Vito DiBarone was a self-described “egghead” growing up in East Orange and Phillipsburg, New Jersey. He puts it this way: “In the summertime, our library had a contest for who could read the most books. I never won because most of what I read were technical science books.”

He received two Hardy Boys novels on his 10th birthday, and they sparked a lifelong love of mysteries. “I’m stuck in that era,” he jokes. “I’m rereading the story of Edward Stratemeyer, who owned the syndicate that hired Charles Leslie McFarlane to ghostwrite the Hardy Boys series.” (He was surprised to learn later in life that East Orange was home to the Stratemeyer Syndicate).

DiBarone created a Hardy-adjacent alter ego to front his own book series, Botheration, which now comprises two novels with a third on the way and a fourth in the works. His debut YA novel, Part One: The Missing Link, introduced 16-year-old Matty Weber, a recently orphaned high schooler who struggles with the trauma of seeing his parents perish in a car fire as well as with navigating high school’s social hierarchy after he moves to Southern California to live with his grandmother. Throw in a series of cyberterrorist attacks and you have what Kirkus Reviews praises as a “captivating blend of teen drama and techno-thriller.”

Part Two: Waves of Dinosaurs finds 17-year-old Matty coming to the rescue of a paleontology student at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, only the beginning of another adventure that takes extraordinary SF twists and turns—“Dinosaurs are only part of the story,” he teases—while further exploring Matty’s issues with trust and his unrequited crush on popular Samantha, the girl of his dreams:

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