Jonathan LaPoma : Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story

Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story

Leave a Tip
$2 Suggested Tip

Formats Available



Humor, Fiction & Literature

For Readers Of

Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Jim Carroll, Junot Diaz

Buy Books

Connect with the Author


Print Length





Laughing Fire Press

Publication Date




About the Book    About the Author

-#1 Amazon Best Seller ("Satire" and "Urban Life" Kindle categories)

-Winner of the 2015 Stargazer Literary Prizes (Visionary and Metaphysical Fiction category)

-"Raw and edgy . . . Entertaining and authentic look at the troubled American education system. . ." --Kirkus Reviews, Recommended Review

-"Should be required reading for anyone who is considering or has ever considered teaching as a career . . . most highly recommended." --Readers' Favorite, 5-Star Review

-"A scathing comic novel . . . sort of a M*A*S*H for Miami schoolteachers." --Patrick Murtha, Book 'em, Danno

-"Raunchy, yet captivating . . ." --Stargazer Literary Prizes (1st Place)

-"A multi-faceted exploration of growth, maturity, and eventual transformation . . ." --D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

DEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.

A poetic and insightful coming-of-age novel, DEVELOPING MINDS is centered on 24-year-old Luke Entelechy, an aspiring writer who sees his creative output suffer when he begins teaching at one of Miami's most challenging middle schools. As the year progresses, however, Luke begins to relate to the neglect and abuse his students suffer, and is faced with a haunting decision: continue to let his dark past destroy him, or rise above the struggle to realize his potential as an artist and a real human being.

Equal parts disturbing and humorous, DEVELOPING MINDS offers a brutally honest look at the American public school system and the extreme measures many teachers take to cope with working in it.

Editorial Reviews

Inspired by his own travels, screenwriter and author LaPoma's narrative is raw and edgy, effectively anchored by two protagonists whose brio and "same sense of adventure" keep the story alive . . . Entertaining and authentic look at the troubled American educational system, courtesy of two men propelled by perseverance and adventuresome spirits.

--Kirkus Reviews, Recommended Review

Should be required reading for anyone who is considering or has ever considered teaching as a career . . . most highly recommended.

--Jack Magnus, Readers' Favorite, 5-Star Review

There are at least two competing ways of sizing up Jonathan LaPoma's very entertaining novel Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story, and both have merit.

(1) It is a scathing comic novel about the failures of American urban education, sort of a M*A*S*H for Miami schoolteachers.
(2) It is a Bildungsroman about the personal growth of a young man who happens to be a Miami schoolteacher for a year.

--Patrick Murtha, Book 'em, Danno

Readers will be gripped by the many dimensions the plot has to offer . . . The story is honest, authentic, entertaining and poignant, and the contrasting images of a young man trying to grow in his personal life and the failures of the Miami school system have been woven together well without sounding forced.

--Mamta Madhaven, Readers' Favorite, 5-Star Review

Poignant, engaging . . . a frighteningly accurate depiction of inner-city schools . . . a full-bodied work of fiction that will ring true with both students and teachers and provide a point of hope in an industry that has become increasingly profit-minded and complex.

--Red City Review

DEVELOPING MINDS is a raunchy, yet captivating story of two best friends, one gay, one not, who decide to spend a year teaching in the dysfunctional Miami school district . . . Jonathan LaPoma is an extraordinary writer.

--Stargazer Literary Prizes (1st Place)

Sometimes the meat of a title lies not in fire and flames, but in simmering passion. Such is the nature of the coming-of-age experience depicted in Developing Minds, which offers a multi-faceted exploration of growth, maturity, and eventual transformation on the parts of all involved.

--D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

There is never a lack of style and all the words, carefully measured, enclose a meaning and a wink . . . The author delves into the intricacies of the human soul with padded outlines with rapid strokes, no less precise or less deep on a psychological level . . ."

--Kalyan Panja, Booktica

I was quite impressed . . . The humor was quite well-done, I found myself laughing out loud . . . As a young adult myself, I find Luke’s personal life so relatable and realist. We learn how to get out of toxic relationships, to be able to move on and to recognize true friends or, simply, the friends that are not good for you anymore. The author puts it in a subtle and smart way . . . The character development was rightfully done . . . don’t miss it!

— Trang Tran, Bookidote

Incredibly artistic . . . The vast majority of college grads will relate with themes of alienation, addiction, and misguided hopes . . . Filled with drama and drugs, this novel is raw and endearing. It teeters on the edge of obscene, but really stays true to the life of an early 20-year old, amidst the drama and guise of self-discovery. Instead of idealizing public schools or idolizing functional drug addicts, it just lays out the truth.

— San Francisco Book Review

Not for the faint of heart, Developing Minds will either have you furiously flipping the pages or fearfully enrolling your kids in home school.

— Will’s Weekend Wrap-Up, NoiseTrade

Anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, with a gritty edge will enjoy this novel. The characters are extremely well written and believable, and the dialogue is perfect. Despite the serious matter, the book is also very humorous, visual and vibrant to read.”
– Chantelle Atkins, Underground Book Reviews

More From this Author


More From this Author