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Rush Hour: Sin

Rush Hour: Sin

by Michael Cart
Bold, innovative, and eclectic—that's Rush Hour, a cutting-edge literary journal featuring original stories, essays, art, poems, and excerpts from forthcoming novels from today's most distinguished voices, both established and new. Sin is the tantalizing theme of Volume One. You commit it. You judge it. You avoid it. From the Bible to the big screen, from


Bold, innovative, and eclectic—that's Rush Hour, a cutting-edge literary journal featuring original stories, essays, art, poems, and excerpts from forthcoming novels from today's most distinguished voices, both established and new. Sin is the tantalizing theme of Volume One. You commit it. You judge it. You avoid it. From the Bible to the big screen, from classrooms to homes, sin is powerful, arresting, and rarely clear-cut. In Volume One, Rush Hour tempts readers with 19 stellar contributors' interpretations of sin.

This first issue marks the debut of an unprecedented, pulsating new journal, published twice a year and focused on charged themes today's readers care about most—because original sin was just the beginning.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Equally talented as a writer and an editor, Cart (Necessary Noise; Tomorrowland) unveils the first volume of a new venture: a "cutting-edge literary journal of contemporary voices" that will be published twice each year, each issue centering on a single theme. Here, stories, essays, black-and-white drawings and excerpts from forthcoming novels examine the topic of sin, usually from a young adult's point of view. Some selections are deeply personal. In her intimate poem, "Massage," Sonya Sones explores how lust turns to unfulfilled desire in an instant. An excerpt from Chris Lynch's next novel tests the fine line between innocence and guilt in describing how an ordinary boy becomes "unfairly famous" after accidentally crippling a football player. Marc Aronson and Hazel Rochman consider sin in broader terms as each interprets, respectively, social forces affecting the Salem witch hunts and the Holocaust. Other writers represented include Brock Cole, Joan Bauer and Nikki Grimes; artists include Mark Podwal, Martin Matje and Tom Feelings. Aimed for a mature teen audience, this anthology sheds light on harsher corners of history and takes readers to uncomfortable places in the soul. Offering few glimpses of redemption, the entries are sure to provoke thought. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This journal's first issue is sure to have an impact on today's youth with its poignant look at one of world's oldest topics of choice: sin. With a variety of short stories, excerpts from novels, poetry, art, and essays, each artist and writer takes a unique look at the seven deadly sins. The journal begins with a short cartoon by Martin Matje titled "Sinphony" which sets the stage by giving a humorous glance at confession and the wrath of God. Hazel Rochman's essay "What Would I Have Done," looks at the Holocaust and ponders the question, "what would [she] have done?" in the circumstances surrounding World War II and Hitler's insanity. The entire collection ends with a poem by Ron Koertage titled, "Museum Piece," which leaves the reader to contemplate the corruption of youth. Included in this eclectic collection are pieces from Joan Bauer, Tom Feelings, Nikki Grimms, Gary Miller, Alex Flinn, and many others. It would make an excellent choice for any high school English program. 2004, Delacourt Press, Ages 13 up.
—Zeta Shearill
The first edition of this journal was very interesting. The stories and drawings examined the issue of sin, what causes sin, what constitutes a sin. They also asked the question "Does sin matter, even if it is small?" The questions asked made the reader think about sin, and the book was intelligent and well edited. This topic was presented logically and creatively, and I really enjoyed the drawings. Some of my favorite authors were also present. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Delacorte, 240p.; Illus., PLB and Trade pb. Ages 15 to Adult.
—Andrea Alonge, Teen Reviewer
