The Lifters is his first work of fiction for 9-12 year olds, and is part underground adventure fantasy, part realistic examination of some oft-overlooked aspects of growing up. Twelve-year-old Granite Flowerpetal (he calls himself Gran, until it’s pointed out to him that Grant would be a much better alternative) has just moved to the economically depressed and sinkhole-ridden town of Carousel. Gran is neither popular nor ridiculed at his new school. It’s much worse; no one notices him.
“I think invisibility afflicts far more kids than almost any of the other stereotypical attributes,” Eggers says. “In so many schools that I’m in, I see kids that are shy, but not so shy that they’re crippled socially. But they sort of move through without garnering a lot of notice from their teachers or their peers.”
Eggers thinks this is indicative of what a lot of kids crave. “That was the key driver for me to write the book and what kept me intrigued – this sense of purpose that I think kids want. They want nothing more in the world than to be given a task that they can own and that they can be successful with. They want to be treated like valuable fellow humans and not infants.”