Writing While White: Reasoning Out Loud amidst the Noise

Patrick Jones

Head Kick (The Dojo). Darby Creek, 2013. 104p. PLB $27.99. 978-1-4677-0632-2. $7.95 Trade pb. 978-1-4677-1489-1.
Nong Vang dreams that one day he’ll be an MMA superstar. But being a hero in his real life means struggling through school and protecting his family from his bully big brother. Can he find the courage and skill to succeed inside the cage and out?

Drift: Nissan Skyline (Turbocharged). Darby Creek, 2013. 104p. PLB $27.99. 978-1-4677-1242-2. $7.95 Trade pb. 978-1-4677-1474-7.
Since Kekoa’s mom left him on the island with his grandma, his Nissan Skyline 350 is all he has to his name. Life is the opposite for Billy Cain, who can buy his way into or out of anything. But when Billy’s antics threaten the few things Kekoa cares about, they’ll put it to the test.

The Gamble (Bareknuckle). Darby Creek, 2014. 104p. PLB $27.99. 978-1-4677-1462-4. $7.9s Trade pb. 978-1-4677-2166-0.
For years, Leung has been learning Wing Chun.  So when Leung sees the boxing matches at New York’s Woodrat Club, he’s shocked by the fighters’ wild, sloppy styles. Leung’s Irish friend, Sean, thinks that Leung could conquer the bare knuckle boxing scene if Leung can learn to fight before a crowd that wants to see a Chinese immigrant lose.

Bridge (The Alternative). Darby Creek, 2014. 96p. $7.95 Trade pb. 978-1-4677-4482-9.
As the only English speaker in a family of undocumented immigrants, José handles everything. Plus, he works two jobs. With all this responsibility, he’s missing a lot of school. José knows he has to turn things around if he wants to graduate from Rondo Alternative High. Can he raise his grades enough to have a shot at college and a better life? Or will he be forced to drop out?

Guarding Secrets (Locked Out). Darby Creek, 2015. 96p. $9.99 Trade pb. 978-1-4677-6038-6.
Everyone has secrets in high school. But no one has a secret quite like Camila Hernandez’s. For as long as Camila can remember, her mother has been in prison. Camila has tried to make sure no one finds out. Sure, some of Camila’s classmates also have parents doing time, but her mother isn’t any ordinary criminal. Her mother is on death row.

Collateral Damage (Support and Defend). Darby Creek, 2015. 112p. PLB $27.99. $7.99 Trade pb. 978-1-4677-8091-9.
Tyshawn can’t wait to show off his three-pointers. His dad, a former basketball star and a sergeant in the U.S. Army, is finally coming home from overseas. Ty isn’t prepared for how serious his dad’s traumatic brain injury is. Neither is his mom. When Ty is left to care for his dad, it’s hard to keep up with his own life.

Heart or Mind (Unbarred). Darby Creek, 2016. 120p. PLB $27.99. 978-1-5124-0003-8. $7.99 Trade pb. 978-1-5124-0091-5.
The tension between African-Americans and Somalis at Rodney’s high school erupts into a food fight that turns into a riot. In the midst of the violence, Rodney helps a Somali classmate to safety. Soon Rodney and Jawahir fall for each other. Against the pleas of their families and friends, they can’t help but follow their hearts. But in a world where hate seems to rule, can Rodney and Jawahir keep their flame of love alive?

At the Center (Bounce). Darby Creek, 2016. 104p. PLB $26.65. 978-1-5124-1122-5. $7.99 Trade pb. 978-1-5124-1206-2.
Cody’s best friend Jayson is new to the basketball team and to the nearly all-white high school. When Coach kicks Jayson off the team, a school-wide dispute falls along racial lines. Can Cody step up his game where it counts?

Jones headshotBorn in the same hometown as Michael Moore (Flint, Michigan), Patrick Jones started his writing career at age eight with an article for a NYC-based pro wrestling newsletter.  Since that time, he has published over two hundred book reviews, one hundredplus articles, fifty or so essays in reference works, nine professional books for teachers and librarians, seven young adult novels, four leveled stories, and two nonfiction books, including one about professional wrestling.   His current focus is reluctant YA readers, with twenty-four titles published since 2013, four more due in spring 2016, and five under contract for fall 2016.


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