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"This novel is The Outsiders of our time."

--Goodreads reader


Miami. 1992.

Johnette Derringer rode out Hurricane Andrew at ground zero in Homestead, Florida.

Her town and high school destroyed, Johnette and hundreds of other scholastic refugees head north to attend Root High in a swanky area of Miami less-affected by the storm.

At Root, Johnette embarks on a documentary film project about student life at what’s become the largest and most diverse public high school in Miami in the wake of the most destructive hurricane to make landfall in US history.

Armed with a Sony Handycam, Johnette embeds herself with the school’s most colorful characters, each with a troubled past rooted in Miami’s tumultuous history.

Through her camera’s lens, Johnette realizes the underlying strife that binds Root’s students and sees the spark that could set the school ablaze with anarchy. The question she keeps asking herself is can the imminent uprising be quelled before it turns deadly?

Reader praise for The Coolest Labels:
"An utterly timely novel."

"A spellbinding novel intermingling racial tensions and coping mechanisms needed to survive Hurricane Andrew."

"I couldn't put it down."

"Melting pots can become delicious concoctions or one hot mess! Fred Smith gets that across in an entertaining and interesting way."

Fred Smith grew up in Miami, Florida. He and his family lived off SW 152nd Street in a home that was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. The Coolest Labels is his first novel and is loosely based on his own high school experience in the wake of the storm.
He’s also written The Closet: stories (The title story of which he adapted into a short film) and Invisible Innocence: my story as a homeless youth with Maria Fabian.
books and stories  by Fred Smith
films by Fred Smith
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