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The Living

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LivingPay for three six-day cruises, plus tips. Holy cow, seventeen-year-old Shy Espinoza is going to rake in the dough—and all he has to do is hand out water bottles and towels to the rich people on the luxury Paradise cruises. Best job ever.

He’ll make enough to help out his mom, get medicine for his nephew who is battling the deadly pandemic Romero’s Disease, and even have a little left to get a new pair of kicks. It couldn’t get any better than this! Then on day six of the first voyage, a dude stumbles out on deck, hands Shy a hundred buck tip for a bottle of water, mumbles about corruption and cowardice, and climbs over the rail. Shy lunges for the guy’s arm and hangs on for dear life, but the expensive tux tears and the man plunges into the inky ocean’s waters.

Shy is haunted by the man’s final scream. Talk about nightmares. Six days later on the second voyage bound to Hawaii, one passenger is way too curious about the dead man’s last conversation. The comb-over guy was a pharmaceutical CEO big wig, and before he died he said something about stopping Romero’s Disease from wiping out the population of the west coast. What is that all about?

But before Shy can puzzle out an answer to his questions, a mega quake hits California, causing multiple tsunamis. In the frightening moments of chaos and horror, the cruise ship capsizes, and all Shy can do it try to survive and help anyone near enough to grab.

When the mayhem settles, Shy is in a waterlogged life raft, floating in shark infested waters under a blistering sun in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. His survival companion, Addie, is a racist spoiled rich chick who is way out of his league. Shy is discovering that this summer job certainly isn’t going as he planned!

teachingbooks-logoabout the author

Matt de la PenaBorn in a surf town in southern California to a “have-not” family, Matt de la Pena is half Mexican and half white. Held back in second grade because he couldn’t read, Matt thought he was stupid. By high school, this basketball-loving, guitar-strumming jock was writing poetry and had finally finished reading his first whole book. It was a secret, something he never shared with anyone.

A full basketball scholarship got him through the University of the Pacific. But when Matt’s professors saw that he was heading toward the NBA, they secretly applied for his enrollment into graduate school. He earned a master’s degree in creative writing from San Diego State University.

One day Matt pulled up to a stop light, surrounded by expensive cars. There was this Latino kid sitting at a bus stop, hood up, headphones on. Nobody gave him a look—he just wasn’t interesting to the people in the cars. Matt wanted to make him interesting— for at least 300 pages—and that inspired him to write his first book. He sent the book to five publishers and four wanted it!

The Living started from a failure, a novel that never went anywhere. But Matt loved the machismo character Shy so much, he had to write a book around him. Look for the book’s sequel, The Hunted due to be released in the May of 2015.

Matt now teaches classes in New York City. He writes in a coffee shop or while staring at the white walls of his apartment. It’s a solitary life but occasionally he gets out and shoots some hoops!

Sources:
Author website
Author page : Random House
Author interview : NPR Books

Also by Matt de la Pena:
The Hunted. Delacorte. May 2015.
I Will Save You. Delacorte. 2010.
We Were Here. Delacorte. 2009.
Mexican Whiteboy. Delacorte. 2008.
Ball Don’t Lie. Delacorte. 2005.

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