By: Steven M. Cross
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Publisher: Liminal Books
Dean knows being different isn’t always a good thing.
Trapped by the voices and visits from the dead, Dean is drowning. His father, allegedly drowned, and the friend who took his own life taunt like the school bullies he can’t seem to get away from.
A sliver of hope breaks through when his mother announces they are moving. A chance for a fresh start for all of them. So why does she move them to the cottage near the river his father drowned in?
The water begins to envelop him, threatening to pull him under, when Dean discovers nothing changes and the bullies find not only him, but his twin sister, Dee, as favorite targets. Dean’s personal struggles worsen as his tentative grasp on reality weakens.
An unexpected hand plunges through the water toward him, bringing with it questions and a family secret that haunts them all.
My dad looks up at me, “I’ll catch you.”
I know he probably won’t, but that doesn’t scare me, not today. What scares me is knowing that this day—this perfect day—one of the few my family ever has will end soon, and it will be back to yelling and screaming and being slapped for saying the wrong thing even when I don’t know what is wrong.
I turn to Dee and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I don’t ever want to grow up,” she says.
And I realize I don’t want to either. I back away from the cliff.
Dee says, “Finally. Don’t kill yourself.”
“I don’t want to grow up either.”
I run to the edge of the cliff, but this time I don’t jump feet first. I dive. I think as I sail through the air and hit the water that it’s the perfect day to die.
My dad jerks me out of the water. “What the hell are you doing? You could have killed yourself.”
I just look at him and say, “I didn’t.” Then, I swim toward the beach.
Dee yells, “Holy shit, brother! Way to go.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Cross remembers his first literary success, a play about a wolfman that his English class read. His first publication was a Haiku about hearing wolves at sunset one evening as he sat on his back deck with Luke his faithful mutt by his side. He also published a horror story about mutant moles whose taste buds begin to crave human flesh.
Cross, born in Missouri, has published plays, novels, and poetry and done well in some screenwriting competitions, most recently as a quarterfinalist in The Bluecat Screenwriting competition, considered one of the best in the country.
Cross often writes about mental illness. He is an example of how a person can overcome mental illness and succeed. His young adult book Drowning covers bullying and mental illness and is a must-read for teenagers, parents, and teachers.
An educator for over 30 years, he is now semi-retired. Right now he and his wife Jean live in Poplar Bluff, MO, where they spend a lot of time spoiling their grandchildren. Cross is a St. Louis Cardinals fan and has been ever since he was old enough to hold a baseball card. He also enjoys music, reading, and of course writing.
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