Shoes for Anthony by Emma Kennedy

Set in a small Welsh coal-mining town during World War II, this moving and unforgettable novel is by turns touching and hilarious.

This 1944 World War Two drama tells the story of Anthony, a boy living in a deprived Welsh village, anticipating the arrival of American troops. Suddenly, a German plane crashes into the village mountain. A Polish prisoner-of-war survives and is brought into the community where he builds a close relationship with Anthony. Later, the villagers discover one of the Germans on the plane has survived and is still on the mountain.

Joyous, thrilling, and nostalgic, Emma Kennedy’s Shoes For Anthony will have you wiping your eyes one moment and beaming from ear-to-ear the next. This is a small gem of a novel that reviewers (and readers) will cherish.

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EMMA KENNEDY is the author of nine books, including bestsellers The Tent, the Bucket and Me and I Left My Tent in San Francisco. She is also an actress and has appeared in many award winning comedies, including Goodness Gracious Me, People Like Us, and Miranda. She is the Fun editor at Tatler, won “Celebrity Masterchef” in 2012, and is a Guinness World Record holder.

Connect with Emma online at

All Because of Chickens by G. L. Miller



Returning to the family homestead intensifies twelve-year-old Sammy’s longing for the family heritage—farming. But Dad’s ultimatum, “… no crops, no animals, no barn…” shows Dad wants nothing to do with farming, for himself or Sammy. Then why did Dad insist Sammy join a farming club?

Permission slips for Ag club summer projects are due. Sammy defends his project choice with, “Technically, Dad, chickens are birds not animals.” Miraculously, he wins Dad’s approval.

Sammy’s problems begin with the early arrival of his peeps and the loss of his best pals.   His ingenuity to care for his chicks, make a new friend, and design a compost bin win him a new name. His biggest challenge—can he butcher his roosters?

Summer’s many adventures include solving a mystery, fighting a hawk, and being disqualified at the County Fair.

At the end of the project, has he won…or lost…the thing he wanted most—Dad’s change of heart about farming?


During a lull in the suppertime conversation, Sammy found the courage to broach the subject. “Dad, Mr. Conklin said we had to bring our signed summer project paper to next week’s meeting.”

“And what have you chosen to do?” asked Dad, sipping his coffee.

“Raise chickens,” mumbled Sammy. Afraid of Dad’s reaction, he toyed with the last of the peas on his plate.

“What?” Dad almost sloshed his coffee as he set down the mug. “I thought you understood there would be no animals.”

“Yes,” Sammy admitted, “but I thought—”

Sammy saw Dad’s angry frown and tightly drawn lips. He decided to try a different approach. “Dad, I’m confused. You’re the one who wanted me to join the Ag club of CAYC, the County Agriculture Youth Club. You said you belonged as a boy. Surely you remembered there were summer projects?”

In silence Dad swallowed another sip of coffee. “I remembered,” he said. “But, I was hoping you would get interested in growing flowers for your mother or vegetables for the kitchen. Couldn’t you do that as your project?”

“Well, you said there would be no farming, either,” Sammy pointed out.

“What I meant by that was fields of plants, not just a few around the house or in a small garden.”

“In that case, yes, I probably could.” Then, with heroic effort he blurted, “But that really wouldn’t be any fun. All plants do is sit there. You have to water them and feed them and weed them. And they still…just sit there.”

“You have to feed and water chickens, too,” Mom gently reminded. “And clean their house and take care of them.”

“At least they move. And I could play with them. I know they’d be work, but I hope maybe some fun, too.”

“What made you decide on chickens?” she asked.

“Well,” said Sammy, “first I thought of a foal, but I knew Dad wouldn’t approve of that,” he added quickly, stealing a glance at his father. “Besides, we don’t have a barn or any place to put a young horse. True, during the summer he wouldn’t need much more than a lean-to. Still, I would hope to have him longer than just this summer…” Sammy’s voice trailed off.

