Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story

Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story

by Jonathan LaPoma

Paperback(published by new publisher)

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-#1 Amazon Best Seller ("Satire" and "Urban Life" Kindle categories)

-Winner of 2015 Stargazer Literary Prizes (Visionary and Metaphysical Fiction category)

-Bronze medal winner of 2016 FAPA President's Awards (Adult eBook category)

Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with alienation and addiction as they try to survive a year of teaching at dysfunctional Miami public schools.

A poetic and insightful coming-of-age novel, Developing Minds is centered on 24-year-old Luke Entelechy, an aspiring writer who sees his creative output suffer when he begins teaching at one of Miami's most challenging middle schools. As the year progresses, however, Luke begins to relate to the neglect and abuse his students suffer, and is faced with a "haunting" decision: continue to let his dark past destroy him, or rise above the struggle to realize his potential as an artist and a "real" human being.

Equal parts disturbing and humorous, Developing Minds offers a brutally honest look at the American public school system and the extreme measures many teachers take to cope with working in it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780998840369
Publisher: Almendro Arts
Publication date: 04/15/2019
Edition description: published by new publisher
Pages: 332
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Jonathan LaPoma is an award-winning, best-selling novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, and poet from Buffalo, NY. In 2005, he received a BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and he traveled extensively throughout the United States and Mexico after graduating. These experiences have become the inspiration for much of his writing, which often explores themes of alienation and misery as human constructions that can be overcome through self-understanding and the acceptance of suffering.

LaPoma has written five novels, thirteen screenplays, and hundreds of songs and poems. His screenplays have won over 150 awards/honors at various international screenwriting competitions, and his black comedy script Harm for the Holidays was optioned by Warren Zide along with Wexlfish Pictures (American Pie, Final Destination, The Big Hit) in July 2017.

LaPoma's novels have been recommended by Kirkus Reviews and Barnes and Noble (B&N Press Presents list), have hit the #1 Amazon Bestseller lists in the "Satire," "Urban Life," "Metaphysical," "Metaphysical & Visionary," and "Religious & Inspirational" Kindle categories (USA, Canada, and Australia), and have won awards/honors in the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award, the 2016 and 2017 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President's Awards, and the 2015 Stargazer Literary Prizes. He lives in San Diego, CA and teaches at a public secondary school.

