"When Jason Milwaukee's best friend Sunshine vanishes, Jason knows that something is terribly wrong, but solving her disappearance will require pushing through all the voices in his head and then getting the world to listen to him. His schizophrenia is stopping him from remembering the events leading up to her disappearance, and often he discounts his own memories, and his own impressions. But his deep knowledge that he would never hurt his friend, plus the faith of his parents and a few others in the town bring him to the point of solving the mystery. In the end, it's Sunshine's own love for Jason (Freak) that persuades him of his own strength and goodness. By turns brilliantly witty and searingly honest, Susan Vaught's newest novel is a laugh-out-loud, tear-jerking, coming-of-age story." (from Goodreads)
1.) Thanks for dropping by the blog, Jason! If you could describe yourself in five words, what would they be?
Freak, freak, freak, freak, freak . . .
I know my parents hate that, and Sunshine sort of hates it, but that's what I am. Might as well face it. A long time ago, I figured out that people would call me names, so I beat them to it, and the names don't bother me. My dad thinks I have "poor self esteem" (whatever that means), and my mom thinks I'm being sarcastic or mean to myself. Sunshine thinks I'm not respecting all the good things inside me. I think I'm protecting myself, you know, like using armour, only my armour is made out of a word: FREAK.
2.) Friendship obviously means a lot to you. What do you think is the most important quality to have in a friend?
Loyalty. You have to be there for each other, because everybody else flakes when it's convenient or it gets to be too much for them--and it always gets to be too much for them. Most people don't have the guts to live lives with problems like we have, or even help us live ours. You should look out for each other, keep each other's secrets, and never ever ever break your promises.
3.) You've had your share of experience with bullies. What's your number one piece of advice about how to deal with them?
Stay away from them and protect yourself. If there are older people in your life who won't flake, tell them and get help. You have to be smart about it, because there's always a time when no one's there to protect you. Bullies are seriously bad news, and each one is just the same as the last one, but also different. I try to figure out what they want, what makes them tick, and most importantly, where they'll be and when, and I make sure I'm somewhere else. People like that are a virus. I don't want them to make me sick.
4.) What is your greatest fear?
Losing Sunshine forever, that's my greatest fear. My second greatest fear is getting lost in my voices and the crazy stuff I see, and not being able to come back. I guess the first fear would happen if the second one did, and vice-versa. They're tied together for me, because Sunshine is just that important.
5.) Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
I hope I'm finished with college and either going on to a higher degree, or working. I'd do okay with a job, if I didn't have to talk to a lot of people. Maybe I'll work on computers, or plumbing. Computer wires and pipes don't have much to say.
6.) If you could have one day where you could go anywhere and do anything in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
I'd take Sunshine to a tropical island where nobody else lived, and there were no bugs and no sharks--but a lot of good food, maybe left by a bunch of rich people on a yacht. We'd eat and swim and talk and rest in the sand, and we wouldn't worry about anything. Everything would be safe and warm and bright, and everything would be okay.
Jason, thanks so much for stopping by and answering all my questions! (And Susan, thanks to you too! :D)
Susan Vaught is the author of numerous YA novels, including My Big Fat Manifesto, Trigger, Exposed, and Going Underground. You can find her online at her website here.