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Rafael Fannen is a 13-year old boy who has won a minority scholarship to Our Lady of the Woods, an all male Catholic college preparatory school. He lives with his mother who is chronically ill with an undiagnosed illness and also suffers from mental illness, which no one will discuss. Winning the scholarship quickly turns into a nightmare, as Rafe has to deal with the racism of his fellow students and his teachers. Rafe has an ally in Tomas, another scholarship winner from his neighborhood, and they bond against the racism and classism of their fellow students. But that connection is soon sundered.
In addition to the culture shock, Rafe also has to deal with his burgeoning sexuality. Rafe is caught staring at Toby, an attractive and charismatic classmate, in the shower, Toby begins a relentless campaign of bullying against Rafe, including violent encounters. When someone tags the school campus with graffiti, Toby makes sure Rafe becomes the chief suspect. It becomes so bad that even Tomas distances himself from Rafe. The only person who seems sympathetic to him is the chaplain, Vicar Angus Connell. But it soon becomes apparent that the Vicar has designs on Rafe.
When Rafe decides to fight back and take control of his life, the lives of everyone around him will change. But none more than his own.
Bereft addresses the issues of bullying, sexuality, child abuse, mental illness and racism in a haunting and deeply compelling style.
About the Author
Craig Laurance Gidney writes both contemporary, young adult and genre fiction. Recipient of the 1996 Susan C. Petrey Scholarship to the Clarion West writer's workshop, Gidney has published works in the fantasy/science fiction, gay and young adult categories. These works include "A Bird of Ice," (from the anthology So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press)) which was on the short list for the 2008 Gaylactic Spectrum Award; "The Safety of Thorns," which received special notice by editor Ellen Datlow in her 2006 Year's Best Fantasy Horror summary; "Mauve's Quilt" (from the anthology the young adult fantasy anthology Magic in the Mirrorstone (Wizards of the Coast)); and "Bereft," included in the anthology From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth (Tiny Satchel Press). Gidney's first collection, Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories was nominated for the 2009 Lambda Literary Award in the Science Fiction/Fantasy and Horror category. His most recent piece, "Conjuring Shadows," was published in the online zine Expanded Horizons, and he has a non-fiction piece in the forthcoming book The First Time I Heard: Cocteau Twins edited by Scott Heim.