The World According To Noah York:
“Anybody who tells you he doesn’t have mixed feelings about his mother is either stupid or a liar.”
“Real life seldom makes me cry. The only thing that gets to me is the occasional Kodak commercial.”
“Sometimes I feel like Michelangelo, chiseling away at all the crap until nothing is left but the exquisite thing in the middle that no one else sees until it’s uncovered for them.”
Meet seventeen-year-old Noah York, the hilariously profane, searingly honest, completely engaging narrator of Bart Yates’s astonishing debut novel. With a mouth like a truck driver and eyes that see through the lies of the world, Noah is heading into a life that’s only getting more complicated by the day.
His dead father is fading into a snapshot memory. His mother, the famous psycho-poet, has relocated them from Chicago to a rural New England town that looks like an advertisement for small-town America—a bad advertisement. He can’t seem to start a sentence without using the “f” word. And now, the very house he lives in is coming apart at the seams—literally—torn down bit by bit as he and his mother renovate the old Victorian. But deep within the walls lie secrets from a previous life—mason jars stuffed with bits of clothing, scraps of writing, old photographs—disturbing clues to the mysterious existence of a woman who disappeared decades before. While his mother grows more obsessed and unsettled by the discovery of these homemade reliquaries, Noah fights his own troubling obsession with the boy next door, the enigmatic J.D. It is J.D. who begins to quietly anchor Noah to his new life. J.D., who is hiding terrible, haunting pain behind an easy smile and a carefree attitude.
Soon, the boys’ tentative attraction to each other blossoms into a very real love, one that will shatter the manicured façade of small-town civility and reveal the cruelties and betrayals hiding carefully behind the emotional walls constructed by husbands and wives, mothers and sons, friends and neighbors. And as Noah makes one last startling discovery within the old house, he will come face-to-face with a secret bigger than any heart should have to hold, and a truth more healing than he ever could have hoped for.
Part Portnoy, part Holden Caulfield, never less than truthful, and always fully human, Noah York is a touching and unforgettable character. His story is one of hope and heartbreak, love and redemption, of holding on to old wounds when new skin is what’s needed, and of the power of growing up whole once every secret has been set free.
A Main Selection of the Insight Out Book Club
A Finalist for the Insight Out Violet Quill Award
Winner of the 2004 Alex Award
“Since The Catcher in the Rye, authors have been hoping to create the next Holden Caulfield and critics have hoped to crown a character with that distinction. The latest temptation for comparison is surely Leave Myself Behind. Bart Yates’ main character and narrator, Noah York, has Caulfield-style teenage authenticity. Noah’s voice is more than just honest or original; it’s real…This isn’t just a novel about a boy dealing with discrimination and fighting for acceptance….We don’t see Noah as simply a gay teen or fatherless child. We see him as a character dealing with life. That’s what makes Leave Myself Behind so great.”—The Plain Dealer
“Noah York is seventeen, but don’t let his age fool you. Noah’s blunt, funny and dead-on narrative will lend this memorable tale of young-but-cynical love a fresh resonance with readers of all ages, gay or straight, male or female. A gripping tale of buried secrets and emerging attractions, but more than that, a story of the familial ties that bind as they grow stronger and pull apart.”—Brian Malloy, author of The Year of Ice
“With Leave Myself Behind, Bart Yates gives us both the laugh-out-loud and refreshingly sincere coming-of-age story we’ve been missing all these years.”—Instinct
“Tart-tongued and appealing, young Noah York is living through the worst and best three months of his life. In Bart Yates’ gripping debut novel, Noah spins a tale that is by turns refreshingly strange and poignantly familiar. What he discovers—about the haunted and haunting past, the always vexed relations between parents and children, the bittersweet mysteries of love—will shock and surprise and move you.”—Paul Russell, author of War Against The Animals
“Yates effectively captures the honest, sometimes silly, often tender interactions between his fragile characters.”—Booklist
“It’s not an easy task these days to come up with a fresh and original gay coming-of-age and coming-out story. Give Bart Yates credit; he takes the challenge and relies on other narrative pulls to launch his tale of how his narrator a smart and smart-alecky artist with Holden Caulfield-like skepticism about the world, comes to self-knowledge about his own sexuality, society’s (especially his high school’s) way of dealing with it…and most importantly, how his love for the boy next door develops. Yates is an author to watch and earns an ‘A’”.—Frontiers