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Indie Picks, Summer 2017

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Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit
By (author): Jessica Raya
9780771073205 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Coming of Age Jun 06, 2017
$24.95 CAD
Active 5.7 x 8.2 x 1 in 384 pages McClelland & Stewart
In the tradition of Miriam Toews’s A Complicated Kindness, Mona Awad’s 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, and Joanne Proulx’s Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet, and set against the shadow of the Vietnam War and the changing social mores of 1970s America, this sharply comic novel follows the tumultuous coming of age of both a mother and daughter, at a time when America itself was coming of age. Meet the Gilmore Girls of the 1970s.

We’re all just one bad decision away from disaster. For as long as 14-year-old Robin Fisher can remember, she has lived by her insurance salesman father’s credo, happy to live the American Dream and catalogue everyday calamities under “Bad Things that Happen to Other People.” But life in 1970s Golden, California, doesn’t prove so golden after her father deserts the family, setting in motion a series of events that results in Robin accidentally setting fire to an abandoned party house. Seemingly overnight, she discovers that earthquakes or the possibility of electrocution are nothing compared to the hazards of high school or coming home to a family that is suddenly one member short. As Robin struggles to keep an eye on her fixation with Bic lighters and her newly independent mother’s own growing pains, she is drawn into the orbit of Carol “Jesus Freak” Closter, a vulnerable yet charismatic classmate whose friendship will challenge Robin in ways she could never have imagined. When Carol finally crosses a dangerous line, it’s Robin who must make a heartbreaking decision of her own.

Hilarious, insightful, and deeply moving, Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit illuminates those unforgettable moments in life when everything changes, whether we want it to or not.

Story Locale: California


STRONG YA CROSSOVER POTENTIAL: This story is a natural for readers of voice-driven YA fiction.

TIMELY LOOK AT THE PERENNIAL DEBATE OVER WOMEN’S CHOICES: Book vividly captures an important moment in history, when girls and women were beginning to realize they had choices—over their lives and their bodies—as well as confronting the difficult decisions that come with those choices.

UNIVERSAL COMING-OF-AGE STORY: Novel speaks to the experience of growing up, no matter how old you are.

JESSICA RAYA’s first novel, The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club (2007), was published in four languages under a pseudonym and selected as a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Book. Her early short stories appeared in Room and Zygote. Born in Montreal to American parents, and raised in Vancouver, she currently lives in San Francisco.

Author Residence: San Francisco, CA

Author Hometown: Victoria, BC

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Publicity: Author Tour

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Praise for Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit:

“A delightful, engaging and…inventive work of fiction…. Insightful and entertaining…a surprising pleasure to read.” —Winnipeg Free Press

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