Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Geoff Herbach is the author of the award winning Stupid Fast YA series as well as Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders. His books have been given the 2011 Cybils Award for best YA novel, the Minnesota Book Award, selected for the Junior Library Guild, listed among the year’s best by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association and many state library associations. In the past, he wrote the literary novel, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, produced radio comedy shows and toured rock clubs telling weird stories. Herbach teaches creative writing at Minnesota State, Mankato. He lives in a log cabin with a tall wife.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Hooper, and reported the following:
From page 69:
But to me he says, "That's amazing work. Just so good, son. My gosh, you're a natural, aren't you?"

"I can't shoot, but my feet can move."

"We can improve that shot. You release at your peak. Carli used to shoot that way, too, and now look at her."

I nod, because she shoots like feathers on a breeze. But then we are done.
Adam, the protagonist, is wickedly athletic. He's had an amazing sophomore season of basketball, because he can essentially jump over anyone he plays against. He has only been playing for a couple of years, though. In this scene, he is working with the small-college coach in the town where he lives. He's beginning to see how much he doesn't know and how much work he'll have to do. This is a classic sports story trope. The protagonist is committing to do the work necessary. In order for the rest of the book to work, this kind of thing needs to be set up. I want the reader to feel like they're heading exactly into that story. The underdog will fight over hurdles and what doesn’t kill him makes him stronger, all leading to an epic battle, challenging the will, and, of course, ending in victory. But in the second half of the book, the context shifts, and Adam has to prove that he’s learned a lot more than basketball from having been well-loved by his adoptive mother, and cared for by his best friends Barry and Carli, and, then, by being supported by members of the killer AAU team he’s been recruited to play for. The book is in love with basketball (because I’m in love with basketball), but it’s about being a decent human being.
Visit Geoff Herbach's website.

Writers Read: Geoff Herbach.

--Marshal Zeringue