Bang - Excerpt

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher.

Hello, hello, everyone! I'm a bit late to the party today, but without further ado, here's an excerpt from BANG by Barry Lyga! Read on for more info about the book, which will be released on April 18, 2017. There's also a list of stores where you can pre-order the book, and a schedule of blog tour stops. Long-time readers will know I love Barry Lyga's Jasper Dent series, and I can't wait to dig into this new pageturner. 

About the book

A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Unflinching and honest, Bang is the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed, as true and as relevant as tomorrow's headlines. Readers of This is Where It EndsThe Hate List, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock will appreciate this extraordinary novel.

''Heartbreaking and brutally compelling.'' --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

''[A] raw exploration of persistent social stigmas, a beautiful study of forgiveness, and an unflinching portrait of a parent's worst nightmare.'' -Publishers Weekly, starred review

''Lyga tackles a number of relevant issues in this heartbreaking novel, including gun control, suicide, and religious and racial prejudice. The pain and anguish Sebastian feels every day are raw and chafing, and the chemistry between Sebastian and Aneesa is tender and realistic.'' -School Library Journal, starred review

''Lyga manages his intensely emotional material well, creating in Sebastian a highly empathetic character....'' -Booklist


Mom says I should bring something to the party, even though there is nothing in the invitation to indicate this. “It’s polite,” she says. “It’s what people do.” And I wonder in which class do people learn this fact about modern life? What if I missed the class, skipped over it to take chemistry or biology? What other important social ingredients does my etiquette larder lack? 

“And what if I don’t bother?” I ask her. “What then? Why is being a little out of step such a major felony?” 

“Just do it. Don’t examine it; don’t dissect it.” 

“You’d think if they wanted me to bring something, they would say so.” 

“They don’t want you to. But you do anyway.” 

“That makes no sense. Doesn’t it make more sense for us to agree on something, together?” 

She sighs, but it’s not her annoyed sigh. It’s her my son is so goofy and so smart sigh, the much rarer variety. But since things are going well right now, I figure maybe this is a good time to broach another topic: “Like back on the last day of school. You wanted to talk and I didn’t and—” 

“What do you mean?” 

“When you brought up Lola and I threw up?” 

Her face goes tight. “Not now.” 

“Look, I just wanted to . . . I’m just thinking that maybe we need a way to talk about it. Her. You know? Isn’t it time?” Past time. I should try, I should make a real effort, before I go. Go away. 

With a grimace, she flaps her hands. “You’re going to be late. Don’t be rude to these people.” 

Typical. She brings it up; I recoil. I bring it up; she recoils. We’re never in sync. 

And there’s no arguing with parental authority. At her insistence, I bring a two-liter bottle of soda, as well as a truly gigantic bag of potato chips. Balancing the two of them while riding my bike would be impossible, so I have no choice but to accede to Aneesa’s snarky wish and walk to her house. 

The cookout is attended by maybe fifteen people, a decent enough total for a backyard barbecue, perhaps, but a poor representation of the neighborhood in general. Easily four hundred people live in this development. How many did the Fahims invite? I’m willing to bet most of them. 

There’s a red, white, and blue paper tablecloth on a picnic table piled high with bags of chips and pretzels, a card table stocked with drinks and cups (to which I add my two-liter bottle, it vanishing like a chameleon among its fellows), and a large plastic tub filled with ice and bottles of water. No beer, I notice. 

The grill billows forth great gusts of fragrant smoke. I take a peek—burgers and dogs, along with delicious-smelling basted barbecue chicken skewers. 

“It’s Alexander the Great!” Aneesa’s dad says, spying me lurking by the grill. 

“I didn’t cut your cords,” I remind him. 

“More like Theseus, then,” he amends. 

“Maybe more like Ariadne.” Theseus navigated the labyrinth, true, but Ariadne was the one who gave him the ball of twine and the idea in the first place, so let’s give her her due. 

He laughs and slaps my shoulder, then wields his barbecue tongs with a flourish, gesturing to the grill. 

“What can I get you?” 

I’m not a big eater, but it smells so good that I want one of each. “I’ll try the chicken.” 

“Good man!” He tongs a juicy skewer onto a paper plate for me and presents it with a little bow. “Enjoy. Aneesa’s around here somewhere. . . .” 

“I’ll find her. Thanks, Mr. Fahim.” 

He pauses just a moment, then says, “Call me Joe. Everyone does.” 

“Okay, Mr. Fahim.”

“Joe,” he admonishes, shaking his tongs in faux outrage. 

“Joe. Right.” 

I step off to the side with my skewer and do what I do best: watch. Mingling has never been my strong suit. My public life began with concentrated doses of overwhelming pity (“You poor boy!”) before transitioning into a bewildered scrutiny (“He’s still around?”) and then finally settling into a resigned acceptance of my continued existence, marked mostly by tight smiles and sharp nods and general avoidance of conversation. 

Most of the people in the neighborhood ought to be able to manage at least that level of politeness. I don’t need people to approach me, just as long as they don’t outright avoid me. Mr. Marchetti and his wife are here, without her son, Don. Too bad. He’s older than I am, but I could have at least made small talk about the comic book he publishes in the school lit journal. He’s probably off somewhere with his girlfriend, a noted psychotic who has spent as much time in a mental ward as at school. 

The chicken is delicious, slightly cumin-y, with a hint of garlic in the sauce. It’s skewered with marinated onions and peppers, and I’m in some sort of chicken heaven, scanning the backyard for Aneesa, thinking how great it is that I can joke around with Mr. Fahim, when it hits me: The Fahims don’t know about me. 

About who I am and what I’ve done.

Excerpted from BANG © Copyright 2017 by Barry Lyga. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Read more excerpts from BANG and find out more about Barry Lyga on the blog tour!

Teenreads (3/30)
Novel Novice (3/31)
Short & Sweet Reviews (4/3)
Young Adult Books Central (4/6)
Read Now, Sleep Later (4/10)
Sleeps on Tables (4/12)
The Cover Contessa (4/14)
Mundie Moms (4/27)

Pre-order a copy of BANG

Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ 
Books of Wonder, NYC 
Addendum Books, St Paul 
Blue Willow, Houston 
BookPeople, Austin 
Little Shop of Stories, Decatur 

About the Author

Barry Lyga (Devon John Photography)

Barry Lyga (Devon John Photography)

Called a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published seventeen novels in various genres in his eleven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in more than a dozen different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. Publishers Weekly named Lyga a “Flying Start” in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.

His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJPublishers Weekly, and KirkusVOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA “proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”

Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).

His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times “one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author” and an “extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture.” The first book landed on both the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers lists.

Lyga lives and podcasts near New York City with his wife, Morgan Baden, and their nigh-omnipotent daughter. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.

I hope you'll all add Bang to your Goodreads TBR shelves and check it out when it debuts in about a week. Better yet, click on one of the pre-order links above and get ready to read!