I received this book for free from St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: St. Martin's Griffin
Buy on Amazon
This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work— not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college.
Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul.
With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It's the age he's at. The tragic age.
Stephen Metcalfe's brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, The Tragic Age, will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.
This book was very refreshing. The MC was such a fabulous voice and I really liked reading this from his POV. While I didn’t always like the character, he was really wonderful and I felt for him. I loved the writing and how he would be telling us something and create a scenario, then tell us that wasn’t what really happened. It was entertaining. He was bright and creative.
Billy was one of those characters that you really feel. He is not the stereotypical rich kid at all. In fact, he doesn’t really care about any of that and he sometimes thinks things would be easier if he was not the child of rich parents. Not to mention the death of his sister that is a constant ache for him. He knows exactly how to be invisible and that is the way he likes it. He does make some friends, though he is resistant at first since he doesn’t want to let himself care about people. He learns a lot about himself and others by letting himself open up a little. He doesn’t make good choices most of the time, but I understand why he made the ones he did. He wanted to feel, he wanted to forget, he wanted to be himself. That meant sometimes being reckless and idiotic. He really is a smart kid with a lot of issues. Mostly due to family stuff. He broke my heart at times, but it was fitting with the subject matter and the things that he goes through. He really grows through the story and he ends up in a good place with himself at the end of it.
The friends he makes are quite a bunch. It starts with Twom, who is a bit of a trouble maker. He has his own issues, but I don’t really know why he was the way he was since we never really find out much about his history. I think he was both a good and bad person for Billy to have met. On one hand, he gets him into trouble, but on the other hand, it shows Billy more about life and choices. Deliza I never liked. Honestly, she was just a bitch. There was nothing that would make me like that girl. She’s gorgeous, rich, gets whatever she wants, and treats others like shit. Ephraim was complex. He was a super gamer, really smart, and totally bonkers. He gets picked on, and just wants to make friends and be accepted. He is a loose cannon waiting to go off though. It was obvious that he had some major mental health issues and he wasn’t the most stable person ever. All of them seeming like unlikely friends, have something that is convenient for the others. They find a weird type of friendship with each other and bond over a taste of trouble that can only lead to disaster if they continue.
This was definitely a different type of book. It is of course told from Billy’s POV and we get to know things and go through things the way he tells them. While sometimes disturbing, it was a fresh look at the life that Billy didn’t want to be a part of and the things he does to escape it. He isn’t as good at hiding as he thinks though and as we see him make plenty of mistakes, it makes us see the broken parts of him he wants to get away from. This was both heartbreaking and eye opening at the same time. As the title says, it is quite tragic at times, but it’s also really great and there is a fantastic story to be discovered. I really enjoyed this book and hope that others do too.
4 Hot Espressos
About the Author
STEPHEN METCALFE wrote the production drafts for Pretty Woman, Dangerous Minds and Mr. Holland’s Opus, among others. His stage plays have been produced in New York and at theaters throughout the US, Europe and Japan. He is an Associate Artist at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and has been an adjunct professor in dramatic writing at University of California at San Diego, University of San Diego and San Diego State University. The Tragic Age is his debut novel.
St Martin’s Press has generously offered up 3 print copies of The Tragic Age for giveaway!
- Open to US and Canada
- Giveaway ends on March 9th, 2015
Latest posts by Amy (see all)
- Blog Tour: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld - May 9, 2017
- Review: Lost in Texas (The Living Dead Boy #2) by Rhiannon Frater - October 25, 2016
- Blog Tour: Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema Review and Guest Post - July 15, 2016
- Blog Tour: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff – Review - June 15, 2016