Happy Release Day to
Strange Country Day by Charles Curtis!!
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Happy Book Birthday, Charles!
Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.
Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.
As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.
(There’s something weird about Sophi, the girl who Alex has a crush on. During their first date that includes a train trip into the nearest city, they find themselves in the middle of the equivalent of New York City’s Times Square)
“You’re like all the tourists. You can’t stop looking at all the pretty lights,” she said as we weaved our way through the foot traffic.
“You have to admit, this is incredible for someone who hasn’t been here before.”
“I guess.” We stopped at a corner and waited for a green light.
Sophi looked down the block at the scene, the endless colored lights dancing on her face. She stared up at one of the signs, which featured a massive cup of soup with actual steam rising out of it.
“I can sort of see it. Just imagine how much energy it takes to keep everything running,” she said as she put her hand against the streetlamp.
The light above her immediately went out, as did the stoplight connected to it. I opened my mouth to wonder aloud what had happened, but nothing came out as we watched as the signs ahead of us began shutting down one by one. One second a screen was filled with a skinny woman drinking a soda. The next second, gone. The steaming soup was no longer illuminated, and the blinking lights around an advertisement for a new musical stopped.
I felt someone reach out to grab my arm.
As I yelped from the shock, everything came on again all at once, temporarily blinding me and the rest of the mob around us. There was a buzz of concern as everyone wondered what had happened.
“Probably a temporary blackout. I‘ve seen it happen,” Sophi said immediately before I could ask. I looked at her quizzically as people started walking around us.
Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.
In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.
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