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The Summer of Crud

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-Barnes & Noble Press Presents list selection, February/March 2018

-Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist, 2018

-Recommended by Kirkus Reviews

The summer after graduating from college, 22-year-old Danny Wolinski takes a cross-country US road trip with his friend, Ian Perez, hoping to find the inspiration to reach his songwriting potential, start a band, and avoid student teaching in the fall.

Danny is tormented by intense physical and psychological pain and sees music as his only relief, but the more he searches for this inspiration in an America filled with endless parties, heavy drugs, and lost souls, the more he questions whether it exists.

A deeply disturbing and psychological coming-of-age novel, The Summer of Crud explores the complexities of friendships, masculinity, sex, mental illness, and addiction, and shows how the quest to unlock one’s creativity can both inspire and destroy a person.

*The Summer of Crud is the second book in a loosely-linked series with Hammond, Understanding the Alacrán, Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story, and The Soul City Salvation as books one and three-five. Each novel can be read independently of the others.

134 pages, Paperback

First published February 20, 2018

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About the author

Jonathan LaPoma

7 books335 followers
Jonathan LaPoma is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, and poet from Buffalo, NY. In 2005, he received a BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and he traveled extensively throughout the United States and Mexico after graduating. These experiences have become the inspiration for much of his writing, which often explores themes of alienation and misery as human constructions that can be overcome through self-understanding and the acceptance of suffering.

LaPoma has written five novels, fourteen screenplays, and hundreds of songs and poems. His screenplays have won over 160 awards/honors at various international screenwriting competitions, and his black comedy script HARM FOR THE HOLIDAYS was optioned by Warren Zide along with Wexlfish Pictures (AMERICAN PIE, FINAL DESTINATION, THE BIG HIT) in July 2017.

LaPoma's novels have been recommended by Kirkus Reviews and Barnes and Noble (B&N Press Presents list), have hit the #1 Amazon Bestseller lists in the "Satire," "Urban Life," "Metaphysical," "Metaphysical & Visionary," and "Religious & Inspirational" Kindle categories (USA, Canada, and Australia), and have won awards/honors in the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award, the 2016 and 2017 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President's Awards, and the 2015 Stargazer Literary Prizes. He lives in Mexico City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews
Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,226 followers
November 5, 2018
Disturbingly tranquil

I have expressed my turmoil with the oxymoron opening line. Now, let me tell you that this book is not for you if you are into mainstream stories. Or you are easily offended. Addiction and other fancy taboo words paint a gory picture in your mind that you immediately want to shut out.

HECK, this is a kind of book I fail to catalog in a genre. It is chaotic, piteousness spread across the lives of our main character Danny and his internal battle that resets every night.

Finding peace is not so hard. But that is not so easy either.

Look for it in the wrong place and it will always allude your mighty self. Parties, wine flow, reckless intercourse are the minor devils.

The mightier demigods of mental illness and misled masculinity paint a mirage like no other drug.

The story unfolds across a road trip laden with a melancholic feel to it. Danny is somewhat dominated by Ian even though they share the spit-swear-trust. This complicates the liberation seeked by Danny. The struggle is internal and the oceans of turmoil inside him are voraciously illustrated.


I was not that happy with the cover of the previous book Developing Minds of the author. But this one seems to be one of the best. Take a look at it yourself. Part of the reason I was compelled towards agreeing to review this one too.


People in the trip across the 136 page deep ocean are well formed. The intricacies matter the most in intense stories like these. Bravo on that!


This is the point where I have to warn you. Again. That this is not your lovey-dovey plot line.
As said, involves cuss words, mono themed instances and elongated details that may put you off.

HELL, it is not meant for people who have no interest in noir and mental melee.

This works on ALL OR NONE principle. Either you are gonna absolutely love this book or hate it.

I fall in the 1st bracket. KICKASS IS THE WORD.

I would have loved to see more of the crush of the protagonist. Leaves us hanging. Maybe in the future. Ending is confusing or abrupt - whatever you may want to call it. I'd refrain from commenting because this might be resurfacing point in the subsequent writings of the author.

Verdict : Slapstick depressing. 4 stars for the no holds barred account of crashed belief of mountains.
Profile Image for Liz.
565 reviews105 followers
February 17, 2018
OK, guys… I am sorry for the below review… this book had me in knots… it still does…

Basically… this book is about a dude, tender age of 22, who has a summer of freedom to escape the start of a teaching job in the autumn and he decided to escape the boring, bland adulting by digging deep and popping out some top chart songs by going on a road trip. Sounds good- ever young person’s dream. Trek across a country, in this case, the great US of A, bang out lyrics and tunes, and become rich without having to, you know, be a teacher or something equally boring as that because free souls be free souls! And I can totally understand that! What could be more exciting, hey? 22, free as a bird, tents, guitars, canned food and plenty of people to meet, experiences to experience.

But I figured Ian was searching for the same thing I was: something lost. Something buried way deep down. The Spirit of the Sixties. Peace. Love. Freedom of expression. The completion of all our half-written melodies.

