So, The Blacktop Brothers is about a fifteen year old girl named Paige Katika who has a sixteenth birthday only three days away; but she won't be having a big celebration; for the entire first year of Grade Nine, she's been up against five boys, all tougher, all more street-smart, and all seemingly brothers; The Blacktop Brothers! What I like about the name I chose is because this is a book with the antagonist in the name, and while some movies, like, for instance, The Terminator, do this, not many books go this route. (Oh, and the side title if I chose one at the time would've been Paige's Retribution.) Because that's exactly what it is! What started as a friendly dodgeball game turned into a hazardous and beyond-treaty war when Paige couldn't take the teasing of losing. (Don't worry, I'm not spoiling anything in the big story.) The blacktop brothers ended up destroying everything in one school year; any chance of friends, all her old friends broken up with her; spectacularly abysmal grades, too up-on-guard to ever sleep properly in the night, in a bad relationship with her gullible parents, you name it, it happened to her. The only one whose stayed on her side is her grandma, and has purchased the most expensive car in the country as an early present. But then when the blacktop brothers pull a vandal job on it, Paige has fully had it! She's going to go find their address and give them a beating! Is she going to kill them? Perhaps. Is she going to prove all these crimes the boys have blamed her on to them? Could be impossible, but she'll try. Is she suicidal at this point? Absolutely.
So, let me get this right off the bat. At the time I was writing this, most of my inspiration was from cartoons, but the biggest influence was two things: 1) I was bullied throughout sixth grade by English Immersion boys at recess almost every day, and one of their last names I used in this book. I didn't have it as bad as some people out there, but they wouldn't leave me alone. Me telling on them like my mom and dad suggested didn't help at all. Or maybe they didn't suggest it and I ended up accidentally doing so, but like Paige, like everyone, I can be uncontrollably when sad and angry. 1a) This fun little splash pad with this stone whale and seal got vandalized in the summer between 6th and 7th grade. The name Madik was going down the whale slide, which is where I got my name for the primary antagonist. I hated and still do hate vandalism so much; the thought that someone could just destroy and hurt someone else's property or other people's fun splash pads or steal swing sets or cut skipping ropes hurt me, and as a kid I felt there was nothing I could do about it. In all the books the bully ended up good but here I didn't find it that way, so I decided to write this book for people like me who just want to feel good and say, "She sure showed them. That really hurt; they deserved it." Now, if you want a slapstick inspired thriller with just that and only that, I'd suggest reading only this one because the next books take a very different approach. And as a seventeen year old, I'm ashamed to admit sometimes there are grammar mistakes or something could've been written better, and there is a small detail during the heart-pounding chase that is quite implausible, but hey! I was in a hurry to get this published and there are books I've read with more errors. There is a time when the brothers are locked in a store, and I say "a locked door is a locked door." I have another explanation as to how five, no, four, no, five boys couldn't get a regular door open but it's explained more in the next books.
Still, this book never has a dull moment, filled with chases, that-was-close moments, and I feel that Paige makes for a relatable role-model, someone who got pushed past the breaking point and has to fight against completely uneven odds, and to this day, I love how I make up the main house. It's filled with secret passageways, clever design, surprises, fun ideas for architecture any kid or teenager could ever desire, and if you want a short read where you just want to read about roughnecks getting hit with hard rocks and hit in the head with glass, look no further with The Blacktop Brothers. And the sequels, Mountain Mission, Dropzone Madness, Years Ago or From Now, and the final instalment I haven't started yet, are better.