Synopses & Reviews
Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.
After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.
"Roth's imagining of poets Keats, Byron, and Shelly (a blending of Percy and Mary) in the present day centers almost exclusively on Byron, known as Gordon, despite being narrated by Keats. Following Shelly's apparent suicide, Gordon and Keats steal her ashes and, fleeing Shelly's sexually abusive father, they take a boat out on Lake Erie to fulfill her last wishes. Most of the story consists of Keats relaying Gordon's past adventures, including being sexually abused by his nanny, publishing a YA vampire book, seducing many women including his cousin and possibly his half-sister and briefly joining a Greek terrorist squad. Shelly is Gordon's neighbor and childhood best friend, but his feelings for her have remained platonic while she has fallen in love with him; Keats is Shelly's trusted friend, though there are only glimpses of that friendship. Despite the intriguing premise, excessive back-story and rehashing of Gordon's sexual conquests (however accurately they might resemble Lord Byron's) can grow tiring. But though readers may struggle to see past Gordon's unlikable personality, Shelly's ultimate wishes for Gordon and Keats provide satisfying closure. Ages 14 up. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
After their mutual friend Shelly drowns in a sailing accident, John Keats and Gordon Byron steal Shelly's ashes from her wake and set a course for the small Lake Erie island where her body had washed ashore--and where she wished to be returned.
About the Author
TY ROTH teaches literature and composition at both the high school and university level. He has studied the Romantic poets and enjoys teaching his students about them. He holds a Sociology degree from Xavier University and a Masters of English Literature from the University of Toledo. He lives with his family in Sandusky, Ohio, along the shores of his much-loved Lake Erie.