Yep, it would have been pretty good if, indeed this whole trip our main character Danny would have been with ANYONE else other than Ian. Because Ian, I found, is the highest level of a mofo. What an arse! Friendship? It was more like a parasitism, whereby Ian used Danny as his personal dumping ground of excessive feelings and insults.

Most beginnings were messy, whether in relationships or conversations or road trips, and I knew shit would balance out.

So, the two dudes hop into a car and off they go, towards California from Buffalo. They smoke a whole pile of weed, make pitstops with various friends of Ian’s, drink, smoke, drink, smoke, chase skirts and throughout the whole time Ian is a complete crap friend to Danny. Making fun of him in front of others, teasing him, and generally treating him like shit stuck to his shoe. Hated it. BUT! Ian is an alfa and has a bit of a temperament so fair play- he is what he is… but Danny… gosh, he just takes it lying down, you know? It made me uncomfortable and sad…

Anywhoo…seeing as Danny is on a pursuit of spiritual awakening when it comes to music as his only saviour and passion, I get it- sometimes you gotta make sacrifices to escape the impending doom, and if that means putting up with Ian, so be it.

And I’d rather live in a real world full of anger and abuse than a fantasy world of rainbows and unicorns.

It is most certainly a fact that I missed the point of this book. Fact. The Summer of Crud seems successful in talking to a certain audience (going by some existing reviews), but it didn’t fully speak to me. We’re all wired differently so whatever pushes our buttons, right?!

I could understand the mental anguish Danny was going through, and separately, I could understand his physical pain as well. These two put together? Yes, absolutely possible but what a contrast to have! Again, it makes e sad! I mean, we’re talking about music, which is like the lifeline of the majority of the population. We all relate, we sing, dance and laugh and cry to it… it lifts us up and brings us down. What a wonderful thing, music?! The skill of composing it, hearts bleeding on music sheets, fingers gliding over piano keys or guitar strings… or, em, drumsticks! 😉 And, sure, mix in a bit of booze and weed and acid and whoa, holy sweet revelation- the worlds open up! (This is not encouragement to pick your poison though! Stay clean!)

You gotta do it now. There’s no time to waste. I gripped a toilet paper roll and gave my guts everything I had. Tears started to roll from my eyes. You’re disgusting! You’re evil! This filth- this filth is the Devil. God is watching you.

And now to the part that talks about Danny’s physical pain. I would have enjoyed this book a bit more if I would have actually understood how Danny’s physical pain relates to all of this. If ever there was a link I needed to be spelled out for me in between the mental and physical aspect of struggles, this was the case. I mean, was he brought up religious and that was totally messing with his head and body? I don’t know! Is it all a pile-up of guilt that just blocks all of the inspirational waves, in turn shutting down the body? I didn’t 100% enjoy the book, no, but I keep mulling it over in my head… can someone explain to me how this is all so deep? The drugs, the booze, the bullying and crudeness? I just don’t get it… Is it because I am unable to relate fully to the whole of this book? *sigh*

You see, the thing is- there is mention of Danny’s past a bit- a girl he broke up with, but why? Was she the reason Danny developed toilet troubles? Or, is it Ian and his direct meanness towards Danny? Is it Danny’s mental block that makes him literally block his bowel movements? I just don’t know, and yet I can understand the mental side of it… a lot!

You have no idea how powerful your brain is until it turns on you. Your brain is everything. Trust me. It’s everything. There’s nothing more isolating than insanity.

It was never really tied up in the end. If there is mention of physical and/or illness, let’s talk about it instead of ignoring it by drinking whiskey. No? All this book addressed was that Danny had serious issues but there was no solution offered… Does there always have to be a solution? Some would say yes, some would say no… I feel like Danny needs help, still.. that he’s somewhere in real life and he needs someone to help him. This book messed with my head. Was that its intention? Sure, fiction is fiction, it doesn’t always all come wrapped up 100% with a cherry on top of the HEA. But this was quite shocking in parts, you know?

After all the fun, not so fun, mean and painful trip, the book just ends. And I flipped the device around in my hand to see if I am missing some digital pages… The ending was abrupt and I simply couldn’t believe it. But then I thought about it a bit more and I made myself create my own understanding of it all, which is this-

* no matter where you go, to escape the status quo, our heads including all our thoughts, will always come with us.

* Young or old, life is all about taking risks and trying something new. And sometimes, at the end of long emotional, physical journeys we find that we really don’t want this new thing or change anymore… and that’s completely OK, to change our minds. Sometimes we need to just go to the other side where the grass is greener to see it up close and change perspectives.

Yes, entirely deep in parts, entirely crud in others… and if the story would not have had the same repetition weaved into the flow of it all, I would have possibly loved it more. There was another element of this book that personally didn’t click with me, but it’s too much of a personal issue than a global point of view… so I won’t even bother mentioning it… if you really want to know, let’s chat in the comments. So there, my very conflicting thoughts having spent time with The Summer of Crud… if you’re up for a crazy road trip, check out this quick read and let me know what you think
Author 0 books248 followers
March 15, 2020
The story is vividly described. It takes a lot of time and effort to follow one's passion and those are the lucky ones to acknowledge their calling, chase it and conquer it.

