THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “WHALE FALLS,” BY CECIL BOTHWELL AND “HOBO’S REVENGE,” BY BILL DELOREY, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.
THE BOOK: Leaving Kent State
PUBLISHED IN: November, 2016
THE AUTHOR: Sabrina Fedel
THE EDITOR: Simone W.
THE PUBLISHER: Harvard Square Editions
SUMMARY: Seventeen-year-old Rachel Morelli has been waiting for the day that her next door neighbor and crush, Evan, comes home from Vietnam, sure that he will help her convince her dad to let her go to Pratt University instead of Kent State where her dad is a professor. But when Evan returns home injured, losing all of his own dreams, Rachel must set out alone to convince her dad she should go to Pratt to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. Meanwhile, Kent slips ever further off of its axis, in step with the growing discord across the nation. Caught between her love for Evan and her desire to escape Kent, Rachel must navigate a changing world to pursue her art, unaware that she and her small hometown are on a collision course with disaster.
THE BACK STORY: My family was deeply affected by World War II and the Korean War, so I have always had an interest in the way war affects the families who stay home as well as the troops who return. When I saw a documentary on television about the Kent State shootings, it struck me very much as a story of young people, for young people.
WHY THIS TITLE: Because none of us can really leave Kent and the events that happened at the University that day.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Those wishing to know more about what caused the events at Kent State, and particularly why there as opposed to one of the schools like Berkeley or Ohio University where clashes between student demonstrators and police were frequent, will see the way in which Kent became a microcosm for what was happening across the United States.
“This look at the effects of war, at a soldier returning from war, and at a weary nation is engrossing and well done. Rachel is a thoughtful narrator who grows a lot over the course of the story. The portrayal of Evan as a returned solider coping with PTSD (though it’s never called that—I suppose at the time it would’ve been called shell shock or a stress reaction) and readjusting what his life’s plan is nuanced and compassionate.” — Teen Librarian Toolbox
“I really enjoyed reading Leaving Kent State by Sabrina Fedel. The novel is the perfect balance between a love story and historical fiction. I can tell the author did a large amount of research on the Vietnam War, and not just the events but also how people reacted to it and the true feelings of the time period. It feels as if you are transported to the Vietnam War era while reading. The author did a great job of making the novel historically accurate, but it wasn’t overbearing. The historical elements were intertwined with a love story, one so classic and swoon-worthy that you can’t help but become invested.”
“The novel’s descriptive language provided great imagery and ideally set the scene. The novel’s main character, Rachel, is very likeable and shows great character development throughout the novel. Her thoughts and feelings are easy to relate to. Overall, Leaving Kent State is a great novel and I would recommend it to anyone looking for historical fiction with elements of romance.” — Litpick, 5 star review.
AUTHOR PROFILE: Sabrina Fedel is a 2014 graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing, with a concentration in Writing for Young People, at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Her work has appeared in online and print journals. Her 2016 YA short story, Honor’s Justice, was nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize as well as a Sundress Publications Best of the Net ’16 Award and a Story South Million Writers Award. Sabrina teaches English Literature at Robert Morris University.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: “While our nation has largely forgotten what happened on May 4, 1970, it was a defining moment for the way in which Americans consider involvement in war. While popular sentiment initially blamed the students for the massacre, it became clear in the years immediately following that something had gone terribly wrong in our democracy for American troops to have opened fire on unarmed college students. In our own protest laden present, the shootings at Kent State remain a valuable lesson in the escalation of force during peaceful citizen protests.”
SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). www.sabrinafedel.com
LOCAL OUTLETS: Independent bookstores everywhere
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere fine books are sold
PRICE: $22.95 USD
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Sabrinafedel@me.com
Sabrina Fedel Author of Leaving Kent State Harvard Square Editions, 2016