he is in love with his best friends sister. At first I really wished that these were played out and developed a bit more but I came to the conclusion that this book isn't a love story, or about any other people in Zach's life...Exit Strategy is a definitive coming-of-age story with the main focus being Zach and the person he is becoming.
I KNOW this book will be popular here in my library...it has all the stuff boys like to read about (at least from my experience as a middle school librarian)...sports, girls and the choices boys have to make when it comes to sex, drugs, alcohol and friends.
References to the above topics and a few cuss words make this book appropriate for ages 14 and up.
Most recent customer reviews
Onto the story, Exit Strategy is really Zach's coming of age story, mixed in with a lot of scandal, secrets, and a...Read more
Exit Strategy is a YA book like no other. The well-developed characters and unique plot formulated a memorable story.Read more