The author makes the adventures and struggles look simple and you connect with the characters most easily. But let me warn you, there are subjects and topics of drugs, prostitution and homelessness etc. which can hinder your reading pleasure if you aren't expecting them. So, keep in mind before diving into the sea of sentiments and thrills. Road trips with music as companion are the best when you want to know yourself a bit better and this one proves to be a strong and interesting read. Danny's attitude makes the ride more cherishing.

The cover is just breath-taking. I really loved the colors and the way it represents the story of this book.
Profile Image for Atiqah.
108 reviews2 followers
February 10, 2018
The Summer of Crud is disturbingly deep, hypnotising. I suspect this is the sort of writing that is book club worthy. I couldn’t stop reading it even if I wanted. It details the road-trip of a 22-year old, soon to be a teacher, on a journey that he hopes of encountering inspiration that will bring out the song stuck within him. The word ‘details: verb’ is underrated - the lead character’s (Danny) every waking moment in this journey is narrated.

The journey exposed a myriad of issues such as drugs, homelessness, prostitution, promiscuous parties, alcohol, etc, but these aren’t the reasons why I described it as disturbingly deep. It’s disturbing not because I found myself alienated from the lead character, nor am I drawn to him, only indifferent. Jonathan LaPoma wrote it such a way that it reveals the sort life that some people lead, and in such a way that makes me go “Oh, okay” instead of “Seriously, Danny? You drink beer to sleep and wake up to it?”. The word ‘party’ in this book has ceased to mean ‘a social gathering where you’re entertained and have fun with other people’, and more towards the dark and depressive meaning, which is ’people who get together to use booze, drugs, and sex to escape reality’.

I couldn’t appreciate this book to the fullest because of two reasons. Number 1; there are plenty of references to music I didn’t know in here. I streamed some on Youtube while reading and it was a nice experience. Number 2; I’ve never been to the US so references to places during this trip probably meant less to me than those who’ve actually been there. However, I still enjoyed Jonathan LaPoma’s writing very much.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy via Netgalley.

Full review on Bookmarks & Blue Light
Profile Image for La La.
975 reviews126 followers
February 13, 2018
2.5 on the blog.

This book had its moments, but there were too few for the length of the story. Many of the scenes were similar, so it seemed repetitive. It would have been better pared down to anthology short story length. In fact, to me it felt like it was originally a short story, with filler added to puff it up to novella length. I liked the very beginning of the story, but it slowly turned into eating cardboard.

I was approved for an eARC, via Netgalley, in return for an honest review. I will not be reviewing this title on my blog because I rated it less than four stars.
Profile Image for Ashlynn.
129 reviews12 followers
March 24, 2018
Disclaimers: The synopsis section is ©Goodreads but the rest of the reviews are completely my words and of course the quote section is obviously from the book reviewed.
4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

"With such pain, every moment is about one thing and one thing only: escape."

Blog; Join The ATB Family

The summer after graduating from college, 22-year-old Danny Wolinski takes a cross-country US road trip with his friend, Ian Perez, hoping to find the inspiration to reach his songwriting potential, start a band, and avoid student teaching in the fall. Danny is tormented by intense physical and psychological pain and sees music as his only relief, but the more he searches for this inspiration in an America filled with endless parties, heavy drugs, and lost souls, the more he questions whether it exists. A deeply disturbing and psychological coming-of-age novel, THE SUMMER OF CRUD explores the complexities of friendships, masculinity, sex, mental illness, and addiction, and shows how the quest to unlock one’s creativity can both inspire and destroy a person.

This book is the first book in a loosely linked trilogy with UNDERSTANDING THE ALACRÁN as book two, and DEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY as book three.
The Summer of Crud takes adventure and art to a whole other level. Traveling and music are key aspects in this novel. It's shorter than his other books, however it is so packed with life, lessons and realism. He gets into some deep shit and it will hit you. I found this particular book out of the three I've read the most identifiable within myself. Even though its from a mans pov, as a woman I completely understand and am sympathetic from a different aspect.

There was a point in my life where I felt exactly how Danny feels. There's something about engaging so much with a main character that it shapes you. The emptiness, the confusion, anger, hate, sense of wanting to be lost; it really reached a part of my soul that's hard to get to. It touched me on a personal level and I felt as if I was being accepted by the characters.

The lessons are some hard ones to face, but everyone has to face them eventually.
You have to read this. If there's one book out of the trilogy that you have to get your hands on, it'd be this one. There will be at least one chapter in here that will make you think and make you be so responsible you go why is this so me?

I recommend it without a doubt.

Profile Image for Kathryn.
530 reviews13 followers
December 6, 2017
DNF at 50%

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review*

If I could take back the hours this book stole from me I would. What the hell was this even about? Did it have a plot? I mean it had a synopsis but for what? This was plotless and I found myself saying why am I even reading this the more I got into it. To the point where I said ok I have to just give up because this is going absolutely no where.

The story follows a young man named Danny as he travels to Mexico with his friend Ian. So, you hear traveling and you think ok a lot must happen this will be a wild adventure, right? WRONG! A whole lot of nothing happens. The most interesting thing is his inner battle with himself and his issue with going to the bathroom which why was that a thing? The author didn’t even make sense of the point of that little detail.

