Rats Saw God, by Rob Thomas
Steve York lives in the shadow of his famous father, astronaut Alan York (“he may have been the 3rd or 4th man to step on the moon”). As Steve learns that he is about to fail English class and not graduate, he is summoned to the guidance office and learns that he has been assigned a 100-page paper (at least Steve is given the parameters of “any topic”). Steve then chronicles his life over the past years for us to witness.
Steve is a typical teen, he has a girlfriend, an over-achieving little sister, parents going through a divorce, an after school job, he helps to create the school’s first Dadaist club (they build a wonderful Home-coming float entitled “Get Hammered” as well as produce a great spirit video); so where does his life derail?
In the spring of 2003 The Voice of Youth Advocates published a journal article selecting Retro-Printz Awards for the years 1978-1999, and Rats Saw God was the winning selection for book published in 1996. The Printz Award is given annually by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, “for a book that exemplifies literary excellence for young adults.”
Rob Thomas has credited the genesis of this novel from a newspaper article he read while living in Texas.
Check the WRL catalog for Rats Saw God