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Our Bodies Electric

Our Bodies Electric

By Zackary VernonPublisher: Regal HouseISBN: 978-1646034574Genre: YA, Literary Fiction, Southern FictionPrice: $18.95
Available from: Regal House

Tormented by his religious family and the broader conservative community of Pawleys Island, South Carolina, fourteen-year-old Josh struggles with the pressure to conform to their puritanical standards. As he embarks upon his high school years, Josh meets a supportive cast of eccentric small-town characters, falls in love with his classmate, becomes obsessed with David Bowie, and fumbles in his attempts to make his own thongs. But it’s when his elderly neighbor gives him a copy of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” that he begins to understand his own sexuality. Our Bodies Electric is a coming-of-age story that celebrates the exuberance of youth, the individual quest for sexual identity, and the joy of finding connections in the most unexpected of places.


Zackary Vernon is a writer and scholar based in Boone, North Carolina. His work has appeared in a range of magazines and journals, including The Bitter Southerner, Carolina Quarterly, and Southern Cultures, and he has received both the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize the Randall Kenan Prize from the North Carolina Literary Review. He is the author of the YA novel Our Bodies Electric.

Reviews

In this spirited coming-of-age novel, Zack Vernon vividly renders Josh and his fellow middle-school misfits as they seek understanding and acceptance in a world that wishes only to trap them into a stifling conformity. Our Bodies Electric is poignant and comic, and Vernon’s linking Walt Whitman’s celebration of individuality to the characters adds to the novel’s pleasures.

Ron Rash, author of The Caretaker, Serena, and In the Valley

Take one strong-willed and curious kid and set him spinning through a tumultuous adolescence in small-town South Carolina. Mix in sea turtles, Walt Whitman, surly waitresses, a snake charmer, and more than a few scorching summer days, et voila! You’ve got the unforgettable, enjoyable, and heartfelt Our Bodies Electric. The specificity of Josh and his friends—and their hijinks—on Pawleys Island are a lot of fun, but it’s also a special treat to see Vernon speak about one young person’s journey and recognize something universal: the challenges and hard-fought rewards of figuring out who you want to be in the world.

Emily Nemens, author of The Cactus League

I haven’t heard music so sweet and heartfelt since I first read Lewis Nordan. Imagine a novel that sings like a love-drunk cross between The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Breakfast Club. Now imagine it set in the sweltering heat of lowcountry South Carolina. Now imagine it told in the spirit of Walt Whitman. Now imagine that book in your hands.

Mark Powell, author of Hurricane Season and The Late Rebellion