I believe it.
Not only is Shotgun Gravy YA noir, and also action-packed and exciting, but it’s an amazing look at a) being different, b) being gay, c) dealing with shit in life, especially in high school, d) bullying, e) racism, f) homophobia, and g) kicking ass.
I’ve never written a review on Amazon before. I put one up for Shotgun Gravy. It is as follows.
I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure I believed him when Chuck Wendig said Shotgun Gravy was YA noir. But by golly, he pulled it off. Not only that, but he pulled it off extremely well.
Shotgun Gravy is about takes-no-bullshit Atlanta Burns (what a name) who, dealing with her own problems and psychological issues, takes it upon herself to help out some others who are being not just bullied but abused, and finds herself face to switchblade with a group of neo-Nazi scum.
But it’s not just the story of a kickass teenage girl kicking ass with a shotgun — though it’s that, too. Shotgun Gravy is an extremely poignant look at bullying, racism, and homophobia; like most good YA, it’s an examination of what it feels like to be a teenager. And it’s full of fantastic characters I want to be real, and line after line of hilarious or brilliant writing that really hits at the core of things.
“What it’s really like [to be gay] is, moments of unbridled delight punctuated by long stretches of misery, uncertainty, and oppression.”
She shrugs. “Same as any teenager, then.”
“Say that if you want. And maybe it is. Maybe we all have our own bullshit to deal with. But I can tell you that it sure ain’t easy, sister.”
I wanted to take a big green marker to the book and write “Yes. This.” beside lines on every page. But that would have ruined my iPad.
Chuck Wendig is brilliant and funny and poignant. Atlanta Burns cuts to the core even as it is pure noir action entertainment. I can’t wait for #2.
And that doesn’t even cover all of my feelings for this novella. The characters he paints with words are so… real. The gay character, Chris Coyne, isn’t just some token gay. He’s witty and geeky and someone I want to know. (Well, really, someone I want to date.) And there is this span of about five pages, from which the above quote somes, when you’re getting to know Chris, where I actually kind of teared up a little because it was just so spot on. It was so perfect.
And it seems appropriate that I’m talking about this novella today, because today is also Spirit Day, a day to wear purple to show support in the fight to end bullying, inspired by the many teens who have committed suicide as a result of bullying, especially with regard to being LGBT.
In fact — hold on a sec — let me just — and — yes. There we go.
The wit, the characters, the grit and darkness, the action, the truthful look at bullying, the prose, the structure, the geeky references (Firefly AND Dungeons & Dragons — win), and every other piece of the story. Chuck, you have earned a shitload of respect for this.
Go buy it from him. Now. Read it tonight.