BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Demon Copperhead by Barbara KingsolverThis one won a Pulitzer, and man oh man do I get why. I loved this book. Demon Copperhead is a boy who was basically doomed since he was born. His mom was a recovering drug addict who makes bad decisions, and he was basically raised by the family next door—the landlords. When he’s around 10 his mom dies of an overdose, and he leaves his abusive step father to try to figure things out on his own. The foster system is a shit show and he goes into one bad placement after another. He knows his paternal grandmother’s name and manages to get to her in the next state. She manages to figure out a good situation for him. Things are looking up for him, he is placed with the high school football coach and the coach teaches him to play football. And he’s a star. Until he gets massively injured. Then he’s not a star and gets hooked on Oxy. This whole story takes place in an impoverished county in Western Virginia, the hotbed for the opioid crisis. So the whole opioid crisis is happening and Kingsolver shows us how it happened. She show us how people got hooked so easily and how Oxy tore the world apart. This was well researched and basically an expose into how the opioid crisis happened while we’re all rooting for this boy to get the life he deserves. A fantastic book.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng I read this one for book club, and I don’t think I’ll even go to the book club discussion because I am traveling right now. I loved this one as well. Bird is 12 years old, he’s half Asian in an America where Asians are the enemy. There are strict laws in place about not being too friendly to Chinese Americans and children get taken from their homes and placed with other families for very tiny infractions. Bird’s mom, a famous poet, left him and his father. She was in danger. She wrote a poem called Our Missing Hearts and while she didn’t mean for it to happen, this poem became the anthem for revolution in this world where Asian Americans are drastically discriminated against. Like, if you agree with the Asian Americans you will get your children taken away and nobody will ever tell you where they went. So, Margaret, Bird’s Mom, collects the stories of these families whose children were taken away and then she has to figure out what to do with this information. An absolutely fascinating read.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark OK, I was obsessed with this one. Kat Roberts is a journalist tracking this woman named Meg Williams so is a con artist. So the story is partly told by Kat and partly by Meg. From Meg’s point of view you get to see how a con artist becomes a con artist and why she does this. From Kat’s point of view you see someone who is trying to get close to the con artist to get the story without getting burned. A super fascinating story.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.