"Strasser perfectly captures the golden haze of youth on the cusp of adulthood. Readers will find much to enjoy... Vietnam, Woodstock, road trips, and acid trips: a sweetly bittersweet, surprising, even melancholy bildungsroman set against a world in flux." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Drugs, sex, and rock 'n' roll… are all here, but there's so much more… the story captures the mood and spirit of the times… the Woodstock music festival shows the dark side of peace and love…The best part… transcends eras: Lucas' introspection as he contemplates his place in the world." -- Booklist
"It was an absolute delight to revel in Strasser's sparklingly dark prose, with its elegant turns of phrase and inventive combinations of words... Summer of '69 rings absolutely true to the Vietnam era." -- YA Books Central
Summer of ’69 is set 50 years ago, and -- despite being labeled a novel -- is my almost entirely autobiographical account of that momentous summer revolving around great music, free love, the first manned moon landing, a cornucopia of illegal substances, Vietnam, and Woodstock. In the first chapter, that’s me in a somewhat “compromised” state at the wheel of my psychedelically-painted microbus careening down the Mass Pike. That was the beginning of the summer and things would only get weirder from there, ending with the Woodstock music festival and a funeral for someone dear to me who died much too young.
Writing Summer of ’69 was quite possibly the most profound creative experience of my life. It’s a book I never imagined penning. And were it not for an extraordinary editor, Kaylan Adair, and an equally extraordinary publishing house, Candlewick, I doubt this novel would ever have seen ink on a printed page.
During the three years in which this book came to life, Kaylan was a constant presence. As a result of her steady but gentle coaxing I’ve written about painful memories and experiences that I’d never expected or imagined I would ever want to confront or reveal.
As one friend recently said, "Todd, this may not be a masterpiece. But it may be your masterpiece."