Then you have the characters. While Danny was battling some inner demons it seemed I just didn’t care for him. Or for any characters for that matter. They all were bland, faceless, unlikeable people. They were utterly forgettable. I just finished the book and I don’t remember any of them. They all just got high, drank, partied, cursed, and did a whole lot of nothing.

The writing was ok it wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t remarkable. It was just there. The description portion was good and the author described the places in America that Danny visited beautifully. But, the dialogue was blah. I got tired of reading the characters conversations because like their personalities and the plot it was a whole lot of nothing.

Really I didn’t enjoy this at all. I wanted to I soooooooo wanted to. The synopsis sounded fantastic. The cover was beautiful. This story could’ve soared but sadly for it fell super flat. But, you know me I always recommend people try out a book because you never know this could be your next favorite. For me though it just didn’t work out.

Love, Kathryn
Profile Image for Yuuki Nakashima.
Author 7 books26 followers
December 11, 2017
To be honest, I couldn't be into the story at the beginning. However, it eventually turned out that it was an intriguing road trip story. Although it doesn't have a strong plot (or at least, I felt so) every moment was interesting and I did enjoy every single page.

The story is about two young guys' road trip that music, drugs and parties are involved. Their trip was exciting and sometimes chaotic, but I felt it had pathos at the same time and it was the biggest reason why this novel attracted me. If it were just a fun, exciting road trip story without a strong plot, I might not be able to finish the book. The main character Danny's physical and psychological issues were important factors in making this story interesting.

Since I love rock, the songs Danny and Ian listened to or played were automatically played one after another in my brain while I was reading it. It was kind of an enjoyable reading experience. The sceneries of the states also made me feel good as if I was traveling the country with them. When they were in San Francisco, some words and names of places made me filled with nostalgia for my days there. I guess the scenes of other cities are also realistic.

I really liked this book.

*I received this book from the author for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mosquitha.
27 reviews
June 1, 2018
The Summer of Crud was an interesting read that brought me back to a time of uncertainty to which many of us can relate – that time in life when you’ve just finished school and are about to enter the ‘real’ world of adulthood, work and responsibility. This can be a depressing and confusing time for those of us that had been “free spirits” in our youth. Especially for those of us that had artistic gifts we hoped would take our lives in a completely different direction.

This is certainly the case of the book’s protagonist, a fragile, shy boy who is musically gifted. He is about to become a teacher, but as a last chance to follow his dream of becoming a musician, he takes a road trip across the U.S. with a friend, hoping to find inspiration and insight on the path he should follow.

Their journey is well chronicled as they visit friends along the way and attend college parties where loads of alcohol and drugs are readily available. The author really captures both the urban and natural landscapes they travel through with vivid and evocative descriptions. At the same time, we also experience the protagonist’s internal turmoil, his difficulty in communicating with others and the mental and physical pain this causes. Will this trip make or break him?
Profile Image for Cami.
23 reviews
November 21, 2017
I did enjoy reading this book. However, I would to point out just a few things about the way I read this book.
This book involves a lot of traveling, which I enjoyed very much. It is a bit unexpected, which did not bother me while reading. The main character was indeed funny, and the trip itself full of exciting moments.
This book is about a young man that just finished college, and he is questioning certain problems in his life while travelling.
This is worth reading on a Saturday night when you do not feel like going out, as it is a fast and fine read.
Profile Image for Jack Stark.
Author 6 books32 followers
March 4, 2018
1.2783 stars.

You can read my more in depth review of this on my blog where I swear a lot about how much it irritated me - Random Melon Reads!

I woke at 6:30am as was the usual for me. I turned to my bedside table and grabbed a fresh bottle of water. I drank the lot in one go. Nothing irritates me more than that morning dehydration. I dragged my lifeless body into my en suite bathroom. Shit, pissed and showered. I brushed my teeth and stared at my lifeless dead eyes in the mirror. Sometimes I will look into the mirror for minutes at a time, wondering if there is really anything looking back. The eczema across my eyes and cheeks was coming back. I applied some E45 cream and headed back into my bedroom. I put on some fresh clothes. Unironed. It was Sunday after all and I didn’t need to wear ironed clothes. I wanted to wash my bed sheets but I’d do that later. I headed down the stairs and into the kitchen. The rest of the family had gone out and I was glad about this. Sometimes I find it difficult to engage with people. They drain me of my energy. This morning I needed to be alone for a while. I had some toast and porridge, washed down with some Orange and Mango juice. Then I went into my office and painted the nails on my left hand only. This was something I had recently started doing to challenge the gender norm expectations of some people. I’m so deep and emotional like that you see. Actually I’m not and I think I should just kill myself now and be done with it. Burn down the town and take everyone else out with me. I’d be like a real life Carrie. I asked Alexa to play Elephant by The White Stripes. Alexa abided. I sat back and listened to Jack White’s masterful guitar playing and finished a book I was almost done with. I decided to open Twitter and see what the world is up to. I sometimes think I have an obsession with twitter and want to give it up completely but if I do I would be giving up the only friendships I’ve been able to form. Online friendships seem to be my limit. I’m best known from a distance. When I die I will be forgotten about. I will die, like how Einstein and Christopher Reeve and the bird that landed in my garden that one time all died. I spent the rest of the morning finishing the book and listening to music on spotify. Then the afternoon started and I sat at my computer ready to write a review of the book I’d just read.

