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The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,580 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews

In raw, poignant alternating first-person narratives, interspersed with e-mails, gay chat-room exchanges, and other fragments of a youth laid bare in the age of social media, The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves unravels the mystery of a life in all its glory: despair and regret, humor and wonder, courage and connection.

A heartbroken and humiliated Ricky Graves took the life

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Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Little A
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Larry H
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars for this one.

Social media has made it possible for us to connect with people from all phases of our lives, all over the world. Sadly, it has also made it easier for people to bully, ridicule, criticize, gossip, and humiliate. No matter how many connections we may have, are these true relationships? Will the people with whom we share photos, pithy sayings, humorous videos, and casual greetings actually be there to help us in our time of need?

These are questions James Han Mattson address
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James
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that I wrote. It comes out in December. I gave it five stars 'cause I wrote it. You can put it on your "Want to Read" list if you want to read it. It'd make me smile if you did.
☘Misericordia☘  ✺❂❤❣
DNF. Impossible for me to read. Not because it's bad but rather since it's not what I prefer. I can see people with all these issues in real life. And I don't want to see the same inane behavior in my books.

I probably am one hell of a bigot and worse but I sort of got twitchy trying to read it. I wanted to send everyone to some kind of medical health practitioner, starting with a good psychoanalyst.

The cloying atmosphere of the day-to-day stupidities people regularly do was reflected here supe
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Craig Allen
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was so very excited to read this book, and I'm happy to say it was worth the wait, and then some. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read and review it.

In "The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves" we pick up in the aftermath of a shooting by a humiliated teen. Ricky is lonely, gay, bullied, and recently humiliated by a group of popular boys, one of which he thinks is interested in him. It was all a prank, though, and Ricky takes a dark path of revenge, shooting and killing the le
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Joanna Pedagno
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Not what I expected

Highly recommended. Should be required reading for high school kids. The story is written with each character telling their part individually. Real people, real situation, really good.
Jess
Out of the three Kindle First books I've read so far, this one is by far the best. It's a modern, accessible story about the "lost prayers" we send out into the world every time we go online and what happens when those prayers go unanswered.

Judging by that description alone, I'd probably never choose to read this book--as a millennial firmly rooted in our technological world, I abhor fiction that exists purely to rail on those dumb kids with their faces stuck to their screens. I was worried thi
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David Haws
Nov 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves was categorized as Literary Fiction, and I imagine Orson Scott Card had something like it in mind when he exaggerated that the only people reading this particular genre are the students of the people producing it.

I made it through nearly 30% of the book before giving up. I can handle quirky first-person, although I prefer the author to limit himself to one first-person POV per narrative, but I choked on the epistolary, gay-chat sections. Overall the narrative st
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Tucker
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every single one of the characters lacks insight into their own identity and behavior. Reproducing the inanity of the thought and speech of such people is usually tiresome to read, but this book is a rare exception where it is done to great effect. The people in this social network are interactively knit in such a way that their collective growth process becomes the reader's. Avoids sensationalizing the main tragic act which remains the fulcrum of the whole story. Honest about the double-edged s ...more
Kelsey Miller
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it
A tad too obvious...

This novel teases out the impact of technology on our personal and social interactions. It does so by alternating chapters' communication formats - email, chat, narrative, etc - and through the co ducts faced by two of the main characters (Jeremy and Ricky). While this is enough (and then some) to highlight the issue, Mattson has every character weigh in on the subject either explicitly or implied. By the midway point, I as a reader, thought "enough! I get it! It's a complica
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Karen
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible story! I read this book in less than two days, just couldn't put it down. I love every single one of the characters, how real they are, how imperfect, none of them really an outright villain. Just human, like all of us. I know I'm going to hold on to this book (mentally, emotionally) for a while, that I'm going to take some time to process it, and then in a few months I'm going to come back and re-read it with different eyes, and it'll be a completely new experience. I love bo ...more
Doug
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5, rounded up. I think if this were marketed as YA (since most of the characters are teenagers, and it would seem to appeal to that age range), I would be a bit more generous in my estimation. As an adult novel, it doesn't quite cut-it, but even though I considered not finishing a couple of times, ultimately I felt it wasn't a total waste. It DID suffer from having multiple narrators who almost ALL sounded exactly alike (and maybe it IS a New Hampshire thing, but four of them constantly use th ...more
Brian
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Ricky is a young boy who takes the life of a classmate then himself and shoots another in the arm. This book tells his story through the eyes of several people. It also uses chat room transcripts, which is an aspect that I enjoy in books. Ricky's life is a tragic one and we are given brief glimpses into the struggles he faced as well as the relationships which he had with those around him. The reason I gave the book 3 stars was because there were some characters that I wasn't particularly intere ...more
Cindy Mathis
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I got this book as my November Kindle First choice. This is the first time I’ve read the monthly choice in the month it was released. This book is the To Kill A Mockingbird of this generation. It should be required reading for every person on this planet.

I read a lot of books. Like, a lot. This is most original, most relevant book I have read this year. This is a book that will stay with me forever. If you’ve ever been a bully, been bullied, not understood your sexuality, felt marginalized or p
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Mandy
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was the book I chose from the November Kindle First options and I’m glad I did. I think a part of me was drawn to this book due to my current detachment and feelings towards social media...and to be honest, despite being a work of fiction, it opened my eyes even more.

