(September 11, 2011 ) New York, NY -- While some are commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with rituals and remembrance, to many New Yorkers, the memory is still simply too painful. They would rather not think about it at all, in an act of “institutional amnesia,” says author J.G. Sandom, a former New Yorker and author of the award-winning book KISS ME, I'M DEAD. “Before there was 9/11, there was 6/15,” Sandom says, “and yet few New Yorkers today remember what that means. History is replete with examples of institutional amnesia – about the Holocaust, the pogroms of Stalin, even slavery. Who knows how we’ll view 9/11 as a culture in fifty or one hundred years. Will we even remember it?"
On June 15, 1904, the General Slocum steamship burned and sank in the East River, killing over a thousand innocent New Yorkers. It was the greatest disaster and loss of life in New York City history . . . until 9/11. In KISS ME, I'M DEAD, this forgotten piece of history serves as the backdrop of an extraordinary story of loss, redemption, justice, and a love that not even death could extinguish.
Ranked one of the Top Ten Children's Books of the year by the Washington Post, KISS ME, I'M DEAD was named a Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Teen's Top Ten, a Notable Book for Teens by the Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, and nominated for a Cybils literary award, a Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) by the American Library Association (ALA), and recently added to Horn Book’s list of Recommended American Historical Fiction.
The Washington Post said, "(J.G. Sandom) writes with a precision and delicacy unusual for YA fiction," and called the book, "A subtle gem." School Library Journal said, "KISS ME, I'M DEAD tells a remarkable story in a remarkable way." Horn Book Magazine called the work, "A decidedly unconventional ghost story . . . (and) a tightly wound novel." Kirkus Reviews termed it, "A remarkable account." Romantic Times said, "KISS ME, I'M DEAD is a book you shouldn't pass up." And Bookslut.com said, "KISS ME, I'M DEAD scores on several levels, most notably as a drama that blows apart all preconceived notions of how history can be retold."
“I was living in the Village on 9/11,” Sandom adds. “I saw what happened to the city. And I wondered: Has this ever happened before, and how did we cope as New Yorkers? That’s when I discovered the story of the General Slocum. Some people remember the Triangle Shirt Factory fire, which killed relatively few people, but we collectively forgot the General Slocum. The tragedy occurred just before World War I, and the victims of the steamship disaster were mostly poor German immigrants. No one wanted to remember the loss of a thousand Germans after we entered the Great War. At the time, we preferred to forget them. It’s important to remember that sometimes cultures intentionally forget. Sometimes – like those who’d rather not think about 9/11 on this tenth anniversary – we intentionally and collectively misremember.”
J.G. Sandom is the author of nine thrillers and mysteries, including GOSPEL TRUTHS, THE GOD MACHINE, THE WALL STREET MURDER CLUB, and THE WAVE – A JOHN DECKER THRILLER, as well as several Young Adult novels including KISS ME, I’M DEAD, and CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE BODY SNATCHER.