Posted in Guest Post, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Worst/Best Day of My Life

guest post by B. Lynn Goodwin author of
Disrupted (Olympia Publishers, January 25, 2024)

“O.M.G. This is the worst day of my life. Bowen gave us double homework in algebra and Diego walked right past my locker as if I was invisible. Probably his head is in his music, but where does that leave me?”

Sixteen-year-old Sandee Mason is living her life one moment at a time and one issue at a time. Sometimes it seems like everything’s a crisis, but when a real earthquake rocks the school while she’s on top of a ladder, she gets a new perspective on what’s vital. Staying alive is vital. Her brother, who was killed by an IED six months earlier, didn’t have the privilege of staying alive. As her parents mourn, she tries to show them that she’s still here and still matters. She tries to make right choices, and some days she succeeds.

If you have a teen in the house or a good memory of your own experiences, if you teach teens or coach them, you know intense and dramatic the teen years can be.

Loss hits teens with the same intensity as returning a promise ring or losing a lead role or having someone else picked as team captain. It’s horrendous. Bone-chilling. A disaster of unequal proportions. Everything shifts and in that moment many teens are filled with the fear that nothing will ever be the same again. Some lash out. Others shut down, and why wouldn’t they? They’re still acquiring coping skills.

One wise solution for teens, or any of us, is to find a person to listen. Fortunately, Sandee cares, and she listens to her friends because someone was there for her when she lost her brother. She offers help when Nicole finally asks for it. Eventually she finds the courage to ask the new boy, Pete, probing questions when his story doesn’t add up, even though she has no idea how big of a loss he’s been through. It’s amazing, but I’m not giving you any spoilers. Suffice it to say that Sandee uses her own creative spirit to take solution-oriented actions.

Loss hurts and it’s something we’ll all relate to sooner or later. Disrupted shows teens how characters cope with their losses, how they recover, and that things are not always as they seem. I’m being deliberately vague about the plot because I’d love to have you click on the link, read about the book, and maybe read the opening for yourself. There you’ll get a first-hand look into how teens cope. Keep reading. Pick up some ammunition for your worst days. It’s so much better than floundering in the dark.

Disrupted is Lynn’s 5th book, and her 2nd for teens. She’s been helping writers with Writer Advice ezine since 1997.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

Ms BixbyMs. Bixby’s Last Day (Walden Pond Press, 2016) by John David Anderson is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
Take three fifth grade boys, who are friends–Topher, Steve and Brand. Mix in their favorite teacher who is leaving because she has cancer. Three personalities reacting to the same event together develop a plan which will get them in trouble and go so incredibly wrong and right.
The story is told in multiple viewpoints. We see kids whose lives are very different, but pulled together as friends. The book is a 2016 Junior Library Guild Selection and a “TOP 10 Summer 16 Kids’ Indie Next Pick.”
The author has also written Insert Coin to Continue, The Dungeoneers, Minion, Sidekicked, and Standard Hero Behavior. Go to John David Anderson’s website and read the About the Author page for a sense of his humor. Plus, look at the fun extras on each book’s page.