Do you see how my morning has absolutely nothing to do with the story here? Do you see how I have used a lot of words but I’ve actually said nothing of any worth? Do you see how I just put the odd crude or controversial thing in there to desperately try and give the impression that my story is a thought provoking emotional ride instead of just being bland and boring? Do you see how I had no payoff because I didn’t set anything up properly, and how the things that felt like they should have been setting up a payoff didn’t? Do you see how I wasted your time in telling you that story because it means nothing? Do you see how I’m just repeating myself over and over AND OVER AGAIN? Frustrating, isn’t it?! Well, that’s what The Summer of Crud is.

Unfortunately, this is little more than a stream of consciousness with no plot and no intrigue or excitement.

Be my friend and chat with me on the twitter dot com. Peace and Love.
Profile Image for Grady.
Author 50 books830 followers
February 26, 2018
‘San Francisco was about art. LA was about making it big.’

California author Jonathan LaPoma not only writes novels (three to date) but also screenplays, poetry and songs! He earned his BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo, gathered ideas or seeds for future novels from his travels both the US and Mexico, began writing and winning awards for his works, and now teaches secondary school in San Diego. The handsome young artist explores themes of alienation and misery as human constructions that can be overcome through self-understanding and the acceptance of suffering. His novel UNDERSTANDING THE ALACRÁN (in ways, a prequel to his DEVELOPING MINDS) won the silver medal in the 2017 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President's Awards (Contemporary/Literary category). Now he presents THE SUMMER OF CRUD, which in essence is the prequel to Jonathan’s other two novels.

Jonathan's lyrical writing is evident as he opens his road trip - ‘We cruised down my street and made our way first to the 290, then the 90, and headed southwest around Lake Erie bound for the Great West. Bound for freedom. Buffalo was dark. But soon there’d be light. We’d graduated from college a month earlier, and the road was calling us. We didn’t have any specific plans, only a rough idea of where we were going: across the US to the Pacific, then down to Mexico, stopping to see friends and national parks along the way. Other than to get out on the road and make some music, we never really discussed what we were looking for. But I figured Ian was searching for the same thing I was: something lost. Something buried way deep down. The Spirit of the Sixties. Peace. Love. Freedom of expression. The completion of all our half-written melodies. I wanted to write songs and play them on the streets of the Haight. I wanted to walk the alleys where Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg passed bottles of port while waxing poetic. I wanted to strip down and run screaming through endless green meadows cut through with crystal-clear mountain streams. I wanted to roll in the dirt and wash myself in the rain and touch the earth and feel my atrophied spirit rise inside of me. America as I’d known it was oppressive and filthy and imbalanced and negligent and abusive. But there had to be a real America out there. A Great America. And there had to be a real me out there too. But given how it started and all I knew of Ian and this world, I should have known our trip was doomed.’

To borrow a bit from the book’s plot synopsis, ‘The summer after graduating from college, 22-year-old Danny Wolinski takes a cross-country US road trip with his friend, Ian Perez, hoping to find the inspiration to reach his songwriting potential, start a band, and avoid student teaching in the fall. Danny is tormented by intense physical and psychological pain and sees music as his only relief, but the more he searches for this inspiration in an America filled with endless parties, heavy drugs, and lost souls, the more he questions whether it exists. A deeply disturbing and psychological coming-of-age novel, THE SUMMER OF CRUD explores the complexities of friendships, masculinity, sex, mental illness, and addiction, and shows how the quest to unlock one’s creativity can both inspire and destroy a person.

That is a fine summary, but what it does not allow is to feel the beauty of Jonathan’s writing style and the infectious manner in which he pulls us into this mélange. Conversations are raw, turgid, and right on the money, and just when the reader feels this is all dark comedy, Jonathan waxes poetic – and the change is seamless. This is yet another brilliant book from a very promising new author. He is swiftly becoming one of America’s important novelists.
Profile Image for Yawatta Hosby.
Author 10 books74 followers
December 19, 2017
***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

I enjoyed this book. Danny was the main character with Ian being his road trip buddy. Tension started from the very beginning when Ian wouldn’t let Danny put his stuff in the car. The author did a great job with dialogue. Their fights seemed so real that I often wondered ‘how in the world can Danny be friends with Ian? He’s a jerk for no reason.’

My favorite lines: 1) We woke up late the next morning to the smell of fireworks and hot dogs and phony patriotism. 2) “And I’d rather live in a real world full of anger and abuse than a fantasy world of rainbows and unicorns.” 3) With such pain, every moment is about one thing and one thing only: escape. 4) I tried to see myself in the mirror, but my vision was so blurred and thoughts so rapid I couldn’t recognize anything outside of my own misery.

I felt bad for Danny. He was bullied by Ian. He was depressed and probably should have been on meds instead of excessively drinking. Danny definitely needed a hug.

