Feature Book of the Week: The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


The Darkest Path
Jeff Hirsch

A civil war rages between the Glorious Path--a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier--and what's left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path's dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path's deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal's loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.


Here are a few potentially interesting things about me: 
  • I'm originally from the suburbs just south of Richmond, VA. I currently live in a small town in New York. I've also lived in Greenville, NC, New York City and San Diego, CA.
  • I started writing because of a 7th grade homework assignment. My teacher Denise Stewart  (A towering woman with incredible diction and a mass of curls who, in my memory, looks exactly like Lynn Redgrave)  told me my story was good and that I should consider continuing to write. I've been taking her advice for roughly the last 27 years.
  • Towards the end of Junior High I attended the University of VA's Young Writers Workshop, which is basically writers' camp. It was exactly as nerdy and as utterly fantastic as you might imagine. If you're a teen into writing, definitely check it out.
  • During High School, when not writing, I was pretty wrapped up in the process of becoming a big ol' theater nerd. I wrote stuff and directed plays and performed in shows like Indians, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Taming of the Shrew, The Man of La Mancha and various others.
  • After HS I went to study acting at East Carolina University then moved to New York right after that to ply my new trade. A few years later writing reared it's head again and I left NY and headed out to UC San Diego where I got an MFA in playwriting.
  • A year or so after grad school I started reading books from writers like M.T. Anderson, KL Going, and David Almond and was blown away by the quality of writing that was going on for teen audiences. I was hooked.
  • The first book I wrote was an adaptation of my play The Real Names of Rock Stars. It was about a teenage girl who runs away from home to become a rockstar with the guidance of a 6-foot-tall drag queen named Veronica Tresbien. It was, um, a learning experience. Basically what it taught me is that I really, really loved writing books for teens but shouldn't necessarily be writing books about teenage girls who become rockstars while under the tutelage of statuesque drag performers. Luckily that's a lesson you only need to learn once. I stuck that book in the drawer (where it shall remain until the end of time) and six months later I had the first draft of what eventually became The Eleventh Plague.
Bonus Random Facts:
  • I know how to escape from a straitjacket while suspended from the ceiling by my ankles. I can also eat fire, walk on broken glass and hammer a nail all the way up into my nose.
  • My favorite movie is either The Outsiders or Harold and Maude. I can never decide which. Oh, or maybe it's My Dinner with Andre. Have you seen My Dinner with Andre? You totally should. Team Wally!
  • I can't honestly point to one favorite book (I've just read way too many) but the most formative book for me, the book that made me a reader and eventually a writer, was The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.
  • I'm torn as to whether the coolest living human is A) Tom Waits or B) Prince.
  • I bake to relax. My triple chocolate espresso cookies will renew your faith that there is something good and holy in this barbaric world.
  • I've known three of my current best friends since I was 15.
  • Apparently I like writing about our animals. Hopkins the cat in Magisterium is based on our cat Henry. Bear the dog in The Darkest Path is based on our dog Rosie. I also just finished the first draft of a book called In the Fall which includes our cat Pip. (Obtained from Jeff's Website)

5 Delicious Comments:

Unknown said...

Nice post, Its really beautiful and informative thanks for sharing.
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Anonymous said...

I believe this book will end with Callum's younger brother being used to hurt Callum and make him surrender to the Glorious Path's ways. I am excited to read this book and find out what happens to Callum, James and Bear.


Hazelwood Central Middle School

Anonymous said...

I just finished this one, full of action-packed fun.

Kelly Collins -hixon middle said...

This book was one of my favorites, especilly the end where it leaves you wondering if he will choose to find his family or go back for Nat.

Caroline From Hixson said...

I loved reading The Darkest Path because it truly intrigued me. I really enjoyed the included map of the United states and which areas were path. I thought it was interesting because it reminded me of a map showing which states wanted to secede from the United States.

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