Teenage burn survivor, Wilder Tate, begins high school ashamed of his disfigurement.
He finds an outlet tapping into his one-dimensional basketball talent as a shutdown defender and courts his cheerleader dreamgirl, only to endure heartbreak and setbacks that drive him to have a tissue expander operation to rid himself of his scar tissue for good, but at what price?
The operation costs him his basketball career and puts a wedge between him and his best friend, his mother, and his classmates.
The only girl who understands him is Lane Makansi, an ostracized and bullied cutter who sees the truth of Wilder's self-loathing. Their unlikely friendship begins to salve their deep internal wounds when tragedy strikes--and Lane is the culprit.
In the aftermath, Wilder discovers a capacity to forgive and empathize that he has never once applied to himself, leading to a dramatic decision that will change his life, and Lane's life, forever.
Filled with twists, heart, and humor, THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT is a bold and unexpected story of resilience, love, and basketball from the acclaimed author of THE HEART DOES NOT GROW BACK.
"Full of surprises . . . a stunning read for a wide audience."―Kirkus
“Intriguing, intense, and― dare I say it―visceral. Keep your eye on this guy. He's going to cause trouble.” ― Isaac Marion, author of Warm Bodies
“Fred Venturini is an awesomely talented writer, and he proves it on every page . . . ”― Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time
"Venturini's latest novel blends the star-crossed love story of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS with the rousing finale of the best ROCKY movies as he triumphantly mirrors his own incredible life story, using it as a launchpad to weave a tale about the the love and hope just waiting to be discovered within the dark, raw realities of modern teenage life―THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT is a compulsively-readable marvel that demands to be read in one sitting, preferably with a box of tissues close at hand."
― Dan Loflin, screenwriter, CW's Supernatural
“No one captures the life of a teenager in small-town America with as much empathy, humor, and complexity as Fred Venturini. In burn victim Wilder Tate, readers will discover a kid with a blunt and piercing resilience about loneliness and pain, and has the valor needed to fight through a daily life of disappointment and suffering. The Escape of Light contains the powerful voices of grief told through the eyes of a young man filled, against all odds, with hope.”
—Michael Nye, author of All The Castles Burned
“Smart and tough and willing to look death in the eyes . . . this books comes from a real place– that’s what hits you right away, and that’s what matters to young adults most of all.” – Josh Woods, author of The Black Palace
"If you couldn't tear yourself away from The Fault in Our Stars, open your heart, slap on a basketball jersey and lose yourself in The Escape of Light.”– Taylor Zajonc, author of The Maw
Copyright 2019 by Fred Venturini