LEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK LAUNCH: My Chemical Mountain by Corina Vacco
Saturday, July 13, 2013 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera ||
What is the secret to a great modern day young adult novel? Let’s ask Corina. Based on a real town in western New York, Corina Vacco‘s fierce first novel is already receiving rave reviews.
Jason and his friends rage against the noxious pollution that suffocates their town and despise those responsible for it. At the same time, they embrace the danger of their industrial wasteland and boast about living on the edge. Despite their apparent rebellion, they desperately struggle to make a change to their surroundings, but how will they do it? And what will it cost?
Corina Vacco felt compelled to write about toxic towns after reading an article alleging that hundreds of thousands of children and teens throughout the United States attend schools built on or near dangerously polluted sites. She found the inspiration for this book while living in Western New York, where she heard teachers speak out against a landfill adjacent to an elementary school. A city girl, world traveler, and activist, Corina enjoys playing guitar, listening to the blues, and exploring the great outdoors. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, who is a member of the Coast Guard, and their magnificent puddle-splashing, car-loving little boy. They share their home with one slightly neurotic but very lovable Italian greyhound and a growing collection of books. My Chemical Mountain is Corina’s first novel.
“Vacco’s thought-provoking modern-day dystopian novel, set in a fictional upstate New York factory town, is plausible and action-packed. From Jason’s complex teenage boy perspective, she captures both the disheartening helplessness of the situation (a wealthy, corrupt company versus a dependent town) and the boys’ reckless resistance: ‘We cross a landfill on our way to school. We swim in creek water that smells like nail polish remover…We are not fools. We are brave and brilliant.’ There is power and hope in that kind of statement, and Jason’s coming-of-age tale, though dark, is full of both.”—The Hornbook Magazine
“This gritty debut depicts the reality of a toxic town. . . . Reminiscent of The Outsiders (and not just because of Cornpup’s unusual name), the story concentrates on the boys’ tight bond and how they both embrace and fight against the danger in their lives. The most stunning part of the story remains the visceral descriptions (“a trail of green puddles that never dry up; a rusty railcar full of weird, smelly rocks; and a perfect square of earth where you can dig for hours without seeing a single insect”) that ooze throughout. . . . Dark and unflinching.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Grim but impressive debut . . . lyrical prose and strong characters make it worth the read. . . . the push by the boys and their tech genius friend Cornpup to get people to acknowledge the horrors Mareno has inflicted on Poxton (which mirror the real-life environmental pollution that inspired Vacco) should help readers think hard about the issue.”—Publisher’s Weekly