“Then I considered a puppy.” How am I going to explain this to Mom? Sammy took a drink from his water glass and quickly got his thoughts together. “I would probably want to have him in the house, though. You know, to play with and sleep on my bed.   But dogs get fleas and shed their hair so I didn’t think you’d permit that.”

Mom’s smile confirmed his supposition. “So that’s when you thought of the chickens?” she asked.

Sammy nodded.

“But they’re still animals,” prodded Dad.

Turning his attention back to Dad, Sammy defended himself. “Not really, Dad. Technically, they’re birds.”

Sammy watched the astonishment in Dad’s face turn to amusement.

Technically, they are not birds, they are fowl,” Dad replied.

Embarrassment tightened Sammy’s jaw. “You’re laughing at me.”

Sammy felt Dad’s hand gently clasp his own, causing him to focus on what Dad was saying.

“Never, Sammy. I would never laugh at you. I love you. You are growing up and using words that surprise me.   I enjoy your ingenuity. I’m laughing in delight of you, but never at you.”

Sammy grinned and ducked his head.

Mom pushed back her chair and stood up. “Let me get dessert, and then you can tell us more about this project.”

“I’ll get my stuff.” Sammy ran to his room for his club materials and the form he and Gran had filled out earlier. He also swooped up his drawings and the copies of the Internet pages. Spreading everything out in front of his dad, he explained what Mr. Conklin was encouraging them to do.

“And Gran said I could use that old lumber behind her shed to make the house.   I mean, coop,” Sammy corrected himself.

“I thought I smelled my mother in this,” muttered Dad.

“Oh no, Dad,” Sammy hurried to set things straight. “I thought of all this myself. When I told her today, Gran asked me the same things you did. All she did was help me to look up some information on her computer and to fill in my form.”

Sammy looked through the papers he’d put on the table. Choosing two, he placed one before Dad.

“See, I’ve even drawn some plans for their coop,” Sammy said. Putting the second page on top, he explained, “And I have enough money in my bank to pay for the chicks, their equipment, and part of their food. I plan to sell their eggs to get more food money.”

Sammy watched Dad’s face for signs of approval. He didn’t realize he was holding his breath until Mom spoke.

“How many peeps are you thinking of getting?” she asked.

“Mr. Conklin said we can buy as few as twenty-four or twenty-five,” Sammy answered. “He’s bringing catalogs to the next meeting so we can see what breeds are available. But, I think I already know what kind I want.”

Sammy searched through his computer printouts. Pulling a couple of pictures from the stack, he handed one to Mom.

“Gran and I looked at different kinds on the computer,” he said. “These Golden Comets seemed to be the most interesting. You can see in the picture that the roosters are white and the hens are red.” Sammy chuckled, and then added, “With that sort of help, I won’t be asking a rooster why it isn’t laying an egg.”

“Good thinking,” agreed Dad. “A beginner needs all the help he can get.”

“That’s what Gran said,” admitted Sammy.


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Happy Birthday Lucy Maud Montgomery


Today we celebrate the birthday of one of my favorite authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery. On November 30, 1874, Montgomery was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island to Hugh John Montgomery and Clara Woolner Macneill. After her mother’s death, when Lucy was only 21 months old, Montgomery’s father left her in the care of her maternal grandparents in Cavendish. He moved away and eventually remarried.

It is said living as an only child with elderly caregivers helped Montgomery to develop her imagination and fondness for nature, books, and writing. Though her first publication came in the fall of 1891, she completed school and earned her teaching license in 1893 – 1894. After a brief teaching career, the sudden death of the grandfather who had raised her caused Montgomery to return home to care for her grandmother. She would remain there for most of the next thirteen years where she continued to write and earn a comfortable income.Anne

She wrote her most famous novel, Anne of Green Gables, in 1905, but tucked it away after numerous rejections. In 1907, she sent it out again and it was picked up by the Page Company of Boston, Massachusetts and published in 1908. Montgomery married after her grandmother’s death and bore three sons, one of whom was stillborn. As a minister’s wife living in Leaskdale, Ontario, she was busy assisting her husband, but she still made time to write. Montgomery never lived on Prince Edward Island again, but she was buried in the Cavendish cemetery not far from her old home.

