Fan Mail Wednesday #141 (Bystander)

There’s a great line in the last paragraph of this letter: “I really hope you keep writing books because I will keep reading them as long as they are as good as this one.”

He didn’t add, because it was unnecessary, “But if they suck, no dice.”

I replied:

Dear ____:

Thanks for your great letter. I know you wrote it a long time ago –- you’ve probably forgotten about it by now – but I want you to know that I really, really appreciate that you took the time to read my book, BYSTANDER, and send along a typed letter.

I have a new book coming out in July, titled BEFORE YOU GO. It has a little bit of mild language in it, as they say, some alcohol, but not much. I guess it’s up to individuals as to where they draw the line on those issues. The main characters are ages 16, 17. Essentially the setup is this: Opening scene, four unnamed teenagers drive on a dark road. The car spins out of control, hits a tree. One passenger dies. Next page, we rewind six weeks into the past, and gradually meet all the characters. The reader doesn’t know who is going to be in the car, or who will die. The book catches up to the accident about 2/3 of the way through, so it is divided into two sections: “Before” and “After.”

I’m also in the middle of writing a crazy (and fun, and funny) book about about a 12-year-old zombie, but I don’t like to talk about books until I finish them.

Thanks for reading my book, and thinking about it. I loved your line, “This is one of my favorite books because it shows how life really is, the side of things that no one really wants to see even though we know it is all around us.

Smart guy, ______.

My best,


One comment

  1. Meredith M says:

    Hello, I also just finsihed reading Bystander. I teach a 7th grade Social Emotional Learning course in a LI School district. One of the major topics is bullying and cyberbullying. Therefore, I have found reading the students parts of the book and referring to Eric’s situations have been helpful. I am hoping that my discussion of the book will prompt some students to read it. I heard a comment today on the radio that I shared with students and connected to Eric. The comment stated that one should not be a satisifying target for a bully. Eric was an excellent example of this. Thank you for this helpful reference. I look forward to reading other books you write!

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