Today I’d like to reveal the cover of my June 26 YA LGBTQ release from Harmony Ink Press called MY CRUNCHY LIFE.
What’s it about? Well here’s the blurb:
John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.
After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.
When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.
Who designed the awesome cover?
The talented Aaron Anderson!!
Here’s an excerpt:
Kale (at local REHO—Rights for Every Human Organization—meeting)
Friday 8:00 p.m.
Where is he… where is he… where is he…. Where. Is. He?
At lunch on Monday, two days before he told me he tried to kill himself by downing a bag of pain medicine, Julian told me, “So I guess I’ll see you Friday night.” Not that the news impacted me in such a way that made it hard for me to fall asleep for the past several nights, because I couldn’t stop picturing Julian semiconscious in his tree house. It didn’t. I’ve been having trouble falling asleep because I’m struggling in Spanish III, that’s all.
So why do I care that he’s not here?
“We gather tonight in the spirit of love and selflessness, and with the solemn hope that our efforts to serve the community will be sufficient to keep hope alive for those who struggle to obtain the rights inherent to all human beings.”
Tonight, instead of doing the standard hand-holding thing, we’ve crossed our arms in front of ourselves, per Judy’s instructions, and are grasping each other’s hands this way.
Welcome to Variations in Hand-holding 101.
“I thought it might be fun,” Judy says, unsuccessfully fighting her urge to giggle, “if we started our meeting tonight by passing a hand squeeze around the circle, as we bond over our common concern—ridding the world of all forms of discrimination.” She peeks around the circle with a sheepish look on her face. “It might be fun… I think… so I’ll start.”
I look up and sharply to the left in an effort to catch eyes with the very tall girl who is again holding my hand. When she glances down at me and I send her a look that clearly asks, “Are we at a human rights organization meeting or in kindergarten class?” But she quickly shrugs and looks away, totally sold on this faux bonding technique. I’m left to wait for the squeeze to come my way so I can pass it on and become one with these relative strangers. Before the squeeze makes its way all the way around the circle, though, our meeting is interrupted.
“I’m late. So sue me.” Julian stops at the bottom of the stairs and strikes a dramatic pose—his right hip jutting out to the side while he scrutinizes his fingernails.
I try to ignore my relief when I see him, but that would be like trying to ignore a tropical cyclone blowing past the tiki hut I’m trying to sleep in on the beach. In other words, it doesn’t work.
“Oh, Julian, hello, and welcome back to REHO. We’re so happy you could make it tonight. Please, join the circle. You’re going to need to cross your arms, though.” Judy warns, and her face is beet red. “We’re passing around a hand squeeze in the name of bonding. It’s a little trickier with your arms crossed.” She waits while Julian steps into the circle between tall girl and me. “I’ll start over again, how does that sound?”
When Julian glances up at me, I see “what the fuck is this?” in his eyes, and I decide Judy has succeeded in her goal, if not in exactly the manner she’d intended. Julian and I have bonded over what we both consider to be a juvenile activity. Or better yet, a stupid exercise in attempting to force emotional connection between strangers.
I receive a sharp squeeze to my right hand and immediately and obediently send it off to Julian.
“Flirt.” He says it so quietly I’m not quite sure he actually said it. Maybe I just wish he said it. And he doesn’t look up at me again until it’s time for us to scatter the throw pillows on the floor. “Get me the purple one,” he says with a nod.
“Huh?” Did Julian just demand I fetch him a pillow? And after suggesting I’m flirting with him? Was I flirting with him?
“The purple pillow. I want that one.” I look down into dark eyes that are sparkling persuasively. Or is it… is that glitter shimmering on his eyelids?
Side note: Glitter used to be made of glass and metal but now it’s mainly made of plastic. It’s a decoration that reflects light, causing it to look like it is actually sparkling.
How on earth do I even know this?
“Wait here and I’ll get it for you.” I turn and rush toward the closet with the rest of the commoners, shaking my head at my eagerness to please the guy.
From behind me I hear Julian’s voice. “I knew you’d see it my way.”
Can I preorder it?
Don’t miss MY CRUNCHY LIFE!!