Every Pointed Star

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iUniverse, Apr 23, 2010 - Fiction - 212 pages
1 Review

In Every Pointed Star, David Booth tells the interesting, sometimes funny, oddly moving story of J.D., a gifted football player who goofs his way through high school and expects to do the same in college. But J.D.’s questionable choices provoke a violent event with wide-ranging aftershocks that force him to look deep into himself and into the lives of his parents. Without recognizing what’s happening, he begins to develop an inkling of the depth and significance in the silent lives of others and perhaps even in himself; simultaneously, circumstances may be turning J.D. in the direction of finding his voice as a writer.

“... a rich, many dimensional story. J.D., its eighteen-year-old narrator is flawed, yet compelling and wonderful, one of the most intriguing characters I’ve met in a long time.”
—Joyce Engelson, veteran editor of Richard Condon, Norman Cousins, and others

“... beautifully written and tight in its construction; Every Pointed Star’s themes of muteness, secrecy, and fear of revelation are subtly presented... Good unraveling of the plot and very nice finish.”
—Richard Marek, former President and Publisher of E.P. Dutton

“There are not many true voices of eighteen-year-old boys in current young adult fiction, but in J.D., David Booth has created a memorable one. Full of moral confusion and self doubt, forced to make critical choices without input or support from his cold and secretive parents, J.D. stumbles toward maturity. Along the way he finds (for the first time) friends, perhaps a girl and something like a life of the mind. A good read with a satisfying conclusion.”
—Jim Tolbert, Full Circle Bookstore, Oklahoma City

“... the best literary sports fiction I’ve read since Irwin Shaw’s 1955 classic, 'The Eighty-Yard Run'; but Every Pointed Star is far more than sports fiction. It's for anyone looking for a smart, creative, insightful novel that’s fun to read.”
—Gene Knight, longtime English teacher and coach, former defensive back at the University of Oklahoma, Inductee into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Foreword Clarion Reviews says 5 stars out of 5 and:

"Moving and consistently enjoyable, Every Pointed Star follows eighteen-year-old J.D. Johnson as he struggles along his particularly rocky road to young adulthood. Secrets, lies and self-doubt are just some of the obstacles in his path, and his journey to overcome them results in a memorable and rewarding read.

An only child, J.D. is largely ignored by his parents. His mother is selectively deaf, his father purposely oblivious. They are so removed and distant from him and each other that he never even receives a “good night” from his father, who shares his room. “I always figured that I must’ve done something to disappoint him, and her too, but I couldn’t remember what it was,” J.D. says. “Maybe it was something so bad I wouldn’t let myself remember it. Or something that happened so long ago I couldn’t remember it.”

A loner in high school, J.D.’s only outlet is football, at which he succeeds primarily through cunning deception, a method carefully (if unethically) encouraged by his coach. A scholarship leads J.D. to college where his penchant for deception proves an unreliable crutch both athletically and academically. A violent consequence of his actions leaves him with a wired-shut jaw and a great deal of time to reconsider his choices in the past and discover who he truly wants to be in the future. Forced into silence, he learns to listen, and as his body heals, his soul begins to heal along with it. Mysteries are soon solved much as they are in life, leading to a better understanding though not necessarily instantaneous resolution.

By turns as charming and exasperating as any teenager, J.D.’s narrative voice is wholly genuine, drawing the reader in and propelling the story. Through authentic use of language and believable actions, author David Booth deftly builds J.D.’s character into someone we feel we could both know and like, despite his flaws. Two new friends who are there for him when he most needs them—an English professor who inspires subtly and brooks no nonsense from his students, and a mysterious former college football star—play roles in J.D.’s eventual metamorphosis into a young man with the courage to face difficult truths and become who he’s meant to be.

With a clever first-page hook that grabs the reader’s attention, Booth skillfully crafts an affecting and satisfying coming-of-age story filled with humor, angst and hope. Readers will find themselves deeply invested, hoping that J.D.’s parents will be there for him, or that he chooses to do the right thing this time, or that the girl he’s been admiring in class will turn around and smile at him. It’s a rare book that achieves such full engagement of the reader, and a truly exceptional storyteller who can inspire it. With Every Pointed Star, Booth does so to perfection.

Readers looking for a compelling and sensitive book that can move them to both laughter and tears with equal enjoyment would be wise to choose Every Pointed Star. Very highly recommended."

—Jeannine Chartier Hanscom


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At a time when the bookshelves are inundated with mysteries and vampires and zombies and how to profit from the unending series of disasters over which we have no control, this book was a refreshing voyage back to an earlier time in my life when books made me think and feel and set my own mind wandering.
Anyone who ever thought about being a writer but didn't should resonate to the many stories within the story as life storms into the consciousness of a young man who hasn't really been paying much attention yet who is willing to see the stories that unfold around him.
Like the train in a travel book, football pulls the story out of the station, but the story is about what's going on outside the train. My advice: if you know any young people who still insist on being themselves in our extermally-driven culture - give them this book.

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About the author (2010)

David Booth is, among other things, a former farm worker, oil field roughneck, lumberjack, and high school teacher. He has worked throughout much of the United States, from Oregon to Virginia, and from New Orleans to Chicago. He lives in Colorado where he writes fiction.

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