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Teenager by Bud Smith
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Teenager

Best Seller
Teenager by Bud Smith
Paperback $17.00
May 10, 2022 | ISBN 9780593315224

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  • May 10, 2022 | ISBN 9780593315224

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  • May 10, 2022 | ISBN 9780593315231

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Praise

LIT HUB‘S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE YEAR
CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS 12 MUST-READ TITLES OF MAY

“Not your average road trip novel . . . A romp through the crisscrossing American highways and equally twisted minds of two teenagers . . . Bud Smith manages to capture the innocence and idiocy of teenagerdom . . . [The book] has a shimmer, a sort of surreal gleam that allows it to rest just on the edge of reality.” —Emilia Ferrante, The Michigan Daily

“A superb novel . . . Fascinated with the question of what makes us American, but smart enough not to have a reasonable answer.” —Nicholas Rys, The Nervous Breakdown

“Hits that sweet-and-salty spot between reality and fantasy, truth and falsehood, ecstasy and heartbreak . . . What’s so magical about Bud’s work [is that] it inspires others to walk and talk in the poetry of their own.” —Christina Drill, Chicago Review of Books

“Hilariously bizarre and fanciful . . . The absurd and darkly humorous experiences are the beauty of Teenager . . . This novel is the wayward fantasy that most adults have lost. Where we see danger, they see adventure. What we see as red flags, they see as quirkiness. Darkness does not exist for them once they are free of the adults in their lives. Only a whimsical sense of self-determination. We have felt this. Bud Smith has felt this. And now that he has written this nostalgic love letter to our youth, we can feel it again.” —Mallory Smart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“The high volume of events, combined with Smith’s delightfully galvanic style, creates a sense of participation for the reader, a welcome involvement—even friendship—with Teenager’s young and troubled kids on the run . . . All with surreal and moving drawings by Rae Buleri.” —Alexander Sammartino, The Millions

“Smith’s prose is exceptional . . . You’re able to follow along like one of your best friends is telling you a story . . . The juxtaposition between violence and tenderness in the book is stunning. Are they reckless? Yeah. Do they take things too far? Yeah. But I can’t look back on my own adolescent years without thinking about all of the crazy impulses I had. Of course I’d want to hit the road with the person I love, saying screw everyone else, we can have everything we want . . . By the end of it, I felt like I had witnessed the rebirth of something—some spirit of Americana that’s been missing, or maybe was always there but is now out in the open, rejuvenated and bright. Whatever it is, Bud Smith’s prose made the world around me feel ethereal for a brief moment in time.” —Blake Levario, Washington Square Review

“Drawing on such symbols of Americana as Elvis Presley, Bonnie and Clyde, and Jack Kerouac’s road tripping, Teenager is the sort of offbeat love story that proves Bud Smith can sit comfortably beside Denis Johnson as a poet laureate of rundown carnivals and dimly lit bars.” —Chicago Review of Books

“Read it on a plane, read it on the beach, and throw it into the ocean, and then buy another one. Read it to know where the American Dream has gone. This book is our new myth . . . Teenager is one of the few great books about teenagers because it is funny without condescension, sad without sentimentality, and has no moral at the end. It made me feel alive without lying to me . . . The whole thing rolls out like a beautiful song . . . Also, almost every chapter has a line illustration by Rae Buleri that would make an excellent tattoo.” —Conor Hultman, The Local Voice (Mississippi)

“One hell of a coming-of-age story. Smith has perfectly captured what it’s like to be young, carefree, and making slightly stupid decisions along the way . . . You’ll stay up reading in one binge.” —Debutiful

“There is something raw and engaging about watching [Kody] do his best to try and prove himself against a futile position in life . . . We’re conditioned to expect stories to have a clear direction, and so it’s nice to break out of that, especially with something that is so real. Kody is constantly thinking the grass is going to be greener and is continually disappointed . . . The only thing [he] doesn’t seem to tire of is Tella. And that depiction of love is all we need. In the end, that is the point.” — Joseph Edwin Haeger, The Big Smoke

“A whirlwind journey through a mythic America . . . Smith has mixed violence with fable to create this modern-day tall tale about two teens who love each other and say to hell with everything else. Each small chapter is akin to a section from The Odyssey or Don Quixote, snapshots that could stand alone but merge together to create a greater story . . . A new American folktale with teeth.” Kirkus Reviews

“Evokes the surreal contrasts of the American landscape in smart, jittery prose. Smith makes this a trip worth taking.” —Publishers Weekly

“Hard to put down.” Booklist

“Teenager won’t make you want to be young again, but you may be shocked at what it awakens in you, the feelings and memories of long-buried past selves. Bud Smith asks us to not only remember those past selves, but to handle them gently. A rare novel that manages to be both sharp-edged and deeply romantic, classic yet wholly fresh.” —Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of Pizza Girl

Teenager is a great artistic high-wire act and a gift to readers who still care about the timeless problem of young men and women finding their place together in this world—or not. Should Tella get in another stolen car with Kody and flee with him to the Montana of his imagination? Both quests are represented here, hers and his, Yin and Yang, and Smith tells it all with ecstatic wit and feeling and innocence. To have captured this duality on paper demanded more than wildness, more than heart—all of which Smith has to burn—but also will and skill and ingenuity.” —Atticus Lish, author of The War for Gloria

“From the Graceland mansion to an alpaca farm in Montana, from a chapel in the Grand Canyon to the ancient forests of California, this is a love story as epic and eccentric as America. In prose that crackles and sings off the page, Bud Smith has written a humorous and tender new classic.” —Mary South, author of You Will Never Be Forgotten

“Abused when not neglected, and with no patience for self-pity, Teenager’s Kody and Teal are the latest memorable additions to that venerable American tradition of They’re young, they’re in love, and they’ll shoot if they have to, lighting out for the west and freedom. Wildly romantic, blithely clueless and always headlong, they’re above all else passionately appreciative of the miracle of someone else having chosen, of all things, them, and everywhere they go they reveal, in all its doofy and intermittent heartlessness and lethality, the America that spawned them.” —Jim Shepard, author of Phase Six

“Bud Smith is a classic writer who taps into the absurd skillfully. His dry, deft, enthusiastic language guts without being sentimental. Teenager is a study on the gnawing, American desire for escape; the lengths we will go to elude boredom, find love, and feel connected. From Tennessee to Montana, I’ll follow Kody and Teal wherever they take me.” —Halle Hill, author of Good Women

“Written in sentences as spare and fine as line drawings, Teenager is a blood-soaked love story that is at once hopeless and hopeful, reckless yet redeeming. A ton of fun.” —Lee Clay Johnson, author of Nitro Mountain

“We could use more writers like Bud Smith. Teenager is a lovestruck, cross-country road-trip novel following a couple of ill-starred delinquents on the run from the olds; and though we have plenty of novels that tell that story, this is the only one we have from Bud Smith. And that’s good.” —Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub

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