Full disclosure: Courtney Summers, along with fellow readergirlz diva Melissa Walker, is one of twenty one authors including yours truly who've banded together to promote our own and others' contemporary YA fiction. Our blog is called The Contemps, and we while spotlight our own contemp titles releasing in 2011, most of all, our aim is to celebrate the value of "keeping it real" for young adult readers. BUT I've been a huge fan of Courtney's writing long before we "met" via the blogosphere. In fact, students in my writing workshop have cited her debut novel, CRACKED UP TO BE, as one of the strongest-voiced narratives they've read of late, so I was thrilled to pick up SOME GIRLS ARE over the summer. The book did not disappoint.
Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around. Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.
If you haven't read Courtney's work, I urge you to check it out, stat - no sophomore slump for this writer! But first, here's what Courtney has to say about resilience:
I really love the definition of resilience. Check it out (from dictionary.com):
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc.,
after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
Resilience is something that is never far from my mind when I write my novels. My characters kind of need to be resilient, what with the things I put them through. Some Girls Are was a novel that moved forward due to the resiliency of certain characters. Without Michael's ability to get up every day after the death of his mother and both Liz and Regina's determination to overcome the torment heaped upon them by their peers, there wouldn't be much of a book. I think all of my books would be A LOT shorter if my characters weren't at all resilient!
And THEN I was thinking resilience is also something that was never far from my mind in my pursuit to become published. You get rejected a lot in the writing game, and not always in the nicest or most encouraging ways. You HAVE to be resilient to put your work out there and take the rejections on the chin, and then send your stuff back out there again--all without any guarantees. The resiliency of my writing peers was an inspiration. Watching them put their work out there and keep plugging away in spite of any rejection they might have received kept me going too. It still does. Resiliency is also, apparently, contagious! So I was thinking we should maybe petition all dictionaries to include its contagiousness in their definition of the word?
I am drafting up a proposal now.
I love that so much! As a writer, we do face so much rejection, and knowing that others somehow find the resilience to persist can be just the inspiration that we need with our own work. Thanks so much for joining us, Courtney!
So, readers - whose resilience inspires YOU?
readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Featured Title: SOME GIRLS ARE, by Courtney Summers
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SOME GIRLS ARE is just as powerful as Courtney Summers' first novel, CRACKED UP TO BE. I look forward to her next book, FALL FOR ANYTHING.
Growing up, I greatly admired my mother's resilience. She made ends meet and she worked HARD to make sure that happened. She taught me I could do and be anything I set my mind to, no matter what.
Thanks, Micol! I love that Courtney defined resilience for us. The image of returning to shape after being bent or compressed is wonderful. I can't wait to read Some Girls Are.
Definitely my mother, too, LW!
Yay for The Contemps keeping it real!
I love Courtney's books. They're a wild ride for sure, but every emotion is so earned. Awesome. Can't wait for the next one!
I know - can't wait for FALL FOR ANYTHING!
I think of resilience as "bouncing back," which goes back to that "shape" thing. My real-life models are various childhood friends who've recently had to cope with family illness and who've been incredibly strong. I have so much respect for their coping skills.
Have you read "Learning to Breathe" by Allison Wright? She was in a bus on a Laos mountain road when a logging truck plowed right into the bus. She was sitting at the pont of intact. It took 12 hours before she received hospital care. Her story of resilience and "it was the best thing that ever happened to me" affirmation for the things she experienced after the incident is a beautiful story indeed. Also, have you read "The Survivor Personality" or "The Resiliency Advantage?"
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