The book kept mentioning a girl Danny had a crush on. I wish we could’ve gotten to know her more. What about her was he attracted to? With the ending, I’m still trying to figure out the point of the road trip…but, I guess it ended like that because the book is part of a series.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.
Profile Image for Lace.
31 reviews
February 1, 2018
The Summer of Crud by Jonathan LaPoma is a literal cross country road trip and a figurative journey to the darker places of the mind. Danny, along with his friend Ian (is he really a friend though?), split gas cost, leaving their hometown and hopefully problems behind in search of something better. Chapter by chapter, it becomes apparent Danny has not been mentally well for some years prior to this cross-country trip. Being subjected 24/7 to the mental abuse and mind games of his equally disturbed road companion and ”friend” Ian, challenges Danny’s lucidity even more. The narrative is twisted enough to be intriguing, but not so much that it’s a turnoff. I caught myself wondering about past physical or mental abuse that could have driven Danny to his current state of mind. The Summer of Crud is a deep, unique, extremely well-presented narrative of self-awareness while declining into mental illness.
Profile Image for Cyan Night.
Author 1 book24 followers
December 3, 2017
This is a thoughtful, well-written book, short, sweet and straight to the point. There is a substantial amount of profanity and various other adult subjects right from the very first chapter, not for the faint hearted and not for those who like block buster style commercial writing. Yet it is easy to read, the extensive dialogue between Danny and Ian, their complex relationship kept me wanting to know more. I finished the book rather quickly. The ending was good - simple, real and convincing. My main (minor) complaint relate to the numerous specific American references - music and geography - so my mind drew a blank on these casual references. I should give this a 4.5 star because of these issues, but I round it up to show support to an author who has the courage champion the point of view of a far-less-than-perfect character.
Profile Image for Samantha.
392 reviews38 followers
May 29, 2019
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I am leaving this review voluntarily, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

During the last summer before starting his teaching job, 22 year-old Danny Wolinski takes a cross-country road trip with his friend Ian Perez in hopes of finding the inspiration that will take his songwriting to the next level. As they travel from place to place we see them party and get high almost constantly while Danny deals with abuse, mental illness and physical pain.

This book was hard to review, because while so little actually happened, it said so much. Ian is verbally and mentally abusive to Danny. He makes fun of him and puts him down both alone and in front of people. Danny allows this behavior to continue because he feels special that Ian has chosen him for this role. It is in this way of thinking that we see signs of Danny's mental illness.

“The Darkness was addicting. There was ecstasy in depression. Honor in anxiety. I knew I was a sacrifice. And I knew so few others could handle such a role.”

This passage from the book speaks volumes to the way abuse victims see their abusers. This passage itself, shines a bold light on the inside of a troubled mind.

The ending is abrupt, but it works. Nothing gets wrapped up in a pretty bow. It just ends, as sometimes things just do.

I don't recommend this book for the faint of heart. This book is raw and written bluntly. Nothing in this book has it's edges sanded down or rounded off. The topics of mental health, addiction, abuse and physical pain are not made over into something less terrible than they are. That is one thing I can appreciate about this book. If you are into blunt material that doesn't always receive the storybook happy ending then this book is probably for you.

You can find this and other reviews on my blog
Profile Image for Audrey (Warped Shelves).
683 reviews39 followers
April 16, 2018
This review is based on an ARC of The Summer of Crud which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Almendro Arts).

Though The Summer of Crud is short, MAN is it deep! This narrative is chock full of harsh observances of human nature and insecurity. The main character Danny gives us some excellent internal monologuing throughout the book, filled with his insight of what it's like to be living on the other side of social acceptance. Plagued by anxiety, depression, physical ailment, and an aggressive best friend, Danny struggles with himself and the rest of the world, the two being seemingly opposing forces.

I simply adore the raw flow-of-conscious narrative of this story. This is one of those books that is so full of incredible quotes that rather than sharing a few I might as well just give anyone a copy of the book and say "Here, read this; I really love it."

Being as short as it is, this book is perfect for me because I could just pick it up anytime the urge takes me and read it again in half a day. The Summer of Crud is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower's grungy older brother. And if that doesn't make you want to read this book then I don't know what will!

Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge: A book about mental health
Profile Image for Marjorie.
35 reviews
January 10, 2018
I read this book through in one sitting, yet the storyline did not stick with me as much as the experience of reading this book did. It was as if the author's words were carrying me along like a strong current until I reached the end, washed up on the shore and not sure of what had just happened. This book is definitely weird, but enjoyably so. Most enjoyable in my opinion is the protagonist's frankness; I found it a daring piece of work but would not be surprised to see it receiving criticism for its sometimes unsympathetic and ego-centred, victim-playing complaining. (which makes up a large part of this book). The book also makes references to mental illness, self-harm, and substance abuse, however, I felt this was done in a refreshing way, without the protagonist feeling the need to explain to the reader why he undertakes such damaging actions and simply describing them as an ingrained habit, a fact of his life. Overall the writing style is what made me give this book a 4/5 star rating, without it, I doubt I would have read this book for the storyline.
Profile Image for Lisa Bentley.
1,336 reviews16 followers
February 10, 2018
Oh dear.

