The Late Bloomer

Imagine THE STAND told with the intimacy of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY.

A keening wail heralded the end of the world.

It came from everywhere. After it passed, most of the world’s population was gone—either taken by a bizarre affliction or their own hand—leaving behind a stunned and altered race controlled by a shadowy superintelligence.

Opposing this threat are the late bloomers—teens for whom puberty was delayed.

Within these pages lies the transcript of a recording made by one of those late bloomers. His name’s Kevin March. When the apocalypse hit, he was about to get kicked out of his high school marching band for smoking pot. Kevin’s bright, wise beyond his years, and he just might be meant for something big in the new world order—if he can survive it.

Going on the run to find his little brother, Kevin teams up with his biggest crush, Kodie, and his best friend, Bass. The trio strike out across Texas in search of food, shelter, and answers.

Mark Falkin, bestselling author of Contract City, returns with a young adult thriller that combines shades of Lovecraft, Salinger, and Twain, all of it told in Kevin’s unforgettable voice.

Praise for the work of Mark Falkin

“It’s 2021 and Tulsa is a contract city, entirely privatized, one result of the assassination of the country’s first African American president and the riots that followed. (…) Falkin offers a timely and discussion-worthy look at where the U.S. might be headed, wrapped in nonstop (and profanity-laced) action…With twists turning until the end, it’s hard to put this down.”

“Falkin animates this dystopian YA novel with timeless depictions of what often feels like uncharted terrain bridging childhood and adulthood.”
—Foreword Reviews

“If you’re a not-so-young adult who appreciates this genre, Falkin’s book is a must, if only to pick up something to read at the pool this summer.”
—Dallas Observer

“Contract City is a firecracker of a story. Powerful, ambitious and compulsive, Mark Falkin’s futuristic setting left me nostalgic for a world where I still live. Sara is one of those characters—real, raw, vulnerable—who I would follow anywhere, even down paths as dark as this one.”
Mary Helen Specht
Dobie-Paisano Creative Writing Fellow, professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin, and author of the novel, Migratory Animals

“Contract City is a thought-provoking corporatocracy thriller that extrapolates current trends to privatize government functions. The insightful storyline depicts what happens to services when bottom line efficiency, based on a flexible performance work statement, supersedes bureaucratic efforts to accomplish the mission…Sara and the graffiti artist propel this action-packed tale that will have readers consider whether contracting out is the right thing for every governmental task.”
—Midwest Book Review


Author: Mark Falkin

Mark Falkin is the author of the novels Days of Grace and Contract City, which was nominated for the Whiting, Shirley Jackson, Alex, Morris, Edgar, PEN/Bingham, PEN/Hemingway, LA Times, Anisfield-Wolf, and Flaherty-Dunnan awards. Though he remains a card-carrying member of the Texas Bar, he is a literary agent by day and oftentimes by night. He lives with his wife and daughters in Austin, Texas.