For my eleventh birthday, I received the first three books in the Anne of Green Gables series as a present from my oldest sister. I would not become enamored with Anne’s story, however, until the release of the Anne of Green Gables Canadian mini-series in 1985 starring Megan Follows, Richard Farnsworth, and Colleen Dewhurst. Follows would reprise her role as Anne Shirley in two sequels: Anne of Avonlea (now titled Anne of Green Gable The Sequel) and Anne of Green Gables The Continuing Story. 

I have since gone on to read all eight of Montomgery’s Anne novels, The Story Girl and The Golden Road–which inspired the Canadian-based Road to Avonlea television series, and Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea.

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s work continues to inspire my own writing. It is her feisty, imaginative, red-headed orphan who reminds me a bit of myself–not unlike the other feisty character/historical figure I adore–Laura Ingalls Wilder. Here’s to a talented author whose most famous character continues to gain new fans year after year. May she live in our hearts forever.


google anne

Interview with Jim Maher, Author of Hemingway Man

Jim Maher is the proud father of two (nearly three!) boys, and lives in Nanaimo, BC as a stay-at-home dad.  He started writing stories for his brother and sisters when he was five, and decided to try his hand at the rest of the world with Hemingway Man, his first novel.  Among his other pursuits are acting, hiking, attempting to become the greatest dad in the universe, and the occasional date night with his beloved wife.



Mahervolous Books


Our special guest today is Jim Maher, author of young adult novel, Hemingway Man.

Thank you for joining us today, Jim. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m a stay-at-home dad in Nanaimo, BC. I trained as an actor, and then started having babies with my lovely wife, Sophia. Not exactly the ‘tortured artist’ story, but I think I’m living a pretty good life.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I wrote my first book, Professor Jim, when I was five years old. Since then I’ve tried to find other things and pursuits interesting, but it always comes back to writing. Hemingway Man is my first novel.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

Young adults are the readers that will either really love your book or really hate it, and won’t be afraid to tell you either way. They’re also still able to go along on whatever ride you’re taking them on.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

My favorite part is putting myself back in that mindframe. The greatest challenge is putting myself back in that mindframe.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Hemingway Man is a coming-of-age tale about Will Charles, a sixteen-year-old who’s just lost his father. Will feels the intense pressure to become the man of the house, but having just lost the person who was supposed to guide him, he has nowhere to turn. Ernest Hemingway wrote a list of four tasks a boy must complete before he becomes a man.
1. Plant a tree.
2. Write a book.
3. Fight a bull.
4. Have a son.
Will finds the list, and takes it on himself to become the Hemingway Man.

What inspired you to write it?

‘Manhood’ and being a grown-up are such relative, gray terms that I wanted to explore what someone would do if they were handed step-by-step instructions. The Hemingway list is real, and I discovered it in much the same way as Will does in the book. I have only accomplished two out of the four, and I’ll let readers decide which two.

Where can readers purchase a copy? and on

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I have a blog at, and a Facebook page called Mahervolous Books.

What is up next for you?

I’m having my third son very soon, and I’m editing my next novel, Mike Logan vs. The Crosstown Horde. Busy, busy times!

Do you have anything else to add?

Thank you for the interview, and I hope everyone out there enjoys my book!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Jim. We wish you much success.

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Growing Up Gracie by Maggie Fechner

Growing Up Gracie by Maggie Fechner is a coming-of-age story many teens will enjoy.

Gracie Fremont is the fifth of six kids growing up in Cody, Wyoming. She struggles to find her place in the world and what exactly makes her special.  Committed to, yet, unsure in her faith, Gracie searches for answers. As she matures from child to young woman, Gracie discovers that with Divine guidance, even an ordinary girl from Cody, Wyoming can lead an extraordinary life.

