Today begins the Dear YA Author Summer Series where actual teens ask actual YA authors questions about real life. You know, friends, family, dating, school–all the stuff YA authors are busy studying, reminiscing, and writing about. Don’t forget to enter the contest at the end for a signed copy of Dahlia Adler’s YA novel!
For more info on the series, disclaimer that advice is not in lieu of a professional’s, and submitting your own questions or as an author, see this post.
The June edition features funny and straightforward author Dahlia Adler. Dahlia’s BEHIND THE SCENES is out on shelves June 24. I’ve read an ARC and it definitely met my high expectations. It was funny, romancy, and I know this sounds corny, but it had heart. I laughed out loud and even cried a little when the *SPOILER* storyline ended in such a *SPOILER* *SPOILER* way. I’m still thinking about this book and can’t wait for you guys to read it. Here’s the blurb:
High school senior Ally Duncan’s best friend may be the Vanessa Park – star of TV’s hottest new teen drama – but Ally’s not interested in following in her BFF’s Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father’s mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van’s on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.
Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she’s capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can’t play by Hollywood’s rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.
How could you not need this book, right? Speaking of love and friendships, let’s get right to the tough questions. And please note, if you’ve sent in a question, and it’s not featured in this edition, come back next time–I promise we’ll get to it!
Dear YA Author,
With college approaching and the stress it brings, I’ve been distancing myself from my friends. I don’t think that we are going to be friends after college, so I think it’s best to just cut ties now. How do I bring this up without sounding totally inconsiderate?
DAHLZ: I might be a little biased because most of my best friends now are friends I went to high school and even elementary school with, but…I don’t get it. You may be right about the fact that you aren’t going to be friends with these people after college (I mean, you’re definitely right if you distance yourself from them now), but right now, all you’re doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and making high school more unpleasant for both yourself and those friends. What exactly do you feel is “best” about cutting ties now? Why is this better than saying goodbye after graduation and letting the natural drifting you clearly anticipate happen? This isn’t like breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend when you see it isn’t going anywhere; you can make new friends while keeping these old ones. So what’s the point?
I realize none of this answers your actual question. That answer would be, “You can’t. Because it is inconsiderate, or at least unkind.” You don’t want to put in extra effort? Don’t. But to inform them this is intentional is cruel at best. In fact, I will always remember a friend who said something along these lines when we graduated—how all future communication will just be “catching up.” It wasn’t. We stayed friends throughout college. We hung out last month. She wasn’t wrong that we wouldn’t stay close and catch-up would be necessary, but she wasn’t right about how distant we would be, either.
And even though we aren’t, the fact that she needlessly vocalized assuming we would be has always stuck with me. So, ya know—don’t be that girl/guy.
Dear YA Author,
My best friend just got into a relationship. I’m extremely happy for her, don’t get me wrong, it’s just…I’ve been kicked to the curb. I don’t see her much and when I do, she’s always texting him. I’ve tried talking to her about it but she assures me that I’m just paranoid. What do I do?
DAHLZ: The brutal truth is that this happens to so many people, and it always sucks. Good for you for trying to talk to her about it and not just letting yourself get quietly fume-y, and I’m sorry that hasn’t had the desired result. Here’s the thing: You feel how you feel. She may not agree with your read on the situation, but the fact is, if you feel neglected, you feel neglected. “Paranoia” doesn’t factor in here. All you can really do is keep being honest about your feelings—but make sure you’re clear on that they’re your feelings. Saying “You’re neglecting me” is accusatory and may make her feel defensive. Saying, “I’ve been feeling kinda lonely and it’d be cool to hang out more like we used to” may be a better approach.
Unfortunately, there’s probably not much else you can do for a while; it’s the kind of thing where one day, she’ll realize she’s been neglecting her best friend, and she’ll feel bad about it…but today isn’t that day. Hopefully you can nurture some other friendships during this time, and maybe either she’ll come around, or you won’t mind that she doesn’t. Fingers crossed!
Dear YA Author,
My parents are fighting. At first, it was just here and there, but recently, it’s been getting worse and worse. I don’t know if they will separate or not. I’m old enough to handle it well, but my little brother is the one who is going to be shaken by it the worst. Should I talk to him about it? I don’t even know where to begin.
DAHLZ: I’m so sorry to hear things have been really tough at home. Those are always really scary situations, especially because they’re so out of your control. But having a sibling can also be really great during tough times like these, because they’re as close to being in your exact position as a person can get.
Should you talk to your brother? Yes, definitely. But don’t put the pressure on yourself to have ideal words of wisdom for this situation. A) There aren’t any, and B) You don’t know anything for sure about what’s going on other than that there’s fighting. Sometimes, couples have situational rough patches; it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a split ahead. The best thing you can do is make clear that you’re there to talk, and let him feel comfortable opening up if he needs to. Talk, but it doesn’t have to be about this. Sometimes, just knowing you have a friend/ally in your house is everything.
Dear YA Author,
Recently, my friends have taken an interest in partying…a little too hard you could say. I’m all for having a good time, yet they go overboard and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t want to hang out with them anymore. I love them to death, but I’m afraid that hanging out with them will only bring trouble. How do I tell them without seeming like a total buzzkill?
DAHLZ: Aw, Buzzkill—I remember these days. In my grade in high school, everyone smoked pot, and I was just so not interested. For a while, it didn’t matter. Then, suddenly, it really did. And I hated that. And it wasn’t even that I didn’t want to hang out with them anymore; it’s more that it made them not wanna hang out with me.
Whoops, I’m kinda digressing here. Anyway, the point is, you shouldn’t put yourself in any situation that makes you uncomfortable. It sounds like you still like your friends, but you don’t like certain social situations with them. The key is to make clear that it isn’t about them, and it isn’t about judgment, but that you’re not really up for the partying; if you can present fun alternate plans that don’t really lend themselves to hard partying, all the better.
A GIANT THANK YOU to all the teens that sent in their questions, to the readers that stopped by to read, and of course to Dahlz! Everyone please run out to get Dahlia Adler’s BEHIND THE SCENES on June 24! Find it everywhere: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, & The Book Depository. You can also find Dahlia everywhere on the internet too! Dahlia’s Website, On Twitter, Her awesome blog that’s a great support to writers, Tumblr, & Pinterest.
And as a special surprise, Dahlia is offering a free signed copy of BEHIND THE SCENES! Just comment below with any YA book you’d recommend to one of the teens who asked Dahlia a question today. The winner will be chosen at the end of BEHIND THE SCENES’ debut day–June 24!