The Vibe for Press Play

Press Play cover teaser


Maybe it’s the start of the school year, and the change that it brings, but there’s something different about the vibe for Press Play that I haven’t felt before.

I’ve already had students and colleagues ask, “When’s your next book coming out?” And they’re not asking in a blasé manner. There’s hunger in their eyes. They want to read what I have next in store. Therefore, it’s very awesome and very fortunate that I get to say, “The end of October.” I think they might hurt me if they had to wait longer.

Additionally, there’s been some great support and interest over Teen Reader Con. Quite frankly, I’m as excited to meet these authors as everyone else. There has never been such an event in our area devoted to Young Adult literature, and I look forward to how successful it will be, and hopefully for an invite to return next year 🙂

There’s also the fact that my trailer is due at the end of the week. It will be blasted on 9/24, and I have little doubt that it will be gripping and heart-stopping and tantalizing. The fact that I used the high school where I work as setting, along with my students as extras, and a longtime friend as the main character, just adds to the excitement. My hand even makes a cameo. And of course, the fact that it will run at the Regal theaters in Colonie from 10/24 through 10/30, only ratchets up the thrill.

Oh yeah, and then there’s all the local events scheduled (included below), along with my attendance at the ALAN workshop, which I consider quite an honor. Getting out and seeing fans and signing books is the best part of the job. And the fact that I get to do so here, as well as on a larger, industry stage is phenomenal.

And, honestly, fans like you, the people who read my novels, my posts and tweets and Facebook updates, you’ve created this. So many people still have the notion of author in office, typing away, and that’s the long and short of the job. Today, that’s only a fraction. The awesome stories are a given. All the behind-the-scenes work to get recognized is completed in concert with my publisher. And we work hard. And it’s paying off.

 So thank you for recognizing that, and for staying with me. I know Press Play is going to take you for one hell of a ride. But I also know you’ve enjoyed the rest of the ride, thus far. Awesome. Keep cheering and spreading the word, because up around the bend is going to blow your mind.


Local Events (as currently scheduled)

Event               Release party & Signing

Location          McGreivey’s Restaurant, 91 Broad St, Waterford, NY 12188

Date & Time   10/24, 4-7 pm


Event               Signing

Location          Barnes & Noble, 131 Colonie Center #355, Albany, NY 12205

Date & Time   10/25, 2-5 pm


Event               Teen Reader Con (Full-day convention devoted to Young Adult Lit)

Location          Shenendehowa Middle Schools, 970 Route 146, Clifton Park, NY 12065

Date & Time   11/8, 8:30 am – 4 pm


Event               Fundraising Book Fair (for BHBL) & Signing

Location          Barnes & Noble, 131 Colonie Center #355, Albany, NY 12205

Date & Time   11/14, 4-7 pm


Event               Signing

Location          Market Block Books, 290 River St, Troy, NY 12180

Date & Time   11/15, 11-1 pm


Event               ALAN Workshop

Location          National Harbor, MD

Date & Time   11/24-25


Event               Signing

Location          The Open Door Bookstore, 128 Jay St., Schenectady, N.Y. 12305

Date & Time   12/6, 1-2:30 pm


Booklist Likes PRESS PLAY

Both of these articles are from an author and reviewer I admire, Daniel Kraus. He has reviewed Tap Out and Dare Me, and now Press Play. Additionally, as you’ll see below, he has included Press Play in a round up of titles regarding hazing. Both the review and the inclusion in the round up have me thrilled. I hope you enjoy 🙂

Press Play, by Eric Devine | Booklist Online.

Press Play.


Devine, Eric (author).

Oct. 2014. 368p. Running Press, paperback, $9.95 (9780762455126). Grades 9-12. 
REVIEW.  First published September 1, 2014 (Booklist).

Greg Dunsmore is 16, but here’s the more relevant number: 352. That’s his weight, which over the years has earned him the nickname Dun the Ton, but not a whole lot of friends. Fortunately, the one pal he has, Quinn, is a fitness fanatic and has begun to train Greg every day after school. It’s during a workout that they stumble upon the horrible hazing rituals of the championship lacrosse team, everything from stick beatings to being force-fed feces. Greg is a budding filmmaker, and with his new buddies Oliver (who is even bigger than Greg) and Ella (a hard-as-nails fellow video auteur), he takes to secretly filming the crimes. This is definitely a Devine novel; there’s so much sweat, blood, and adrenaline that you almost need to wring out the pages. Readers will need to forgive a late hard-to-swallow plot point, but once they do, it’s thrilling to watch Greg enter the lion’s den himself—the lacrosse team’s Hell Week—for the bruising finale. A tough, smart look at weight issues, self-respect, and our intrinsic desire to belong at all costs.— Daniel Kraus 


Read-alikes: Hazing—the Game Nobody Wins, by Daniel Kraus | Booklist Online.


