Too Cool by Duff Brenna

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Duff Brenna is an American original, whose two previous novels have won honors and acclaim: The Book of Mamie won the prestigious Associated Writing Programs Award, and The Holy Book of the Beard was hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "engrossing and uproarious . . . nearly impossible to put down."

With Too Cool, Duff Brenna has written a tale with the feel of a classic. Set against the unforgiving landscape of blizzard-swept Colorado, Too Cool begins with the adrenaline rush of a high-speed car chase. Elbert Earl Evans, known as Triple E, sixteen years old, has busted out of reform school and taken off with his girlfriend, Jeanne Windriver, in a stolen Oldsmobile. Pursued by police, Triple E and Jeanne escape by turning off onto a backroads road, where the car eventually stalls, trapping the two youngsters miles from civilization in a deadly snow storm. In a situation of growing desperation Triple E is forced to confront the violence in his nature and the acts that have brought him to the brink of destruction--from his violent street skirmishes to the scars suffered in a reform school that was supposed to rehabilitate him, but trapped him in a struggle between two influential teachers whose own dreams of glory came ahead of his development.

Duff Brenna sensitively portrays the troubled Triple E as a boy grown too fast into manhood, struggling to control his explosive impulses, and discovering a vein of tenderness in his deep love for Jeanne. Gripping, disturbing, undeniably powerful, Too Cool is a near-flawless novel.

About Duff Brenna

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Duff Brenna is the author of five novels, including The Book of Mamie (University of Iowa Press, 1989), which won the Associated Writing Programs Award. His other novels are The Holy Book of the Beard (Doubleday/Nan Talese 1996); Too Cool (Doubleday/ Nan Talese, 1998), a New York Times Notable Book; The Altar of the Body (Picador USA, 2001); and The Willow Man (Wykin de Worde, 2005). His books have been translated into German, Dutch, Finnish, Danish, and Hebrew. Brenna is a recipient of an National Endowment of the Arts grant, Milwaukee Magazine's Fiction Award for the short story "Cristobell," and a Pushcart Honorable Mention for the first chapter of The Altar of the Body. His work has appeared in several magazines and literary journals, including Cream City Review, Sou'wester, the Madison Review, the Northern Review, The Nebraska Review, The Literary Review, and Web del Sol. An adolescent rebel, and self-described "juvenile delinquent," Brenna is an Army veteran, whose life took a once unimagined turn for the positive due to his persistence, commitment, and love of reading and writing. A Minnesota native, Brenna once tried his hand at owning and running a Wisconsin dairy farm. He is currently a free-lance writer living in Sun City, CA.
Published July 13, 1998 by Nan A. Talese. 272 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The story opens with the 16-year-old Triple E having busted out of Goodpastures Correctional Facility, stolen a car, and met up with his girl Jeanne Marie Windriver, his young cousin Ava, and her boyfriend Tom Patch.

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Star Tribune

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He occasionally spouts intended witticisms, but sounds absurd: When he and his pal, Chuck Pump, are egging each other towards a fight,s, Triple E announces, 'Death, taxes, and Triple E.

Sep 05 1998 | Read Full Review of Too Cool

Entertainment Weekly

In this novel about a rebel without a cause — but with plenty of gripes — Brenna captures the imploding energy of an intelligent teenager with nothing to lose.

Sep 11 1998 | Read Full Review of Too Cool

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