Book Title: The Secret To Letting Go
Author: Katherine Fleet
Release Date: Feb. 1, 2016
Genre: YA Contemporary
One summer can change everything…
Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she’s hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble.
Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life’s story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her parents, she must make a choice: go to jail or confess her secrets—even if they might destroy her chance at a happily-ever-after.
Guest Post by the Author: What I Learned About YA from my Daughter
Hi, everyone! I’m Katherine Fleet, and I first want to thank Ashley for hosting me here today. I’m the debut author of “The Secret to Letting Go” from Entangled Teen. It’s a YA contemporary set in a fictional town on the Gulf Coast of Florida during that magical summer after high school graduation where the whole world is out there waiting for you. It’s the story of two teens – Clover, a mysterious girl who shows up in town steeped in secrets and fears, and Daniel, a boy who’s drawn into her troubled world despite his better judgment. Life keeps throwing them together, but their secrets keep them apart. Ultimately, it’s a story about living through tragedy and learning to forgive your self.
Ashley asked me to write a post about gender roles, which was timely, as I’ve been thinking a lot about girls and the way they are portrayed in YA books, partially due to the recent discussion of #morallycomplicatedYA on twitter. I read somewhere that having YA heroines who are described as “different from other girls” may not be a positive message for readers, and I was surprised.
As a teenager in the 80s, I remember feeling that I wasn’t the same as other girls. I was shy, I did really well in school, and I was interested in things like flying airplanes, fighting injustices and the environment. I was also an avid reader, and there weren’t too many atypical heroines to read about. So I was confused by this concept that having female heroines who didn’t fit the “typical female profile” was a bad thing.
Fortunately, I have a fourteen year-old daughter who is an avid reader and a deep thinker. So I talked to her. First, let me say that my daughter is a smart, motivated, talented kid. When people talk about girls having problems with body issues and self-confidence, I am always thankful that I have a daughter who seems comfortable and confident in her own skin.
So I was floored by her answer. She admitted that because of heroines, like Katniss and Tris, she’s been reluctant to admit that she does like pink, and she would like to wear make-up and pretty clothes and act a little more “feminine”. Wow! She’d somehow gotten the notion that liking these things would make her weaker or less important as a girl. Palm smack against forehead!
Not that I am putting down strong, kick-butt heroines, but somehow, we are propagating the notion that “girly girls” are less motivated, ambitious, compassionate, intelligent or capable. That’s just not right.
So, what does this mean for my writing? First, I will be more careful and thoughtful in how I portray female characters in my books. There is always a need for antagonists, but the “mean popular girl” or “cheerleader” stereotype is cliché and a disservice to the many amazing girls out there who happen to like cheerleading or happen to be popular.
Will I write a YA heroine that pays a lot of attention to clothes and make-up? Probably not, because I don’t have a lot of personal experience to draw on, BUT, I am very appreciative of the authors who are writing these heroines. I want my daughter to read books portraying a full range of heroines, so she feels comfortable in however she chooses to express herself.
My daughter also said to me, “if adults are constantly telling girls that they should love themselves and see the beauty in their own body, why do we criticize the girls who think they are beautiful for being vain and shallow?” I was floored and didn’t know how to respond. She went on to say that in songs and books, it’s only okay for girls to believe they’re beautiful after the guy tells them they are beautiful. She’s so right. We do this…a lot.
I don’t have the answers. I only know that our girls are getting mixed messages about what they should be doing and how they should be acting, and they are getting messages that make them feel bad about themselves and their femininity. In the end, I can only try to keep these things in mind in my own writing, and in the messages I share with my daughter.
I’d also welcome your thoughts. Thanks for reading…
Originally from Newfoundland, Katherine Fleet gave up the cold winters of Eastern Canada for the year round warmth of the Caribbean. The slower pace of island life has given her time to pursue a long-time goal—becoming an author. When she’s not writing, she spends her time baking, chauffeuring her three amazing, talented kids around, and having sun-filled adventures with her husband and wonderful friends in Curaçao. She is also a very thankful breast cancer survivor. In 2007, she joined RWA and has enjoyed the support and camaraderie of the YARWA and OIRWA writing communities. She’s participated in NaNoWriMo since 2012 and is an active supporter of the associated Young Writers Program. She is represented by super-agent Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency. The Secret to Letting Go is her debut novel. You can connect with her and sign up for her newsletter at www.KatherineFleet.com.
The author has very generously donated a $10 Amazon Giftcard for one lucky reader! To enter, please sign up for her newsletter and comment below with your response to the post. Thanks for stopping by and if you are the winner you’ll be emailed on February 29th!