Monday, April 03, 2017

[Blog Tour] Excerpt: Bang by Barry Lyga

Barry Lyga, author of the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers is back again with his latest novel, Bang, a heartbreaking story in which a brother accidentally shot and killed his little sister. Bang hit stores and e-retailers on April 18, 2017. Check out an excerpt and more information below!

Publication: April 18, 2017 by Little Brown BFYR

Support Barry by pre-ordering a copy of BANG at the following bookstores!

Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ
Books of Wonder, NYC
Addendum Books, St Paul
Blue Willow, Houston
BookPeople, Austin
Little Shop of Stories, Decatur

A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.
Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Unflinching and honest, Bang is the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed, as true and as relevant as tomorrow's headlines. Readers of This is Where It Ends, The Hate List, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock will appreciate this extraordinary novel.

Read more excerpts from BANG and find out more about Barry Lyga on the blog tour!

Teenreads (3/30)

Novel Novice (3/31)

Mundie Moms (4/27)

“Sorry my dad’s such an asshole,” Evan says a little while later. We’re setting up camp in his bedroom—sleeping bags on the floor, stack of Blu-rays nearby, pizza boxes still warm from the delivery guy. We’ll stay up all night and gorge ourselves, beginning with prosaic chain pizza and working our way up to our combinations of grotesque snacks pilfered from the kitchen.

“It’s forgotten,” I say, and it pretty much is. I’m much more focused on the night to come. I need rituals, traditions like this one. Dr. Kennedy used to tell me that getting through life—especially after “a trauma like yours”—is sort of like swinging through the jungle on vines like Tarzan. (So many kids my age wouldn’t have understood the reference. He would have had to reexplain, most likely with Spider-Man. But my life has consisted of a long series of unbroken strings of time alone in my room, with nothing to do but read, lest I think too much. I’ve been reading Burroughs and Wylie and other classic pulps since I was ten.)

Each time you start to lose momentum, Dr. Kennedy would say, you look ahead to the next vine. And you jump for it, Sebastian. You don’t think about it; you don’t worry about it. You jump and you trust that you have the strength and the momentum to grasp that next vine.

Every time I leap, I think this is the time my reach exceeds my grasp, this is the time my fingers will close on nothing but empty air, and I will plummet into the green and the death of the jungle.

I’m wrong every time.

So far. Anytime you swing with the apes, the plunge is only a finger’s-length away.

“What ancient mess are you inflicting on me first?” Evan asks. We tossed a coin to decide who picks the first movie to watch.


He grins. “Excellent! Olivia Wilde. Oh, man.”

“No, not the sequel. I mean the original. From 1982.”

I might as well have told him I’m playing a recording of an old kinescope from the turn of the last century. His jaw drops.

“Are you kidding me? That’s pre-CGI.”

“Exactly. Everything you see, someone actually did. A human being was there and was filmed. How cool is that?” With a groan, he throws his hands up in the air, surrendering to my hopelessness.

“I can’t believe I’m gonna waste two hours of my life on something that barely even qualifies as a movie. It’s more like a slideshow with motion in it.”

“You’ve never seen it.”

“I bet I’m right.” 

Waggling the Blu-ray case in the air, I grin at him. “It’s not two hours. It’s only ninety-six minutes.”

“Oh, well, that’s all right then. I can’t believe I’m gonna let you put that diseased shit in my player. It’s gonna infect it with the digital equivalent of herpes.”

While we wait for the un-fast-forward-able commercials to finish, Evan asks, “What are you going to do while I’m gone this summer?”

“Oh, didn’t you know? When you’re out of Brookdale, the whole town packs up and goes into storage.” 

“Stop it.”

“No, seriously. Everything just shuts down and we all go into our charging closets to receive software upgrades so that we’re ready when you come back.”

“You’re such a smart-ass.” He lazily triggers the remote when the menu comes up and groans with mock horror. “Jesus, even the Disney logo looks ancient!” I throw a pillow at him.

By morning, we’re reduced to monosyllables, grunting, eyes lidded, stomachs churning and gurgling with unholy concoctions conjured from the deepest recesses of our minds and Evan’s fridge. We’ve watched nearly sixteen hours of movies, half of them from the last two years, the other half dating most recently from 1995. The sun has risen, and we’re bleary-eyed and incoherent even in the confines of our own skulls.

By tradition, we have to stay awake until eight o’clock, when Evan’s family has its big Sunday breakfast, imported from the 1950s and updated for modern times, Mr. Danforth at the head of the table with an iPad instead of a newspaper, Richard Jr. snarkily tossing mals mots from his side of the table.

Mrs. Danforth wouldn’t risk her coiffure or her silk or her chemically enhanced complexion or her reputation by essaying something as prosaic as cooking, so the Danforths have a cook named Angus who comes in on weekends and for special occasions to use the million-dollar kitchen.

We eat and then it’s time for me to go, my head buzzing and muzzy and all out of sorts. As I pass over the frontdoor threshold, it lands on me that I won’t see Evan again this summer, and I suddenly feel like a small child whose mother was right there a minute ago but has now disappeared. I want to hug him, to cling to him, and I’m not sure why; I manage, instead, to give him a grin and a clap on the shoulder. I tell him to have fun learning how to rule the world, and he tells me he will. 

In the car with Mom, it hits me anew: a summer without Evan.

I know what that means. What it will mean, this change in the status quo. During the school year, I always had school to distract me. Over the summers, I always had Evan.

Now, for the first time in a long time, I’ll be alone with myself and with the voice from far back in my brain.

I thought I might be sad, leaving Evan this last time, knowing I’ll never see him again. But instead, I’m happy. Happy that I’m leaving him with good memories. At least I accomplished that much.

And now I don’t know quite what to expect.

Or maybe I do. And that’s both the problem and the solution.

Excerpted from BANG © Copyright 2017 by Barry Lyga. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


Called a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published seventeen novels in various genres in his eleven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in more than a dozen different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. Publishers Weekly named Lyga a “Flying Start” in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.

His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJPublishers Weekly, and KirkusVOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA “proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”

Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).

His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times “one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author” and an “extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture.” The first book landed on both the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers lists.

Lyga lives and podcasts near New York City with his wife, Morgan Baden, and their nigh-omnipotent daughter. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.


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