Thursday, May 16, 2024

Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph by Ari Rosenschein Virtual Book Tour


Guest Post

Occasionally, a single alarming situation can send a friendship spinning out of control. Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph possesses just such a decisive moment. No one hangs off a massive cliff or faces a deadly supernatural attack, but there is, nonetheless, danger. In this climactic scene, the main character, Zack, encounters his best friend unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Matthias shows up unannounced and proceeds to wreak havoc. 

In their brief interaction, Zack witnesses aspects of Matthias that he has never seen in person. Yes, he’s heard some frightening stories about his skater buddy, but these tales have felt like exaggerations. Yet, the intensity of the midnight communication between Zack and Matthias is a critical event for the pair. The subsequent ramifications of the night shape the rest of the book.

 Over the course of an hour or so, Zack is forced to make some weighty decisions. He must stave off fears and act with a new level of maturity. In addition, the scene brings about a conflict with Zack’s mother that threatens to topple the shaky vessel of his friendship with Matthias. By the time the boys are separated, their relationship trajectory has been irrevocably altered. That’s all it takes sometimes—an uninvited guest and a boundary crossed. Will Dr. Z and Matty be able to reclaim what their friendship was, and is that even the best choice for them?

It’s the late ’90s—the final days before smartphones and the internet changed the teenage landscape forever. Zack and his mother have moved from Tempe to Berkeley for a fresh start, leaving behind Zack’s father after a painful divorce. A natural athlete, Zack makes the water polo team which equals social acceptance at his new school. Yet he’s more drawn to Matthias, a rebellious skater on the fringes, who introduces him to punk rock, record stores, and the legendary Telegraph Avenue.

As their friendship intensifies, Matthias’s behavior reminds Zack of his absent dad, driving a wedge between him and his mother. Complicating matters is Zaylee, a senior who boosts Zack’s confidence but makes him question his new buddy, Matthias. Faced with all these changes, Zack learns that when life gets messy, he might have to become his own best friend.

Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph is about how a friendship can challenge who we are, how we fit in, and where we’re going.



I hold my breath as I watch Zaylee scan my clumsy attempt at eloquence. It probably only takes her a minute, but it feels like a century. 

“Oh, Zack, you’re sweet. I wasn’t expecting anything like this.” She closes the card and places it on her lap. “Look, you’re a good guy.” 

Oh no. “What’s the problem then?” 

She looks out her window. “The problem is I’m gonna be eighteen in August. Our ages are going to be an issue when I’m away at school.” 

“You like me now, though, right?” 

She looks down at the cheap drugstore rose. “Yes, you’re fun and smart and cool. But you’re a sophomore, Zack.” 

“Forget that. We can make this work.” I’m playing a more confident, forceful version of myself, like one of the roommates on MTV’s The Real World. 

Zaylee opens the plastic container and sniffs the rose. “What would that even look like?” “I’ll visit you on weekends at school.”

“What if I go out of state?

“Then we’ll make plans for when you’re home for the holidays.”

But the time for rational explanation is over. This is my chance to show Zaylee that I can be a bold man of action. So, without any warning, I lean in and kiss her. She tastes like sprinkles. 

Ari Rosenschein is a Seattle-based author who grew up in the Bay Area. Books and records were a source of childhood solace, leading Ari to a teaching career and decades of writing, recording, and performing music. Along the way, he earned a Grammy shortlist spot, landed film and TV placements, and co-wrote the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Song of the Year.

In his writing, Ari combines these twin passions. Coasting, his debut short story collection, was praised by Newfound Journal as “introducing us to new West Coast archetypes who follow the tradition of California Dreaming into the 21st century.” Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph (Fire & Ice YA) is his first young adult novel.






Ari Rosenschein will be awarding a signed paperback copy of Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter.


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