Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vlog Post with Lewis Buzbee

Photo Content from Lewis Buzbee

is the author of Fliegelman's Desire, After the Gold Rush, First to Leave Before the Sun, and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Steinbeck's Ghost, his first novel for younger readers, was selected for the California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award, and was a Smithsonian Notable Book. His second middle grade novel, The Haunting of Charles Dickens, won the Northern California Book Award and was nominated for an Edgar Award. Bridge of Time, will be published in 2012. A bookseller and publisher for over 20 years, he has taught for the last 12 years in the MFA program at University of San Francisco.


An Awful Morning – Weird Kitchen – Worst Field Trip Ever – Bullies on the Bus – A Missing Friend

What Lee Jones should have suspected when he entered the City School's multipurpose room was that the most awful morning of his life was about to get much awfuller. But Lee made a mistake that's far too common. Brushing his hair before school, Lee convinced himself that his life was so horrid already, it couldn't possibly get worse. Right?

Not necessarily.

Let's back up a bit and see precisely how awful Lee's life was that morning before it took a turn for the worse.

In less than a month, Lee would graduate from the eighth grade, all in all a good thing. He was excited to start high school, yet was a little nervous, too. Even though he'd be staying at the City School, only moving from the fourth floor to the fifth, and even though he knew a lot of the high school kids already, freshman year was a bit of a mystery to him. Going to high school seemed like entering a big dark cave through a narrow tunnel. You could get lost in there and never find your way out. But this was a minor awfulness for Lee, the usual sort of stuff you face in life. Not great but doable.

The true awfulness about starting high school was that Lee would be going into that dark cave alone. His very best friend—and pretty much only friend these days—Joan Lee, was transferring to Starr King Prep in the fall. Joan and Lee had attended the City School together since pre-K, but it wasn't until sixth grade, on the first day of middle school, that they became best friends.

That day, both of them running late because neither could open their lockers, they found themselves next to each other in the hot lunch line in the basement cafeteria. As they pushed their trays along, they talked about their stupid lockers and the new teachers and last summer and were there going to be real dances and were eighth graders as cruel as they were supposed to be.

When they arrived at the dessert station, however, both Lee and Joan reached for the same Rice Krispies square, which happened to be the last Rice Krispies square. Joan held one side of the white plastic plate, Lee the other, and they commenced debating over who had dibs. Joan suggested that since she was first in line, the Rice Krispies square was hers. Lee claimed he only let Joan go first because he was a gentleman, so Joan should repay his good manners by letting him have the Rice Krispies square. Joan said she never asked him to be so polite; Lee said he couldn't help himself. Joan tugged at the plate; Lee tugged back.

Later, they sometimes wonder if they would have become friends or not if they had shared that last Rice Krispies square. Maybe if they had broken the square in two, middle school would have turned out different. Lee would have taken his half, Joan hers, and they would have gone their separate ways.

But that possibility never had a chance to arrive. Because right at that moment, Trevor McGahee, the biggest sixth grader in the history of sixth graders, reached between Joan and Lee, snatched that Rice Krispies square off the white plastic plate, and proceeded to lick it with his big gross tongue. Trevor had claimed his dessert. Welcome to middle school. Ew.

Joan and Lee each let go of the plate, then looked at each other, then gave each other THE SHUDDER. Both of them shook a little, both raised their shoulders a little, both made a disgusted expression, and both let out low moans. This was the first time they shared what they would later call a LOOK. Joan and Lee soon discovered they could carry on an entire conversation with one shared glance, one simple LOOK. If it hadn't been for that last Rice Krispies square and for big dumb gross Trevor, they might never have known that.

Joan and Lee did eat lunch together that day and started hanging out all the time—no big deal. They still had their other friends, but in middle school, they found that friendships and alliances changed on a weekly, if not daily basis. Oh, the other kids gave them a hard time, a boy and girl being best friends and all, but since this was middle school, the other kids would get bored quickly and move on to giving some other kids some other hard time about something else. Joan and Lee developed a LOOK to cover all this, THE MIDDLE SCHOOL, which roughly translated as, "Hey, it's middle school, whacha gonna do?"

Their friendship was not a perfect one, but true friendships never were, Lee figured. What often helped build a friendship were the differences between the two friends, and Joan and Lee were opposites in many ways. Lee, Joan would probably say, was a little too laid-back, a little too "Whatever, dude." Joan, Lee would happily tell you, was wound up way too tight, a homework-eating-robot machine. They were perfectly mismatched. Even their names said this, mirror images that were also opposites—Lee Jones, Joan Lee.

But despite their differences, maybe because of them, they both knew that their friendship was THE ONLY THING that made the murky swamp of middle school possible. All those cliques and romance dramas and popularity death matches—ugh!
Copyright © 2012 by Lewis Buzbee

Best friends Lee Jones and Joan Lee have a lot more in common besides their names. On the eve of their class trip, they each learn their parents are getting divorced. Ugh. The class trip is a dud, so Lee and Joan steal away to talk. What follows is an afternoon nap in a lighthouse, walking up to find the Golden Gate Bridge gone—gone!—and meeting a young man named Sam Clemens, who is on the run from a mysterious stranger.