For me, The Summer of Crud by Jonathan LaPoma had so much promise. I am looking for a book in the New Adult genre to blow me away and I have yet to find one. I had all my fingers and toes crossed that The Summer of Crud would be it. That finally I would have found a book to give me that satisfied book feeling.

It turns out that The Summer of Crud was not going to be the book to make me feel that way.

Jonathan LaPoma is a good writer. I am not saying that he isn’t but for me something just didn’t connect. The scenes of drug taking were gratuitous but not really offensive which is fine. I love road trip movies so hoped I would love this road trip book. I just found myself shouting at the protagonist Danny because he was letting his friend, Ian, push him all over. I couldn’t empathise with Danny’s situation.

Overall, The Summer of Crud just had me wondering what really the point of it all was.

The Summer of Crud by Jonathan LaPoma will be available from the 20th February 2018.

For more information regarding Jonathan LaPoma (@JonLaPoma) please visit www.jonlapoma.com.
March 12, 2019
As someone who’s known Jon most of his life, I connect with this book differently. See, during the time he was taking these adventures we were in and out of touch. Both young, and very explorative. Instead of spoiling the plot of this novel, I’ll just say a few things. To me, this is a story about stretching one’s limits by any means necessary. A young man seeking to take a bite out of the world, even if it breaks his teeth. In this journey, you’ll learn about the heights and boundaries of friendship. You’ll follow a character, who puts themselves all the way out there in the name of adventure, even if it means they will possibly lose everything. If you’re the type of person, who enjoys seeing the ordinary get shaken up then this is for you. This is about being all the way in on yourself, with no exit plan. Yet, hoping that even if you jump over the edge ... you can survive and be built from it.
Profile Image for Ellie.
60 reviews4 followers
February 2, 2018
"They thought I was dirty. They thought I was weak. I was stronger than any of them; I was holding up the weight of the world."

Oh, good lord, the ennui. This must be what stereotypical grandmothers mean when complain that kids these days have no problems and are depressed about nothing. A depressing but fortunately brief road trip story about two 22 year old with the maturity of 14 year olds — they see the coolest parts of the country, smoke everyone's weed for free, they're supposedly broke but never seem to starve or ever run out of money for long. That sounds... awesome, and yet they never stop complaining. I'm not trying to be unsympathetic, I know you don't have to have a heartbreaking, obvious reason to be depressed, which the Danny, the main character, clearly is. He was kicked out of a band. He's got some substance control issues, but the kind characters have when the author doesn't do a lot of drugs themselves ("And then I smoked some more weed and I saw some colors. But oh no, opium is too close to heroin, I feel guilty now! I'm living on the edge because other people at this party are doing cocaine!") The bathroom stuff was really gross to read about, but the one part where I did legitimately feel for him. His "friend" Ian is a poorly fleshed out asshole — one minute he's like "your songs are so deep man," and the next minute (and most of the time) is absolutely terrible. It is observed he only treats Danny this way, but why? I might have given this book an additional star if just once Danny had told him to go to hell. The ending felt like the author just got tired of writing or hit his deadline or something. I picked this book because I liked the cover and did not have to wait for publisher's approval, but I don't think I'd read another book by this author again.
June 30, 2018
The book is wonderful. The author is incredible. I recommend reading all books by this author
Profile Image for Ayekah.
1,107 reviews
January 22, 2018
DNF @ 40 %

I tried multiple times to get into this story and just couldn't. I pulled this off NetGalley read now.
The book starts with two young men out of college taking a cross country road trip, both seemingly for very different reasons. They make stops along the way, all of which were haphazard and didn't seem to fit into the story in enough detail. The two MC's constantly bickered. Danny had bathroom issues which I didn't read far enough into the book to see where that stemmed from. It reminded me of a toddler refusing to use to potty. I digress. I am sure this book may appeal to a different audience, it didn't work for me. I like the author but this story was far too tangential and I couldn't see reading anymore of the book to see if it pulled out of the total spin it was in.

**Arc from NetGalley and Publisher ** in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for #TheLIAs | Alia & Julia.
13 reviews1 follower
January 23, 2018
I wasn't a huge fan of this book. It was all over the place in what it was trying to convey. The characters were unlikable and I don't think anyone could relate to any of them. Which is pretty much a requirement for any book that's trying to be a coming of age, or trying to "find yourself" type of book. Most of the dialogue seemed predictable, stereotyped, unnecessary, or a combination of all three. I feel like it missed the point it was trying to make, if it had one at all.

For a more detailed review: www.theliasblog.com/2018/01/23/book-review-the-summer-of-crud/
Profile Image for Chrisoula Panagoulia.
Author 1 book7 followers
January 24, 2018
Unfortunately The Summer of Crud didn't Live up to my expectations. I felt it was boring and dragging on and on. However, I do not want to underestimate the author as this is his way of writing. I recommend this book though to everyone, especially YA.
Profile Image for Nicki White.
Author 1 book35 followers
December 14, 2017
I pick this book up off of NetGalley read now section, These are the books you don't have to wait to hear back from the publisher on. I already have enough I'm waiting to hear back on but also wanted to have a read now. I browsed and the cover was what jumped out me. The total artistic vibe so matches the inner workings of this book. As I read the synopsis I was drawn more into reading the piece. Very rarely do I come across books that solely focus on a male lead, with the exception of books following an already release female POV. So I was intrigued. The cover. The synopsis. All pointed to being and an exciting rollercoaster of a ride with Danny and Ian on a cross-country trip. Unfortunately for me, that's where it stops.

