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Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia

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High school sucks. When you’re a witch it’s even worse. Caught between a gang war, Tex just wants to repair his broken romance. And find out who’s killing gangstas.
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Rating: 5/5
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Author: Stuart R. West
Description

Book 2 in Tex, the Witch Boy Series

Genre  Young Adult Paranormal Mystery Romance

Editor  Tanja Cilia

Line Editor  Penny Ehrenkranz

Cover Designer  Charlotte Volnek

Words  98534

Pages  362

ISBN  978-1-77127-379-4

Price  $5.95


 

Back Cover

Tex McKenna’s junior year of high school is just as bad as his sophomore year. Maybe worse. Olivia’s dumped him.  He's caught up between two warring gangs and gone “undercover” with the Modern Gangstas to unmask a murderer.  All this poor Witch Boy and supernatural trouble magnet wants to do is end the school year alive.  And maybe find out who the mysterious punker girl is and how she knows all his secrets.


 

Excerpt

“Come on, Tex,” said Ian. “Just chill out.”

“Easy for you to say.” I kicked the skateboard up and sat down on the skate park curb. The park was crowded today, as the unusually warm April day brought spring-seekers out in droves. My board’s wheels continued to spin, taking on a life of their own. Kinda’ like my life. Rolling out of control as if by magic.

Magic. Did I mention I’m a witch? I know, right? I never wanted to be a witch, nor would I say it was high on my list of future vocational choices. I didn’t have any say in the matter. Through the modern miracle of genetics, I inherited my witch-hood from my mother. It’s not all bad. Last year, during my sophomore year at Clearwell High School, witchcraft helped save my friends’ lives.

Little did I know that as my junior year was coming to an end, witchcraft would once again play an important part in peoples’ lives. Or lack thereof. It was the year I loved and lost. And the year I found myself caught in the middle of a gang war.

“Oh, boy, here we go.” Ian rolled his eyes. “You’re not gonna go on about Olivia again, are you?”

Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. “No.” I stretched out my legs and picked at the torn striping of my black high-tops. The pentagram on my skateboard gleamed in the afternoon sunlight. Olivia’d painted it there. “It’s just…why would she break up with me?”

Ian snorted. “Come on, Tex, she’s a girl! Nobody understands girls…or what they’re thinking.”

“But…it’s Olivia. She’s different.” Olivia Furman is truly different. Exciting, wild, smart, resourceful, extremely self-reliant—she’s one of a kind. And she’s beautiful. She was also my first serious girlfriend.

Ian sat, plopping his skateboard between us. “Yeah, whatever. You can’t wallow around in self-pity the rest of your life, Tex.”

“I’d hardly consider two days the rest of my life, Ian.” The hammer came smashing down on me two days before, although it seems like I’ve been through an eternity of pain. And I’m beginning to sound like a teenage vampire romance novel. Not cool.

“I brought you to the skate-park to make you forget about Olivia.” I looked around to see if any of the other skaters were sneaking glances at my lovelorn and brokenhearted sad-sack state. “Now, shake it off. There’re other girls out there.”

“Yeah. But they’re not Olivia.” I felt I’d never again find a perfect girlfriend like Olivia. And, to be honest, the sheer, terrifying notion of starting to date again filled me with more fear than a locker-room full of bullies.

“Jesus, Tex!” Ian jumped to his feet and hopped on his board. “Let’s roll.”

Taking love advice from Ian Stapleton was probably not the soundest of logic. I’ve known Ian since grade school. Against the odds of fleeting teenage friendships, we’ve maintained our relationship through the years. I guess you’d call Ian a pseudo-goth. His fingernails are painted black, his hair dyed to match, and on occasion, he’d wear eyeliner. Incredibly high-strung, he insists upon being different to the point where it gets him in trouble. If Ian were to ever start a protest, he’d possibly find himself the only member in the Fight Mainstream Sensibilities Club. Nothing upset Ian more than people who follow cliques, dress in trendy clothing, and gossip over the newest hot topic or bland boy singer. It’s never come up, but I’ve wanted to point out to him he’s sorta’ following a trend himself—that of the sullen and brooding goth kid. But it’s easier to let him be. An agitated, confrontational Ian is an unpleasant Ian.

Ian took off at great speed, effortlessly rolling up and down the skate ramp walls. I threw down my board and followed him. I skated recklessly, trying to stay ahead of my despair. After about fifteen minutes, I noticed we’d attracted an audience.

Ian pulled up beside me, his face paler than usual. “Tex,” he whispered, “we’ve got to get out of here. Now.” He snuck glimpses at the two kids watching us.

“What’s wrong?”

Crap! Here they come. Do not tell them what school you’re from…or your name.”

“Yo, kid, nice moves,” said the taller boy. He wore a long red bandanna tied around his head. His tripp pants, fully decked out with chains, jangled as he walked. Red-dyed shoelaces held his battered sneakers together.

“Um…thanks.” Ian seemed edgy as he rocked back and forth on his heels.

“Where you go to school?” The tall kid squinted his blue eyes.

“Ah…Red Valley.” Ian nodded in agreement.

“Cool…cool…” He broke into a wide grin. “What’s your name?”

“Bob…Bellman.” An unexpected breeze crawled down the back of my neck, raising goose bumps. Bob Bellman was the first name that popped into my mind. He was the terrifying school bully who was murdered last year and still never far from my thoughts.

            “I’m B-Rryce.” He held his fist out to be bumped. “This here’s Coo-Coo.” Coo-Coo stepped forward and swung his hand up. I held my fist out for another bump. Coo-Coo ignored me, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a cigarette. He was much shorter than B-Ryce, and his teeth were crooked as a road map. The red ball cap he wore over his greasy blond hair was absurdly turned sideways. He lit the cigarette and blew a cloud of smoke into my face.

