Blog Tour: Killer Potential by Aften Brook Szymanski

Book: Killer Potential
Author: Aften Brook Szymanski
Published: July 19, 2016
Publisher: BookFish Books
Number of Pages: 273
Format: Ebook (.mobi)
Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 5 (wonderful) Stars!
Tags: YA, ARC, Scary, #COYER, Received for Review


Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Yvette Gibbs was just admitted to the hospital psych unit in handcuffs as the main suspect in a murder case, which she refuses to talk about.

Drugs and depression claim her family—leaving Yvette to fight her own demons alone. Adopting the skill of master of passive-aggressive vengeance lands Yvette in the psych unit with no family support, unless she cooperates with her therapist to clear her name, also a convicted murderer.

Yvette wants revenge on the world that taught her to be afraid, claimed her mother to depression, hid her father in a fog of job hopping, turned her brother to dealing drugs, and swallowed her sister whole, but to achieve this she must lie, manipulate, and most of all survive. Pitting her dead sister’s shady friend whom she fears against the man who reminded her she’s not immune to victimization, is her perfect solution to all life's hassles, even if that means she ends up with blood on her hands. Until everything backfires.

~My Review~ 

 “And any life, no matter the poor choices made in its past, still has hope. even a cheat and a liar can hope for a happy ending as long as they keep living long enough for more chances.

Let me just tell you right now, this is not an easy book to read. It's the exact opposite. But this book is so wonderful, and I cannot recommend it enough. There are so many important themes in the book, and it was an amazing read.

In this book we follow Yvette, both during her past and during present day. When reading about her present day, we see how she deals being in a high security psych unit, because they believe that she murdered someone. And during her past, we read about her growing up, all the way from the fourth grade.      

Because we start reading about Yvette at such a young age, we are really able to see her grow. It was really interesting to see how she handled situations as she grew, and how the people she interacted with shaped her. From the students at her school, to the foster kids her parents took in. It really shaped the story for me. It really helped the story, and it gave background into her decisions. 

There were so many difficult topics in this story. Some of the themes included drug abuse, depression, peer pressure, foster care, and even psych units. One of the things that really stood out to me though was the peer pressure. There is a scene where Yvette is at a sleep over, and some girls try to peer pressure her and another girl into doing some really bad things. And the sad thing is that this happens to a lot of kids in middle school and high school. Also to see how Yvette's mom effected her kids was sad and interesting to see. 

Let me tell you what this book did to me. This book is not a happy book, but it kept me engaged. Things start to look up, and you can imagine my spirits rising. Then, just picture Aften taking a sledgehammer and smashing my spirits, breaking them into a million pieces. Yes, I did cry. And yes, I am still recovering. This book destroyed me in the end, and I am so glad that it did. This book is so good (spirit crushing and all).

So overall, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. While it isn't a light or fluffy read, it is a wonderful book that shows how a family and the people around a kid can influence their life. There is mystery, and murder, and a really cool sensei. I hope that Aften writes more, because if her future books are anywhere as good as this book, they will be fabulous reads.
About the Author: Aften Brook Szymanski, at the age of five, once fell on her bum looking out a large picture window while eating a pickle and people laughed. She thought she was funny, life has never been the same. She’s obsessed with LEGOs, cozy reading nooks, and over-the- knee socks. A graduate of the College of Southern Idaho with an Associate of Arts degree, Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree, and the University of Utah with a Master of Education degree. Learning is more fun than testing, sometimes we have to endure both.

She lives in a very cold Wyoming valley with her husband, three kids, and one unhappy cat, where they are being cryogenically preserved for all time—thanks to how cold it is.

Q&A with Aften Brook Szymanski

Q.) Can you describe Killer Potential in five words or less?  

A.) And I thought a 35 word pitch was brutal. Okay, here goes:

Innocent or guilty, Yvette’s crazy.

Q.) How did you come up with the idea for Killer Potential?

A.) I figured if a person only acted out of fear and/or anger things wouldn’t go well for anyone and how would that story be interesting.  

Q.) Puppies or Kittens?

A.) I love animals. Pigmy goats are my favorite. If I have to choose between just the two categories, I’d say kittens. I have a lot in common with felines including skittishness and latent trust toward those I’m not familiar with.  

Q.) In the book Yvette is locked up in a high security psych ward for a crime she may not have committed. If you were to commit a crime, what would it be and why?

A.) I’m an annoyingly law abiding citizen. I wouldn’t want to do anything that would hurt someone emotionally, physically, or financially. And I’m not sure there is a crime that is exempt from those conditions. Unless the person/thing being accosted by my criminal activity is a total jerkface/thing and is long overdue for some checks and balances. The only thing I can think of is going Wyatt Earp style for justice or opposing the system for not upholding freedoms or rights. Yeah, I’d totally Dystopian it up given the chance.

Q.) Do you have any writing rituals?

A.) I have to steal little writing moments throughout the day. So I guess my only ritual is to have my document open and ready for notes or scene adds at any given time. I also keep my navigation bar open in case I need to search a phrase or name in order to fix things that come to me throughout the day.

Q.) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

A.) Chips and dips! It’s like a whole meal. Also there is a ton of variety within this one food option. 

Q.) Do you have any plans for future books?

A.) Always. I can’t keep up with all the ideas. I keep a list of ideas while working on other projects, but sometimes there are idea casualties.

Q.) What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

A.) Don’t compare yourself to your favorite authors. But, still learn from them. What do they do that you admire? Is there one aspect you can work on now? Dialogue, description, pacing? Work where you are and make goals on how to grow your craft. Embrace your style even if it isn’t conventional.   

Q.) And most importantly, aliens have threatened to destroy the human race, and you have been chosen to convince them otherwise (congrats!). What would you say to justify our existence?

A.) We are the best reality TV species in the universe. Just point a camera at us, pop some popcorn, and enjoy the tragdramedy that is humanity. And like Mr. Rogers said, “look for the helpers.”      


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