I found Danny to be way too chaotic and damaged. I really don't recall any good point being made about him except that he is a teacher. Ian was no better though, he was loud, crude, obnoxious and mindless. While the development of the characters was barely there with the exception of Danny, backstories were minimal. 

Essentially this book came down to being just about smoking, drinking and a guy who has some serious bathroom issues. Yes. Bathroom issue. It wasn't often that I came to a scene that held substance, but there were a few thrown in there.

But I will say this, I believe if I was a freshman male in college I would probably find this book to be comical, likable and relatable. I'm not, I'm so far from that spectrum so I do believe that is why I just found the book to be okay.

What I did enjoy was the musical soundtrack you get to take with these guys. LaPoma often through in some great tunes that the guys traveled to or partied with. In fact, I think every spot they stopped along the way has a song or two to go along with it. Most I knew others I've just discovered. 

Would I read this again? No. Would I read again by Jonathan LaPoma? Yes, I probably would. 
Profile Image for I go by 'Jo' now.
80 reviews6 followers
January 1, 2020
A road trip that vividly lives through every bad corner from drugs, addiction, sex, booze, and parties. At the same moment that the one’s life could be still undecidable. Succeeding in college may not be the final hardship but the time to decide your future worth. Yet, Danny chooses this opportunity to find his tempo and notes in starting a band with his music besides him before he decided to fulfill his teaching career.

This book has lots of music playlist. Some of them are likeably relaxing and soothing. Maroon 5! I’m a fan.

Beforehand, let me warns you that this book possesses much of burglar words which are really just needed I think with this kind of story. Realistically incorporated.

It was a smooth read all along. I would not say this book is weird but somehow it psychologically inflicted some bad energy on me. I realized that the life Danny settled in is really hard and with that painful burden he is experiencing I don’t know if I also can live mine through all of this.

Jonathan style of writing is blatantly good and I really enjoy the whole part. Deeply moving and hypnotizing. Thoughtful-driven words straight to the point. I should try more of his works.

The Summer of Crud is a psychological coming-of-age novel, I want you to read, too. So grab it soon.

You can check my review here >> https://descendantofposeidonreads.wor...
Profile Image for Sam.
1,670 reviews12 followers
May 15, 2019
A couple of college graduates are on an end of college adventure traveling across America looking for hope, drugs & musical inspiration! Unfortunately it comes with a massive dose of paranoia & pain! Interesting read!
Profile Image for Beth.
926 reviews21 followers
August 17, 2018
"Ronnie handed us more shots, and I took another down. It started to come back up, but I took some deep breaths and held it in. For dinner we went to a fish place near the bay, and Ian and I shared the cheapest dish they had. We squeezed into Sam's truck and drove back into the guts of San Fran. He parked a few blocks from his place, and we walked the rest of the way, passing a street littered with homeless kids. They played bongos and sang off-key and mouthed off to passersby. One kid about my age played a guitar with the words "My other guitar is a syringe" written on it in black marker. That one got to me.

They reached out for us and begged us for change and told us we were bitches and all that crap, and I did everything I could not to let them touch me. Not to be swayed by their siren song, and as Sam unlocked and opened the door, all I could picture was Jerry Garcia's dead body lying in Buena Vista Park surrounded by yuppies taking pictures - close-ups of the syringe hanging out of his arm - and selling them as "art." This wasn't the Summer of Love. The Summer of Love was dead. No, this was the Summer of Crud, and it was layered so heavily all over me no amount of scrubbing would ever wash it off."

Raw and skin-crawlingly gritty, The Summer of Crud is a tale of late-/post-college ennui, mental and physical illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and acute self-loathing, with a strong dose of "with friends like these, who needs enemies." While the story itself was tough to take in and the characters were generally terrible people, the writing was well-done and the story had a steady pace, never staying in one place for long and pulling the reader along on Danny and Ian's journey. It was a quick read, too - just a couple of hours.

*Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Soniya.
19 reviews1 follower
August 30, 2020
Story about a 22 years old young dude Dan who is going to be teaching in the coming fall. But before that he plan to take a tour around US and Mexico with his close friend Ian. He wants freedom, answers to his questions, to complete his incomplete songs which he believed that this tour will give him. Dan has his inner demons constantly bugging at him. He has also some physical problems ( bathroom problem to be specific), reading those scenes was really painful. He is frequently being treated like trash by his companion Ian (I hated him) and the sad part is he's letting him just because they are travelling in Ian's car or at least somebody has finally acknowledged him. The journey is full of wild parties, smoking herbs, drinking, staying at friends place and more partying. The ending don't give much. I guess we'll have to figure out ourselves.
Anyways it is quick and easy read.There may be few things that you won't like and I can't blame you- It being very raw, unfiltered and honest coming-of-age story.
I will recommend it!
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