Ferris State University professor and Writing Center director Andy Kantar’s love of young-adult literature spans the spectrum from high fantasy and poetry to history and drama.
“I value young-adult literature, because it has the capacity to change lives,” said Kantar, an English professor in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education. “Inspiring themes can give teenage kids the courage to face daunting challenges and empower them with the realization that overcoming adversity will make them stronger.”
During a sabbatical this spring, Kantar completed the process of writing “Game Face.” The young-adult novel will be published by Whiskey Creek Press, and print and electronic versions are expected to be released in upcoming months.
A first-person narrative told through the eyes of a small-town Minnesota eighth grader named Josh Lumley, “Game Face” is about social survival and self-discovery. The outspoken point guard for the hapless Orville Owls basketball team, Josh leads his teammates into their final game against the arch-rival Deer City Lakers. The story chronicles the final week of a winless season that transforms Josh in ways he couldn’t imagine.
“I hope that kids will simply enjoy the book and laugh at the parade of goofy, eccentric characters that inhabit its pages,” said Kantar, whose interest in juvenile fiction was sparked by Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.”
“It would also be nice if readers embraced the larger themes, identifying with Josh’s struggles as he learns about himself and about life.”
Kantar also is the author of a trilogy of non-fiction stories about the three largest ships to be lost on the three largest of the Great Lakes: “Black November” “29 Missing,” and “Deadly Voyage.”
“Black November” was a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year (Young Adult Nonfiction) and was nominated for the Great Lakes Book Award, and “29 Missing” was a Read Michigan selection.
A native Minnesotan, Kantar earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Employed at Ferris since 1986, Kantar served two years as a Fulbright Scholar in Norway and was a 2006 recipient of the university’s Award for Academic Excellence.