Lee and Joan wonder: Where are they? What year is it? Why don't their cell phones work? How will they get back? Do they even want to? Will life ever be the same?


“An adventurous, fast-paced field trip to the past with a memorable travel guide.” ―Kirkus

“An engaging time-travel mystery. With a clever premise and a good-natured narrative, this novel will please both mystery and historical-fiction fans--not to mention general readers.” ―Booklist

“Readers might even be enticed to pick up one of Twain's classics after reading this novel.” ―School Library Journal

“This hybrid novel melds history, mystery and adventure into an imaginative and thought-provoking whole. It offers commentary on the power of friendship to deal with life and optimism to embrace past, present and future.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

Lewis Buzbee’s Bridge of Time is a compelling story about two young best friends, Lee Jones and Joan Lee. On a class field trip to Fort Point, they each learn their parents are getting a divorce. They drift apart from their class and find a lighthouse to talk over about the bad news. The long day had made it very exhausting and they eventually take a nap in the lighthouse. Upon waking up, they look out of the lighthouse windows and they see that the Golden Gate Bridge is gone. Below they see soldiers loading up the canons that are affixed to the fort. They take refuge inside the lighthouse when a young man named Sam Clemens comes in and tells them they have become “unstuck” in time, an occurrence that frequently happens to him. The two best friends learn they are in the year 1864 and set forth on an adventure throughout the many eras of San Francisco trying to figure out how to get back into their own time.

Buzbee brilliantly mixes adventure, history, humor and philosophy into this fast-paced story. The description of 1864 San Francisco is magnificent. Even the darker side of that era’s racism is covered in frightening details. The meaningful history presented in the tale is just as interesting as its remarkable plot. Bridge of Time is aimed at middle schoolers, but I found myself enjoying it. Having a male and a female main character is a plus. Lee and Joan as well crafted and have similar problems that many kids their age face. Aside from their “unstuck” predicament, many middle schoolers will easily relate to them. Buzbee’s writing style kept in tone with the book’s history lesson and cleverly adventurous plot without one overtaking the other.

Bridge of Time is truly entertaining with a dose of history lesson. The adventure contained within is full of action and mystery and will maintain the reader’s attention. I am certain this book will be enjoyed by not just its targeted middle schoolers, but for anyone who loves history, time travelling, mystery, and grand adventure with historical figures. A must read for 2012.

You can pre-order Bridge of Time at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LEWIS BUZBEE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive an ARC copy of Bridge of Time by Lewis Buzbee.


  1. The weirdest thing...this question? I really can't remember. Usually I'm the one to ask something weird.

  2. Oh my gosh, that is hard! I look really young for my age so I've had people ask if my husband is my dad or if my kids are my siblings! lol

  3. The weridest thing... well, one time a guy asked me if I was indian... maybe at first it doesn't sound werid, but really I'm totally pale! jajaja I was: O.O you kidding?

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  5. My friend's 3 year-old daughter (Allison) asked how I got that polka dot (dimple) on my chin? Startled I told her an angel kissed me there before I was born because my Mom answered the same question that way many year earlier when I asked. Although Allison was never convinced with my answer, she never forgot it. Allison is now 24 and I admit her question was the toughest I've ever had. Greg

  6. ummmmmmmmm that is sooooo hard. probably someone asking me why i dont feel or express emotions like normal people. umm i do feel emotion i just dont like to express it often :)

  7. Im not sure really, ahmmm maybe my kids because they do ask weird and wonderful questions!! They asked me the other day why do girls have boobs and boys dont!!!

  8. That's hard... But I remember one funny question from my friend.
    "If you didn't have legs, would you wear socks?"
    "Em... No?"
    "Then why do you wear bra?"

    Yeah... xD

  9. Um... probably my little brother when I had colored my hair red why it was red. lol :P

  10. The weirdest question that I have ever been asked is too rated XXX to post. LOL
    But the second weirdest(and stupidest) is why do I not let my dachshund, who is terribly protective and territorial, out when company comes over.
    Duh, cuz she bites! I've told the same people multiple times that and I get asked that question every time they come over.

  11. my niece has asked me earlier why dead people are buried in a cemetery and why we become bones after we die. hahha

  12. My nephews ask a lot of weird questions. One of them was: Who would you prefer to be, a darlek or a weeping angel? (They're big Doctor Who fans!) LOL!

  13. I'm not sure. It was pretty weird when this woman asked if my sister and I were twins even though I'm 4 years older, far taller, have black hair while she has blonde hair etc... very odd.

  14. hmmmm.... my son asks me alot why i'm so old or fat :/

  15. The weirdest thing?? hmmm... I think when I met with My friend after a long time.. they always asked.. "Who's your boyfriend Now" ..
    eeng.. it's weird.. because it's just like I always change a boyfriend every month... but I didn't.. I mean.. I don't have a boyfriend.. hmoffth... xD

    thank's for this giveaway.. ^^

  16. I am constantly approached by people who ask me if my hair is real. It has always made me wonder if the texture of it looked like a bad weave. :-P

  17. I had a neighbor I had never met ask me if I had a plunger. It was the most difficult thing not to laugh in his face since that was so weird. Thanks for another great giveaway!