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Caring Is Creepy

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Caring Is Creepy

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Fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer. Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother's pill-popping boyfriend has...
Fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer. Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother's pill-popping boyfriend has...
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  • Fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer. Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother's pill-popping boyfriend has enlisted her in his petty criminal enterprises. Lynn finds refuge in online flirtations, eventually meeting up with a troubled young soldier, Logan Loy, and inviting him home. When he's forced to stay over in a storage space accessible through her closet, and the Army subsequently lists him as AWOL, she realizes that he's the one thing in her life that she can control. Meanwhile, her mother's boyfriend is on the receiving end of a series of increasingly violent threats, which places Lynn squarly in the cross-hairs.

    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • From the book

    The GameThe most dangerous thing I ever did was tell a grown man my
    real name. I typed it for him. Lynn Marie Sugrue. When it
    happened, it didn't seem like anything at all. Hardly something
    worth worrying over. Me and my best friend Dani were down in
    her basement bedroom on a night hot and thick enough to push
    in against the window screens. We were playing our favorite game
    of the moment, a sort of online combination of crank phone call
    and blind man's bluff, but it was really more of a scheme to try out
    being bad in a place we thought it wouldn't count. We just never
    expected to be the ones wearing the blindfold.

    So this is August of 2005 in Metter, Georgia, population half of
    nothing. A million miles from anywhere good. So this is me and
    Dani, just turned fifteen and a couple weeks away from our sophomore
    year at Metter High. So this is me fucking up my life like you
    wouldn't believe.

    New Identities

    The trouble started with a gift. The day after my friend Dani's
    birthday, I found her moping down in her bedroom beside
    a pair of huge boxes. Dani's dad owns that used car lot out where
    Lewis Street meets the county highway--Big Dunham's it's called,
    the one where in the commercials a girl in a bikini goes around
    popping balloons on windshields, saying, "We're popping prices
    like you wouldn't believe." He'd been promising for years to buy
    her a car when she turned fifteen. Dani wouldn't be able to drive
    without an adult sitting next to her for another year, but this hadn't
    bothered her one whit. "I'll get to have plenty of practice for the
    license test," she'd say. A few weeks before her birthday, though,
    something happened to change Dani's mother's mind, something
    not even Dani would tell me about. Whatever it was she did, it
    made her mother decide poor little Dani wasn't quite ready for a
    car of her own. Instead, she got a new computer.

    I took a beer from my backpack and waved it in front of her face
    to get her attention. "Cheer up, there's more naked men inside that
    plastic box over there on the floor than you could ever possibly
    look at."

    Dani closed her eyes and shook her hair so hard it twirled around
    her head like a skirt, but she snatched up the beer all the same.

    "Well," she said. "For scientific study."

    "Sure," I said.

    Dani had used the wholesome notion of scientific study as a
    means of investigating all manner of nasty things over the years.
    We'd spent a good deal of the summer watching dirty movies filched
    from her dad's footlocker in the garage, pausing at the stranger
    parts and studying them like scientists. Once, she even got her
    mom to buy Judy Blume's Forever with the excuse that she needed
    to write a paper on the mores of suburban adolescents in the 1970s
    for her social studies class. I still shake my head in wonder over that
    bit of bullshit.

    It took both of us to tug the computer free. The Styrofoam
    squeaked like a stepped-on mouse.

    How could I have known then the kind of craziness that would
    come out of that box? Or that on that same exact day, maybe right
    around the same time, the boy who'd change everything about me,
    right down to my last clean pair of socks, was opening up his own
    box of trouble? Inside his box was the decision to leave his job,
    his home, his whole life. Inside his box was how he got caught
    sketching a stray dog on the back of a pink requisition form and
    was now pushing a mop as punishment. No more of this, he told
    himself. No way. I'm through. And I remember thinking how a
    new computer smelled like...

About the Author-
  • David Zimmerman was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving his MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama, he spent several years living and working in Brazil and Ethiopia. He now teaches at Iowa State University. His debut novel, The Sandbox, was released by Soho in 2010.


    Praise for David Zimmerman's previous novel, The Sandbox:

    "Lynn's voice is authentically sardonic and compelling.... the intersections of Lynn's and Logan's story line with the consequences of Hayes's shady dealings are consistently exciting." --Publishers Weekly

    "David Zimmerman has written a beautifully menacing novel. I found it impossible to stop reading -- as teenage girls flirt with danger online, an AWOL soldier hides out in a closet, and drug deals go dead wrong -- and you will too, as the danger steadily escalates, the sentences unspooling like a detonator line that sizzles toward an explosive, unforgettable ending."--Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh

    "This story is sweet, funny, sad, infuriating, and all too real." --Tulsa Books Examiner

    "An engrossing and unforgettable tale based on actual events.... Those who can empathize with flawed characters in dire situations will not be able to put this book down." --Library Journal

    "When Zimmerman's characters get dirty, you feel the grit, and when they hurt, you feel the sting." --Ames Tribune

    "[A]n insidious and deceiving but often sweet summertime ensnarement that is alternatively tangled web and tender trap."

  • The New York Times Book Review "[A] gripping first novel."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "[A] remarkable debut.... Zimmerman is a talent to watch."
  • Los Angeles Times

    "Zimmerman adroitly depicts [Iraq's] isolated moonscape--a place as liable to produce hallucinations and heat exhaustion as it is to churn up sandstorms that last for days."
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