- Paperback: 392 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 13, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1508692874
- ISBN-13: 978-1508692874
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 47 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,680,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. She is the USA Today bestselling author of Going Under. When she's not writing, she's thinking about it. She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at email@example.com and follow her twitter feed at @swaldenauthor.
Top customer reviews
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I look to books for an escape, those minutes, hours, days that I can put real life issues on the backburner and get lost in someone else's drama, their romance, their struggles, their truth. I think the gravity of Interim might be too much for some readers to take. But I'm a reader that can separate fact from fiction, reality from storytelling and I did that with Interim. I can do that because it feels better to feel pain and loss and fear for fictional characters in fictitious circumstances than it does to turn on the news and face the reality of it. It feels so good to get lost in pretend, even if that pretend makes you feel real, profound, painful emotions. I can close Interim and sigh with relief that, despite the pain and the violence and the gravity of this story, it wasn't real. Even though it is. I think for the sake of our love of fiction, of stories, we should be able to indulge in literary entertainment for a while, and respect that it's possible to cast aside our sensitivities, put our judgements on hold for a few moments, and take a story for what it is. Interim is that story. Every innate opinion has to be checked at the door with this story. It doesn't matter what you stand for, what you believe, how you classify right from wrong. This story will change that. It makes you see rightness in what's undeniably wrong. It demands that you contemplate excusing the wrongness of something that isn't right at all. It forced me to connect with a character, fall in love with a character, who is both right and wrong. It forced me to evaluate where my boundaries reside.
This story will have people talking, it'll spark controversy and fury. It will divide. It's a strange dichotomy what Walden has done with this story, canonizing a villain, vilifying a victim... Or did she? Jeremy Stahl is a victim of his circumstances, a victim to his father's abuse, victim to bullies at school, victim to his own confusion and emotions. So he plans to respond, to react, to defend against. I don't believe this was Walden's attempt to give a potential school shooter a free pass, or to say "hey, guys, come on, see things from this person's perspective." I think this was just a story that demanded to be told. A fictional account of one teenager's choices, their sense of powerlessness, their misguided longing to regain that control. And this is what happened. It's a fictitious perspective, but there's no denying that it's a perspective we're not often gleaned when we see these things happen in real life. I never once, however, took this as the authors attempt to make a statement about school shootings, about bullying, about gun violence. In fact, I believe she did a fantastic job of demonstrating the spectrum of opinions on all subjects with her widely diverse characters and their very vocal opinions. I believe, at the end of the day, that was the point, to remind us how different we all are, how differently we all deal with loss, pain, abuse, and words in general. How people change and grow in different ways, how we each choose a different path. And how we are all connected. Our words, our actions, our courtesy and consideration or lack thereof, the way we choose to live, all of it effects others. We never know how even one word can change the path of someone else's life.
Brandon and Jeremy's father both serve a pivotal purpose in this story, their characters demonstrating the insecurity and doubt, the fear and shame that ultimately served as the foundation for their bullying and abuse of Jeremy. Their inability to deal with their own insecurities and fears in a healthy way leads them to victimize and knock down other people in an attempt at making themselves feel more than. In Jeremy's fathers case, it's his loss and pain mixed with alcohol. In Brandon's, his inability to compartmentalize his childhood weight issues. It's sad and pathetic and frustrating and wrong, yet it's precisely what is at the root of any bully's pattern of behavior. Shame, self-loathing, insecurity, misplaced anger. The more they each come to hate themselves, the more they long to release those pent up aggressions on someone else. It's a vicious cycle but what Walden does with these characters is paramount to this story. Through flashbacks, we're gleaned insight into the Brandon that once was, the uncertain boy struggling with his sense of self, Jeremy's father in those moments of doting father before suffering the loss of his wife. Jeremy's own battle between good and evil, victim and villain exhibits clearly that there's a little good in every bad, a little bad in every good. There's two sides to every coin and it's what one chooses to do with everything they're facing that determines which side lands face up.
Interim illustrates the gravity of words, how words can make or break, how those words build up a person or beat them down. How different Jeremy's life might have been had it been filled with more kindness, more compassion, more love and understanding. How different the trajectory of his life may have taken if there were more Roy's and Regan's in his life. Words can't be unspoken. Unheard. Unread. Words have power. To hurt. To break. To scare. To humiliate. To damage. Interim is a lesson in being wise with one's choices of words. You never know the power of your words, the pain they can inflict, the damage they can irrevocably cause.
