Long Live the Suicide King is not spec fic. It’s quirky, dark, funny, touching, and ultimately redemptive storytelling about middle-class alienation, the wreckage of a failing family, depression, drugs, and suicide.
JD (now Jim) is a literate, funny, mouthy teenager. A bad experience with his druggie friends kicks him into a no man’s land of uncertainty bounded by suicide, guitar-playing Christianity, going clean, getting high again, guilt, and an elderly neighbor lady who talks with great clarity, but no pity at all, about JD’s Weltschmertz. Somewhere between JD provoking the local jock into beating him up and his helping Inga climb out of her flower bed, JD throws away his old self (neatly symbolized here by his giving all his clothing to the Goodwill, which he then finds himself buying back, one article at a time) and has to choose who he’s going to be.
Aaron Michael Ritchey is a talent to watch in the YA space. And once you’ve read this, go check out Dandelion Iron, the beginning of his great post-apocalyptic cattle drive saga.