In the early 1990s, Kelly Hayes, a friendly fifteen-year-old, moves from New York City to Connecticut with his recently divorced mother in search of a finding a simpler and safer life in the lovely town of Riverview. But when the school year begins, students, teachers, and even the principal consider him an outsider and a troublemaker. Bullied and beaten by the Jocks and the Preps, Kelly finds ...
In the early 1990s, Kelly Hayes, a friendly fifteen-year-old, moves from New York City to Connecticut with his recently divorced mother in search of a finding a simpler and safer life in the lovely town of Riverview. But when the school year begins, students, teachers, and even the principal consider him an outsider and a troublemaker. Bullied and beaten by the Jocks and the Preps, Kelly finds friendship with the other outcasts in the school but gets caught up in a world far more complex and dangerous than his urban upbringing had prepared him for.
From the dilapidated confines of State Hospital, Kelly relates to his psychiatrist the raucous and riotous events of the last year that changed him from a typical high school kid to a rebellious youth, a problem who the school and the community helped to create.
Readers are taken for a wild ride from school to sleazy night clubs to mob brawls in a true to life teen drama with candid vignettes into the real world of adolescence that most adults have not been privy to until now. Each of the novel’s chapters deals with a social issue as pertinent today as it was twenty years ago. Kelly is seamlessly drawn into a world of bullying, drugs, gang fights, vandalism, promiscuity, police profiling, date rape, stealing, academic failure, and ultimately mental illness that lands him behind locked doors at State Hospital.
Though some of the Leech Mob characters are likable while some are not, each one is uniquely developed with depth and clarity. Once idealizing the secret and concealed world of unacceptable behaviors that rebellious teens embrace, the Leech Mob finally discovers that their gang is not worth the tragedy that it has perpetuated.
Hard-hitting yet humorous and insightful, this book is a must-read for teens as well as for parents and teachers, who want answers to the questions spawned by recent tragedies of violence in our schools. Eight years in the writing, Leech Mob is a work from the heart and the soul.
Just like my main character Kelly Hayes, I was born in New York and moved to Connecticut at the start of high school, graduating after a series of stints at various schools. I then attended a semester here or a year there at several New England universities, struggling with the normalcy of traditional conventions.
But it’s high school that left lasting impressions. As with all of us, these were growing years, learning about myself and others, exploring what life is about, pushing the boundaries society puts on us, and learning where I fit––and often DIDN’T FIT––in the grand scheme of American society.
It is these four riotous years which have served as the basis for Leech Mob- taking artistic license to the limit with the wild parties, the high school pranks, the underground music scene, brushes with the law and, of course, the brawls! The characters are a conglomeration of the fascinating people who passed through my life at the time.
I wanted to write a book that young people would have fun reading. As a kid, I loved books, but was turned off to reading during high school because the novels were totally irrelevant to my life. So I decided to start with the important social issues of growing up––with a bunch of crazy and often painful stories from my teen years that I wove into a fictionalized text. The end result was Leech Mob: A Novel about a Connecticut Gang, which you can find more about at www.leechmobnovel.com
I want the youth to know that I love them and I wrote this book for them. Hopefully, they will benefit from the experiences of Kelly Hayes.