I'm celebrating this week. My young adult contemporary novel Cluing In was released on November 9, and book five in my YA urban fantasy series Reality Shift, From the Ashes, comes out tomorrow!
Both these books have some heavy-duty topics in them. In Cluing In, Jamey Mandel breaks up with his girlfriend Tina Kane because she's pressuring him for sex, including making some comments about him that are borderline bullying. ("Are you sure you're into girls?") Tina almost immediately starts going out with another boy, and within a few weeks a rumor begins that Tina is pregnant. A rumor that turns out to be true.
Tina's new boyfriend dumps her, and Tina tries to get Jamey's help. Or at least his advice. But Jamey keeps turning her away, until the worst happens. Tina commits suicide, and Jamey believes it's his fault.
When anyone commits suicide, the people they leave behind almost always blame themselves. If only they'd recognized the signs. If only they'd listened when the person tried to talk to them. If only... countless things, none of which might have made a difference. In Cluing In, Jamey sinks to the point of considering suicide himself, which is something that unfortunately happens with teens who lose someone to suicide. Jamey is able to get help. If you or a teen you know is dealing with the loss of a loved one or friend, I hope that you'll get help too.
In From the Ashes, Shanna Bailey is continuing to deal with the aftereffects of being abused by her mother. Although she's no longer in that situation, her nightmares and flashbacks sometimes make her feel like she still is. On top of that, flashbacks and memories of being molested have begun to surface, and those are made worse by the romantic interest her former next-door neighbor, Ken Gallant, is showing in her. Shanna's afraid of trying a relationship, and worse, is afraid that Ken might expect "certain things" from her because he knows about one of the molestation incidents.
Shanna is also getting help from a therapist, as well as being able to count on her best friend Jonah Leighton when things get too tough to handle. But there are times when Shanna really doesn't believe she can take anymore.
Both of these books deal with difficult topics, but they also deal with the hope that can come from getting help and moving past the tough times.
Cluing In is available from Featherweight Press and Amazon.com. From the Ashes will be available November 17 from Jupiter Gardens Press.