Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: At Dawn by Jobie Hughes

I've been waiting for this book for a long time. Several years in fact, since the author's debut novel. Jobie Hughes is the co-author of the NYT bestselling YA book, I AM NUMBER FOUR. A movie of the same name was released as well. Some of you may be familiar with his rather sad tale. It tells of Hughes' collaboration with James Frey to write I AM NUMBER FOUR. Hughes was a graduate student in Columbia University's MFA program. He saw this as a great opportunity to get a book published and make contacts in the publishing world. Who knew the book would blow up and join the New York Times bestseller list and get adapted into a movie to boot?! The sad part is, Jobie can't use his own name on the book or publicly acknowledge he wrote it. It's all part of the contract he signed. If you're not familiar with what happened, you can read about it here in this NewYork magazine article: If this isn't proof of how writers need an agent or someone with expertise to review their contracts, I don't know what is!

I've been anxiously awaiting his next literary effort, one he can put his own name on. At Dawn is it. It's not a YA novel, it's an adult literary story. Check out the description...

Caught in a riptide of haphazard underemployment, at turns violent and unpredictable and with no family or friends to speak of, Stratton Brown longs for the chance to escape his small-town past and build a new life. He sets out for Chicago, where he meets a new and fresh hell: a nine-to-fiver in a nondescript, meaningless company while falling headlong into an obsessive love affair with a woman he believes may be a bit too attached to her abusive ex-boyfriend. Is this all America has to offer its twentysomethings? He'll soon have to figure out that, beneath the gruff labor of building a new life, lies the presence of something much more true: a way past his violent childhood and a new path to the American dream.

This book is so different then his earlier effort, I didn't know how I would like it. I'm tickled to say, I freakin' loved it! Hughes has some serious writing chops. The protagonist, Stratton Brown has a lot in common with Hughes: they're both writers, both from Ohio and national wrestling champs. Does it sound faintly autobiographical? I met Hughes at a book signing and he acknowledges that there are parts of himself in the character. The question is, just how much?! I won't give away any spoilers, but there are some tough scenes, one that shocked me. I hoped they weren't part of the author's true experience!

At Dawn is a thought-provoking, introspective saga of a young man trying to get his life in order, but the flaws in his character, make it damn hard. I love how Hughes pulls the reader into Stratton's head and doesn't pull any punches. This story is stark and gritty. It's full of hard, knotty points, funny hysterical moments, philosophical meanderings and downright, moments of dread and unbelief. It'll leave you in tears too.

As a cat lover, one of my moments of pure joy was when the character, Stratton Brown made an observation about the cat in his life that was almost verbatim what I once said to someone. That was seriously, awesomely weird---and endeared me to this story even more. I made sure to wear my cat pin when I met the author and that got a good chuckle.  :-)

The experience with I AM NUMBER FOUR, left Hughes with a bad taste in his mouth to say the least. He's not so keen on writing another young adult book. I think that would be a serious mistake and pretty much told him so. He's proven his mettle in writing good, emotional stories in both the adult and young adult genres. The reading audience would be the losers if he doesn't make another go of it.

At Dawn is so well written, I want to give someone else the chance to read it and enjoy it. If you'd like to be that someone, just leave a comment. Don't forget your email. That is all.

Giveaway open to residents of the US, only---this time.

At Dawn was released October 16, 2012.

Toodles, ya'll!


  1. I'd enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the chance!

  2. If this is open to all, I would like to be counted in for this one.Thanks for sharing.


  3. Thanks for the chance, I really enjoyed the Movie so you have made me curious. I have a pretty unique giveaway on my Bridge of Deaths blog. If you are not an author you can give away the spotlight to any author you like! I am at Thanks again
    M.C.V. Egan

  4. I love the way you love this know I have it...I will get to it soon...loved your lovely and hugs...Patty

  5. I grew up in Jobie's town- would love to read the book.

  6. Hey there, I found you through Book Blogs and I am now your newest follower! I'm glad you enjoyed this book. I've heard about it and I need to add it to my TBR list. I hope you are having a great Thanksgiving week! :)

    Leigh Ann
    MaMa's Book Corner


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