Read-alikes: Hazing—the Game Nobody Wins.

Kraus, Daniel (author).

FEATURE.  First published September 1, 2014 (Booklist).

Eric Devine’s Press Play is the newest from an author whose characters often fight from the fringe. Though Devine’s books frequently center upon sports, this is the first to focus squarely on hazing, which makes it the latest addition to a strong list of YA novels on the topic. These books are gutsy, gritty, bloody, and often shocking—but so is the crime of hazing.

FreefallFreefallBy Ariela Anhalt. 2010. Harcourt, $17 (9780152065676). Gr. 10–12.

Sure, it’s an uppity boarding school (the jocks here are fencers), but that doesn’t mean that all is cozy. Luke’s best buddy, Hayden, has always been the reckless top dog, but then a new hotshot arrives and steals his thunder. Soon after, the new kid is pushed from a cliff to his death by Hayden—either a hazing ritual gone wrong or a flat-out murder. With credibly written turmoil, Luke, the sole witness, is left to sort through his feelings and admit to himself the truth of what he saw.



If You’re Reading ThisBy Trent Reedy. 2014. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $17.99 (9780545433426). Gr. 7–10.

Seven years after his dad died in Afghanistan, Mike begins receiving letters from him, delivered by an anonymous member of Dad’s former unit. These missives encourage Mike to embrace the glory days of high school, and so he tries, until a bully on the football teams begins to haze him. This is a literary, nuanced, respectful treatment of a number of complicated themes, from sports dynamics to the military, many of which hinge upon secrets that, should they surface, would have ramifications for everyone.


InexcuseableInexcusableBy Chris Lynch. 2005. Atheneum, $16.95 (9781416939726). Gr. 10–12.

It could be argued that Lynch’s landmark book, told from the point of view of an accused rapist, is a foundational text of these sorts of books: fueled by adrenaline, morally inconclusive, and offering more questions than answers. Keir, a most unreliable narrator, is trying to defend himself against the accusation. But to the reader, it feels like the culmination of a long string of overaggression, which stretches back to a football-team hazing incident caught on tape. An unnerving study of how permissiveness of violence can spread ever outward.


LeverageBy Joshua C. Cohen. 2011. Dutton, $16.99 (9780689847899). Gr. 10–12.

Cohen’s stunning debut focuses on Danny, a star on the gymnastics team but a pipsqueak as far as the hormone-pumped, college-scouted footballers are concerned. A competition erupts between the two squads, leading to a horrifying instance of hazing dealt out to one of Danny’s teammates. Told from the alternating perspectives of Danny and Kurt, a quiet new fullback, this is a rich, disturbing tale of being trapped inside expectations and forced to continue the established order—or pay the price.

Press PlayPress PlayBy Eric Devine. 2014. Running Press. $9.95 (9780762455126). Gr. 9–12.

Greg Dunsmore is 16, but here’s the more relevant number: 352. That’s his weight, which over the years has earned him the nickname Dun the Ton, but not a whole lot of friends. Fortunately, the one pal he has, Quinn, is a fitness fanatic and has begun to train Greg every day after school. It’s during a workout that they stumble upon the horrible hazing rituals of the championship lacrosse team, everything from stick beatings to being force-fed feces. A tough, smart look at weight issues, self-respect, and our intrinsic desire to belong at all costs.


RookieBy Lorna Schultz Nicholson. 2012. Lorimer, paper, $9.95 (9781459400245 ). Gr. 10–12.

Aaron may be small, but his speed, drive, and wits have earned him a place on the hockey team at an elite academy. There, however, he falls victim to a grueling hazing incident involving sexual assault. In the aftermath, his world is thrown off balance, and he chooses not to report it—until a second attack lands him in the hospital. This may be a short novel aimed at reluctant readers, but Aaron’s tortured decisions, none of which are tidy, contribute to the complicated, agonized feel.



Find more feature articles by Daniel Kraus

The Itch of Summer

end of summer


I’m getting itchy. Not like the sand-in-your-bathing-suit-been-sweating-it-out-in-the-sun-and-can’t-wait-for-a-shower kind. No, I’m twitchy all over because it’s the end of August.

