Young Adult fiction from Robert Wilder
Publishes September 2016
Leafstorm Press

Available at: AmazonBarnes & NobleCollected WorksGarcia Street Books


Being a teenager is hard enough without your mother in rehab and your slightly inept stepfather doing his best not to screw things up. But at least, Coy has Monroe. Coy is a quirky teenage boy and his best friend Monroe is a girl who is just as odd and funny and obsessed with 80’s culture as he is. So when Monroe comes down with a mysterious illness, his inner turmoil only grows. As Monroe gets sicker and Coy gets a girlfriend from another social crowd, the balance tips and Coy has to figure out how not to give up on his friend, his family, or himself. Nickel is a hilarious, heartbreaking and honest portrayal of the complicated world of being a teenager today.



“No one has ever written about the pains of being a teenager–physically and psychologically, inside and out–quite like Robert Wilder in his startling debut novel. He has created indelible characters in Monroe and Coy–funny and sad and strong and broken–and NICKEL is about as real as it gets.

– AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS, New York Times best-selling author of Lust and Wonder (publishing March 2016), Dry, and Running With Scissors

“One of the best books about teenagers I’ve ever read. An incredible, engaging voice frames this brutal, beautiful, heartbreaking first novel.”

– GARY SHTEYNGART, New York Times best-selling author of Little Failure: A Memoir, and Super Sad True Love Story

“The joy of Nickel is in watching a deep friendship between two outsiders land so squarely inside a reader’s heart. Monroe and Coy’s way of speaking is brilliantly sharp, fast and clever as if the wild curves of their private language are the very thing keeping them sane as the world goes crazy around them. For anyone who has ever felt weird. For anyone who has ever been a friend. Wilder’s book belongs on the shelf beside that other great chronicler of teen friendships: S.E. Hinton. ”

– SAMANTHA HUNT, award-winning author of Mr. Splitfoot, The Invention of Everything Else, and The Seas

“I loved this novel for its humor and pathos, for its honesty and accuracy about what it means to live in our world. Nickel features a heartbreaking set of circumstances, yet its narrator never loses his essential charm as a young man ready to find hilarity even in the direst of dark times. The first thing I wanted to do was recommend the book to everybody.”

– ANTONYA NELSON, award-winning author of Funny Once, Talking in Bed, andBound

“I have never read anything that captures the teenage mind quite like Robert Wilder’s funny and brilliantly honest book, or encountered a narrator more vivid and memorable. I advise you to buy two copies of Nickel; one to read over and over again and one to give away.”

– NATALIE GOLDBERG, author of Writing Down the Bones, and The Great Spring

“Funny, suspenseful, and alive with the most vivid adolescent characters you’ll ever read, Nickel is a wonderful novel and Rob Wilder is a masterful writer.”

– ROBERT BOSWELL, award-winning author of Tumbledown, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, Crooked Hearts, and Mystery Ride

“In Nickel, Robert Wilder captures the limbo that is ninth grade with irrepressible wit and insight and urgency. You couldn’t ask for a better narrator and guide than Coy — a devotee of 80s music, a staunch and tender friend, and the kind of kid who notices all the things that everyone else misses, from his science teacher’s sweaty sandwich to a sun that looks like an aspirin in the sky. His observations can be hilarious, surprising, unvarnished, sometimes even devastating — and thanks to Wilder’s infallible ear, they always ring true.”

– SARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM,  award-winning author of Ms. Hempel Chroniclesand National Book Award finalist for Madeleine is Sleeping

“Compassionate, frightening and funny, this is a terrific book. With seeming ease Wilder gets precisely the ironic detachment and surface sophistication of today’s youth culture while delving straight into the heart of adolescence, its fragile emotions, its awkwardness, uncertainty and ancient fears.  Despite my initial hesitations about diving back into the isolating terrors of high school and of serious illness, I was immediately won over by this author’s keen insight, his rare ability with language, his leavening humor and–using all of these in tandem–his power to convince.”

– DAVID SMALL, author/illustrator and Caldecott Award winner for So You Want To Be President?, and The Gardener, plus two-time National Book Award Finalist for Stitches, and The Underneath

“Robert Wilder’s Nickel is a feisty, fantastically gripping story. The novel is a funny, frank, heartbreaking portrait of adolescence, which the author knows all too well as the most emotionally intense period of anyone’s life. This is doubly true for Wilder’s Coy, a smartass but deeply bruised nonconformist grappling with illness and threat all around him. I haven’t read a teenage narrator this well-drawn, this vexingly captivating since Salinger!”

– CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS, award-winning author of Gold Fame Citrus, andBattleborn

“This funny, sad, and tender novel sweeps us effortlessly into the land of sectarian cliques and conspiracies—high school. We learn, as if for the first time, that some of us get acquainted with incalculably dark knowledge too soon. Like Lorrie Moore’s Who Will Run the Frog Hospital, Rob Wilder’s novel reminds us that adolescent best friendships are the purest form of love. And the site of purest heartbreak too.”

– DEBRA MONROE,  award-winning author of My Unsentimental Education, On the Outskirts of Normal, and The Source of Trouble

“Start with a couple of teenage underdogs, throw them each a mean curveball, stir in a heavy dose of irreverence, and you’ve got the bones of Wilder’s captivating novel– a story that doesn’t always go down easy, but draws you in with its keen eye for detail, its intricately drawn characters, and a narrator who’s voice you’d follow anywhere.”


“Robert Wilder renders a particularly complicated teenager-hood with tremendous heart. His Nickel is funny, gritty and poignant.”

– AMY FUSSELMAN,  author of Savage Park, and The Pharmacist’s Mate/8. 

ISBN: 978-0-9970207-0-0
320 PAGES | 5 3/4 X 8 1/2
Publishes September 2016

Nickel, the new book from Robert Wilder