Leave Myself Behind: A Coming of Age Novel with Sharp Wit (Paperback)

Leave Myself Behind: A Coming of Age Novel with Sharp Wit By Bart Yates Cover Image

Leave Myself Behind: A Coming of Age Novel with Sharp Wit (Paperback)


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From the author of The Language of Love and Loss, the 20th anniversary edition of the classic Alex Award-winning, gay coming-of-age novel heralded as The Catcher in the Rye meets Portnoy’s Complaint.

“Tart-tongued and appealing… In Bart Yates’ gripping debut novel, Noah spins a tale that is by turns refreshingly strange and poignantly familiar.” —Paul Russell, author of War Against The Animals

Noah York is a smart, sarcastic, complicated seventeen-year-old contending with his dreams of being an artist, his psycho-poet mother, fading memories of his dead father, secrets within the walls of his home—and within his heart as he fights his troubling obsession with the enigmatic boy next door…


“Anybody who tells you he doesn’t have mixed feelings about his mother is either stupid or a liar.”

“Sometimes I feel like Michelangelo, chiseling away at all the crap until nothing is left but the exquisite thing in the middle that no one else sees until it’s uncovered for them.”

Meet seventeen-year-old Noah York, hilariously profane, searingly honest, completely engaging, and heading into a life that’s only getting more complicated by the day. His dead father is fading into a snapshot memory. His mother, a famous psycho-poet, has relocated them from Chicago to a rural New England town that looks like a bad advertisement for small-town America. And now, the very house he lives in is coming apart at the seams—literally—torn down bit by bit as he and his mother renovate the old Victorian. But deep within the walls lie secrets from a previous life . . .

Amid mason jars stuffed with bits of clothing, scraps of writing, and old photographs lie disturbing clues to the mysterious existence of a woman who disappeared decades before. While his mother grows more obsessed by the discoveries, Noah fights his own troubling obsession with the boy next door, the enigmatic J.D. It is J.D. who begins to quietly anchor Noah to his new life. J.D., who is hiding terrible, haunting pain behind an easy smile and a carefree attitude.

Noah York’s story is one of hope and heartbreak, love and redemption—and the power of growing up whole once every secret has been set free.
Bart Yates is the Alex Award-winning author of novels including Leave Myself Behind, The Brothers Bishop, and  The Third Hill North of Town, written as Noah Bly. He is also a musician, and plays clarinet, saxophone, and bass guitar.  He lives in Iowa City, IA. Readers may visit his website at BartYates.com.
Product Details ISBN: 9781496743947
ISBN-10: 1496743946
Publisher: A John Scognamiglio Book
Publication Date: June 27th, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English
Praise for Leave Myself Behind:
 “Since The Catcher in the Rye, authors have been hoping to create the next Holden Caulfield and critics have hoped to crown a character with that distinction. The latest temptation for comparison is surely Leave Myself Behind. Bart Yates' main character and narrator, Noah York, has Caulfield-style teenage authenticity. Noah’s voice is more than just honest or original; it’s real…This isn’t just a novel about a boy dealing with discrimination and fighting for acceptance… We don’t see Noah as simply a gay teen or fatherless child. We see him as a character dealing with life. That’s what makes Leave Myself Behind so great.” —The Plain Dealer

"Noah York is seventeen, but don't let his age fool you. Noah's blunt, funny and dead-on narrative will lend this memorable tale of young-but-cynical love a fresh resonance with readers of all ages, gay or straight, male or female. A gripping tale of buried secrets and emerging attractions, but more than that, a story of the familial ties that bind as they grow stronger and pull apart." —Brian Malloy, author of After Francesco

“Tart-tongued and appealing, young Noah York is living through the worst and best three months of his life. In Bart Yates’ gripping debut novel, Noah spins a tale that is by turns refreshingly strange and poignantly familiar. What he discovers—about the haunted and haunting past, the always vexed relations between parents and children, the bittersweet mysteries of love—will shock and surprise and move you.” —Paul Russell, author of War Against The Animals

“Yates effectively captures the honest, sometimes silly, often tender interactions between his fragile characters.” —Booklist

“With Leave Myself Behind, Bart Yates gives us both the laugh-out-loud and refreshingly sincere coming-of-age story we’ve been missing all these years.” —Instinct Magazine

“It’s not an easy task these days to come up with a fresh and original gay coming-of-age and coming-out story. Give Bart Yates credit; he takes the challenge and relies on other narrative pulls to launch his tale of how his narrator a smart and smart-alecky artist with Holden Caulfield-like skepticism about the world, comes to self-knowledge about his own sexuality, society’s (especially his high school’s) way of dealing with it . . . and most importantly, how his love for the boy next door develops. Yates is an author to watch and earns an ‘A'." —Frontiers

“The writing is fresh and the stories intriguing.” —Echo Magazine

“An effervescently effective addition to the genre—Yates, in his first novel, has injected juicy originality into the coming-of-age fable.” —The Front Page (Raleigh, North Carolina)