Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: DIVE SMACK by Demetra Brodsky @demetrabrodsky @JeanBookNerd


Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.


Praise for DIVE SMACK

"A tense psychological drama with a voice that pulls you in and a twist you won't see coming, Dive Smack is an instant Hitchcockian classic!" —Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten

"A twisty, witty thriller readers will love puzzling through to the very end. A visceral, delightful debut." —Carrie Mesrobian, author of William C. Morris award finalist Sex & Violence

"This riveting debut will plunge readers into an accelerating coil of twists and turns as if in free fall, plummeting them from a precipice as they cling to the dwindling hope of safe entry into the mysterious darkness below." —S.A. Bodeen, author of The Compound

"Brodsky’s debut combines an engaging school story, filled with best friend shenanigans, first love, and a fascinating look at competitive diving, with a tense psychological mystery." —Booklist

"In an impressive debut, Brodsky injects her teen drama with ambiguity, and a subtle hint of paranormal phenomena, leaving readers to guess at what’s really going on. Strong characters and a compelling mystery make this a real page-turner." —Publishers Weekly

"A taut thriller with a twist ending that will blow your mind." —Kim LiggettBram Stoker Award-Winning Author of The Last Harvest

"Complex, thrilling, and with a pitch-perfect narrative voice, Dive Smack will leave you on the edge of your seat and unable to put this one down." —C. Desir, author of Bleed Like Me

"Heartbreaking, human and heroic, Dive Smack is a Perfect 10!" —Karen LaFace, 1992 USA Olympic Springboard Diver

“A taut roller coaster of a thriller chock full of dark family secrets, twisty lies, and finally, the redeeming power of truth.” —Michelle Zink, author of This Wicked Game


There are lots of things I’d like to ask Iris Fiorello, but none of them have to do with how she likes it from a guy. Not that I wouldn’t want to know if ever I got that lucky. It’s just that I lost whatever ask-a-girl-out nerve I had the minute Mr. Malone assigned her and Les Carter as my sociology partners for our family history project. Chip likes to call me the King of Avoidance. Especially when it comes to girls. But I disagree. Sometimes caution and self-preservation are warranted.

I crack my neck from side to side and twist my trunk to loosen up my muscles.
When we talk about inertia in diving, this isn’t what we mean. The moment of inertia happens inside the dive when we interrupt rotational motion, controlling the speed of somersaults by lengthening or shortening of our bodies. A serious screw-you to gravitational pull I’m usually on board with (pun acknowledged, not intended).

What I’m doing now is stalling.

Chip says, “What’s our mantra?”

“I got this.”

“You got this. Visualize the dive and chuck it.”

I haven’t been able to see myself nailing this dive yet, but I’m willing to give it another shot. I close my eyes and envision myself leaving the board. This time it looks good. I’ve got the height, the rotations. I take three big steps to the end of the board and lift my right knee for the hurdle. When I come down I land the perfect ride. The board springs me higher into the air this time and my flight is perfect. I rotate backward for the reverse somersault, and twist. Once. Twice. Third time’s the charm and—

Chip yells, “Yeah! Chinga tu madre,” as I end the final half twist and I crimp the entry.

When I surface his eyes are bugged out like he can’t believe I screwed up. “What happened?”

“Fuck your mother,” I tell him. “That’s what you yelled. I’m pretty sure that’s not a regulation call-out.”

Chip sucks at Spanish so I’m never sure if he understands what he’s actually saying.

“Oh.” His eyes go wide. “That’s some disrespectful shit, especially today. I meant to say for your mother. Like an homage.”

“That’s para tu madre. Don’t stress about it too much. I doubt SeƱora Torres will put the verb chingar on our midterm.”

“I like it, though,” Chip says. “Chingar! It packs a punch.”

I flick my eyes at the house. “You do know your folks have the windows open, right?”

“My mom doesn’t know Spanish,” Chip says. “Not that kind of Spanish anyway. And my dad already left to pick up his crew, where I’m pretty sure he’s heard worse.”

Mr. Langford owns a pool company. He uses their backyard to showcase his work to clients, but really went to town on the lap pool once Chip showed promise in swimming, adding special year-round heaters and extra lighting. He put the 3-meter board in for my birthday after Mom died. I’d stay here forever if I could.

“You don’t give your mom enough credit,” I tell Chip. “If your dad knows, she knows.”

“You’re probably right. But that’s your job, son. Especially since she’s in the kitchen right now making a special memorial breakfast just for you. A situation I’m inclined to let slide under today’s circumstances. Because nothing says I’m sorry for your loss like a pound of bacon.”

I chuckle and shake my head. Mrs. Langford likes to show us she cares through food, no matter the occasion. And since my dinners at home usually consist of either pasta and jarred sauce or sandwiches, who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?

I’m glad Chip isn’t walking on eggshells around me today. Not that he ever does. The best thing about having him as a friend is I never have to guess what he’s thinking.

“You want me to hang out while you rip that dive one more time? I swear I won’t say a word.”

“Nah. I think I’ll just do a 305B and meet you inside.”

“Why not try the Triple Lindy instead,” he says. “Maybe you’ll finally get some respect.”

“If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. Leave me some bacon.”

“I make no promises I can’t keep.”

I wait until Chip reaches the sliding glass door before inching back up the ladder. He knows I don’t like leaving the board on a bad dive because the failure sticks with me all day. I think it’s a side effect of having trained under the nonstop motivational maxims of my dad. I still find maxim the SAT word more inspiring than any of my dad’s psychobabble, but thinking about him that way today is also some disrespectful shit.

I breathe deep, visualizing my Reverse 3½ Tuck. I approach my hurdle and hit the end of the board, shooting up and backward, hugging my thighs to create a tight fold. My pike is clean. Core tight. Toes pointed so hard they might cramp. All my rotations are good. I come-out and grab the top of my right hand, thumbs interlocking, and rip the entry with zero splash.

That’s how every dive should be done. Without distraction, paying attention to the dive during every twist and turn until there’s nothing but the rush of water and silence.

But the conditions are never perfect. I think that’s what my mom was ultimately trying to say.

Copyright © 2018 by Demetra Brodsky


Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A. from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs where she is always trying to make more time for the beach. Dive Smack is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you'll understand why. 



- 5 Winners will receive a Copy of DIVE SMACK by Demetra Brodsky.