Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph by Ari Rosenschein

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ari Rosenschein will be awarding a signed paperback copy of Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

There is so much room in the YA genre for creativity in terms of structure, multiple POVs, and settings. But at heart, the raw power of YA fiction is a major pull for me. I live for adrenaline and emotional upheavals, and this type of writing has that in ample supply. As a writer, you get to push your characters to their limits.

I also adore how the teenage mind works, how it lives in thrall to impulse and crazy notions. In many ways, I feel I’ve never grown out of that way of being. When writing YA fiction, I get to relive elements of my teenage years and experience them differently. Now, with distance, I can see things from multiple perspectives. The parents aren’t all bad, and the bad kids are often the ones with the answers.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I was obsessed with realistic fiction by writers like Judy Blume and Norma Klein. These authors could see inside my heart and wrote about teenage characters with such empathy and grace. Both were truly ahead of their time. I also loved the gritty work of S.E. Hinton and Lois Duncan’s eerie novels. I can still picture Duncan’s spooky novels on the spinning racks at my local library. Their covers seemed to attract me like a magnet, adding to their creepy allure.

Favorite class in high school. Why?

Theater was, without a doubt, my favorite class in high school. I had some extraordinary English teachers and read powerful books, but acting lit my fire. I remember doing a production of an odd play called The Ground Zero Club in which I played Sal, who the play database calls an “over-the-hill punk rocker.” The whole story takes place on the Empire State Building observation deck fifteen minutes before nuclear annihilation. How ’80s is that?

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

Without question, I would love the ability to turn back time and visit periods in the past. Not only could I see what my current home looked like in 1926, but I could go and check out all the vintage OP I wore to school. In all seriousness, I’m fascinated by the past and think it would be unimaginably cool to experience a few nights of the Roaring Twenties or the Summer of Love, then hustle back to the present for some Instagram scrolling and an Impossible Burger.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

In a letter to my teen self, I’d be sure to lead by bolstering my confidence. I’d tell Young Ari to relax and realize that you will accomplish your dreams. Then I’d remind him to keep practicing his guitar and start singing earlier, to never worry about what others think of him, to treat school like a sacred privilege, to save money, to listen to his parents ’cus they are cool as hell, and to trust in his own vision.

It’s the late ’90s—the final days before smartphones and the internet changed the teenage landscape forever. Zack and his mother have moved from Tempe to Berkeley for a fresh start, leaving behind Zack’s father after a painful divorce. A natural athlete, Zack makes the water polo team which equals social acceptance at his new school. Yet he’s more drawn to Matthias, a rebellious skater on the fringes, who introduces him to punk rock, record stores, and the legendary Telegraph Avenue.

As their friendship intensifies, Matthias’s behavior reminds Zack of his absent dad, driving a wedge between him and his mother. Complicating matters is Zaylee, a senior who boosts Zack’s confidence but makes him question his new buddy, Matthias. Faced with all these changes, Zack learns that when life gets messy, he might have to become his own best friend.

Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph is about how a friendship can challenge who we are, how we fit in, and where we’re going.

Read an Excerpt

We spend the rest of the afternoon messing around on Telegraph. I even take a brief spin on Matthias’s skateboard as a joke. I’ve got decent balance from wrestling, so I make it a whole city block. I kick the deck when I disembark, imitating how I’ve watched Matthias do it.

“Not bad, Dr. Z. Not bad at all.”

Like I said, I pick up athletic stuff fast.

And it turns out Anthony the gutter punk isn’t the only character Matthias knows. Every few feet, we run into a grommet, a punk, and even normal kids from school, all falling over themselves to praise Matthias for his skating.

He’s a star, and with my build, I feel like a personal bodyguard, someone cool and important.

It’s going great until I see a street clock. “I’m supposed to meet my mom back on campus at three.”

“Or what, you turn into a pumpkin?”

“No, it’s just—”

“I’m joking, Dr. Z.” Matthias pulls me in for a hug and I stiffen. I guess I’m not used to that kind of contact outside of sports.

“Do your thing,” he says. “But make sure to listen to both those CDs tonight. That’s your homework.”

“You know I will. See you at lunch on Monday.”

On my jog back, I pass the same funky boutiques and eateries, the bag with my poster and contraband whacking my side in rhythm with my breath. I’m no longer worried about the CD heist or the awkward hug. That unfamiliar contentment from this morning is back. I feel alive.

About the Author:
Ari Rosenschein is a Seattle-based author who grew up in the Bay Area. Books and records were a source of childhood solace, leading Ari to a teaching career and decades of writing, recording, and performing music. Along the way, he earned a Grammy shortlist spot, landed film and TV placements, and co-wrote the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Song of the Year.

In his writing, Ari combines these twin passions. Coasting, his debut short story collection, was praised by Newfound Journal as “introducing us to new West Coast archetypes who follow the tradition of California Dreaming into the 21st century.” Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph (Fire & Ice YA) is his first young adult novel.

Website: https://arirosenschein.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arirosenschein
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arirosenschein/
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@arirosenschein

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CYQKNBKQ

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