Cid Wymann, a scrappy kid fighting to survive a harsh upbringing in Queens, NY, is almost a prisoner in his own home. His only escape is sneaking to Times Square to see Errol Flynn movies full of swordplay and duels. He’s determined to become a great fencer, but after his family disintegrates, Cid spends five years at an orphanage until his injured war-veteran cousin “Lefty” arrives from England to claim him.
Lefty teaches Cid about acting and stage combat, especially fencing, and introduces Cid to Nikolai Varvarinski, a brilliant drunken Russian fencing master who trains Cid. By 16, Cid learns to channel his aggression through the harsh discipline of the blade, eventually taking on enemies old and new as he perfects his skills.
Evocative of The Book Thief with a dash of Gangs of New York, Open Wounds is the page-turning story of a lost boy’s quest to become a man.
What others are saying about Open Wounds:
“Lunievicz’s impressive debut is a dark, often brutal story, balancing some of the meanest villains in recent memory with a beautifully portrayed historical New York and a movie-obsessed boy determined to overcome the hand life has dealt him. … Lunievicz paints a grim picture of Depression-era New York: anti-Semitism, violence, and poverty (an early eviction scene stands out) dominate the storytelling, yet bright spots like Cid’s love of cinema are painted with equal brilliance and realism.
–Starred Review Publisher’s Weekly
“Part Oliver Twist, part Captain Blood, and all gritty excitement, this is
the most unusual debut YA novel I’ve ever read. I loved it. A triumph!”
–Robert Lipsyte, The Contender and Center Field, ALAN Award for Contributions to Young Adult Literature, Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, American Library Association
“This beautifully choreographed coming-of-age story about a life lived by the fist and sword does exactly what it should – pierces the heart.”
–Barbara Stuber, Crossing the Tracks, finalist for the William C. Morris Award 2010, Kirkus 2010 Best for Teens list title
“The world needs more books like Joe Lunievicz’s Open Wounds. … The story of true friends and enemies, finding yourself, and becoming whole, Open Wounds is dripping with everything that made me love reading when I was a boy: action, compassion, extreme adversity, and heroism.”
–Andrew Smith, The Marbury Lens (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan), Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2010, Booklist Editor’s Choice, 2010, ALA/YALSA Best books for Young Adults 2011
“A heart-wrenching yet surprisingly hopeful and tender storyof a boy coming of age in New York City during the 1930s and 1940s, learning that family means far more than blood and bone, that true friendship weathers time and place and
that living with scars is far different than living scarred.”
–Christina M. Meldrum, Madapple (Knopf 2008), finalist for the PEN USA Literary Award and the William C. Morris Award; and Amaryllis in Blueberry (February 2011 from Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
“Joe Lunievicz has…crafted a story that is exciting, sad, violent, always hopeful and
immensely readable. The minute I finished it, I wanted to go back to page one and read it all over again!”
–Aury Wallington, Saving Charlie, New York Times Bestseller; and POP!, 2007 NYPL Best Book for the Teen Age and ALA Popular Paperback for Young Adults
“A vivid Dickensian tale with ample touches of warmth and spirit, Open Wounds pulses with all the excitement of a vanished epoch in New York history. Joseph Lunievicz finds the humanity in characters who overcome the battles of a tough city to emerge as palpably real. A heartfelt and entertaining book.”
–David Freeland, Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure, Popmatters.com Best Books of 2009; and Associate Producer, The City Concealed: The Original Swing Street, Thirteen.org
“… a gritty, gripping tale of a hard way to grow up.”
— Dewey Lambdin, director, writer, producer, and bestselling author of the 17-book Alan Lewrie Naval Adventures Series
“… full of warmth, intrigue, memorable characters, a love of old movies, and swashbuckling adventure – everything you could ask for in a novel, and more.”
–Adam Meyer, The Last Domino, Young Adult Novel from Putnam