Release Date: May 15th, 2018
A great depression has gripped the city of St. Louis in 1934. Stanley, an orphaned newsy, lives in a poor part of town hit especially hard by the economic downturn. One night, Stanley runs into Hazel, a restless debutante in waiting who has begun to question her posh lifestyle in the midst of the suffering she sees. She’s out and about without an escort and against her father’s wishes.
When they discover the body of a girl with her head bashed in by a baseball bat, the very different and separate realities of the two teens inform their decision. Together they will figure out what happened to her and bring those responsible to justice.
But getting involved with each other and digging into the secrets behind this murder earns them some powerful enemies, including a secret group seeking to rid society of all they deem “undesirable.” They’ve put into motion “The Winnowing,” a plan seeking to take over the city and enforce their will.
As Stanley and Hazel’s forbidden feelings for one another grow, their investigation turns deadly. Now, it is up to Stanley and his gang of street kids to stop Hazel from becoming the next victim.
Great Depression through the eyes of teens
Young people during the Great Depression suffered along with their parents. In many cases, the burden of earning a wage was equally placed on children. Teens held jobs and worked alongside adults. To avoid becoming a burden to their parents, many left home to "ride the rails." At the height of the Depression, 250,000 teenagers roamed America by freight train. Many sought employment, adventure and an escape from the shame of poverty.
A 1932 study found that 20.5 percent of youth suffered from malnutrition, especially in rural areas. Dietary diseases and death from malnourishment were on the rise because families could not afford fresh produce, meat and dairy.
During the Great Depression, many communities had to close their schools down because of lack of money to keep them running. The typical high school experience was not available to everyone. Some young Americans were fortunate to be in schools where the teachers continued educating regardless of the pay.
Not everything was gloom and doom, however. In this time of struggle, there was also a strong popular culture of jazz, dance, slang and entertainment. Literature, arts, music, and cinema of the period became vehicles to establish and promote American traditions and values.
Board games like Monopoly emerged, giving the average American the chance to collect wealth and imagine what it was like to be a swell. Many new snack foods, candies, cheeseburgers, soft serve ice cream, canned beer and chocolate chip cookies were created in the 1930s.
Dating was not a priority because of the lack of money. Most young men did not have enough money, time or the wheels to take a girl. Many nights were spent by the radio to catch a variety of shows or a baseball game. Radio made music available to most people. Teenagers in the 1930s loved to dance. Going to small diners with “the gang” was a typical night out on the town.
Teens during the Great Depression had to grow up fast and deal with some tough things, but they still had all of the social needs and desires of teens in any era. They found ways to make time for fun they could afford and grew up to be what is known as The Greatest Generation in American History. They faced World War II and led America into a time of prosperity and progress.
About the author:
Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker, writer at Patheos.com, works in film production and is a Taekwondo black belt.
She's a founding member of Writers Cubed and co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the largest conferences in the nation for youth ages 13-19. She and a crew of local and international bestselling authors present writing workshops to hundreds of attendees at the Utah-based conference as well as hundreds of others worldwide who view the conference online.
Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. Her brain is always spinning new ideas for books and sometimes she even gets around to blogging.
Jo is a mom of 3 strapping sons living in the beautiful mountains of Utah with a neurotic cat named Hero.