This month is always chuck full for me, from birthdays to vacations to school prep, and so I get very little writing done. In fact, this August, I haven’t written any fiction. I’ve fallen off social media. I don’t even have a good book I’m reading (although I do intend to pick up Meg Abbott’s Fever).

And all this lack of schedule, where every day is Saturday, is getting to me. I need my structure back. I need my schedule of writing and then teaching and then reading and repeat. Within a week I’ll be back to work, and some of the schedule will fall into place. But there’s still no writing until the following week. I put my all into teaching and so the first week is all panic and excitement, which eventually leads to exhaustion. But by that next week, I’ve got a groove going, and I can usually get back to my other work.

The writing is paramount, but I’m also at the verge of promotion for Press Play. I think I have all my signing dates lined up. The trailer should be ready any minute, and there are other pieces under construction that I can’t wait to deliver. But not yet. And so the itch deepens.

As does the story I feel is tumbling around my head. I have a desire to speak about this topic, and I already have notes for characters and plot, and every time I encounter something that reminds me of the story, I email myself a note. Of which I have too many already.

So, in essence, it’s time. Summer is dying in the empty streets of town, as people squeeze out another trip or daylong excursion. And I’m watching, mind racing, itching to put everything in place and start my cycle again.

Summer’s over, and I have another story to tell.

TLT: Teen Librarian’s Toolbox: Breaking the Gender Molds, a guest post and giveaway by author Eric Devine

Reblogged from Teen Librarian’s Toolbox (Which is a phenomenal site. Head over there to enter the giveaway)

Breaking the Gender Molds, a guest post and giveaway by author Eric Devine

I’m a 36-year-old, cisgendered, heterosexual, white male, who writes Young Adult novels that are boy-centric, and I’m bothered by the slim definition of what it means to be a man.
I was raised under very stereotypical precepts about manhood, and I was always bothered by them. Instead of watching sports, I read. Shyness overtook bravery. I did not demand, I accepted, and it was problematic.
Until I flipped the switch during middle school and played the part. It was instantly apparent how much easier it was to be a loud-mouthed punk than it was to be me. But in spite of the ease, I was unsettled, because I knew who I had abandoned.
Painful, yes, but excellent training for the work I do today. Because those expectations, those norms of masculinity, still exist, are extremely pervasive, and put boys and teens into extremely uncomfortable situations where they either have to behave the part or suffer the consequences. The pressure is real and terrifying, and something I try to address in my work.
In summary: Tap Out is about what one does as a very stereotypical “tough” male in a hostile and violent environment that has only one use for him. One he doesn’t want, but is hamstrung to escape.
Dare Me explores what it’s like to want to break the profile of “nothingman” and win acclaim, earn money, and come out on top by succeeding at feats of valor––or more commonly known today as YouTube stunts.
Press Play is about pushing back against the dominant, violent culture, by fighting with technology and intelligence, instead of fists. It’s about choosing not to hide, in spite of the enormous danger of exposure.
Much of my decisions regarding what I write and how I address issues of gender, in particular masculinity, are informed by my own experience, but equally by my students. We talk. A lot. And I tell stories of my youth because they want to understand how I’ve arrived at my perspectives. I’ve addressed aspects of drug use, sexuality, violence, suicide, rape, privilege, and any number of humorous/disgusting combinations about life you can think of. Often we talk about expectations placed on girls and boys, even if my students don’t realize that’s what they’re talking about.
One day we discussed fighting. There had recently been one, and based on the details, I innocently asked about a broken nose. The class sensed I knew more about this topic than I was letting on and asked me to tell a story of what I knew of breaking someone’s nose.
I did, briefly, but more importantly, then asked, “What are the expectations for males in our society, especially contact sport athletes, when it comes to fighting?”
This led to an engaging conversation that quickly turned from only males in sports to males and females broadly. And it was an interesting experience for many of the girls to hear the boys talk about the pressure of fitting in. They deftly detailed that on some level the dirty jokes and swearing and fighting are part of the roles in which they are asked to play (Yes, they struggled to word it this way––they’re teens––but the message was clear: forced stereotypes are universal).
I was so proud of our conversation because it was obvious that I had provided a space for my students to think about concepts they’d never fully entertained, which is exactly what I try to do in my stories. Yet, the issue stuck with me. Because what didn’t emerge in that conversation was that those pressures don’t go away. They morph and become stronger. And in light of very recent events of parties and rape and fight clubs, I felt a bit hopeless. How is a male, today, supposed to successfully navigate the pressures of being “a man” and evolve into someone who is unafraid to embrace a balance of masculine and feminine traits? In essence, how are they to succeed where I failed?
I won’t say books are the answer, because that’s naive. Parents, adult figures, older brothers and sisters, and by very large measure peers and pop culture all have a hand in shaping boys and girls. Books are a part of that, and a significant one if they flip preconceived notions on their heads. If they challenge the stereotypes. If they offer alternatives to the norm of cisgendered, heterosexual, white protagonist. Or if they expose and explore the trappings of how and why the stereotypes abound.
And they already exist. But the audience needs to be wider. I know men and women who haven’t read a book since high school, and so for all the good that I can do by writing novels that challenge societal assumptions, how are my stories ever going to find a way into the hands of the sons and daughters of these adults, who do not value reading, who may be completely comfortable with the expectations of the standard male and female models because they were never challenged to think otherwise, and who have not had conversations with their children about the fact that “being a man”  or “being a woman” is an ever-evolving process that is a paramount pursuit in order to have a fulfilling life?
But there are others. Like me, and not at all like me, who are having these conversations, who are reading and helping teens navigate. There are teachers and librarians and adult figures in various capacities who are open and willing and helpful. There are allies in every struggle. And I feel that the issue of redefining both masculinity and femininity is a pressing and important concern. Not so that we can foist new roles on boys and girls, but so that we can accept the traits of masculinity and femininity, the fact that they are a part of us all, regardless of gender or sexuality. If only so that the “boys will be boys” mentality, that is one of the most ignorant concepts in our culture, can die.
And so with it, some of that pressure. I say “some” because there will always be pressure. But it is up to us to decide how it is applied, and to what end. Do we want to continue the binary opposition of male versus female in our culture, or do we want to move forward with a better understanding of humanity and of ourselves?
Because in the end, even my freshman understand the pressures are they same, they just manifest differently. Therefore, we should be seeking virtues of behavior and not categories. Because breaking the mold is beautiful, but never again having to fill one is stunning.

