John Fried

The Martin Chronicles, Grand Central Publishing, January 2019

A powerful and heartfelt novel that follows one boy as he grows up in 1980’s Manhattan, bringing the magic of first experiences and the brutal truth of hard lessons to life on the page. 

In sixth grade, eleven-year-old Martin Kelso’s world starts to change. Girls get under his skin in ways he never noticed before. Even his cousin Evie, who taught him the right way to eat pizza and how to catch tadpoles, has grown wild, unpredictable, and mysterious. “Mugger” was once just a game played by Marty and his friends, but now real muggers are targeting them on their way to school. Marty used to feel secure in his own skin; but as he grows up and life changes too quickly around him, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to choose right over wrong—or to even tell the difference between the two. 

This powerful debut perfectly captures the intense emotion, humor, and earnestness of young adulthood, as Marty ages from eleven to seventeen and navigates a series of life-changing firsts: first kiss, first enemy, first loss, and ultimately, his first awareness that the world is not as simple or safe a place as he had once imagined.

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Short Fiction

“Destroy All Monsters.”  The Blue Penny Quarterly. Fall 2012

“Mississippi.”  Spout Magazine. Second runner-up Spout Press Story of the Year, 2009. Fall 2012.

“Nueve.”  North American Review. Spring 2010.

Chicago.”  Gettysburg Review. Spring 2010.

This Treatment Isn't In Any Way Cruel.”  Minnesota Review. December 2009.

“Birthday Season.” Columbia: A Journal of Arts and Literature. Tied for winner of 2007 Fiction Contest. January 2008.

“Refrain.”  Front Range Review. Spring 2008.


Writing Your Character’s B-Roll.”  North American Review blogNovember 2017.

Demystifying Plot.”  North American Review blogNovember 2014.

On the Summer of 1980, Dressed to Kill, and Epiphany.”  Southeast Review online edition. November 2007.