Today we have a special guest on the blog! Leigh Ann Kopans, author of ONE is here today to talk about the power of a YA book!
“It was a dark and stormy night…
The house shook.
Wrapped in her quilt, Meg shook.
She wasn’t usually afraid of weather. It’s not just the weather, she thought. It’s the weather on top of everything else. On top of me. On top of Meg Murry doing everything wrong.”
~ A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
When I was in junior high, I was awkward. Well, I was beyond awkward. I had giant frizzy hair I hadn’t learned to style yet, glasses, splotchy skin, and a full mouth of braces. Boys weren’t interested in me. Heck, girls were barely interested in hanging out with me. I was awful at sports – some cross between lacking all athletic ability and just not caring – and I was mediocre at my oft-attempted singing and theater. I sucked at science and math.
There was one thing I absolutely loved – English class. The vocabulary, the dissection of theme in Dickens or Rand or Shakespeare or Orwell, the diagrammed structure of a sentence in all its near-scientific elegance – all these things ignited something in me that nothing else managed to. But for this, I got made fun of (even in my honors English classes!), being called “a know-it-all” and “a human dictionary.” I pretended that those things didn’t bother me, but they did. They really did, because even though I wanted to love English, I also didn’t want to be weird.
Maybe that’s why, at the age of twelve, A Wrinkle in Time became one of my favorite books. Sure, the science fiction and fantasy elements are awesome, and I still swoon a little over Calvin O’Keefe, but I was Meg Murry. I was the girl who felt like every single thing I did was an immense screw-up, that I would never amount to anything, that I would never be beautiful, that even though people kept telling me I was smart, maybe I was really just dumb. Just like Meg Murry did.
At the end, of course, Meg Murry and her special (deeply hidden!) abilities save her father, her brother, and the whole planet, and the girl with glasses, braces, and mousy brown hair even gets the guy. Losing myself in the pages of that book, I could believe that I would one day turn out just like Meg Murry did – brilliant, gorgeous, and spectacular.
The power of YA Books is that they show lonely, misfit, weird-in-some-way readers that kids exactly like them exist. Those kids may not live in their towns, or go to their schools, or even be visible online. But even if it’s only in the pages of a book, someone just like them ended up conquering incredible challenges, whether otherworldly, inside the walls of their homes, or even in their own minds. Teenagerdom and high school are times when a lot of people feel pretty lonely, and sometimes that loneliness can make them despair about their future - what they will, or what they think the never can, become.
I think that deep down inside I knew I had the capability to one day be less weird, less uncomfortable in my own skin, less doubtful of how I presented myself. But losing myself in Madeleine L’Engle’s stories made me believe that I would.
That was the power of a YA book for me. I hope it is for a lot of other teen readers, too.
When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.You can buy the book, or read an excerpt on Amazon!
It makes you a One.
Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.
If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.
Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.
Merrin's mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub's internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it's more important to fly solo, or to save everything - and everyone - she loves.
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeighAnnKopansbooks
Novel Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17251203-one
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6439443.LeighAnn_Kopans
About Leigh Ann Kopans:
Raised on comic books and classic novels, Leigh Ann developed an early love of science fiction and literature. As an adult, she rediscovered her love for not only reading, but also writing the types of fiction that enchanted her as a teen. Her debut novel, ONE, is about a girl with only half a superpower, the boy who makes her fly, and her struggle to make herself whole.
Leigh Ann, her husband, and four children live in Columbus, Ohio. When she’s not immersed in the world of fiction, you can find her obsessing over the latest superhero movie or using her kids as an excuse to go out for ice cream (again.)