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Developing MInds: An American Ghost Story 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Maertel More than 1 year ago
Developing Minds captures one teacher's rise into deep caring and compassion for his students in impossible situations. As they very gradually offer him the R-E-S-P-E-C-T he so desperately needs and wants and is unsure how to get, he is amazed at the heart and soul insights revealed. La Poma's unique and often chilling descriptions of teacher behaviors in and out of the school unravel wonderfully. It would have been great to see Luke meet up with THE LION TREES' David to compare disaster recovery strategies. I hope that many more readers will enjoy and learn from their experiences.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story by Jonathan LaPoma revolves around Luke Entelechy, a 24-year-old fledgling writer dissatisfied with the way his writing skills are progressing, which he feels is due to his teaching job at a middle school in Miami. He feels alienated though his friend, Billy, is also there and is unhappy teaching there. Luke realizes that either he has to rise above the difficulties, understand his writing talent and do justice to it and his life, or be unhappy and let it destroy his talent, passion for living, this ruining his life. Apart from the story of Luke, the book also exposes the American public school education system. As the story progresses, readers will be gripped by the many dimensions the plot has to offer. The author captures the moments between the teachers and the students beautifully, making them real and tangible. Billy and Luke have been portrayed well and their struggle trying to cope with the harsh school system resonates well with readers. The story is honest, authentic, entertaining and poignant, and the contrasting images of a young man trying to grow in his personal life and the failures of the Miami school system have been woven together well without sounding forced. Along with that, the friendship of the two guys also gives the plot another dimension. The author's writing style is fluid and the story has a good pace and movement. Jonathan LaPoma weaves all the sub-plots into the main plot seamlessly, making the book an engaging read.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story is a contemporary fiction novel written by Jonathan LaPoma. Luke Entelechy has been a student teacher and has subbed, but his teaching career is really about to begin when he acts on his impulse to go down to Miami for a teaching fair. He was planning on going by himself until his friend Billy decided to go along with him. Billy's been teaching at PS490 in Queens, an F-school, and he figures anything's got to be better than that. The fair is a maelstrom of over-eager and desperate job seekers, including Luke and Billy. Billy manages to snag a prime teaching spot at Little Havana Elementary. He figures the woman who approved him has romantic designs on him and dreads the day she finds out he's gay. Luke doesn't get hired on the first day and doesn't harbor much optimism about his chances on day two, so he's surprised when Karen Dawson, the Vice-Principal at George Washington High in Opa Locka, hires him. It's an F-rated school, but Billy says it's got to be nowhere near as bad as PS490 was. After a few days of settling in and exploring the beach, their school year begins. Jonathan LaPoma's contemporary fiction novel, Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story, should be required reading for anyone who is considering or has ever considered teaching as a career. The author is a secondary school teacher, and his character's first year at George Washington is filled with the nightmares, the moments of despair, and the occasional glimpses of satisfaction that keep teachers doing what seems all too often to be an unappreciated and thankless task. I was fascinated by the story and found myself unable to tear my eyes away from the text as Luke learns to read his students and to understand where they are coming from. LaPoma's characters are sharply defined and feel like real people, from the needy and mercurial Billy to the philosophical Professor. I also loved getting to know Miami and southern Florida through the author's eyes. Developing Minds follows Luke and Billy as they work through that first year's teaching assignments in Miami, and it's marvelous vicariously experiencing their triumphs, trials and frustrations. Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story is most highly recommended.
Yari_T More than 1 year ago
The first thing that I noticed was that this novel was different from many that I’ve read. It was honest, raw, and just plain uncensored. A few people have stated that the novel is too graphic which i don’t agree with. One might not think that teachers do drugs and have sex, but guess what? They’re human too and as such are submitted to temptations. The novel also provided a deeper understanding of how different people cope with stress. It was about time an author made educators more human and realistic without going overboard! What caught my attention the most was that i felt like i could relate to the characters, the turmoil of letting go of a relationship that is weighing you down and getting away from those you know aren’t good for you. I couldn’t put the book down because the characters were intriguing; i wanted to know more about them. The complexity of the character development occurred over a number of pages so it was easier to digest and it wasn’t just thrown at me at the beginning. I enjoyed that the characters were present and being developed throughout the novel. I knew who the characters were without having to flip back to the very beginning of the novel to remember. I was rooting for Luke the entire time and I’m glad he decided to pursue what was best for him. I think college grads will relate best to this novel, it was written for a younger open minded audience.
Trang_Bookidote More than 1 year ago
WOW! I loved this book! First, let's clear things up, this Stargaze Literary Prize Finalist is not a paranormal story. There's no “physical” ghost involved. I should say that the ghost in the title is a metaphor for all the things we cannot see, for what's behind the curtains, hidden. The dialogues are funny ( really nice hitback lines too haha) , wise and a lot of them make you think about your own life . I can relate to a lot of quotes in there and I was impressed with the storyline. really coherent, realist and well keeping together. We can follow his journey in school and his personal life, the influence of these two aspets together. I totally recommend this to anyone. It's a light read but a really really fun roller coaster if you want to change your mind and just enjoy a good book.The story is about Luke, and his new South Urban life as a new teacher at the George Washington middle school, an “F school” average in Miami. This novel follows his journey through frustrations, stresses, friendships, relationships and all the challenges that a teacher can encounter.If you want to know about the education system and how tough and challenging is to teach in a middle school , this is worth the try! As a young adult myself, I find Luke’s personal life so relatable and realist. We learn how to get out of toxic relationships, to be able to move on and to recognize true friends or, simply, the friends that are not good for you anymore. The author puts it in a subtle and smart way.The humor was quite well-done, I found myself laughing out loud .