Auto Racing–themed YA Novel Now Available as E-book

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Find The Outside Groove on Facebook: “The Outside Groove”


Auto Racing–themed YA Novel Now Available as E-book

BURLINGTON, VERMONT — Author Erik Esckilsen is pleased to announce the recent release of The Outside Groove (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) in e-book form. With auto racing as its subject, The Outside Groove makes a solid summer reading recommendation for young readers interested in one of the nation’s most popular sports. Since its hardcover publication, the novel has found a diverse readership, with strong appeal among young-adult and middle-grade female readers. Here’s why:

The novel’s narrator and protagonist, 17-year-old Casey LaPlante, is a headstrong young woman who decides to take up auto racing to compete against her older brother — their small town’s next great hope of big-time racing glory — and to show her community that she won’t live in his shadow.

“One of the more potent themes in YA literature is the challenge of staying true to one’s values and aspirations against conflicting forces in one’s surrounding community,” Esckilsen says. “Casey LaPlante starts out racing cars to become visible in a world that won’t acknowledge her. Winning would give her the authority, she thinks, to tell her racing-obsessed family and neighbors that their worldview is limited and foolish. What she doesn’t count on is getting hooked on racing, uncovering the deeper meaning of the sport to her family and neighbors, and understanding herself in relation to her hometown in ways that surprise and change her.”

Ed Sullivan of Booklist wrote, “Strong descriptions of racing action and the well-integrated story of Casey’s own internal conflicts make for both an entertaining and interesting read that helps fill the void of good sports fiction with girl protagonists.” Read more reviews and press here. The Outside Groove is a story about the empowerment that comes from head-to-head competition in an arena where one is underestimated and unwelcome. Casey’s decisions — and the actions they set in motion — are transformative.

New multimedia content offers a glimpse into The Story Beyond the Story, including an audio essay written and narrated by the author, “Circular Logic,” on the inspiration for the novel.

Erik E. Esckilsen is the author of The Outside Groove and two other YA novels, Offsides and The Last Mall Rat, both published by Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine Books. His articles and essays on the arts and culture have appeared in such publications as the Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Seven Days newspaper, and other publications. He has been a contributor to the Cowbird storytelling community since February 2012. He is an associate professor at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, where he specializes in courses on digital storytelling, rhetoric, and the intersection of global cinema and international politics.


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