This is a charming story of one girl finding her place and  learning to seek God’s guidance in her daily life. I especially enjoyed how Fechner created Gracie’s tiny circle of friends, and how their relationships evolved over the years. She also created a fine picture for the reader of life in Cody, Wyoming and the daily life in a LDS community.

The pace of this story burbles along like a country stream, flowing well with the overall setting of Growing Up Gracie and the lives of its characters. Fechner did not spare Gracie many disappointments, but she also gave her glorious triumphs.

The one challenge I had with the book is that it covered so many years in Gracie’s life, I felt characters got lost from time to time.  The book opens with Gracie and her best friend Liza Roberts playing hide-and-seek in Liza’s home. Gracie is five. By the next chapter she is seven and meets Chelsea Copeland for the first time. Chelsea, Liza, and Gracie are as thick as thieves and their adventures are often mentioned in the pages that follow, as are the changes in Gracie’s home. But at some point, Chelsea drops off the radar and she isn’t mentioned for a while. I’m left wondering what happened to her. Did she move away? Did the girls have a fight?

A similar thing happens to Cade.  It seems these two were being set up for a long friendship, but then Cade disappears and we only hear about him one other time after several years have passed, even though it appears he still lives in Cody. And then there is Quentin.  Gracie befriends him in wood shop.  He becomes a big part of the book. Something happens between them–which I’m definitely not going to share–but then poof, he’s gone for a bit. When I looked back, Quentin was only gone for around 20 pages, but the pace of the book made it seem longer.

I kept trying to figure out what this book was like, and it kind of reminded me of the hit family drama, The Wonder Years, starring Fred Savage.  The narrator is an older and wiser Gracie sharing the story of her childhood. The prologue kind of threw me for a minute because it takes place when Gracie is obviously a young woman, and then in Chapter One she is five. Overall it was a wonderful story and I might read it again to see if I have a different impression of how the passage of time impacts the plot.

If you’re looking for a story that combines family, friendship, and faith, Growing Up Gracie by Maggie Fechner would be a good choice.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Bonneville
  • ISBN-10: 1599554534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599554532
  • SRP:  $15.99

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    Patch by Mucheru Njaga


    Loosely based on author Mucheru Njaga’s own experiences at boarding school, Patch is a coming of age story that illustrates the growing epidemic of teenage bullying. Set in the serene countryside of East Africa, Patch follows Gabriel, a troubled American teenager who is transferred to an international all-boys boarding school for the wealthy and privileged. He soon finds that the school’s impressive exterior hides a world of abuse and intimidation at the hands of a group of well-established student leaders known as “Prefects.” Freshman Gabriel defies the status quo and challenges the authority of the Prefects for the first time, showing that bullying is not something to be endured.

    Read an Excerpt!

    Welcome to Prince of Wales

    “Ah, yes,” Nigel’s replied meekly, wondering just where this was leading.

    The countryside was heavily jaded in shades of green which blanketed the fertile

    tea fields sloping across the hills of East Africa. The lush and rich land starkly contrasted

    with the weary and overheated local tea pickers who curiously turned their direction to

    the black limousine winding down the road. For one brief second, they envisioned

    themselves living such an affluent life, before reality took over and their calloused hands

    continued the laborious task at hand. Inside the plush interior of the air conditioned limo,

    was a different type of contrast.

    “This is it. This is where it all begins, son,” the father announced as the limo

    emerged from the shadows of the tree-lined drive. It was a journey the father had

    anxiously and proudly anticipated making with his son since the day he was born, 14

    years ago. Nigel, on the other hand, did not mirror his father’s excitement.

    For the umpteenth time, Nigel watched his father pull out his gold ring to polish

    the blue crystals which spelled out “Head of School 1950.” For the umpteenth time, Nigel

    turned his head, choosing instead to gaze at the landscape in silence.

    “This is a big step. I’m proud of you, son,” his father said, stroking his hand

    across Nigel’s hair.

