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When the Coin is in the Air

Like most boys, Jason Blake wants to please his father and older brother. But this erratic father and hyper-competitive brother challenge beyond the norm. To find his way, Jason tries on different roles: schoolyard bully, football player, actor, student. At 20 Jason escapes his Midwest home and seeks independence and adventure: first to Cape Cod, later in Europe. Each adventure takes Jason farther from his father and brother. Each brings him closer to finding himself. When he returns home, the world as he knew it explodes and Jason risks all to protect his mother from his violent father. The dramatic and unforgettable course of events changes the lives in this family forever. And they promise to change the reader too.

When the Coin is in the Air

Like most boys, Jason Blake wants to please his father and older brother. But this erratic father and hyper-competitive brother challenge beyond the norm. To find his way, Jason tries on different roles: schoolyard bully, football player, actor, student. At 20 Jason escapes his Midwest home and seeks independence and adventure: first to Cape Cod, later in Europe. Each adventure takes Jason farther from his father and brother. Each brings him closer to finding himself. When he returns home, the world as he knew it explodes and Jason risks all to protect his mother from his violent father. The dramatic and unforgettable course of events changes the lives in this family forever. And they promise to change the reader too.

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Tour Updates

Cincinnati, OH — 11/19/19 (7:00-8:00)

Joseph Beth Bookseller at Rookwood Pavilian 

Los Angeles — 11/10/2019 

Private Event 

Washington DC — 11/17/2019 

Private Event 

Kickstarter

The Kickstarter was shut down early. That’s thanks to the primary goal of an audiobook being donated by Dan Carruthers, CEO of Gwynn Sound–the top sound studio in Cincinnati. Dan and his team produced the audiobook, with John as the narrator. It should be available in early October.

Tour Updates

Wyoming, OH | 8/22/2019 | more >>

Indianapolis, IN | 8/31/2019 | more >>

Cincinnati, OH | 9/5/2019 | more >>

Falmouth, MA | 9/14/2019 | more >>

Praise for When the Coin is in the Air :

“It is a rare coming-of-age-novel that strikes an elegiac tone—the trembling anticipation of youth, a decidedly modern hero’s journey, in combination with a grief-struck plunge into conscience—but John Young pulls it off. This novel, like its main character, makes its way from early promise to settled accomplishment, from a staggering opening to a quiet self-acceptance that seems wholly earned—and leaves a reader grateful.”

James Carroll

National Book Award Winner and author of The Cloister

“I loved John Young’s wise and moving novel. A young man is forced to navigate the difficult choices of early adulthood while protecting his own life and his mother’s from a violent, abusive father. Reminiscent of the novels of Pat Conroy, When the Coin is in the Air explores the complexities of the pull between duty and self-determination, tempered by love.”

Susan Neville

author of Invention of Flight and The House of Blue Lights

“John Young’s debut novel—beautifully written and imaginatively structured—is a very moving story in which he has the tone pitch-perfect. It’s hard to write about ‘I love you’ versus ‘I’ll kill you’ when the characters are intimates. Yet, there it is on page 207, that scene will be indelible in my mind.”

John Skoyles

Author of Drive and The Nut File

When the Coin is in the Air is a riveting story of adversity, destruction and transcendence. John Young weaves a gritty but ultimately uplifting tale, sure to speak to anyone who has wrestled with demons. From the start, Young’s debut novel will grab you, and it won’t let you go.”

Don Tassone

author of Drive

“An abusive father keeps his son—and the reader—in suspense in When the Coin is in the Air, a well-told coming -of age tale.”

Dan Wakefield

author of Going All The Way and New York in the Fifties

“I loved John Young’s wise and moving novel. A young man is forced to navigate the difficult choices of early adulthood while protecting his own life and his mother’s from a violent, abusive father. Reminiscent of the novels of Pat Conroy, When the Coin is in the Air explores the complexities of the pull between duty and self-determination, tempered by love.”

Susan Neville

author of Invention of Flight and The House of Blue Lights

What’s next?

John is looking for a literary agent to represent his second novel now. It’s very different. A semi-comic, literary novel about Reverend John Crackstone’s career crisis and how it leads him to try to grow the world’s largest pumpkin.

About John

Born and raised beyond the suburbs in Indianapolis, John Young graduated from Indiana University and earned an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. His fiction appeared in Yankee and his non-fiction has appeared in several magazines.
Young also taught English at the high school and college levels and spent many years in advertising as a copywriter and creative director mostly in Boston. He and his teams won more than 250 awards for creative excellence.
He spent 20 years in Beverly, Mass. and now lives with his wife and two kids in Cincinnati, Ohio.