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Nathan Kotecki

Nathan KoteckiBased in Durham, North Carolina, Nathan Kotecki is an accidental young adult novelist. A regular scribbler, he began telling himself a story about an unsuspecting girl who finds herself drawn into the darkly stylish world of an alternative/goth clique at her new high school – and kept on writing to find out what would happen next. The result was the first draft of THE SUBURBAN STRANGE. As a reader, Nathan has an enduring love for the classics, which is why casual references to authors like Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Kate Chopin, and Albert Camus tend to pop up in his writing. Another major influence is his own love of alternative music from the eighties to today, which made writing the scenes at Diaboliques, where bands like Siouxsie & the Banshees and the Sisters of Mercy are played, a real treat. One of the unexpected joys of being a young adult author has been the opportunity to go into schools and try to reinforce the literacy and humanities messages of teachers and librarians. Talking to students about the new literacy — both reading and writing — and the doors they open for virtually everyone, is both a pleasure and a responsibility.

The Suburban Strange: Too little too late

The Suburban Strange by Nathan Kotecki

Celia is a high school sophomore who’s grieving the death of her father and starting at a new school. She is swept up into a clique called the Rosary, a group of friends who pride themselves on their “darkness” and their sophistication. Celia feels awkward with them at first but gradually begins to gain confidence from these friendships. Meanwhile, something eerie is going on at Suburban High. Girls are suffering injuries or sudden illnesses on the day before their sixteenth birthdays. Will Celia find out what’s going on before her own birthday rolls around?

The main problem with The Suburban Strange is that the plot doesn’t pick up until well after the 200-page mark. Before that, it’s heavily focused on scenes of Celia and her friends hanging out and talking about music and books. It reminds me of when I was in college and thought all my circle’s late-night conversations were... Read More