It’s bad enough that Nick’s sister is dead and, in some bizarre attempt to force him to confront his grief, his parents are shipping him off to Jesus Camp. But he’s also being haunted by the ghost of Jack Kerouac―who’s surprisingly annoying, for a genius.
And if arguing with a dead beat poet weren’t enough to qualify Nick for antipsychotics, he’s pretty sure Eden Springs Church Camp is going to drive him insane. The campers ride donkeys into the desert campsite; a retired magician dressed as Jesus seems obsessed with converting him; and Nick’s practically shunned for uttering the words “Harry Potter.”
Worst of all is the PC Box, into which every camper is required to place a nightly prayer or confession. In hopes of getting Jack to stop nagging him about it, Nick scribbles down his darkest secret―a secret about his sister’s death―and drops it in the box.
But then the box is stolen, with Nick’s secret inside of it. When campers’ confessions start appearing around the camp, Nick is desperate to get the box back―before the world learns the truth about what he did. The truth he can’t even face, himself.
Snarky, surreal, and insightful, Jacked Up is an astonishing debut about the strangeness of life, death, and grief, and the even stranger things we do to cope.
"An impressive debut novel that entertains while encouraging the questioning of all assumptions." — Kirkus Reviews
"This story of tragedy and relationships reads quickly, and Nick is a sympathetic narrator. . . . The author has created a small but well-crafted cast of characters [with] real-life issues that will resonate with young adults. A good selection for most YA collections." — School Library Journal
“Irreverent, poignant, and smart, Jacked Up turns Jesus camp on its head! A clever debut by a talented new author.” ―Kimberly Derting, award-winning author of the Body Finder series and the Pledge trilogy
“With an unforgettable setting and a vibrant cast of characters, Erica Sage has delivered a poignant story of one boy’s search for forgiveness in the face of loss. Hilarious and insightful, Jacked Up explores the complexities of both faith and grief with remarkable honesty, nuance, and grace. A captivating debut.” ―Katie Henry, author of Heretics Anonymous
“You can’t help but think of Jack Kerouac’s famous novel during this humorous and heartbreaking road trip of a book. Erica Sage’s deft hand on the wheel makes the journey memorable.” ―Mark Teppo, author of the Codex of Souls duology
“Spiritual without being didactic, laugh-out-loud funny without being slapstick, and heartwarming without being melodramatic, Jacked Up takes us on a pilgrimage―both literal and allegorical―as Nick searches for healing and redemption.” ―Patrick Swenson, author of The Ultra Thin Man