    Again, Nigel didn’t respond, refusing to feign interest to appease his father. It

    wasn’t with excitement, but rather with dread, that Nigel peered over the top of hill as

    they drove through the white colonial gates and past the sign, “Welcome to Prince of

    Wales Boarding School.”

    While their limousine was out of place among the tea fields and pickers, its

    opulence was lost among the sea of luxury cars and seemingly identical black limos

    which lined the parking lot of the high school. This day was designated to receive the

    incoming freshman, and young boys and their parents from across the globe were being

    welcomed inside the historical main hall. Scattered across the parking lot were alumni

    and parents sharing the usual cordial greetings and their mutual admiration of the twostory,

    pillared structure which sprawled across the campus grounds.

    The chauffeur dutifully held the doors as Nigel and his father exited the back seat.

    Pausing only for a brief moment for Nigel’s father to admire the clock tower which sat

    above the wide entrance, their silence was broken.

    “Take a good look, son. This architectural masterpiece is older than I am. You’ll

    walk through those doors a young boy. In four years, you’ll walk out of them a man.”

    To the side of large Venetian pillars leading to the main hall were wall after wall

    of names depicting the school’s alumni. Many of the names were familiar, some famous.

    They represented wealth, new money and old, prestige, and power. The walls bore the

    names of the social and political elite, as well as generations of royalty, all heirs to the

    stature and status of the esteemed Prince of Wales Boarding School.

    Nigel had heard about the wall for years, so he wasn’t surprised when his father

    pointed to a name prominently displayed among them.

    Sir Charles Churchill – Head of House 1950

    “That name will never be forgotten, Nigel. In good time, yours will be forever

    embodied among this wall, too. That is an honor and a privilege. Always remember that.”

    “Yes, Father,” Nigel agreed.

    Their shoes clicked on the highly polished floors inside the main hall as the

    sounds of a strong, deep voice pulled them toward the assembly of hundreds of parents

    and their incoming freshmen.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome your children, not just as proud, new students

    to Prince of Wales High, but as new Patcharians!”

    The opening remarks by Principal Boon Fletcher were met with thunderous

    applause by the eager parents, who stood in recognition of the monumental occasion

    marked by Boon’s words. Nigel’s eyes, however, lacked emotion as they scanned the

    crowd, finally settling on the elderly man who spoke behind the podium and the towering

    display of over 200 school trophies which served as his backdrop. To many, it was a

    grand and impressive scene, but Nigel preferred to have no part of it.

    Boon waited for his audience to quiet before inciting them again.

    “Patch, yeah!” he cheered.

    “Yeah!” yelled the parents, excitedly returning their response to the school’s


    “Patch, yaah!” Boon continued, louder yet.

    “Yaah!” the parents’ replied, thrusting their fists into the air.

    “Patch, yeah!” roared Boon.

    “Yeah!” echoed the audience.

    “Patch, yaah!” bellowed Boon’s voice through the mike.

    “Yaah!” the crowd cheered in unison, all of whom were now on their feet in a

    display of unity and enthusiasm.

    Principal Boon coughed and smacked his chest while waiting for the cheers to

    subside. Then, the out of breath 68 year old principal and long-time fixture at Prince of

    Wales used the opportunity to joke, “I’m getting too old for this!”

    His remark received its anticipated response, and the crowd’s laughter dimmed to

    a more solemn reception.

    “My fellow parents, it is our pledge to turn your boys into the finest gentlemen the

    world has seen. If you would, please take a moment to look around. The alumni in this

    room and around the world are a strong testament to what Prince of Wales can do for

    your child. Now, I’d like you to please welcome 1950 alumni Mr. Sir Charles Churchill

    of the esteemed Churchill family based in London!”

    Nigel’s father immediately stood, nudging his son to do the same, as the crowd

    turned their attention and applause to the father and son duo.

    “And we have the French ambassador to America and his son,” boasted Boon.