Eric Devine is a high school teacher and the author of Tap Out, Dare Me and the upcoming Press Play, all from Running Press Kids. He blogs here at Teen Librarian Occasionally and wrote a chapter in The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services, edited by myself and Heather Booth and published in July from ALA Editions. You can follow Eric online: 

Win Eric Devine’s Books!
Eric and Running Press Kids have generously donated a copy of Tap Out which I am putting together with my arc copies of Tap Out and Dare Me picked up at various library conferences to give to you as a prize. You can win a complete set of Eric Devine books! If you live in the U. S. you can do the Rafflecopter thingy below until Saturday the 23rd, The Tween’s birthday and the debut of the new Doctor, to enter.

When Revision Becomes Starting Over

I began my summer vacation last weekend. Yes, I know, you all realize that I’m a teacher and have been on break since the end of June, so what gives?

Since June 16th, when my agent sent me an email tearing my Work In Progress to pieces, I’ve been mulling over the remains, trying to figure out how to repair my story. My conclusion: Rewrite the entire thing.

This is not typical for me. Yes, a first draft is just that, a draft, something that will inherently be rewritten. But pieces of it, or strands of the story. Large segments, yes, but not close to 300 pages’ worth.

Because that’s what happened. In the end, I saved maybe five scenes from the original draft.

Prior to that, I analyzed the story like I was back in college. I created over 30 pages of notes on character motivation, plot structure, theme, and on and on. I researched aspects of the story that needed more detail, and once that was all in place, then I got to work.

Around the end of June, with the expanse of summer fully before me, I closed myself off in my office and wrote, on average, for five hours a day. All brand new material. That may not seem like a lot of work, but creating something out of nothing for five hours is exhausting. Doing so for a month, with characters and a plot that you already tried out once and failed with, is a testament to the endurance necessary for this line of work.

I’m happy about the experience. One, because I had the time to work. Two, because I had to go back and rethink a lot of what I know as a writer. Three, because the story is so much better than the original. Here’s a direct quote from the email I sent to my agent regarding this version: “The story’s disturbing, but it also feels very vulnerable and emotional. I put my heart on my sleeve with this one.”

It is disturbing, in ways I have yet to write (which may shock those of you who have read all my work). But most importantly, it is all of the latter from that quote. I have put myself so far out there with this story that I am terrified of the reaction. Which is exactly where I need to be. If I want to live up to my “fearless” moniker, then I’d better “walk the walk.”

Or more aptly, write the story.

I’ll know if I’ve succeeded at some point. But part of me already knows I have.



Keep enjoying your summer. I’m preparing events for Press Play and will have a schedule soon. Additionally, if you’d like to pre-order for friends and family who are not in the area, please order direct from Running Press, use Indiebound or Barnes and Noble.



