Guest Post & Giveaway: Jessica Verdi on writing about hard topics!

Posted April 21, 2014 by Bee in Giveaways, Interviews & Guest Posts / 3 Comments

So I was invited to be a part of a virtual tour about this book and since I really loved it, I accepted the offer. Now I’ve got the author Jessica Verdi here on my blog to talk about why she chooses to write books about hard topics. Her first book My Life After Now, which I loved too, is about AIDS and this one is about a girl that’s sent to a “de-gaying” camp. You can read my review of My Life After Now here and my review of The Summer I Wasn’t Me over here! It just happens to be lucky coincidence that this falls in LGBT+ April.

Guest Post & Giveaway: Jessica Verdi on writing about hard topics!

The Summer I Wasn't Me

by Jessica Verdi
Published on April 1st 2014
by Sourcebooks Fire
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Also by this author: My Life After Now, The Summer I Wasn't Me, What You Left Behind

Lexi has a secret…

Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen-year-old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way.

The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi—she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feelings is harder than she thinks. And when she falls heads over heels for one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.

Guest Post

Hi, Bieke! Thank you so much for having me on your blog, and for your great question!

I was recently asked the Teen Author Reading Night in New York why I keep writing books that require a ton of research, and if research is something I particularly enjoy or gravitate toward. And I thought about that a bit, and came to the conclusion that no, I’m not a huge fan of research. But I DO feel strongly about talking about issues I think are important, and that may not get a ton of attention.

I got the idea to write My Life After Now when talking with an HIV+ friend about how HIV/AIDS (and STIs in general) is really underrepresented in YA lit, even though young people ages 13-29 are the fastest growing group testing positive for HIV. So I knew that was something I wanted to talk about. And I got the idea for The Summer I Wasn’t Me while actually listening to a Lady Gaga song! In her song “Hair,” the chorus goes, “I just want to be myself and I want you to love me for who I am.” And I got to thinking about all the kids who aren’t loved for who they are, and the pieces for Lexi’s story started falling into place. Conversion camps have long fascinated me, because even though these places are horrible and abusive, parents send their kids there for ultimately noble reasons—they truly believe they are helping their kids. It’s such a strange, backward, twisted idea, I knew I wanted to explore that world.

It can be very difficult at times to write books like this, especially during the research process where all the hidden horrors of these worlds become exposed, but if even just ONE person reads these books and has a more open, compassionate worldview because of it, it’s all worth it!

Thank you so much, Jessica! It was so nice having you here.


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