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October 10, 2005

Terryville teen pens book on high school life

By Joe Keo 

Forget reading a novel for homework and writing an in-depth analysis of it the next class. Stefan Koski went much further – he wrote his own.

While other teens his age might have trouble finishing a book, never mind writing one, the 17-year-old Terryville High School junior sat down and wrote “The Underclassmen Years,” a self-published book dedicated to satirizing his school.

“This book was an idea I had my freshmen year,” said Koski.

For five months straight, Koski mustered up his memories and scribbled his thoughts every day until the very last period on the very last page.

Then, he got it into print. After initial opposition from his parents, months of jotting down his experiences at school, and a struggle to find a willing publisher, Koski found safe harbor in Hats Off, an independent publishing company in Arizona.

Despite the difficulties, Koski had a mission in mind, and that was to present a “real human story” that would reach out to his peers and maybe a broader audience.

The book reflects on Koski’s experiences as a student at Terryville High School. Though the events he faced were localized, the lessons and discoveries he derived from them were written in a humorous, sarcastic, and witty enough way to make any teenage high school student laugh and read on.

Koski sums up his attitude brought fourth by his book by saying that there’s “nothing glamorous” or “spectacular about being in high school.”

His days walking the halls of Terryville didn’t provide him with any “glory days of youth.”

Despite Koski’s personal take on his experiences, he playfully touched upon such controversial issues as suicide, drugs, lack of culture, and lack of diversity that threatens his school.

From Koski’s perspective, all of these issues plague Terryville High’s classrooms, staircases, students and teachers.

In publishing the book and making it widely available, Koski wanted to prove to the world that there’s something wrong at Terryville High School and that he’s not insane for believing that there is.

“Pharmaceutical tendencies” was among the interesting and questionable activities that linger in the hallways, bathroom stalls of the high school, and pages of his book.

It boggles and bothers Koski to point where he asks himself, “Are there other highs schools that are normal or is everyone having random sex, using drugs, and committing suicide?” Who wouldn’t want to find that out?

It sounds like a crazy adventure waiting to be grabbed up in an instant.

While Koski continues to ponder the sad state of his school, he was able to say that overall the release of his book gave him a sense of “delayed gratification.”

The writing process for the teen was grueling. He described it as a “love-hate relationship.”

But to finally see the finished and polished product and hold it in his hand was a personal achievement for Koski.

Koski has more ideas ricocheting in his head, and his days as an author are just beginning.

After the grinding process that forged his first work, “to finally get to this point” was “thrilling,” he said.

Koski said he found the publishing company “committed to the vision” of his book.

It is evident in the cover art, which depicts a blurry image of student walking aimlessly passing lockers and students. Koski called the publisher’s photo choice “a very connecting image” because the student in the picture could be anyone.

That’s the whole point of his book, to appeal to a wide audience with his portrayal of the reality of his world. The book is available now on in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Japan, and in the United States.

Read an excerpt by clicking here

Click here to purchase the book for $16.95

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