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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 09/2021
  • 978-1-7347389-5-7
  • 286 pages
  • $15.95
Louis Flint Ceci
Author, Translator, Editor (anthology)
Jacob's Ladder

Last year, Mally Jacobs was the weird kid in school, but that was before he spent a summer in New York, witnessed the Stonewall Riots, and kissed his first boyfriend. Now he's back in Oklahoma, calling himself "Jake," and using his new-found basketball skills to impress his friends and earn a name for himself. But the small town of Croy is a far cry from the freedom and daring he tasted in New York. Can he find a place for himself while holding on to a secret?

Reviews
The third novel in Ceci’s Croy Cycle sees outsider teen Mally Jacobs return to his small hometown after experiencing life and love in the turbulent Big Apple of the late 1960s. After finding his first boyfriend and witnessing the Stonewall riots firsthand, Mally has changed—he’s even adopted a new moniker, calling himself “Jake.” But how can readjust to small-town life when Croy, Oklahoma, is just as conservative as it always has been? As he holds onto the secret of his sexuality, Jake will find what it means to be himself, even in less-than-forgiving Croy.

At its core, Jacob’s Ladder is an elegant meditation on the power of friendship, even in the most uncertain times. The story is strong enough to be presented as a standalone novel; even new readers will be drawn in this late in the series, and they’ll find ample reasons to seek out Ceci’s earlier books. Jake, his boyfriend Vince, and the various inhabitants of Croy are colorful, engaging, and complex. Jake’s struggle to come to terms with the close-mindedness of his schoolmates and his desire to help another long-suffering classmate, Beau, are touching. Charming line illustrations by Jennifer Rain Crosby give extra life to the story and a face to the characters.

Ceci’s atmospheric prose captures the ethos of the era as church and school clash, the war rages on, and the Beatles give way toThe Brady Bunch. Ceci’s skillful, empathetic examination of sexuality, youth culture, and religion is not just welcome but necessary, in any time of upheaval. Young readers who may be coming to grips with their own sexuality will be drawn to the openness and honesty of this depiction and the likeability of the cast. Ceci’s honest, realistic depiction of teenage life in the 1960s and 1970s will resonate with young and older audiences alike.

Takeaway: A moving novel of going home and coming of age while gay as the 1960s end.

Great for fans of: Jim Grimsley’s Dream Boy, Fenton Johnson’s Scissors, Paper, Rock.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

David Pratt, author of Wallaçonia

“Ceci follows his warm and involving novel, Comfort Me, with yet more adventures of these very real, lovable and compelling young people. Equally touching are the grown-ups who are trying to hold their kids' fragile world together. You won't want the story to end.”

John Whittier Treat, author of The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House

“A delightful story of adolescence in a rural America about to change forever.”

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 09/2021
  • 978-1-7347389-5-7
  • 286 pages
  • $15.95

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