NC Literary Hall of Fame












Bewilderment of Boys by Karon Luddy

Backbone Books
$14.99, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-991551804
June, 2014
Fiction: Coming of Age / Romance
Available from your local bookstore or

“A charmingly perceptive follow-up that should appeal to both teenagers and adults.”
Kirkus Reviews

"The book is told in Karlene's witty, smart, precocious but innocent and endearing voice. Through her senses, the reader experiences sultry late-summer evenings at the pond or the river, with all the delicious temptations they offer a teenager. When tragedy strikes, the reader feels Karlene's anger and bewilderment. Then, the reader shares the journey as Karlene moves on through her senior year of high school—a year of life-shaping events and decisions. Readers will find themselves cheering her on."
—Linda Carter Brinson, Greensboro News & Observer

"Karon Luddy's wise coming of age story about Karlene Bridges. Readers will easily pin their hopes on her, wishing her the best along life's bumpy road. Karlene is very smart, absorbing information. She's not afraid to talk about how she feels and what she's learned. Luddy refuses to go down the dark path to self-pity and surrender. Instead, she gives Karlene more strength, more wisdom. This is a book about recovery, about finding what heals and nurturing what grows."
—Deirdre Parker Smith, The Salisbury Post

"Give this novel to everyone you know, but not before you devour every delicious morsel of it yourself."
— Cathy Smith Bowers, North Carolina Poet Laureate, 2010-2012

A drought has beseiged Red Clover, South Carolina, and the heart of seventeen-year-old Karlene Bridges. Her big sister, Gloria Jean, is pregnant, and everyone carries on as if she were incubating the Light of this World—but Karlene feels hysterical at becoming an aunt at such a young age. Her best friend, Lucinda, is leaving for college soon. Billy Ray Jenkins, former heartthrob, joined the United States Navy six months ago, and Karlene has been incommunicado ever since. To soothe her jangled nerves, she has taken up songwriting—and she is terrible at it. Truly terrible. And now, Spencer, her songwriting buddy, might get drafted and end up in Vietnam, sloshing around in rice paddies, which agonizes Karlene because she knows that peace of any kind is unobtainable on this whirling blue planet.

Bewilderment of Boys is the quintessential coming of age story. Karon Luddy dedicated this novel to anyone who has ever been or ever will be seventeen. And through the eyes of its sharp-witted, big-hearted protagonist, Luddy delivers a powerfully intimate story about a young woman who dives into the deep end of her own life and attempts to solve the riddle of Life itself with grace and aplomb.

Karon Luddy grew up in Lancaster, SC, and lives in Charlotte, NC. Her award-winning debut novel Spelldown was published by Simon and Schuster in 2007. Clemson University Press published Wolf Heart, her first poetry book, in 2007. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University and has taught writing classes at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her second novel, Bewilderment of Boys, was published in June, 2014. It is also the sequel to Luddy's first novel Spelldown.

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