PRESS PLAY Cover Reveal

I threw a party and want to give you my gifts.


So I finally got to see the awesome, amazing, and intense cover for my next novel, Press Play. And then the Book Buzz 2014 Young Adult edition released, which has the first two chapters in it. I was so excited that I threw a party to celebrate.


Bethany Crandell came with a signed copy of her novel, Summer on the Short Bus and a swag pack with bookmark and pin.

Shortbus book & swag

A.G. Howard brought an awesome 18×24” Unhinged poster, as well as a Splintered series swag pack.

Unhinged posterSplintered.UnhingedSwag











Lisa Ann O’Kane rolled up with an e-copy of her debut, Essence and some sweet swag pins.

Essence. Book imageESSENCE Pins







 A. Lynden Rolland rocked the place with a signed copy of her debut, Of Breakable Things and her swag pins and bookmark.

Obt.BookImageOBT buttonOBT bookmark



























And then Justin Holley scared us all with his contribution: a signed copy of the horror anthology, Amanda’s Recurring Nightmares, in which his short story, “Wildflower” is featured.

Amanda's Nightmares











We had a blast, and because I’m so thrilled with my cover and the sample chapters, I WANT TO GIVE ALL MY GIFTS AWAY.


So let’s reveal my cover and then you will have a chance to win all that you saw above, as well as a signed copy of Press Play. Awesome, right?


*Drum roll*


And for the teaser

Press Play cover teaser


Scroll for the real deal















Press Play cover


Let me explain:

About Press Play:

Does the truth really set you free?

Pound by sweaty pound, Greg Dunsmore’s plan is working. Greg is steadily losing weight while gaining the material he needs to make the documentary that will get him into film school and away from the constant jeers of “Dun the Ton.”

But when Greg captures footage of brutal and bloody hazing by his town’s championship-winning lacrosse team, he knows he has evidence that could damage as much as it could save. And if the harm is to himself and his future, is revealing the truth worth the cost?

With unflinching honesty, author Eric Devine explores the debatable truths and consequences of the choices we make to get through each day intact.


You’re pumped now. I can feel it. Well, if you need a fix, here are the first two chapters. But don’t forget to enter, below, to win the prize pack.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy winning, and even happier reading 🙂

 The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author

Eric Devine is the author of multiple works of Young Adult fiction, most recently Dare Me. He is also a veteran high school English teacher, where he spends as much time teaching as he does completing field research for his novels. His work has been listed by YALSA and Booklist for reluctant readers and for Best in Sports. He and his wife have two wonderful daughters and two not-so-wonderful Labradors. Eric’s next novel, Press Play, will be released 10/28, and he is currently working on two novels. Find out more at his blog, his Facebook fan page, or Twitter: @eric_devine


About the Giveaway Authors

Bethany Crandell writes young adult novels because the feelings that come with life’s “first” times are too good not to relive again and again.  She lives in San Diego with her husband, two kiddos (one of whom is differently-abled), and a chocolate lab who has no regard for personal space. She believes that avocados are better than chocolate and that Jake Ryan is going to show up at her door any minute now…. twitter: @bethanycrandell website  facebook

A.G. Howard is the author of the Splintered series, a young adult gothic spinoff of Alice in Wonderland. Here are her online haunts: Goodreads  FaceBook  Pinterest  Twitter Tumblr  Website

Lisa Ann O’Kane is a young adult author and former vagabond who once camped out in Yosemite National Park for an entire summer, an experience that inspired her debut novel ESSENCE. Her background is in zookeeping and environmental education, and she has been kicked, cornered, bitten and chased by nearly every animal she has ever loved. She currently resides in Florida, and she is now a huge fan of shooting stars, indoor plumbing and keeping both her feet planted firmly on the trail.Find out more: Website  Twitter  Facebook  Instagram  Pinterest

A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. She spent much of her childhood compiling dramatic stories of tragic characters in a notebook she still keeps. As a former English teacher, she enjoys visiting classrooms to discuss reading, writing and publishing. When she isn’t writing or chasing her two young children around town, she moonlights as a writing tutor and gymnastics instructor. Of Breakable Things is her first novel.

You can connect with A. Lynden Rolland online through Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Justin Holley is the author of several scary books and short stories, many of which are published in magazines and anthologies around the world. Outside of writing, Justin likes to spend time with his family, investigate the paranormal, and play volleyball pretty much year round. You can interact with Justin at his website, at Minnesota Ghosts or on Twitter: @Justin_Holley