The rights to my first novel, How To Get Suspended and Influence People, reverted to me last month, so I've put out a new edition which restores all the swear words that were taken out of the original draft!
Leon Harris, a "gifted pool" hooligan, takes on his middle school after being suspended for trying to direct an avant garde sex ed film as a school project.
Originally published by Random House in 2007, and a part of the American Library Association's "Banned Books Week" packet, this new "author's edition" of the hilarious, critically-acclaimed cult YA hit features more than thirty additional swear words that were removed from the original edition!
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID:
"Smart and savvy on all fronts, full of 'read out loud to whoever happens to be nearby' passages." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This funny, fast-paced novel is filled with characters who epitomize the middle school experience, and it presents a lesson or two about free speech as well." - School Library Journal
"Selzer’s zany, edgy debut thumbs its nose at censorship and prudishness..."miscreant kids" will appreciate the plot's outrageousness and applaud's Leon's commitment to his quirky vision." - Booklist
"In his debut, Selzer manages to capture the voice of a smarter-than-average young teen as he humorously observes his parents, the teachers and his classmates. Pervasive strong language and subject matter bump up the target audience, but there's definite appeal in the plot and some real laughs along the way." - Kirkus
Features an active table of contents and a new introduction by the author.
Q: Why did you take the swear words out in the first place?
A: My editor said she'd go to bat for me if I thought they were important, but that the book would probably sell better without them. Sell-out that I am, I took most of them out. But it might have been a mistake; the times people tried to throw it out of libraries were the best publicity I ever got!
Q: Why put them back now?
A: Because I can! I got the rights back and thought it would be fun. It's the kind of thing authors can do now, and without paying a fortune upfront for a re-printing, so I thought I'd have some fun with it.
Q: What are your thoughts re-reading it today?
A: Well, like any book from seven years ago, it's sort of a period piece now. There weren't a lot of 2007-era cultural references, but it's still a book that takes place in a world without Youtube. Leon doesn't text anyone, there isn't much mention of social media, etc. The world has changed a lot for eighth graders. But I think it holds up pretty well; there are jokes that I'd forgotten that made me crack up when I re-read it. But contemporary humor has been so out of fashion in YA the last few years that it's weird to read any of it at all anymore.
Q: What would Leon be like when he got older?
A: You'll soon find out! Next year, Simon and Schuster is putting out a book called PLAY ME BACKWARDS. It features Leon as an 18 year old slacker; I've been calling it "a novel for young adults who worship the devil." It's much more of an "older YA" book than this one. People who wanted to ban Suspended are really going to hate that one. If they read it. I'm not under any illusions here; the would-be censors who went after Suspended pretty much picked it at random. These people don't actually read the books they go after.