    The impeccably dressed ambassador raised his hand in recognition of the

    audience’s applause.

    “And, all the way from Dubai, with us today is Sultan Abdi Saleen and his son,

    Ali Saleen. Welcome, Your Highness.”

    Simultaneously, the Sultan and his son raised their hands.

    “And, from the United States, we have Senator Charles Liberman.” Boon


    As the Senator stood and waved to the crowd, Boon’s message to him drew

    laughter. “You have our support for the Presidency, Senator. One fundraiser with the

    parents in this room and you’ll serve three terms!”

    “And last, but definitely not least, you have yours truly,” Boon continued, holding

    up his alumni school ring. “Fifty years and it still fits like a charm,” he proclaimed before

    kissing his ring in a show of loyalty.

    “Now, before you leave your young sons with us to embark on their journey, I

    want to introduce you to a special group of young men who are really responsible for

    making this school what it is. They are the guardian angels entrusted to tirelessly guide

    and watch over your little ones. It is them who turn our boys into men. Without them,

    there would be no Prince of Wales; there would be no Patch. Ladies and gentlemen,

    please give a well-earned round of applause for our school prefects.”

    On cue, 30 young men marched into the hall, identically dressed in crisp navy

    blue blazers and gray slacks with sharp, razor edge creases. Their movements were

    carried out with military accuracy and precision as they fell into a straight-line formation

    at the front of the hall and dutifully gave the parents a 90 degree bow.

    Each prefect had a bunch of keys dangling back and forth from their index finger,

    giving them a distinguished look of importance. If anything announced their presence, it

    was the sound of metal keys ringing. The resulting applause was evidence that the

    prefects had sufficiently impressed the parents with their flawless behavior and

    authoritative command.

    The crowd hushed as two more prefects entered and stood in front of the rest,

    awaiting their introduction. They were immaculately dressed in the same uniform as the

    others, but their stature was also noticeable.

    “And these two gentlemen are the leaders of the school prefects.” Principal Boon

    proudly announced. “Please welcome Head of School Wandera.”. Wandera, an 18 year

    old senior, stepped his towering 6’4” frame forward, acknowledging the introduction

    with a raise of his hand and a brief smile. “And, his deputy, Aron Sarge,” Boon


    Nigel sat silently while the rest of the audience applauded as the five and a half

    foot tall deputy head of school won the parents over with his baby face. Sarge’s smile

    was directed at the parents, but his gaze fell and stayed directly on Nigel.

    “These young gentlemen took an oath before they became prefects to protect and

    serve every single student in this school. They report directly to me on everything that

    happens here, so rest assured that your boys are in the best of hands,” Boon explained.

    “That said, it is now time to say your final goodbyes. Fellow parents, it is now your

    child’s turn to benefit and grow here. Let their journey begin. Thank you.”

    Amidst the final applause, mothers hugged their sons and fathers shook their

    hands in a symbolic gesture of the transition they were about to make. Nigel knew better

    than to express any anxiety over his father’s departure, and listened silently to his parting

    words, “I’m proud of you, son. Remember to pay attention; they have much to teach


    Fifteen minutes later, the parents had cleared the hall, leaving 200 boys to make

    small talk and introduce themselves to their new classmates.

    No one noticed the prefects, or the fact that their previously smiling faces had

    suddenly turned to cold blooded, unmoving stone.

    Chapter Four

    Principal Boon’s Office

    Boon returned to his office after giving his speech, happy to be done with the

    annual orientation and activities which surrounded it. He was more than ready to return to

    business as usual, but he immediately saw that he had one problem to contend with.

    Throwing his glasses onto his desk, he bellowed, “You again! I thought I told you

    we were finished. Who let you in here?” “I did, sir,” replied Vincent, a 17 year old who

    wore the same uniform as the prefects, minus the tie.“Well, you can just turn around and

    let yourself out.

    The Boon we saw at the hall welcoming the new students with smiles and open

    arms was long gone, this was the real Boon. “Please…Please don’t make me beg, sir,”

    pleaded Vincent.

