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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

New Young Adult Novel Combines Adventure And History

Calley Hastings
Alec Hastings

A new young adult novel by Vermont author Alec Hastings  takes readers on a Northern Vermont adventure.

"Otter St. Onge and the Bootleggers" kicks off on the eve of Vermont’s Great Flood of 1927.

Young Otter heads out on Lake Champlain with his grandfather and a case of moonshine, hoping to meet his father, who has been missing since World War 1. But they instead find an empty cabin full of bullet holes, and they take off on a journey which brings them face to face with a notorious local gang.

"Otter St. Onge and the Bootleggers" is the first novel by Alec Hastings, who teaches high school in Bethel, Vermont.

He says there is a long tradition of storytelling in his family, and that he heard many bootlegging stories from his grandfather.

Hastings says that despite a technical revolution, young people are still interested in an old-fashioned adventure story.

VPR's Neal Charnoff talks with Hastings about the book.

Neal was a reporter and VPR's All Things Considered host from 2001 to 2014. He joined VPR in 1996, hosting VPR's jazz programming, including live performances from the VPR studios and the Discover Jazz Festival. Prior to VPR, Neal was a programmer and host for WNCS in Montpelier and WDEV in Waterbury. He holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.
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