How many secrets can you hide in plain sight?
Sprout Bradford has a secret. It’s not what you think—he’ll tell you he’s gay. He’ll tell you about his dad’s drinking and his mother’s death. The green fingerprints everywhere tell you when he last dyed his hair. But neither the reader nor Sprout are prepared for what happens when Sprout suddenly finds he’s had a more profound effect on the lives around him than he ever thought possible. Sprout is both hilarious and gripping; a story of one boy at odds with the expected.
Sprout is one of the most random, heartbreaking, and unique books I've read in a while, though mostly random.
Throughout Sprout there isn't one goal the characters are working towards, instead Sprout gives us a journal like book with his thoughts on his school, sexuality, parents, friends, ex. This made the book a bit under constructed at times, but with Sprout it just worked perfectly with the type of person he was.
Sprout was one of my favorite parts of this novel. Since, he was funny guy with a heart of gold. I loved how he would just randomly spill out secrets at the worst of times because it not only shocked me but the Sprouts' dad and friends making this an entertaining read.
Dale Peck's writing was a high point of this novel. Though, with saying that it got on my nerves at time with the randomness he dealt.
Overall, Sprout one extremely unique book. If it's up to you to decide if that's good or bad since Sprout is either your kind of read or one you want to go burn in a pit at the end. For me, it was in between, though, I still suggest it to someone looking for an interesting read.
Sprout is now out!!
Quick Q and A's with Dale Peck!!
1) Sprout is your newest release. Can you tell us a bit about it?
It’s about a high school junior named Sprout (duh, as he would say) who lives with his somewhat eccentric father in rural Kansas. He’s gay, but the only other gay guy in his school is still in the closet, so he’s romantically inexperienced, not to mention frustrated. Then he meets this kid named Ty, who’s not gay (or says he’s not gay), and, well, things happen…you’ll have to read to find out.
2) What inspired you to write Sprout?
Funnily enough, I was asked to write it by my editor, who thought there needed to be a different kind of gay YA novel—one that wasn’t about coming out, but about being a gay teenager, which is very different story. As soon as she suggested it, a plot more or less popped into my head. I embellished it with certain details from my own life, and voilà—a novel!
3) Do you see yourself in Sprout, the main character? If so, then in what ways?
Well, Sprout and I are both writers for one thing (insert another duh here), and we were both born on Long Island and moved to Kansas when we were young. Oh, and we’re both gay too (I’m not going to say duh yet again, but you can imagine it). However, although I often use bits and pieces of my own autobiography in my novels, it’s less a question of writing about myself than writing a kind of “What if?” scenario. Like, “What if everything in my life had been the same, except that I kissed a boy for the first time in high school, instead of in college?” What you realize is that if you change even one thing about your life, the whole story changes, and before you know it you’re not writing about yourself, but about someone you’ve made up. So, though I identify with Sprout, I don’t really see myself in him very much. In fact, I wish I’d been more like him!
4) Is there one specific thing that you hope that the readers of Sprout will take from it?
I suppose just the idea that everyone deserve to be happy, and the only way that’s going to happen is if you’re true to yourself and don’t hide behind a fake personality that you think will protect you somehow. And at the same time as you’re doing that, you should also be keeping an eye out for the people you’re close to, because we all need someone looking out for us.
5) I see that you have quite a few Adult novels published as well as Children’s/ YA. Have you noticed any big differences in writing for Young Adults then Adults?
Honestly, no. When you’re writing a book, you always have to think about your audience, whether they’re adults, young adults, or little kids, and pitch the novel accordingly. What do you want to tell them? What are they willing to hear? For me, the Sprout story naturally came in a voice that would appeal most to YA readers, so it was logical that I’d do it as a YA novel. I’ve written about some of the same material for adults, but it came out very differently. I couldn’t tell you why—sometimes the story decides what it wants to be and who it wants to be told to, and all you as a writer can do is listen.
6) I’ve read on different websites that you write reviews of books for several magazines, which I personally think is awesome since I write reviews, too, but for my blog. So, my question is: do you have any specific qualities that you look for when reading a book that determines if it’s great or not?
The most important quality for me is honesty. I don’t care what the story’s about or what style the writer goes for: tell the story the way it needs to be told and don’t dumb it down (or dress it up for that matter!) and it’ll come out well. Of course I look for qualities like inventiveness or sharp language or strongly rendered emotions, but I think these kinds of things always follow from the first step. Some stories want to be elaborate postmodern puzzles and others want to be simple and direct. As far as I’m concerned there’s no qualitative difference between the styles, just the way they’re executed.
7) What is one of your favorite things about being an author? Least Favorite?
Well, I wanted to be a writer from a very young age, so it’s great that I get to do what I want to do and don’t have to work in an office or at a McDonald’s or something. In fact, one of the best things about being a writer is that I get to work at home, which means I get out of bed when I want, where what I want, take a break when I want, etc., etc. But that’s also the worst thing about being a writer, because it can get pretty boring being in a house all by yourself, when 99% of the world is hanging out with their friends at work. Sometimes when I have writer’s block I just stare at the phone, hoping it’ll ring so I can hear the sound of another human voice!
8) What’s next for you? Another YA, perhaps?
Right now I’m working on a sci-fi trilogy with Tim Kring, who created the TV show Heroes. It’s not YA but it’ll definitely appeal to the kinds of people who watch his show, which includes a lot of kids.
Side Notes: That sounds interesting, I'll be sure to check it out when it's realeased! )
9) Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think you covered all the big points. Good questions!
Aww, thanks Dale! :)