Friday, December 23, 2016

This December Night

This December Night
by TC Booth

The weight of all that I’d lost over the past year crushes my chest, suffocating me. Parked in my driveway I grip the steering wheel and focus on breathing. Christmas will forever be a reminder of the day my family was ripped apart. I glance at my home, no Christmas Tree or twinkling lights in the big picture window. Unable to force myself to go inside the cold dark house, I shift and back out of the drive.

I know without a doubt that Mom is in his room sitting in the dark like she does everyday. Dad probably isn’t home and even if he is, he’d be drunk by now. There are days I want to scream at the top of my lungs and yell, I’m still here! It’s me, your daughter, Harper. I didn’t die with Zane.   But they did. Their souls died that day leaving me with a shell of my parents. I not only lost my older brother the day he overdosed, I lost them. A lump of emotion rises and lodges in my throat. Emotion that I can’t release and I’ve tried. God knows I’ve tried, but I can’t. I haven’t been able to for a year. The cold December rain trickles down my windshield, reminding me of the tears that remain unshed inside of me.

A voice from the radio slices through my thoughts and straight to my heart. “The heroin epidemic continues with yet another death of a young person in the county…” I snap the radio off and press a hand to my chest. The thump of the wipers is the only sound left in the car as the memories of that night crash down on me. If only I’d told Mom and Dad where Zane was going that night. I knew the party was bad news, but I wouldn’t rat him out. He was home on break from his first year in college and wanted to hang out with old friends. When the doorbell rang at one o'clock that morning, I knew it was bad. Nobody came to your house at that hour with good news.

I squeeze my eyes shut at the memory of my mother’s wail. I’d never heard someone in so much pain. I peel my eyes open just in time to see a blur in my headlights. My car smacks into something, jolting me forward. I throw open the door and rush to the front of the car. A deer lies on the road, its side rises and falls with shallow breaths.  “I’m so sorry.” I say aloud in a shaky voice. My teeth chatter from the cold rain as I pull my phone out of my coat pocket. My first instinct is to call Cody. Then I remember I can’t. The one person who stood beside me, there for me even when I lashed out at him. My anger finally drove him away. He couldn’t take anymore and broke up with me last week. Loneliness falls over me like a wet blanket, I have no one. I sink to the wet ground and cover my face.

 The faint sound of music drifts into the air. My radio. Startled I lift my head and see snowflakes floating from the sky . The words of the song  Mary did you Know fall delicately around me along with the white flakes. The song comes to an end and the song  Arms Wide Open  takes over. The words bleed into me and seep into my soul. Like someone took a blindfold off of me,  I see clearly that I’m not alone. He’s been with me all along. Tears pour from my eyes. I lift my face to heaven and let him carry the weight for me. I don’t know how long a sit there crying before my eyes wander back to the deer. It’s gone.  A smile spreads over my face for the first time in forever.  I feel light and peaceful. I get back into the car and head home knowing I can face anything after this December night.

Friday, December 2, 2016

My Friends Are All Strange

       It was my pleasure to read and review the young adult contemporary story  My Friends are All Strange for my stop on the blog tour.

    My Friends are all Strange is written from the point of view of seventeen year old Becca. This story gives the reader a first-hand look inside the mind of someone suffering with mental illness. The readers gain an understanding of how difficult it is for those who struggle with these issues to navigate the stresses of every day life.

 I immediately felt a connection to Becca and rooted for her throughout the entire story. I liked the voice and personality of her character. Despite the seriousness of the situation, the writer wove in humor through Becca’s unique personality. She is smart and witty with funny internal dialogue.

After a breakdown at school, Becca is sent to a facility called Brookside to receive the help she needs. Becca learns the triggers of her struggles and strategies for coping. She also develops friendships with “people like her”.

The story was so well written that I felt like I knew Becca and her friends personally. I recommend this story for middle school age on up.  Adults of any age would also enjoy it. I give it a strong five stars!

My Friends Are All Strange
Margaret Lesh
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
My friends are all strange.
Right now I’m living at Brookside, a place for people like me. I’ve met a kitty girl, a brooding beautiful boy, one who can’t be touched, and others. My new friends. Strange people. People like me.
I’ve always been different, but lately, more so. My hands sometimes don’t seem to be attached to the rest of me. I cut up all of my clothes. I’m hot, so hot, all of the time. If I sleep, a wizard haunts every dream. I don’t sleep. Sometimes I want to run, but where do you run to when you’re trying to escape your own mind? I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I’m smart. I’m nice, sometimes. I just want to be normal(ish). But, right now, my friends are all strange… Like me.
Dark, funny, snarky, seventeen-year-old Becca struggles to cope with mental illness in My Friends Are All Strange, the gripping contemporary young adult companion novel to Normalish.

Author Bio:
California native Margaret Lesh lives in a narrow canyon populated by herds of wild burro and packs of coyote. The canyon is also populated with her creative, handsome husband, her feisty mother-in-law, her not-brave-at-all Border Collie, Echo, and sometimes her son (who is away at college. And she is not quite sure how that all happened so fast).
She writes books to entertain young and not-so-young readers as well as herself. She believes tacos are magic.