I really loved how this book was set up with the emails between Ricky’s mother (Harriet) and Victoria Gorham, the “Man Date Chat Transcripts,” and the various first-person narratives....it made everything feel so real and perso
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Derrick
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I must admit that I’m finding it a bit difficult to find the right words to describe this book. It affected me in so many ways. It was extremely evocative, and somewhat provocative, both generally and on a personal level. The main plot and the sub-plots were perfectly contemporary, topical and timely. I hate to use the phrase, but not only were they “ripped from the headlines” of any modern newspaper on any given day, but they reflect topics that one might read – topics that I have read – in blo ...more
Goth Gone Grey
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Multiple POV of a 'snapped' shooter

On the surface, this is a story of a bullied, conflicted kid that is overwhelmed by his life, shoots others, then himself. It's told by multiple POV's before and after the fact in narration, chats, and emails. With so many voices, it leaves you wondering how they all might tie together neatly into a bow at the end of the story. Simply put, they don't. As in life, you're left with questions about multiple characters and how their paths connect, how their choices
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Robin Martin
I believe this book is geared toward teenagers, hoping to warn them into better behavior. On the surface, it is mostly about Ricky, his abusers, and the retaliation he takes against them which ends with a murder, a suicide, and an injury. But this book is deeper than that. Much like 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, this book delves into the lives of the tormentors and the people who were close with Ricky, exploring the motivations and collateral damage from their interactions with him.

I removed one
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Patrick
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great novel published for adults. Enjoyed the multiple perspectives. Powerful, relevant, and raw. Listened on audio. Top notch.
Kim
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
3.8 stars
Lisa
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The timely story of the aftermath of a young man who commits an unthinkable, violent act in a small New England town. I finished it in just a couple of days because it is so compelling. So many adults and "friends" fail this kid that you can't help but understand why he snaps. You're not directly responsible for gun tragedies, but we all are responsible for violent acts. I'll be a lot less quick to dismiss opportunities to be kind. This book will stay will me for a long time.
Laura
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So insightful

If I could rate this higher, I would ❤ Wish I could remember who suggested this book to me so I could buy them a present.
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Deb
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sad, haunting story of the events leading up to and the aftermath of a teen murder/suicide. I like the multiple pov's, which are also differentiated using various writing formats. This book gives you a lot to think about, and not to say that you sympathize with a killer necessarily, but being aware of the damage bullying causes is certainly a point the book makes clear. We are also witness to people in his circle coming to terms with signs they missed, and what they might have done to stop this, ...more
Amanda
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received this book through Kindle First. I chose it over the others because I felt the topic had great potential. Unfortunately I was incredibly disappointed. The story follows a murder-suicide by a young man in a small New England town. Each chapter jumps from character to character in First Person narratives. I've read multiple stories written in that fashion and believe it can be an interesting approach. But in this book I feel the author went overboard making his characters appear as shall ...more
Rick
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A truly exceptional, touching, and "powerful-new-voice-in-fiction" novel. Highly recommended.
Gordon
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I was delighted to receive a Kindle edition of this book by having entered Goodreads Giveaways.

James Han Mattson's debut novel, The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves is an oddly titled, but richly textured story that makes use of multiple narrators (a common trend lately), as well as a variety of written styles (prose, emails, even chat room dialogue) to explore themes of relationships (in the online age), single parenthood, bullying, altruism, and how we pursue (or don't pursue) the lives of which w
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Mark Hiser
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, lgbtq
Though the Internet is ordinary in our lives, it is sometimes a challenge to remember that it did not take recognizable form until the 1990s. Then, it was not until almost the year 2000 that social media sites came to the web. Today, we grapple with the impact of personal computers and digital technology and find that our advances come with implications we do not understand, and cannot know, because of the newness of the technology.

While true that the Internet can be used to form connections am
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Ginny
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I chose this as my Kindle First novel. The story pulled me right in, and even the alternating voices telling the story worked somehow. That's a good trick, making alternating storytellers different enough so that you don't forget who is speaking. (I did have to check a few times.)

Ricky Graves is already dead as the book begins. Branded as being weird by his peers, struggling with being gay, he was an obvious target for bullying, and a humiliating prank drove him to shoot two of his bullies and h
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Mel
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The lost prayers of Ricky Graves was my Kindle First pick for November, 2017. The story is a retrospective of the aftermath of a tragedy which befell a small New Hampshire town, unfolding through six different points of view: Harriet Graves, Ricky’s mother, a single mom a little too self-absorbed in being a good mother to really notice what’s actually going on with her kids; Alyssa Graves, Ricky’s sister (eight years older), who has her moments of closeness with her brother, but the age gap is t ...more
Dieter
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I find this to be courageous novel that raises some important questions. It’s absorbing and offers a great deal of food for thought, especially around issues of identity and media. What he provides of each characters’ internal dialogue sufficiently compels us to take account of how our self-concept develops, as well as our needs for it to be bolstered and how we respond when it is threatened. In telling of this tragedy about acceptance of ourselves and others, he allows us to see how the psychol ...more
Vivian
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
From my editor's letter:

As someone who maintains a public Twitter account, I always think about how my followers might think they know me on a deep level even though they only read what I share through an app. What does intimacy mean if your only tie to someone is through a social network? What do friendships mean if they’re based on emails, texts, chats? James Han Mattson’s modern take on an epistolary novel forces us to confront the depths, nuances, and questions that arise when you strike up—
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“I found, weirdly, that even with all the stuff that had taken place, even with all the drama and sadness and anger, I could sometimes feel real love for things I’d always thought I’d hate forever.” 2 likes
“She was so temperamental, that one, but I’ve learned you’ve just gotta let people have their emotions, screwed-up or not, and then wait for things to get back to normal. There’s no use sitting on things forever.” 1 likes
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