Spotlight Post: Bang by Barry Lyga

Today I’m spotlighting Bang by Barry Lyga! Read on for more information about Bang as well as an excerpt from the book!

Book Cover of Bang by Barry Lyga


Bang by Barry Lyga

Publishing April 18th 2017 by Little, Brown BFYR

Genre: YA Contemporary

A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one–not even Sebastian himself–can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend–Aneesa–to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Unflinching and honest, Bang is as true and as relevant as tomorrow’s headlines, the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed.

Praise for Bang

”Heartbreaking and brutally compelling.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

”[A] raw exploration of persistent social stigmas, a beautiful study of forgiveness, and an unflinching portrait of a parent’s worst nightmare.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

”Lyga tackles a number of relevant issues in this heartbreaking novel, including gun control, suicide, and religious and racial prejudice. The pain and anguish Sebastian feels every day are raw and chafing, and the chemistry between Sebastian and Aneesa is tender and realistic.” –School Library Journal, starred review

”Lyga manages his intensely emotional material well, creating in Sebastian a highly empathetic character….” –Booklist

Preorder Bang!

Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ
Books of Wonder, NYC
Addendum Books, St Paul
Blue Willow, Houston
BookPeople, Austin
Little Shop of Stories, Decatur

Check out the excerpt…

If I hadn’t come to the party, there would be no reason for the topic of me to come up, but with my presence, how can it not? How can someone here not mention the past to Mr. Fahim?

My gut contracts with fear and guilt. I feel like I’ve been getting to know Aneesa under false pretenses. Getting to know all of them. Like Mr. Fahim would never have told me to call him Joe if he knew what I’d done. He came here and he opened their house to me and he was nice to me and I smiled and shook his hands and lied.

The chicken has changed not at all, but my appetite for it plummets. I look around for the trash can, wondering if I can surreptitiously dump the chicken and slip away before anyone realizes I’m even here.

As I sidle into the shadow cast by the house, I notice Mr. Fahim double-checking something with a tall blond woman near the sodas. This has got to be Aneesa’s mom, and there’s a part of me that’s surprised to see she’s not in hijab. And then I wonder why I’m surprised and I wonder why I wonder so many things. Which is probably a sign that I should get away from decent people and go home.

The trash can is under the deck, on the other side of the house. I make my way there and see Aneesa, coming down the stairs, wearing a flowing skirt with a loose white shirt and a head scarf in patterned red, white, and blue. It’s not quite an American flag, but it’s festive, and it makes her face seem to glow.

“Chicken no good?” she asks, noticing me about to dump it into the trash.

“No, no, it’s great.” I make a show of eating some. “It’s great.” Fortunately, I don’t have to lie because it really is great. It’s my gut that isn’t completely on the level right now.

She quirks her lips into a wry smile, but says nothing about my aborted chicken disposal. “Did you just get here?”

“Couple minutes ago.”

“Where’s your mom?” She peers around.

“Oh. I, uh, I didn’t know she was invited.”

“Of course she was invited!”

I deflect and shrug. “I don’t think I can stay very long.”

“I get it. Stay as long as you can.”

And the next thing I know, the sun is low along the horizon, its light stretched deep pink like pulled tufts of cotton candy. The coals on the grill glow like spots of lava on obsidian. Aneesa has located a couple of sets of clean skewers and scrounged a bag of marshmallows, which we’ve speared and now drape into the heat still wafting up from the grill.

I should have left. I couldn’t. Let’s add one more row in Sebastian’s ledger of guilt and shame.

Mr. and Mrs. Fahim (she wants me to call her Sara, and I manage to do so out loud, but not in my head) have bundled up the trash into large garbage bags, then gathered the paper tablecloth into its own sack and stuffed it into the big plastic toter. I should have helped. I’m useless. “Neesa, we’re headed to the fireworks,” her dad says. “Sebastian, can we give you a lift?”

Before I can speak, Aneesa says, “We’re just gonna stick around here, Dad.”

Mr. Fahim nods slowly. “Don’t go inside until the grill’s out.”

“I won’t.”

Mrs. Fahim comes to her, favoring me with a small but sincere smile. She kisses her daughter on the forehead, whispers something just below my hearing, and then Aneesa’s parents are gone, leaving us alone with the marshmallows and the grill and the quiet and each other.

“Here’s a secret,” I tell her, before the quiet becomes too loud. “You don’t have to go to the school parking lot and fight traffic to see the fireworks. Most of the good ones will come up right over the tree line.” I point. “Mom and I usually sit on our back porch and watch them.”

“Speaking of your mom . . . I thought you weren’t able to stay very long.”

I hope the darkening night conceals a blush. “Well, if I left now, I’d miss the marshmallows.”

She groans with regret. “I. Am. So. Stuffed. I can’t believe I’m contemplating this.” She waggles her skewer.

“Everything was great.”

“My dad’s awesome on the grill. Both of my parents are good cooks.”

“I can cook.” I don’t know why I just told her that.


“Well, pretty much just pizza.”

She laughs. “Does your recipe involve a lot of—” She mimes tapping on a phone screen.

“No, no. I mean it. I make really good pizza.” Why am I arguing with her about this?

“You’ll have to prove it to me.”


“Make a pizza for me sometime.” One of the two marshmallows on my skewer is golden brown. I pluck it off and pop it in my mouth just long enough to suck off the outer carbonized shell, its burnt sweetness hot and strong on my tongue. The gooey center I respear with the skewer and put back over the heat.

She laughs. “How many times are you going to do that?”

“As many as it takes.”

“We have a whole bag of marshmallows. You don’t have to make them last.”

It hits me: The first time I saw that toasted marshmallow trick was from my father. I shut down the memory immediately, force myself back to the present.

Excerpted from BANG © Copyright 2017 by Barry Lyga. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Author Photo of Barry LygaCalled a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published seventeen novels in various genres in his eleven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in more than a dozen different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. Publishers Weekly named Lyga a “Flying Start” in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.

His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJPublishers Weekly, and KirkusVOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA “proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”

Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).

His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times “one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author” and an “extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture.” The first book landed on both the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers lists.

Lyga lives and podcasts near New York City with his wife, Morgan Baden, and their nigh-omnipotent daughter. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.

Find Barry online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Read more excerpts from BANG and find out more about Barry Lyga on the blog tour!

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