Busy high school students who do not have time to read an entire novel may find an alternative in this journal. Especially designed to attract youth, Rush Hour will be published twice a year, each volume focusing on a different theme. Billing itself as "neither a magazine nor a book," the journal intends to be "cutting-edge," its contributors' contemporary voices to be "at once artful and risk-taking, innovative and—always—eclectic." This inaugural volume explores sin in all its contemporary and past definitions. Stories by well-known young adult authors Brock Cole and Joan Bauer depict a young newlywed running away from a hasty marriage and turning to kleptomania, and an advertising agency intern needing a job for college finding herself selling cigarettes in spite of her uncle's horrible death from smoking-related emphysema. An essay by Marc Aronson discusses the Salem Witch Trials, and a short story by Gary Miller explores the feelings of a young boy in a fundamental Christian sect who found his mother's body hanging from the toolshed rafters. Art and poetry are interspersed among the prose pieces. At times lighthearted, at other times, painfully gritty, the journal should appeal to thoughtful, mature YA readers. In Volume Two, some boys are bad to the bone from birth, and some boys are good boys in disguise to protect themselves from pain. Some boys turn cynical from family violence. Other boys become ruthless in the worship of competitive sports. Some boys worry that they've gotten their girlfriends pregnant and might be forced to do "the right thing." All of them are found in the second volume of Michael Cart's new journal. Jack Gantos, a popular writer of YAfiction, writes an essay on bad boys reading. Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan write about '70s bad boy, Andy Warhol. Robert Lipsyte writes a penetrating essay on the adverse effects of "jock culture." Michael Simmons writes a story about an older brother who is a psychopath from birth. Julia Jarcho has a one-act play that tries to find the common human thread that links school shootings. Another boy plots his abusive father's murder. Cart also includes a comic story by Chris Gall, and whimsical artwork and poetry that portray the bad boy as mask.This second volume of Rush Hour, like the first, does not back away from hard subjects but combines a variety of voices to explicate the bad boy phenomenon in American society. KLIATT Codes: S*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students. 2004, Random House, Delacorte, 230p., each. Ages 15 to 18.
—Myrna Marler
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-This title bills itself as neither a magazine nor a book, but a cutting-edge literary journal of contemporary voices to be published twice yearly. Contributors include authors who have distinguished themselves in young adult literature. Forms include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and include contemporary and historical accounts that somehow touch on the broad topic of sin. Some pieces stand alone without any difficulty. A summer intern at a public relations firm learns firsthand an unappealing truth about marketing in Joan Bauer's story, "Smoke." The memory of an ever-advancing sexual experience is re-created in Sonya Sones's poem, "Massage." The witch-hunts of Salem are discussed in Marc Aronson's essay, "The Sins of Salem." Other examples of inhumanity against humans are revealed in Hazel Rochman's "What Would I Have Done?" While many of the selections, particularly the nonfiction, are well done, the book is likely to have difficulty finding an audience. The back cover copy is provocative, leading teens to believe what lies within will be entertaining and a bit "over the edge." While that's true of some of the selections, readers who expect pure and even provocative entertainment will be disappointed. The novel excerpts, most of which don't read well out of context, will be lost on everyone. In the end, the thread that unites the pieces is just too tenuous to make a satisfying whole.-Catherine Ensley, Latah County Free Library District, Moscow, ID Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
To be published twice a year, the inaugural issue of this journal of YA literature includes essays, short stories, poetry, artwork, and excerpts from novels. Just the first page of Cart's introduction hypes the volume as eclectic, innovative, cutting-edge, risk-taking, fresh, original, and provocative. Such promotion is unnecessary, as it is, indeed, a solid collection. Each issue will have a different theme; this time it's sin. The nonfiction stars here. Marc Aronson's superb essay on the Salem witch trials will send readers to his new work Witch-Hunt (2003), and Hazel Rochman's "What Would I Have Done?" is an excellent introduction to the range of writing on the Holocaust. The fiction is consistently strong, examining the many faces of sin, and Sonya Sones's subtly erotic "Massage" is the best of the poems. The art is provocative if not especially appealing. Nothing on the cover indicates the audience, so perhaps this fine journal will also find itself in the hands of adults. (notes on the contributors) (Anthology. YA)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Burn Series
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Life of Crime

