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Adios, Nirvana (Paperback)
Imagine a rip-roaring, page-turning young adult novel whose protagonist is a talented, award-winning—poet?! From the opening pages, in which that protagonist, Jonathan, leans from a Seattle bridge rail, high on frozen vodka grapes and poised to jump, he invokes past masters of the lyric craft including Whitman and Kerouac in a narrative that braids two currents: the tragic death of his twin brother; and Jonathan’s assignment to write the memoir of a dying World War II survivor. Jonathan’s pain finds expression in the epic poem he composes for his brother, and in playing his acoustic guitar. In writing the war veteran’s story, he finds redemption through another’s suffering. Teens need to witness heroes who are poets, who articulate life’s passages in verbal, lyrical form. Wesselhoeft has taken that gift, goosed it up with several cases of Red Bull, and produced a fine, moving and valuable coming of age tale. Ages 14 & up. ~ John— From John
When you piss off a bridge into a snowstorm, it feels like you're connecting with eternal things. Paying homage to something or someone. But who? The Druids? Walt Whitman? No, I pay homage to one person only, my brother, my twin.
In life. In death.
Since the death of his brother, Jonathan's been losing his grip on reality. Last year's Best Young Poet and gifted guitarist is now Taft High School's resident tortured artist, when he bothers to show up. He's on track to repeat eleventh grade, but his English teacher, his principal, and his crew of Thicks (who refuse to be seniors without him) won't sit back and let him fail.
A 2011 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
"Wesselhoeft offers a psychologically complex debut that will intrigue heavy-metal aficionados and drama junkies alike. Peopled with the elderly and infirm, crazy parents, caring educators, and poignant teens trying desperately to overcome death's pull, it mixes real and fictional musicians and historical events to create a moving picture of struggling adolescents and the adults who reach out with helping hands. Adios, Nirvana targets an audience of YAs who rarely see themselves in print."—Booklist
"Homage to poetry, music, friendship, and youth, this brash, hip story should attract its share of skater dudes and guitar jammers."—School Library Journal
"Jonathan's narration is all about style, moving between clipped, one-line sentences and heavily imagistic rhapsodies influenced by his heroes Charles Bukowski and Walt Whitman, soaring often into descriptions of his music and the atmospheric West Seattle milieu that colors his sensibilities and returning frequently to Homeric allusion."—The Bulletin
"A wonderful blend of contemporary, historical, and literary fiction. [Wesselhoeft's] use of figurative language makes each page dance with images of raw realism....This is a poignant piece for older teens."—VOYA