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  • 420 pages
  • 5.0 x 8.0 inches

Growing up, Teenagers, First job, First crush, Emotional growth, Responsibilities, Basketball

Redemption Summer
by Payne Schanski

School is out for the summer, and with a life-changing ghost hunt and yearlong punishment behind him, fifteen-year-old JB is finally looking forward to the future. With a renewed sense of idealism, he jumps out of bed one morning, envisioning months filled with basketball games, adventures, meeting girls, and reconciling with an old friend. However, before he can even make it out the front door, life once again deals him a bad hand. A family crisis has arisen, and so JB must get a job as soon as possible in order to help support the household. His youthful dreams quickly wither and die, replaced instead with the inevitable and inconvenient realities of growing up.

Off to a rocky start, he begins a marathon job hunt, filled with absurdities and challenges. Whether looking for work at upscale golf courses and boathouses, steamy restaurant kitchens with sludgy dumpsters, or even at a secluded frog-filled cottage, it seems JB’s mistakes have not been forgiven by the town as a whole just yet. When he finally lands the job that will last him the summer, he soon finds himself on a tightrope across the chasm of the unknown, balancing expectations and reality, success and failure, disillusionment and love. He works hard to impress his boss, coworkers, his crush, and himself, but only through trial and error does he stand a chance of understanding and accepting life as it is. By loosening the reins on his youthful fantasies, JB has the potential to discover new avenues in his life, leading him towards new connections, love, hopes, dreams, and the pain that comes with all of them.

Payne Schanski is an American author who has worked as an educator, coach, and mentor for middle school and high school students over the past decade. Working closely with these students has meant revisiting the fears, insecurities, and mistakes that make adolescence the turbulent learning experience that it is. These observations, as well as the author’s own experiences growing up in Northern Michigan—a quiet, wooded region shrouded with mystery and local lore—inspired him to write The Ghost of Five Mile Creek, his first publication.

After eight years living in Boston, Schanski recently moved back to Northern Michigan with Cathy AuGuste Schanski, his wife, first reader, collaborator, and unending source of inspiration. After thousands of hours of free time on the East Coast devoted to writing about Michigan, eventually moving back was (in Payne’s words) “just a matter of time.”

Redemption Summer is the final book of a three-part series, along with The Ghost of Five Mile Creek and the soon-to-be released Blue Houses on the Peninsula. Together, the books follow JB’s road towards identity formation and maturity, a path with as many sharp twists as the famous Tunnel of Trees.

The author hopes that young adults everywhere—but especially those he had the joy of working with at Tenacity and the Curley K-8 school in Boston will connect with, benefit from, and enjoy reading these books.


Payne Schanski
Kurt Hershey

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