Ryan Gebhart

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Ryan Gebhart

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Ryan Gebhart was born and raised in Maumee Ohio and graduated from Ohio University with a master's degree in Spanish (he can hablar some español like a boss). His debut middle grade There Will Be Bears, about getting older, best friends, and a bear, is a selected title for seven state reading lists. His debut young adult Of Jenny and the Aliens, about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, will be released Spring 2017 with Candlewick Press.

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Ryan Gebhart Hi Viola,

Thank you for considering my story for your school, which is a huge honor! Given Tyson's sometimes choice vocabulary, I will fully understand…more
Hi Viola,

Thank you for considering my story for your school, which is a huge honor! Given Tyson's sometimes choice vocabulary, I will fully understand if you decide not to include BEARS into your library. Your concerns are completely warranted and I will do my best to express my thoughts on the matter at hand.

My decisions to have Tyson speak and act in his manner did not come easily. I spent three years constructing his character, his voice, his wants and needs. He is very much flawed. He poses to impress his friends and that sometimes is reflected in his inner (and casual) thoughts. Tyson is starting his thirteenth year with many entrenched biases and stereotypes simply because he doesn't know any better. I believe this is common to some extent among most, if not all, thirteen-year-olds.

Not to be so blunt, but I don't think I've ever met a politically correct thirteen year old. Middle school is quite a chaotic, almost Darwinian period in a young person's life. Tyson, being lower on the social pecking order, is going to be naturally inclined on picking on other people whom he feels are beneath him (which, in his case would lead him to casually call out someone as a "fatty in her fifties"). It's not a good thing, to be sure, but it is sadly reality. One of my worldbuilding aims was to construct a story based in our biased and judgmental times. Bear in mind, this same reality comes to bite Tyson in the butt later on, as the people he once thought were his friends judge him on his own socially perceived lesser merits.

I did not attempt to create a hero with Tyson. As the story opens, he says and thinks the wrong things. He judges people who he has no right to judge. But as the story progresses, I'd like to believe my character experiences events that make him more humble and empathetic and less judgmental. Because as Tyson puts it in the resolution, no matter our background: "we're all doomed to be adults."

I understand and appreciate your concerns regarding Tyson's casual sizeism as the story opens. Young readers may very well laugh at those opening comments and I cannot change that, and that responsibility is completely on me. As an author, I try my hardest to omit my personal views and construct characters with identities separate from my own. It can be quite a difficult task. I very much believe that in the United States we live in a sexist, racist, homophobic, sizeist society. My goal wasn't to reflect my own progressive views or to change or fix society and its biases in this book, but rather be representative of it. I simply wanted to tell a story that took place in this cruel world. One of (my many) goals with this book was to show a character trying to survive in the kind of dog-eat-dog judgmental environment that kids live in today.

I did not create a perfect book. Even with all the explanations I just gave, I still believe that I could have done better. I could have been more sensitive and aware. I hope you (and all readers) will judge my work not on a few lines in the book's opening, but on the text as a whole.

Thank you so much for reaching out. It has been a true honor to be a part of this community, and I'm learning so much with each passing day on how to be a better writer and a more empathetic human being.

roar.

Ryan Gebhart(less)
Ryan Gebhart Thank you, Lisa! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I recently sent my work-in-progress to my agent for his review, but I anticipate a few more rounds of…more
Thank you, Lisa! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I recently sent my work-in-progress to my agent for his review, but I anticipate a few more rounds of revisions before (and if) we submit it to publishers. If we get a deal for it, I'll be sure to post all the pertinent info here and on twitter, and maybe soon I'll also build a website.

I won't give away too many details about it at this point, but it's a YA spec fic about a boy coming to terms with the realization that he's fallen in love with the wrong girl, while at the same time, humanity discovers we're not alone in the universe.

-ryan(less)
Average rating: 3.58 · 612 ratings · 177 reviews · 2 distinct worksSimilar authors
There Will Be Bears

3.72 avg rating — 530 ratings — published 2014 — 7 editions
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Of Jenny and the Aliens

2.71 avg rating — 82 ratings — published 2017 — 3 editions
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

First off, I want to thank the entire middle grade community for their love and support of my debut novel There Will Be Bears. Its success could not have happened without you. The school visits, the Skype sessions, and the bear swears. Oh, how there were so many bear swears! It truly was the greatest honor sharing Tyson and Gramps' story with so many young readers.

I've had many teachers, librar... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on July 03, 2017 12:55 • 71 views

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“We're all doomed to be adults.”
Ryan Gebhart, There Will Be Bears

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