Sean Desmond presents "Sophomores," with Tom Junod

January 26, 2021, 7:30 PM

Veteran publisher Sean Desmond launches his second novel Sophomores, called a "vibrant, propulsive, wildly intelligent and big-hearted slice of life" by Claire Lombardo (author of The Most Fun We've Ever Had)--in conversation with journalist Tom Junod. This program will take place on Zoom. Register here:

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"What a vibrant, propulsive, wildly intelligent and big-hearted slice of life Sophomores is, an intricate portrait of a family in crisis rendered with a great deal of humor and compassion. I loved this family, this corner of the world, this novel." -Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

The late 1980s come alive in this moving and keenly observed story of one boy's unforgettable sophomore year, and his parents' surprising journey alongside him.


It's fall 1987 and life as normal is ending for the Malone family. With their sterile Dallas community a far cry from the Irish-American Bronx of their youth, Pat and Anne Malone have reached a breaking point. Pat, faced with a debilitating MS diagnosis, has fallen into his drinking. Anne, his devoutly Catholic wife, is selected as a juror for a highly publicized attempted murder trial, one that raises questions--about God, and about men in power--she has buried her entire life. Together, they try to raise their only son, Daniel, a bright but unmotivated student who is shocked into actual learning by an enigmatic English teacher. For once, Dan is unable to fly under the radar, and is finally asked to consider what he might want to make of his life.

With humor and tenderness, Sophomores brilliantly captures the enduring poignancy of coming of age, teenage epiphanies and heartbreak, and family redemption.

Sean Desmond is the publisher of Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central, and has been in the publishing world for more than twenty-five years. His first novel, Adam's Fall, was published in 2000 and was adapted into the film Abandon. Desmond lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Tom Junod has written some of the most enduring journalism of the past few decades, from his profile of Fred Rogers to his deeply-felt meditation on 9/11, "The Falling Man."  He worked as a writer for Esquire from 1997 to 2016, and is now a senior writer at ESPN.  He has won two National Magazine Awards as well as the James Beard Award for essay writing, and has been widely anthologized.  He is working on his first book, a memoir of his father, about whom he’s written many times in his career.  He lives in Marietta, GA, with his wife Janet, his daughter Nia, and his pit bull, Dexter.