A well-developed yet approachable story about teen homosexuality

Each day leading up to the April 14 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2012 Young People’s Literature Finalist:

With or Without You
Brian Farrey

Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

Category Sponsor: Sit Investment Associates


Best friends Evan and Davis have helped each other through homophobic bullying and every other challenge high school had to throw at them. But after graduation, that friendship becomes strained from two directions as Evan struggles to tell Davis about his secret, long-term boyfriend Erik and Davis gets caught up with the Chasers, a fringe crowd that promises them protection and status.

An excerpt from With or Without You:

“Hit the ground.
Curl into a ball.
Cover your head.
Don’t cry. Ever.
All this I know. It is instinct, as automatic as any breath, any blink, any beat of the heart. I repeat eighteen years’ worth of these hard-learned lessons over and over in my head, waiting for the hail of blows to stop.
I worry it won’t be enough.”


Brian Farrey holds an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University and acquires young adult manuscripts for Flux.


“As unnerving as it is page-turning. Farrey pulls it off with ferociousness and grace.”
– Jason Myers, author of Exit Here and Dead End

“[Farrey] adeptly demonstrates how seductive the promise of belonging and power can be for those who haven’t known either.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

“Its treatment of AIDS is extremely well handled and welcome at a time when AIDS fiction has become almost nonexistent.”
– Booklist


Click here for a wide-ranging interview with Brian Farrey on why he chose to include bullying, the AIDS epidemic, and other important societal issues in With or Without You, how much of himself he sees in his central characters, and his hobbies and interests outside of writing.

Farrey’s conversation with Cynthia Leitich Smith delved more deeply into his work as acquiring editor for Flux, the young adult imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide, offering more background on the author and advice for other writers.


Award winners will be announced at the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Saint Paul Riverfront. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. New this year: a post-awards “Epilogue Celebration.” Tickets are available online or by calling 651-222-3242. Click here for more information.

Have you read With or Without You? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!


Brian Ferry is on Twitter


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