    “You don’t have to. It won’t do you any good because we are finished,”

    admonished Boon. “Now, get out of here.”

    Not one to take no for an answer, Vincent continued, “Please, sir.”

    “I said we are done,” Boon sternly reiterated.

    The words sparked Vincent’s temper, and in haste, he slammed his hands down

    on the principal’s desk and loudly demanded one more time, “Please!”

    Realizing there would be repercussions for his actions, Vincent couldn’t deny the

    fury in Boon’s eyes. Immediately, he calmed down and changed course.

    Now pleading, Vincent took it down a notch. “Please, sir. Give me one more

    chance. You need me.”

    “Vincent, get your damn hands off of my desk. NOW! Haven’t I told you

    repeatedly that as a prefect, you must watch your temper at all times? Well, apparently,

    you still don’t.” Vincent obediently removed his hands from the desk, but remained

    standing in front of Boon’s desk. He wasn’t going to give up this easily.

    “You’re lucky I didn’t have you expelled. Now, get out of my sight. I don’t want

    to see you again.” Boon turned away. After waiting for several seconds, he stood and

    commanded, “I said Get Out!”

    Vincent turned his heels toward the door, pausing to catch and hold Boone’s stare,

    and leaving him with one parting remark.

    “You will need me one of these days, sir. I promise you, you will need me.

    Remember that.”

    Boon dismissed his warning with disgust and a lack of tolerance that was growing

    rapidly. He fought to control his rage as he ordered Vincent to leave one last time,

    leaving no doubt that he meant it. As Vincent closed the door behind him, Boon’s final

    words seared straight to his soul. He vowed to himself that this wasn’t over—not yet, not


    Back in the main hall, Wandera cranes over Sarge’s shoulder and whispered,

    “Shut the door”

    Chapter Five

    BAM! The slamming of the door to the main hall rebounded around the room,

    bouncing off the walls with such force that it caused most of the 200 boys in the room to

    jump with a start. Immediately, the idle chit chat came to an abrupt halt, leaving the room

    in eerie silence as the students looked up to see what it was that commanded their


    Forty pairs of eyes pierced through them, sending flaming daggers into the

    student body. The most demonic of which came from what some would have perceived

    the most unlikely source—Sarge, the smaller, baby-faced prefect who had just been

    introduced as deputy head of school.

    Cold, calculated, and commanding, his words were a stark contrast to the boyish

    innocence of the friendly image which had won the trust of their parents. Left in its place

    was a vision of visceral hatred that left no doubt of its target.

    “Your prefects stand before you, yet you do not have the decency to stand up!”

    Perplexed and confused, the freshmen didn’t move, stunned and uncertain if they

    were to take him seriously or if this was simply a joke, in which case they should chuckle

    in response.

    “I said, Your prefects stand before you, yet you do not have the decency to

    STAND UP!”

    The last two words were delivered with resounding force and accompanied by a

    startling rage as Sarge leapt toward the front row, causing the students to recoil in defense

    of whatever was to come.

    “Jump on your knees!”

    The freshmen scrambled to comply with the order by lowering themselves to their

    knees, frightened to further ignite the fury of this prefect-turned-devil. The other prefects

    remained perfectly still, emotionless to the obvious confusion and alarm which the

    deputy provoked among their charges.

    With a snap of his fingers so loud that its echo didn’t go unnoticed, Sarge’s action

    received its intended result, causing the freshmen to flinch and jump in response. His

    piercing eyes closed in on their target.

    “You,” he ordered, pointing his index finger directly at his victim, “Come here.”

    Obediently, Nigel did as told and slowly rose to his feet. He hesitantly walked

    toward the prefect, stopping just short of arm’s distance.


    Nigel complied, moving in one small step, jerking back slightly when Sarge

    reached across to place his hand on his left shoulder.

    “Your father is an alumni here, is he not?”

    Uncertain where the line of questioning was going, Nigel paused before

    answering in the affirmative.

