I'm part of the Summer Lovin' Blog Tour; The season’s best beach reads, The Summer of No Regret and While He Was Away. Today I bring you a Guest Post by Katherine Grace Bond author of The Summer of No Regrets about finding the real you.
Finding the Real Me
Sometimes I feel, as far as social groups are concerned, that I’m sort of a minor hello and goodbye part.
As teens read THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS, I’ve been reading my teenage diary. REALLY embarrassing, but it has to be done. How else will I know whether I’ve actually grown up?
I shopped a lot, but thought I looked terrible in the “in” clothes (which included something called “gauchos”.) I went to a folk dance convention, was dumped by my best friend, fought with my mother. My dad yelled a lot. I almost got to be an exchange student in France. I asked a boy named Lyle for his picture every single week.
What strikes me, as I read these awkward entries, is that I expected other people to tell me who I was.
That was the year I followed puppy-like after friends who treated me shoddily, hoping I’d become worthy
I glowed under the praise of teachers and knew I was smart.
I longed to shake off my parents’ overprotectiveness so I’d be mature.
I was certain my life would be “so great” if only fill in boy’s name here liked me. Then I’dbe pretty.
Once, when a brand new song came on the radio, my best friend asked, mid-song, whether I liked it.
“Do you like it?” I asked.
“I’m not going to tell you,” she replied, and I faced the ultimate dilemma: Should I love it? Should I hate it? I couldn’t know until I got her opinion; I didn’t have one of my own. The still, small voice inside me had gone missing.
Though Brigitta in THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS, hides the “real she,” she’s still more self-possessed than I was. But I did eventually find the “real Katherine,” and I’ve learned a few things about going from fake to real.
- Create, create, create: write, sing, sculpt, build. What you create is uniquely yours. The more you create, the more comfortable you become in your own skin.
- Pay attention to your body. That feeling in the pit of your stomach may be telling you to get out of a bad situation. That exhilaration in your lungs may be telling you, “I should come here more often.” Your body knows your likes and dislikes—usually better than your friends do.
- Love boldly. Notice what you care about and act on it. Homeless kids? Volunteer at the shelter. Poetry slams? Start an open mic. Your grandmother? Pick up the phone.
- Be an encourager. I’m more myself when I encourage—“calling out” someone’s gift can be life-changing. One of my sweeter diary entries read, “Mary wrote my poem on the front of her notebook. She said, ‘Don’t erase it! I think it’s so beautiful.’” Mary, now a librarian, always encouraged my writing. Now, through TEENWrite, I get to do the same.
And as it turns out, I’m more than a hello and goodbye part. And so are you.
About the Books
The Summer of No Regrets
by Katherine Grace Bond
Published: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
The day Brigitta accidentally flings herself into the lap of a guy she's never met, her friend Natalie is convinced he's Trent Yves, egotistical heartthrob-in-hiding. When the boy, who calls himself Luke, is nearly eaten by a cougar, Brigitta finds herself saving his life, being swept into his spectacular embrace and wondering if she wants Natalie's fantasy to be true.
As the two spend the summer together raising orphaned cougar cubs, Brigitta still can't be sure of his true identity. But then again, since her grandparents' death, her father's sudden urge to give away all their possessions and become a shaman, and her own awkward transition from girlhood into a young woman, she isn't sure of anything. What is the truth? More importantly, can she accept it?
Praise for The Summer of No Regrets
"What do you get when you mix a teen heart throb, orphaned baby cougars, and a girl on a search for answers to life's big questions? You get The Summer of No Regrets, a story full of fun and heart." --Deb Caletti, National Book Award finalist and author of The Six Degrees of Maybe
"The Summer Of No Regrets will nudge its way into your heart with its endearing characters and captivating storyline. Katherine Grace Bond has deftly created a very appealing read that brims with hope and humor." --Justina Chen Headley, author of North of Beautiful
About the Author
Katherine Grace Bond often finds herself in the woods of Washington State escaping from giant cats and shadowy figures in cloaks. She is the creator of TEENWrite acting/writing workshops, where participants come as their characters. Visit www.KatherineGraceBond.com
by Karen Schreck
Published: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
"This is just something I have to do, okay?" I hear David say. "The right thing."
He cradles my face in his hands. He kisses me hard. Then he lets go of me. His eyes dart from me to whatever's next.
All she wants is for him to stay. She's been doing pretty well, pretending he doesn't have to go. But one day, after one last night to remember, she wakes up and there's no denying it anymore. He's gone.
When Penna Weaver's boyfriend goes off to Iraq, she's left facing life without him. As summer sets in, Penna tries to distract herself with work and her art, but the not knowing is slowly driving her crazy. Especially when David stops writing.
She knows in her heart he will come home. But will he be the same boy she fell in love with?
Praise for While He Was Away
“Is love strong enough to outlast time, conquer distance and survive the harsh realities of war? That’s the question Karen Schreck explores in this riveting novel about a young soldier sent to Iraq and the girl who stays behind, struggling to put the pieces of her life together when it seems her whole world is falling apart. Told against a backdrop of family secrets, lost loves, and old wounds, this novel is full of powerful emotions and true-to-life drama that will pull you in from the very first sentence and live on in your heart, long after you turn the last page.” --Pam Todd, author of The Blind Faith Hotel, winner of the 2009 Great Lakes Booksellers Award
“A tender and honest examination of love, longing, and loyalty in the face of modern war, While He Was Away is full of rich and complex characters whose wounds don't always show on the outside. Beautifully written, with a fascinating mystery that keeps the reader turning the pages, Schreck's novel asks if true love sometimes requires more courage than we think we have, and if forgiveness isn't the bravest act of all.” --Laura Ruby, author of Bad Apple
My review of While He Was Away here
About the Author
Karen Halvorsen Schreck is the author of the young adult novel Dream Journal, a 2006 Young Adult BookSense Pick, and the award-winning children’s book Lucy’s Family Tree. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois State Arts Council Grant. Karen works as a freelance writer and editor, teaches writing and literature, and lives with her husband, the photographer Greg Halvorsen Schreck, and their two children in Wheaton, Illinois. Visit karenschreck.com
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