I coughed and said, “Are you coo-coo for smoko-puffs?” Ian nudged me. Coo-Coo stepped closer and narrowed his eyes, the cigarette dangerously close to my face.

“Yo, you crackin’ wise on me, bitch?” He reached out to grab my collar, but since I wore a tight T-shirt, his fingers fumbled down the front of my chest.

“Um, no, I’m not crackin’ wise.” Ian inhaled loudly while the two boys stared at me in silence. Suddenly, B-Ryce laughed.


 

 

About the Author

After working as a graphic and production artist for the last 23 years, the company for which I labored shuttered its doors in July of 2010, finally allowing me the time and mental energy to tackle something that I'm passionate about.   

“Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia” is the second novel in a trilogy detailing the adventures of my teenage witch, following the initial book, “Tex, The Witch Boy.” The trilogy is meant as entertainment but also deals with current social issues teens face. “Tex And The God Squad,” the third book, will soon follow.

I'm married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates that I now prepare dinner for her) and have a 20 year old daughter, who hasn’t yet decided what to do with her life. But that’s okay…it took me 25 years or longer.

EMAIL     BLOG     FACEBOOK

Reviews

Wednesday, 20 November 2013
When I read Tex the Witch Boy, I did so a little reluctantly because I thought it'd be just another ho hum teen novel. Boy was I surprised to discover I couldn't put it down. It was well written,suspenseful, and a great story about real bullying. So I had to go on to number two of the series. But I figured there was no way Stuart West could possibly follow up the original Tex novel with the same intensity. Well, quite honestly, he didn't quite make it, but instead he wrote one of the most hilarious, roll over laughing books I've read in a long time. It's funny like Diary of a Wimpy kid funny, but with a real message behind it. The reveal was heartbreaking, teaching a lesson I hope no teen has to learn. At any rate, I'm so looking forward to the third of the series!
Suzanne Demontigny
Monday, 02 September 2013

Author Stuart R. West c McKenna in his latest YA fantasy novel TEX AND THE GANGS OF SUBURBIA. Tex, now a junior at Clearwell High School, just wants to survive the year. Like any “normal” teenage boy, he often acts before he thinks and the consequences at times can be fatal. If only he’d learn to keep his mouth shut. Instead of the peaceful year he had hoped for, he struggles to get his girlfriend Olivia, who broke up with him, back. He’s caught in the middle between two rival gang’s warfare. Elspeth, a hot new girl that isn’t exactly who she seems to be, comes into his life. And if that’s not enough to cope with, a dead boy’s spirit returns and he’s after Tex. Oh, and don’t forget another body that turns up and the suspicious cop that suspects Tex is involved in the whole mess. Now, why would he believe such a thing? In all this bedlam, Tex’s protectors try to help him out, not very successfully, I’m afraid. And I have to admit, I think they’re my favorite characters. Yes, the cats.

Will Olivia and Tex get back together? Will Elspeth take Olivia’s place? Can Tex convince the gangs to settle their differences without further killings? Can Tex send the spirit back where it belongs, or will Tex be sucked into the hole with the spirit? Wow! Never a dull moment in TEX AND THE GANGS OF SUBURBIA. If you like a fast paced adventure with good guys, bad guys and those in between, then this is the book for you. In spite of Tex’s impulsive nature and constant mistakes, he’s a character that I keep cheering on. He’s good at heart and a son any father and mother could be proud of. This would make a good addition to school classrooms and libraries to show the downside of gangs and perhaps influence young people to stay clear of trouble. That said, I’m wondering what trouble Tex will find in the next book in the series.
Happy Reading.
Beverly Stowe McClure
Saturday, 31 August 2013
A lot of Stuart West's life stuff makes it into TEX AND THE GANGS OF SUBURBIA, and let me be perfectly honest...I grew up a bit north of Philadelphia, and I really didn't think gangs...dangerous ones, really existed in places like Kansas. I figured Kansas was pure rolling hills, country, and calm, cool, and collected. I was wrong.

This book picks up where Book One...TEX, THE WITCH BOY,....ended, only a year later. Tex is still trying to figure out what it means to be an unwitting , but predestined witch while also dealing with the normal angst issues that go with puberty and not being one of the in crowd.

Murder, portals, magic, bullying...how much should one teen boy have to deal with? Throw into that a VP determined to prove he's done something ANYTHING the VP can nail his hide to detention hall for, oh and his girlfriend has just broken up with him and he wants her back really bad. Poor Tex is really struggling to keep his magical head above water, so to speak. Add in Tex's growing number of misfit friends, including one his ex-girlfriend is flirting with entirely too much...oh and a cop who knows somehow Tex is like a magnet for bad things so is haunting his footsteps too...At least he has his car, Bucket .

Tex and his misfits are far from perfect and yet each and every one of them is a person we find ourselves cheering on as the trouble with gangs in Suburbia escalates all around them.

Tex is not wise beyond measure. He's facing many issues we all faced...being the odd kid out...the one the others tormented...teased...picked on...terrified, but he's also facing things like seeing the crawling flesh of the bully who died last year popping up in the creepiest of places and at the most inopportune moments. Hmmm...come to think on it, IS there ever an OPPORTUNE moment for such a visit?

Mr. West, you've tackled difficult subjects in these last two books, so I have to wonder, what do you have in store for us in book three TEX AND THE GOD SQUAD?
Lin Holmes
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