This isn't a story about love conquering all. It's not a story about an unremarkable teenager changing the trajectory of another's tormented life with their love. This is about a broken, damaged, scarred soul, a decision to right the wrongs of a tortured past, no matter how misguided that decision might be, and the grim reality that nothing can change that decision. Of course, I longed for love to save the day. I hoped that this could be a story where all hearts were healed, all wounds scabbed over and forgotten, that all could be right with the world. But this isn't that story. S Walden isn't that author. This story would play out the way it was meant to.
I could talk for days and days about my love for Walden's writing. Crisp, clean, fluid, smart writing... raw, clever dialogue... melodic, flawless prose. S Walden is an outside-the-box author, consistently delivering stories that are nothing like the last. It's unfair to compare her books as they're all individual stories, original, refreshing, never been done before. But I'll go out on a limb here and say that Interim is most reminiscent of Going Under. Interim captures the uncertainty and brutality of adolescence, real life issues against the back drop of cafeteria lunches, buzzing hallways, and teenage hormones as Going Under did. But Interim veers in a drastically different direction, with the focus on a different form of bullying, and a charger seeking another sort of vengeance. If you think you don't want to read a story centered around high school students, you're wrong. Walden captures the voice of these teenagers perfectly, their naivete, their immaturity, their vulnerability. She consumes the reader with the raw reality of adolescence, of every emotional high and low, of the all-to-real fears and uncertainty that come along with this age. Interim isn't easy to read. It's brutal for an array of reasons, all of which you must read to understand. Be prepared. Be prepared to hurt. Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone. Be prepared for a profoundly unforgettable, turbulent journey through tragedy and love that you won't soon forget. I know I won't.
I know the subject matter in this story is daunting, and scary, and sensitive. But I hope readers give this story a chance. It's beautiful and painful and raw and difficult at times, but it's also brilliant and hopeful and romantic. I was worried I'd come away feeling a certain way, that this story would go to a place that it was impossible to come away feeling anything but sadness and regret. That's not the case. It's hauntingly devastating, but it's so much more than that. It's absolutely worth reading despite your fears and reservations. What Walden has done here, with Interim, is perfect.
Now that you know the story behind the song, have you ever taken a moment to focus on the words of Jeremy? Go on.....pull out your iPod or do a search of YouTube videos and listen. It's a very deep and dark song about a troubled teenager who decides to take control of his life and fight back on his own terms. It didn't take long for me to recall Pearl Jam’s Jeremy once I began reading Interim, and the song will forever mean more to me now that I have read this novel.
It wasn't easy for S. Walden to write her story about Jeremy Stahl. It took her a long time to come to terms with what was bouncing around in her head. Walden wants readers to know she is not speaking to a point. She has no agenda. She just has a story. Knowing Walden’s proclivity to write about dark and controversial subjects, I was nervous about reading Interim. In fact, I have never feared the content of a novel like I did with Interim. I had a healthy respect for this story based on the synopsis and personal discussion with the author before I began reading.
Walden truly agonized over writing Interim. Bullying. Parental neglect and abuse. Gun violence in schools. When you combine controversial subjects with violence, you have a recipe for something dark and scary. Something to be feared. This is the truth of the matter – the events that take place in Interim could happen at any school or shopping mall or workplace on any given day. So before you begin reading Interim, please be sure to read the letter from S. Walden at the beginning of the novel and be very sure you can handle the content.
I’m going to get straight to the point. Interim is a 6-star novel. It’s everything I could have hoped for in a thriller. Intense emotions, anger and panic. Darkness. Suspense. Graphic violence. Young adult romance. The authentic feel of the high school social scene. Issues teenagers deal with on daily basis. Walden was a teacher for several years, and she’s acquainted with the age group. She's familiar with bullying. The dialogue, conversations between Jeremy and Regan, Hannah and other secondary characters, kept me on the edge of my seat. Interim completely held my interest. It’s one of the finest examples of character development that I can recall. It may have taken a long time for Walden to write this story, but I applaud the amount of time and thought she put into writing it. There is nothing rushed or sloppy about Interim. It’s one of the best novels I have read this year, and it has definitely earned a place on my list of 2015 favorites!
Most recent customer reviews
... but there's a hidden message beneath it and that alone makes it worth reading.