Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....
Set up page 69 for us. What are we about to read?
This is the last page of the third chapter of the book titled “Kids with Choices.” Each chapter of the book has a title that previews its content. This moment takes place the night after Bryce’s first day at The Dream Academy when failed get the electives he wanted to set his own path towards happiness for the upcoming semester.
More importantly, this passage highlights the frustration Bryce find as he longs to be loved by his friend Paige once again who takes him and his love of granted. It also shows his attempt to make amends with his friend Jaycee whom he had hurt despite her affection for him.
What is your book about?
Dream Kids is on the surface a novel about a group of teens attending an experimental high school where they are never sure of what exactly they are learning or why. At its heart though it is a love song to those tender years when each decision and action feels at once unknowable and likely to mark a person for life; the time when young lives have the most passion, take the greatest risks, are battered by messaging and advice, all while possessing the least experience or wisdom, and yet somehow have to make it through.
Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what the book is about? Does it align itself with the book’s overall theme?
I think this page gives a good sense of the tone of the book as a whole though doesn’t represent the humor throughout. It is a good glimpse into the most central conflicts at play, and for a single page I am proud of that.
Michael Wayne Hampton is the author of five books. His criticism, essays, fiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous publications such as The Southeast Review, Fiction Southeast, and Rust+Moth. His work has won an Individual Excellence Award from the OAC and been nominated for Best American Short Stories. His writing has also been named a finalist or semi-finalist for other awards such as the Iowa Short Fiction Prize and The World's Best Short Story Contest.
Michael can be reached via his homepage at michaelwaynehampton.com or on Twitter @motelheartache
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