Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaways: Static by Eric Laster

Welcome to Day #9 of the #STATIC Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of #STATIC by Eric Laster (4/19/16), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Eric and 10 chances to win a copy of #STATIC, as well as a chance to win a 6-in-1 Bluetooth Entertainment Center in the Grand Prize Giveaway!

Writing Middle Grade vs Young Adult by Eric Laster

I don’t tend to think of them as antagonists pitted against each other; for me, there is no “versus.” I find the difference in writing for the two categories to be one of degree. I could write the same basic story for middle graders and YA, but the way I approach it, the facets that I emphasize, will be very different. (Yes, this does mean that what started as the same story is, in a sense, now two different ones. The outline of them, their larger plot gestures, might be the same, but the differences in the flesh and blood of the things, the little ins and outs of character—where the hearts of stories live—will make them unique). Obviously, some topics shouldn’t be covered in books for ten-year-olds (you know what I mean), though I’m sometimes surprised at what topics are tackled in MG fare. 

For me, the whimsy that is frequently found in MG but less often in books for older readers is problematic. Whether I’m writing MG or YA (and usually, a marketer decides which it is, not me: I just write in whatever voice the story/book seems to need), I embrace a bit of whimsy in plot and character. Because the world is an absurd, whimsical place, which I can’t help seeing even when I’m suffering through emotional tribulations. 

Is there a difference in the language I use when writing for MG or YA? Probably. But this is determined less by the categories themselves than on what voice seems correct for the story. I certainly never “write down” to my reader, and if a word gets used that I think might be a little difficult for some but is appropriate for the story, then I use the context in which it appears to define it. Kids are sensitive, intuitive beings and I believe can sense when they’re being condescended to. (Hey, copyeditors! Ending a sentence with a preposition is ok.) 

For me, the best MG and YA books are the same in that they can be read by people of all ages without anyone feeling they’ve slummed it with the less developed or educated. A book that aims for so-called literary value in the YA category doesn’t have to be written by a humorless person with a furrowed brow, any more than a comedic tome for middle graders needs to shy away from “serious” subjects. 


Stop by The Reader and the Chef tomorrow for the last stop on the tour!

Blog Tour Schedule:
April 18th – The Book Cellar
April 19th – Once Upon a Twilight
April 20th – Fall Into Books
April 21st – Twenty Three Pages
April 22nd – The Fandom
April 25th — Book Briefs
April 26th – Shooting Stars Mag
April 27th – Pretty Little Memoirs
April 28th – A Belle’s Tales
April 29th – The Reader and the Chef

Title: Static 
Author: Eric Laster 
Publisher: Automatic Publishing 
Published: April 2016 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 


When Curtis Brooks starts receiving phone calls from his older brother Wilt, who’s been dead a week, he’s sure it’s to help him find evidence that will lead to a murderer’s arrest. But Wilt claims he wasn’t murdered; his calling, meant to help him adjust, is standard protocol for newly deceased at the Aftermart—a kind of inescapable, ever-expanding Walmart filled with discontinued products.

Wilt’s death ruled a homicide, Curtis embarks on a dangerous plan to find the killer, which soon has him scheming against a billionaire and floundering toward love with his brother’s ex-girlfriend Suzy, all while struggling through high school and his single mom’s poor choices.

Why does Wilt help Curtis win over Suzy, even as he organizes a rebellion at the Aftermart? Who’d wanted him dead? Curtis risks his life to answer these questions, in the process forging a bond with his brother unlike any they’ve ever had. 


Curtis Brooks recently lost his brother Wilt in a car accident. So how is it that one night, barely a week after Wilt's death, Curtis gets a phone call from him? The result is what seems like a wild goose chase on Curtis's part as he tries to piece together clues to uncover the cause of his brother's death. Wilt, despite his frequent calls to his younger brother, is no help as he either can't remember anything about his death or refuses to say; but Curtis isn't deterred by his brother or anyone else who attempts to change his mind about Wilt's being murdered. 

Static was a very different kind of book from what I've read lately. The first part is a bit slower-paced, which I felt was realistic; it's as if you're genuinely living through this with Curtis, uncovering clues one by one and trying to fit them into the equation of why Wilt was murdered. The book starts to move at a faster pace in the second half as Curtis uncovers more and more information and realizes he may be running out of time to get all the answers he needs. Speaking of Curtis, I loved him as a main character; it took me a little while to connect with him and feel like I really knew him because he's very closed off, even at times to the reader, but I did. His awkwardness and inner thoughts are endearing, though very teenage boy. And what he's been through both emotionally and in dealing with his family is heart-breaking. But despite everything Curtis is strong, even if he doesn't seem to think so. Wilt was also a favorite character of mine; he and Curtis were never extremely close in life, but I loved the way they slowly became closer through their phone calls after Wilt's death. There were also some supporting characters that I really liked and that I was grateful Curtis had on his side, like Jeremy and Lou and Suzy. I also love that this is a stand-alone so there was no cliff-hanger; the ending made me cry, but it was what each of the characters needed and I was happy with it. I really enjoyed Static and look forward to reading more of Eric Laster's work. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

About the author:

A New Yorker by birth, Eric Laster lives in Los Angeles. After a successful stint as a best-selling ghostwriter, Eric re-launched under his own name with the middle-grade novel Welfy Q. Deederhoth: Meat Purveyor, World Savior.  Whenever he’s not scribing, he records punk rock and presses it to vinyl.  
Follow EricTwitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • One (1) winner will receive a copy of Static by Eric Laster
  • Enter via the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends 5/1 at midnight ET

A huge thank-you to Eric Laster for the post!  And check out his exclusive content on the above listed blogs and enter for your chance to win! 

© at A Belle's Tales



  1. What an interesting mystery. I am curious now what really happened to Will. Sounds like a good solid mystery with great characters. What a cool giveaway! Thanks!

    1. It really was, Ms. Heidi. I enjoyed it, and I loved that it was a stand-alone :-)


  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one Mckenzie. It doesnt sound like my normal read but it does sound very good. Great review!

    1. Thank you, Teresa! It was unique but very good :-)


  3. Fantastic review Mckenzie. I like the sound of the characters and mystery. I was an advanced reader and remember how frustrated it was to find books that engaged me but were also reasonable age appropriate.

    1. Thank you, Ms. Kimba! It can be difficult, which is what makes me so thankful for authors like Eric Laster! This is a great teen read :-)


  4. This sounds really interesting! Great review!

    1. Thank you! It really is! :-)


  5. Wonderful post! I agree with writing at the level of what kind of story needs to be told. That's why my first book is YA and the next one I wrote was NA. Great review McKenzie! Sounds like the book grew on you the more you read :)

    1. Thank you so much, Christie! It really did; it was amazing <3


  6. this is so unique and very hard to find. Love the story line

  7. This sounds like an amazing read, can't wait to read it!

  8. Thanks for the giveaways :)


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