Vintage Contemporaries

Project X

A Novel

Publisher: Vintage
In the wilderness of junior high, Edwin Hanratty is at the bottom of the food chain. His teachers find him a nuisance. His fellow students consider him prey. And although his parents are not oblivious to his troubles, they can't quite bring themselves to fathom the ruthless forces that demoralize him daily.

Sharing in these schoolyard indignities is his only friend, Flake. Branded together as misfits, their fury simmers quietly in the hallways, classrooms, and at home, until an unthinkable idea offers them a spectacular and terrifying release.

From Jim Shepard, one of the most enduring and influential novelists writing today, comes an unflinching look into the heart and soul of adolescence. Tender and horrifying, prescient and moving, Project X will not easily be forgotten.


First day of FS and where are my good green pants? In the wash. I have one pair of pants that aren’t clown pants and they’re in the wash. They haven’t been washed all summer but today, this morning, they’re in the wash. It’s too cold for cargoes and everything else in my drawer is Queer Nation...
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“Shepard is masterly at setting up our heartbreak [and] is at his most brilliant in capturing the demented essence of junior high.”–The New York Times Book Review

“An energetic and often wickedly funny story of alienation and revenge.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Shepard obviously has a lock on the new American paranoia, and his voice should be essential reading. . . . Here is the effect of [Shepard's] books: A reader finishes them buzzing with awe, with respect, and yet, with a great deal of worry." –Chicago Tribune

"Jim Shepard brings to his depiction of these lost boys a striking insight and even humor. They're so real, they nearly jump off the page into the nearest schoolyard, which makes it all the more chilling." –The Boston Globe