We are thrilled to be sharing Grenade Bouquets by Lee Matthew Goldberg with you today!
Grenade Bouquets is the follow-up to Lee's debut YA novel, Runaway Train!
Check you Grenade Bouquets below and order your copy today!
I had stars in my eyes and I couldn't see around them...The year is 1995 and my parents have finally allowed me to take the summer to tour in a VW van across the country with my boyfriend Evan and our band. Yes, my dream to be a singer became reality. Even with Clarissa, Evan's jealous ex-girlfriend, as the lead singer, it's my presence on stage that led us to a major record deal. There are moments you'll always remember in life, but I can't imagine anything more cool than hearing your song on the radio for the first time. But being a Rockstar isn't as easy as it sounds. Using alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms, nothing but tension surrounded me, hurting my still blossoming relationship, and continued grieving over my sister's death.
A love letter to the nineties and a journey of a girl becoming a woman, Grenade Bouquets charts the rollercoaster ride of a band primed to explode on the scene, as long as they keep from actually exploding.
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Genetic – Sonic Youth
When I get home, Mom is on the couch with one of those huge mugs that could be used for
soup or tea. She’s got the AC blasting and wearing a sweater with wool scrunchie socks like a loon. I’m
surprised not to see Mr. Ferguson, or rather, Roger, her new boyfriend. Most nights they sit on the couch
together and watch old romantic films like Roman Holiday or Bringing Up Baby. Old movies bug me, the acting seems
so forced and fake, and everything is so overdramatic. I’d rather watch Heathers for the nineteen-
thousandth time. Mom and Roger have a pretty sweet setup. Roger literally lives next door with
only a fence separating them, so they haven’t moved in together yet. They decided to ix-nay the idea of
putting an extension between their houses. Something I’m not ready for either, since Roger has two
chow-chows that take giant log-like shits that would make even the Log Lady from Twin Peaks proud.
“Nico,” Mom says, as she waves me over. She removes a knitted blanket from the seat next to her
and pats for me to sit. I curl up and see she’s watching My So-Called Life.
“Aren’t you a little old for that show?” I ask, as I watch Angela make moon eyes for Jordan Catalano.
“I was once in high school too, ya-know,” she says, and her eyes glaze over. I imagine she’s
remembering times from the olden days. “Although it was so different than what you kids are dealing
with now. Alcoholism, school violence, AIDS…”
I have a realization that my high-school life has basically been My So-Called Life and not 90210.
I’m Angela, Winter’s wild Rayanne, and Jeremy is flamboyant Rickie. Although there’d never been
a boy like Jordan Catalano in the halls who looked my way.
Mom wraps an errant hair around my ear and fingers my faux diamond stud. “How was Winter’s?”
I must’ve made a harumph sound because she gets this concerned dent between her eyes.
“I dunno…” I try to form what I want to say. “Winter can be such a bitch.”
Mom mutes the TV as Claire Danes with her crimson hair flails around in her oversized flannel at a
backyard party before she gets shoved in the mud.
“It’s probably hard for her to watch you go.”
“I’m only like going for a few weeks.”
“Sweetie, you two aren’t glued at the hip anymore, it’s natural.”
I pick up her big mug and take a sip. It’s ginger tea. “Really?”
“Not everyone gets a best friend in high school like you both had. But you can’t stay best friends
forever, it’s not possible. There’ll be college and jobs and husbands and many new friends. I haven’t
talked to my best friend Lucille in ages.”
“Isn’t she the one who sells hair?”
“It’s for a non-profit charity, but yes, she does sell hair for wigs. That’s my point. We’re so different.
She never had children…” Mom pauses at the word ‘children’ and then recalibrates, her hardwire telling
her she only has one child now. A sigh like a fog over a moor escapes from her lips. “We grew apart.
Like what’s happening with Angela and Rayanne,” she continues, nodding at the TV. “And with you and
“She has this godawful new friend Emily, who’s like the worst. And I think they…” I struggle to say they
might be doing cocaine. Mom might think she’s all cool with her My So-Called Life knowledge, but
cocaine would be too big a leap. “She’s a bad influence.”
Mom pulls me close. We used to do this when I was little, snuggle up and eat a bowl of Teddy Grahams
or something. But then I became a demon around the age of eleven and shut myself up in my room blaring
Nirvana whenever I was home.
Check out the Spotify Playlist for Grenade Bouquets!
Meet the Author
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, THE MENTOR, THE DESIRE CARD and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. His first YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is forthcoming in 2021 along with a sci-fi novel ORANGE CITY. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com
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