Brock Cole

Gladys Durstweiller was standing in front of Teeter's Collectibles on Elmwood Avenue putting on her gloves when, without any warning, a scrawny woman in red glasses burst out of the store and accused her of shoplifting. It was so horrible, Gladys could hardly believe it was happening. She wouldn't have gone in the store except that she wanted to avoid a drunk who looked as if he might be going to talk to her. Inside, she'd asked about bus schedules and then looked at a collection of glass-and-silver perfume bottles on top of an old dresser just to be polite. Now this!

"Excuse me?" she said. As if she hadn't understood a word. "I think there's been some mistake." She appealed to the man who'd followed the scrawny woman out onto the street. He had a bow tie and wavy gray hair.

"I don't think so, miss," he said. "Let's not make a fuss." He squinted at the rooftops across the street as if he was getting signals from somebody up there.

"I'm afraid I don't have the faintest idea what you are talking about. Now, if you don't mind . . ."

"Mavis?" said the man to the scrawny woman. "Better call the police."

Gladys decided to run, but something was wrong with her legs. When she took a step, her foot seemed to go right through the pavement, and she sagged against the man's chest.

"Oh God, I didn't mean to," Gladys heard herself cry. "It was an accident!"

"Get her inside," said the man.

"No, no, no!" Gladys cried, and tried to fall in a heap on the ground. The man caught her under her arms. She could feel her blouse pull out of her waistband. A shoe came off, her jacket slid up over her head. She could smell her own smell, wild and terrified. Betweenthem, the man and woman dragged her into the shop. She heard the door slam.

"Please," she cried. "Please don't hurt me!"

"Shut up!" said the man, pushing her down in a chair. "No one's going to hurt you." He stepped back and adjusted his tie. His hair was mussed. She could see a smear of what must have been her own lipstick on his shirtfront. It would probably never come out. The man fished the perfume bottle--it was little and squat with a silver filigree around the neck--out of her pocket and showed it to her.

"This is a very serious matter," he said, and she burst into tears. She knew it was serious. She hadn't before. It hadn't seemed real. Not the perfume bottle. Not the store. Not the man with his wavy hair and the woman in the red glasses. They had all seemed parts of a dream.

"I'm-sorry-I'm-sorry-I'm-sorry I don't know what's the matter with me. I never stole anything before; I don't know what I was thinking," she cried.

"It was a stupid, stupid thing to do. You should know better. You want me to call the police? Is that what you want?" The man waved the perfume bottle about as if he might smash it down on her head.

"No, no. Please, please don't. Ohgodohgodohgod . . ."

"How old are you? Do you live at home? I'm going to call your father."

"Oh God, no, don't do that. He'll kill me. He really will. He beats on me all the time . . ." She listened in horror to the stories she was telling. Another father, not her own, took shape before her eyes. Small, dirty, smelling of drink. "He joined AA but that didn't make things any better. I don't understand. It was supposed to make him good, wasn't it?"

"No. Only sober," said the man. He seemed amused now, and Gladys felt her spirits rise. She told them awful things. That she'd been abused in Sunday school by the teacher, and that she'd had two abortions. All lies. The woman in the red glasses gave her a cup of tea and a box of Kleenex. When they let her go, the man asked her if she was going to steal again.

"Oh, no. I never will. I promise."

"You've been lucky this time. You know that, don't you?"

"Yes, I know it. I really do."

"All right, then . . ."

At the door Gladys felt all the muscles in her spine go absolutely rigid. She didn't want to go home, she realized.

"Can I come back?" she asked. "I mean sometime?"

"No. Never ever," said the man, and pushed her out into the sunshine.

When she got home, she cried her eyes out. Her mom and dad were at work, so she had the house to herself. It smelled of floor wax and Pine-Sol. The whole first floor was done in linoleum that showed every footprint. Her mother could tell at a glance if there'd been a burglar before she actually stepped inside.

Gladys didn't even check to see if they'd been burgled. She threw her jacket and bag on the couch, ran upstairs, and flung herself on her bed. She cried for the following reasons: She was ashamed of stealing, ashamed of having gotten caught, and of having lied about having a terrible home life. She was crying, too, because she was a little bit in love with the man who ran the antique store, and now she could never see him again.

What did it matter anyway? She was a married woman, Mrs. Joe Bob Durstweiller, and that was something else she was crying about. She was a nineteen-year-old married woman. She'd met Joe Bob at the Rainbow Rink where she'd gone to learn how to roller-skate. He'd insisted on giving her all sorts of advice, and she had appreciated his being there at her side the first couple of times around the oval wooden floor. He had held her hand tightly in his. His free hand had rested lightly in the small of her back. The fingers sitting there on the little shelf where her spine started to curve out had made her so tense that she'd soon had a backache. Still, those couple of trips around the rink had given him a hold on her that she hadn't been able to shake. Before she knew it, she was married and Joe Bob was going around telling everyone he was the one who taught her how to roller-skate. It wasn't even true! She'd really taught herself just like everybody else. She didn't want to be married, either, as she found out almost at once. She and Joe Bob had been separated six months. It had turned out that he was crazy. He was a sex maniac. Those were exactly the words her mother had used after Gladys had told her about the goings-on in that little tract house Joe Bob had taken her to out in Clarence.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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