    “Then you are somewhat familiar with our,” Sarge halted in mid-sentence just

    long enough to clear his throat and create the desired emphasis. “Oursystem.

    His familiarity with the system, however, didn’t prepare him for Sarge’s next

    words as he calmly issued his directive.

    “Good. Since you are familiar with our system, I’d appreciate it if you would

    show your fellow rabbles here how to jump on their knees.”

    In shocked disbelief, Nigel didn’t budge, unwilling to admit that he might have

    heard him right and hoping he didn’t. Three seconds, maybe four, ticked by before he

    dared to respond.

    “Excuse me?”

    Sarge’s sharp backhand caught Nigel’s face and sent him reeling to the floor,

    while his fellow classmates winced in fear and sympathetic pain, thinking that this

    couldn’t be real. It was a nightmare beyond their wildest imagination.

    Sarge found even further dominance as he stood over Nigel, lecturing him and

    repeating his command.

    “Are you deaf or are you hesitating?” he screamed. “I want you to show your

    fellow rabbles how to jump on your knees!” Picking Nigel up by the collar, he showed

    amazing strength for a young man of his size. “Now, jump on your knees, Rabble!”

    Unable to contain himself any longer, tears streamed down Nigel’s cheeks. He

    had never felt more helpless or homesick in his life.


    Nigel could feel the tension in the room as all eyes locked on him. The other

    freshmen were waiting to see what he’d do, some praying that he wouldn’t do it or that

    Sarge would change his mind, and others wishing that he would jump and get it over

    with, more frightened of the repercussions he’d face if he refused.

    One freshman who was overhead saying, “What the hell is this? I didn’t sign up

    for this” was quickly warned to shut up by another. There was no sense in calling

    attention to themselves. Nobody else wanted to join Nigel at the front of the room.

    Nigel’s teary eyes panned the crowd quickly before looking down at the planks of

    the hardwood floor. Still on their knees, his classmates held their breath as they watched

    him take a deep breath, close his eyes, and…

    It happened fast. Nigel quickly leapt up into the air, bent his knees, and landed

    with an ear shattering thud. His painful scream pushed several students to tears and others

    to cover their faces or ears in shock. They were all traumatized and watching Nigel bent

    over and shaking in pain was more than they could bear.

    But one person wasn’t surprised. He wasn’t shocked or even slightly bothered by

    the events. As a matter of fact, if anything, you could say that Sarge was proud of

    himself, satisfied that he had once again performed his duty. With a slight smile toward

    the prefects lined up behind him, he turned to the incoming class and smugly delivered

    his finals words.

    “Welcome to the real Patch.”

    During his adolescent years, Mucheru Njaga attended one of the most prestigious boarding schools in Kenya, one designed to transform boys into gentlemen of power and status. But underneath the school’s pristine façade was a brutal system that encouraged abusive student leadership—a system Njaga both endured and perpetuated. As Njaga rose through the ranks of the student leadership system, he assumed the role of the bully. His debut novel, Patch, tells the story of triumph over fear from the dual perspective of both victim and bully.

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Njaga moved to the United States after his time at Prince of Wales Boarding School in Kenya. Njaga studied creative writing at Hunter College in New York City, combining his love for movies and video games by writing screenplays and video game programs. He discovered that one of his main passions was writing stories targeting youth and their life challenges, drawing inspiration from epic tales such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

    After reading an article about a boy who committed suicide because he could not cope with a local school bully, Njaga was struck by the familiarity of the boy’s struggle, and Patch was born. Loosely based on Njaga’s own experiences at Prince of Wales Boarding School, Patch is a coming of age story that illustrates the growing epidemic of teenage bullying.

    Njaga currently lives in San Francisco with his fiancée and is working on a screenplay adaptation of Patch in addition to the sequel. Njaga’s life goal is telling stories that capture the essence of human nature, and he hopes to bring old and lost ancient African folklore stories to life. For more information, please visit

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