Jonathan LaPoma

Author / Screenwriter

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A Novel by Jonathan LaPoma

Developing Minds

An American Ghost Story

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

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.


#1 Amazon Best Seller (“Satire” and “Urban Life” Kindle categories)

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

Bronze Medal Winner of the 2016 FAPA President’s Awards (Adult eBook 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.”

Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite, 5-Star Review

“Brilliant writing from a very promising new author. He is one to watch.”

Grady Harp, Hall of Fame and Top 100 Amazon Reviewer

“A scathing comic novel . . . sort of a M*A*S*H for Miami schoolteachers.”

Patrick Murtha, Book ’em, Danno

“Incredibly artistic . . .  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 . . .”

— San Francisco Book Review

“Poignant, engaging. . . a frighteningly accurate depiction of inner-city schools. “

Red City Review

“Readers will be gripped by the many dimensions the plot has to offer . . .”

— Mamta Madhaven, Readers’ Favorite, 5-Star Review

“Raunchy, yet captivating . . . Jonathan LaPoma is an extraordinary writer.”

— Stargazer Literary Prizes (1st Place)

“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 . . .”

Kalyan Panja, Booktica

“WOW! I loved this book . . . I found myself laughing out loud . . . don’t miss it!”

— Trang Tran, Bookidote 

“About as far removed from ‘Dead Poets Society’ as you can get.”

— Gem L Thompson, The Book Eaters

“Developing Minds deserves five stars as a gritty, character-driven, coming-of-age novel by a talented writer.”

–Don Sloan of author Ingrid Hall’s Book Review Blog

“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


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Developing Minds
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Also available:

A Noble Truth

A screenplay by Jonathan LaPoma

Cover of 'A Noble Truth' by Jonathan LaPoma

Two estranged best friends, one a once-rising songwriter who mysteriously quit the music scene to return to his hometown of Buffalo, NY and work as an ice machine repairman, and the other a Columbia Journalism School dropout, take a road trip throughout the US and into Mexico to write a book about what truths unite people in a modern world slipping deeper into apathy and discord. But it’s soon evident that on this quest for truth, truth is the last thing either man seeks.

-Winner of 12 awards/honors in various international screenwriting competitions, including 1st place victories in both the 2014 Awareness Film Festival and the 2014 West Field Screenwriting Awards (The New York Award)

-Ranked in the top 5% of the over 2,500 feature-length scripts listed on

“I loved the heart in which this story is told. The message of reforming a dissatisfied America is a pertinent and modern theme that is relevant in today’s turbulent world. LaPoma delivers this social commentary with conviction and honesty, his writing showcasing his legitimate passion for his subject matter.”

Cincinnati Film Festival Feedback, 2015

  • London Film Awards, 2016, Grand Prize: Feature Screenplay category
  • Awareness Film Festival, 2014, 1st Place
  • West Field Screenwriting Awards, 2014, 1st Place–“The New York Award”
  • Rated SR – Socially Relevant Film Festival, 2014, Top Four Scripts
  • Indie Gathering Film Festival, 2013, Honorable Mention
  • Mountain Film Festival, 2015, Honorable Mention
  • Las Vegas Screenplay Contest, 2016, Finalist 
  • Beverly Hills Film Festival, 2014, Finalist
  • Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, 2015, Finalist
  • Twister Alley International Film Festival, 2015, Finalist
  • Courier Awards, 2015, Semifinalist
  • EyeCatcher International Film Festival, 2016, Official Selection
  • Wayfarer Film Festival, 2016, Official Selection
  • NewLife Film & Script & Music Festival, 2016, Official Selection
  • Glendale International Film Festival, 2015, Official Selection
  • Evolution Mallorca Film Festival, 2015, Official Selection
  • Sacramento International Film Festival, 2014, Official Selection
  • Oaxaca Film Festival, 2013, Official Selection
  • BLOW UP Chicago International Arthouse Film Fest, 2015, Official Selection
  • WriteMovies, 2013, Quarterfinalist
  • Filmmakers International, 2013, Second-Round Qualifier
  • Ranked in the top 2% of the more than 2,700 feature-length screenplays listed on
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