Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn (Playlist + Giveaway)

Hi guys! Are you interested in reading a story about antiheroes, stealing planes and flying? Then this debut is for you. It is reviewed and described as unique, original and surprisingly unexpected.

Today, we are featuring your next best read: Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn! Jennifer will be talking about her playlist and how each note is related to her writing and the story. Stick around for a special giveaway at the end! ;) Jennifer will take it from here.

I always listen to music while I write. I usually create soundtracks to match my ideas very early in the writing process, to capture a particular mood or voice. For “Flight Risk,” I listened to these songs and many more to create Robert Jackson Kelly’s world as he surfs, steals and runs from the law.

“Immortal” Kid Cudi
The lyrics of this song could have been pulled straight from my protagonist Robert Jackson Kelly’s thoughts. I listened to it constantly while writing “Flight Risk.” The humming at the beginning even reminds me of the sound of a plane taking off.
“I’m living my life as if I’ve got powers/And tonight I feel immortal.”

“King of the Beach” Waaves
In the story’s first half, Robert receives a used surfboard for his birthday and starts spending his days at the beach, practicing his surf technique. He’s determined to learn how to catch a wave and the beach provides an escape from his less-than-ideal home life. This song perfectly captures the mood of those scenes!
“Never gonna stop me/You’re never gonna stop me/King of the beach!”

“Mama Told Me Not to Come” Three Dog Night
Yannatok’s Sheriff Holt is a classic-rock fan. I imagine this song playing in his cruiser as he drives around the island hunting for Robert. The lyrics also allude to Robert’s complicated relationship with his mother.
“Mama told me not to come/She said, that ain’t the way to have fun, son!”

“Frontier Psychiatrist” Avalanches
I played this song often when I wrote the scenes I consider Robert’s ‘origin story,’ or the events that led up to him actually stealing a plane and becoming a notorious outlaw or hero, depending on your point of view.
“That boy needs therapy!”

“The Trees” Richard Cheese
Here’s a fun cover of a song originally performed by Rush. My brother discovered this song and included it on one of several “Flight Risk” mixes he made for me. Many scenes in “Flight Risk” depict “unrest in the forest”: plane crashes, bears, police chases . . . .

“There is unrest in the forest!”

“Everybody Get Dangerous!” Weezer
I love this song’s fun mood. Robert’s plane thefts are definitely dangerous, but he’s also having the adventure of his life when he takes to the sky.

“Everybody get dangerous!”

“Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?” Green Day
These lyrics seemed to describe Robert’s school situation and struggle with ADHD perfectly.
“There’s a body who fogs his world and now he’s getting lazy/There’s no motivation and frustration makes him crazy/He makes a plan to stand but always ends up sitting/Someone help him up or he’s gonna end up quitting.”

“Bad Moon Rising” Lagwagon
This song is actually featured in the book; Robert’s father is singing it when the reader first encounters him. Robert Senior is in and out of his son’s life, and a secret from his past is revealed in the second half of “Flight Risk.” I like the sense of foreboding in this song’s lyrics, and this sped-up cover version is a fun update on a classic song.
“Don’t go out tonight/It’s bound to take your life/There’s a bad moon on the rise”

“I Believe I Can Fly” Me First and the Gimmee Gimmees

Of course, R Kelly wasn’t singing about actual flight in the original version of this song, but I can’t help but think that the lyrics mirror Robert’s obsession with planes.

“I believe I can fly/I believe I can touch the sky/I think about it every night and day’Spread my wings and fly away”

“Police on My Back” The Clash
Once Robert steals his first plane, he’s on the run, trying to escape Sheriff Holt, the media, and everyone else’s expectations of him.
“Well, I'm running/Police on my back/I've been hiding/Police on my back”

“Lollipop” Ben Kweller
The candy found at the scene of Robert’s first plane crash lead the media to portray him as a criminal mastermind intentionally taunting the police. He’s even nicknamed “The Lollipop Kid.”
“Lollipop, lollipop/Oh, lolly lollipop!”

“My Old Man Had a Pistol” The New Amsterdams
This song’s lyrics seem to be about trying to escape a troubled family history, which is one of the issues at the heart of “Flight Risk.”
“I pray take me far away/From everything that I am”

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your playlist!

About the Author:

Young adult author Jennifer Fenn has been filling notebooks since she was in elementary school. She’s never without a book! Fenn is terrified of corn fields but has jumped out of a plane, eats her cereal without milk, and has run a marathon.

She is a graduate of Lycoming College and Rosemont College’s MFA program. Jennifer lives with her husband, daughter and Scottish terrier in Downingtown, PA.

Find Jennifer: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Book Description:

Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2017 by Roaring Brook Press

A debut novel inspired by true events, about a teenage boy who has stolen―and crashed―not one, but three airplanes. And each time he’s walked away unscathed.

Who is Robert Jackson Kelly? Is he a juvenile delinquent? A criminal mastermind? A folk hero? One thing is clear: Robert always defies what people think of him. And now, the kid who failed at school, relationships, and almost everything in life, is determined to successfully steal and land a plane.

Told as an investigation into Robert’s psyche, the narrative includes multiple points of view as well as documentary elements like emails, official records, and interviews with people who knew Robert. Ultimately, Flight Risk is a thrilling story about one teenager who is determined to find a moment of transcendence after everyone else has written him off as lost.

"Teens will love the documentary-style narrative and will root for underdog antihero Robert." --Donald Peebles, School Library Journal

"Fenn's ambitious debut novel is part oral history, part tall tale, and part suspense story . . . Inspired by real events (the life of Colton Harris-Moore, aka the Barefoot Bandit), Fenn has penned an original, thrilling tale with wide appeal, including for older reluctant readers."

-- Caitlin Kling, Booklist


Thanks to Jennifer for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: ARC of Flight Risk
Scope: US/CA
*If you have a mailing address in US/CA, you may also join

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