Friday, May 1, 2020

"The Out Crowd" by Michael Kirby

The Out Crowd
by Michael Kirby

The Out Crowd by Michael Kirby

Author Michael Kirby stops by today to share an excerpt from his satirical novel The Out Crowd. You can also enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a paperback copy of your own.

Hallie Flynn was ready for the perfect senior year, but everything changes at Homecoming when petty rumors spiral out of control. The In Crowd was always who everybody in the Out Crowd dreamed of being. The Out Crowd consisted of everybody else. Isaiah was also expecting a normal senior year. His biggest concern was earning a scholarship for college, but then all the norms evaporated. Gossip piles on top of itself, overwhelming his social life, and everyone else's. Friendships are ruined. People from all walks of Gates High School life no longer know who to trust.
Determined, Hallie makes it her mission to set the record straight. But by the time the gossip desperately needed to be stopped, it was already too late. Gates High could never be the same as it was again, because rumors and gossip are not toys to be played around with. What appears simple and straightforward becomes more confusing. Eventually the rumors take on a life of their own and truth and untruth merge into an unrecognizable blur. Both the In Crowd and the Out Crowd learn to live with their new fate in different ways. Inevitably, lessons are learned, but only after the damage is already done.

Image created using Mockup Shots.

"Shut it down!  Shut it down!  Shut it down!"  Every football player and cheerleader in the school was there, shouting it in unison. Isaiah, Craig and Everett joined a handful of other members of the Out Crowd coming in to catch a peek of what was going on. A few of them actually joined in with the In Crowd.
Principal Terrence's secretaries stood up to greet the mob at first. Soon, however, they were overwhelmed and returned to sitting at their desks, their eyes wide as marbles, exchanging looks with one another. Principal Terrence himself was nowhere to be found.
Isaiah looked around. "Okay, what's going on here?"
"What's going on is that our latest story seems to have rubbed some people the wrong way."  Tyler Base walked up and stood beside Isaiah, appearing quite pleased with himself.
"Is it true?" Everett asked Tyler, sounding somewhat skeptical. "Did they really rig the Class Clown election by giving lollipops to the eighth graders, or is this just another one of your gossip columns?"
"Oh, it's not just gossip this time," said Tyler. "We've got mountains of evidence for it. Listen to how the In Crowd is desperately trying to sweep this one under the rug. This is going to be priceless."
"What do you mean?" Craig asked him.
"Let me put it to you this way. Nobody will be doing them any favors simply to sit with them at lunch anymore. They're finished."
Hallie continued to lead the chants from just in front of the secretaries' desks. "Shut it down!  Shut it down!" she continued to lead as much of the portion of the student body gathered there repeated after their leader. "Resist toxicity!" shouted Hallie.
"Resist toxicity!" the rest of the In Crowd repeated.
"Shut down the Gates Sentinel!" yelled Hallie.
"Shut down the Gates Sentinel!" echoed the rest.
"What's going on guys?"  Karen had just entered the room herself. She turned off her cell phone and put it in her backpack. Everything in front of her now had her full attention.
"Chaos," said Everett.
"Total chaos," Craig concurred.
Finally, Principal Terrence opened the door to his office and emerged into the entranceway. "Alright, I'm coming out," he said, exasperated, as the noise filling up the whole room gradually simmered down. "Hello, all you students who have come to my office with no appointment to yell really loudly. What can I do for you?"
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite:
“In The Out Crowd by Michael A. Kirby, at Gates High School, the pupils are separated into two groups; the In Crowd of just 69 pupils and the Out Crowd. Hallie Flynn, senior cheerleading captain, becomes the victim of gossip when information about her relationship becomes public knowledge. As she tries to quell the rumors, her actions make the gossip even worse. Hallie believes she has the answer to make Gates High School less toxic. At first, her plan seems to be working but, as time goes on, the line between what is acceptable behavior and what is simply people's points of view becomes blurred. Hallie's obsession to rid the school of toxicity becomes out of control and soon both the In Crowd and the rest of the school have to decide what is truly important to them.
The Out Crowd by Michael A. Kirby offers a well thought out and creative plot. The storyline moves along consistently, unraveling the powerful message layer by layer. The moral behind the message is both relevant and thought-provoking. I thought the reasoning behind Hallie's actions was admirable at first but slowly her argument becomes diluted as common sense and democracy are lost. The alarm bells were sounded as a reader when Hallie commented about the importance of being anti-toxic rather than factually accurate. This is so realistic in how many media outlets and those in power seem to feel in today's society. The author has created each character with the utmost consideration and the way they interacted with one another was very realistic. I would love to see this novel in a school library, as I feel the subject matter will spark an interesting debate. This book also encourages young people to have their own thoughts and opinions which is essential. The author has clearly done a lot of research into his subject and executed the message perfectly.”

About the Author
Ever since childhood, Michael has had a constant urge to liberate stories from the realm of his imagination and share them with the world. Various tales and characters would nag at him from inside his head until he finally agreed to give them a new life by putting pen-to-paper or finger-to-keyboard. In time, he realized this meant becoming a writer.
In college he wrote articles for the campus newspaper. After graduating he tried out publishing on various blogs over the years. Now he has turned to books, with a focus on novels.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Out Crowd by Michael Kirby (US/Canada only).


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