Dear YA Author: The Dear Ella July Edition

EMC Author Photo

Time for the July edition of Dear YA Author!

For more info on the series, disclaimer that advice is not in lieu of a professional’s, and submitting your own questions or being featured as an author, email dearYAauthor@gmail.com and/or see this post.

This month features Ella Martin. Ella’s YA novel WILL THE REAL PRINCE CHARMING PLEASE STAND UP? debuted this month. I just started it and so far it’s a fun read with a great cast of characters. Check out the blurb from the back cover:

Bianca is the Westgate Prep quarterback’s sister—and that’s her only claim to fame. When her friends’ social experiment turns her into the It Girl of the sophomore class and she captures the attention of the most popular guy in her grade, though, she’s ecstatic to introduce the world to her first boyfriend. But no one’s ever told her what to do when her friends hate her boyfriend and Prince Charming starts acting like a control-freaky nightmare. It doesn’t help that being around her brother’s best friend is making her head all fuzzy, either.

You want to get this book, stat, right? Buy links are at the bottom and a chance to win a copy AND a signed postcard or poster!

Ella says she writes about kids who are way cooler than she ever was. Not sure if that’s true, but I think Ella’s book and answers to this month’s teen questions have totally redeemed her. Check it out, y’all:

Dear YA Author, 

I’m thinking about breaking up with my boyfriend. As great of a time as we may have together, I just don’t feel what I used to feel with him anymore. I feel terrible and I’ve really tried to make it work, but it isn’t working out. I don’t want to seem like the bad guy but I think I will be…especially since there’s another boy. He’s not in the picture at all, but I definitely would like to begin talking to him. Ugh, what do I do?

 Sincerely,

“Bad Breakups”

 Dear Bad Breakups,

This is never an easy scenario, and yes, no matter what happens, when you break up with him (and yes, that’s “when”, as it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind), he’s going to see you as the bad guy. All that said, you shouldn’t feel bad about it. People change as they grow, and not all couples grow together. It happens.

But what’s troubling is that you say you’ve tried to make it work. I really hope this just means there have been some disagreements over petty things and not that he’s being creeptastic or anything. If he’s behaving like a control-freaky jerk, though, that’s a whole other story and you should absolutely kick him to the curb and don’t look back.

As for the other guy you want to start talking to, he’s only a part of this discussion because you’ve discovered there’s someone more interesting than your boyfriend. And that’s cool. Just don’t mention him to existing boyfriend when you dump him.

Hopefully New Guy will be awesome and amazing and things will work out. If they don’t that’s cool, too. You’ve got lots of time and lots of boys to meet.

Whatever you do, though, don’t settle. As one of my characters says in my novel, “You can do so much better than ‘not that bad.’”

xoxo

-E

Dear YA author,

My friends and I have been friends with this girl since middle school and lately she has become really annoying. She is only worried about herself and always wants to know where one of us is. We have tried telling her but she still does it. How can we tell her so she will listen and understand when enough is enough?

“Over It” 

Dear Over It,

Wow, insecure much? It sounds like your friend is feeling left out while you and the others in your group are starting to explore stuff that interests you. It could be because she hasn’t figured out yet what she likes to do, or it could be because she’s afraid to try something new. Regardless, she’s probably freaking out about being left behind.

Is there anything you can do about it? Um, well, not really. I mean, you can invite her to join you in different activities, but if she’s reluctant, you can’t force her. You guys should, however, sit down with her in a kind of intervention and let her know that just because you’re not with her every second of the day doesn’t mean you don’t like her; it just means you guys are have a lot going on. Whether or not that will work, though, depends entirely on her.

Your best course of action after that would be to acknowledge her fear and redirect her attention to stuff you think would interest her. And if that still doesn’t work, it may be time to add some distance. But that’s always a much tougher pill to swallow.

Good luck and lots of hugs to you!

xoxo

-E

Dear YA Author,

Me and my best friend have been friends since 6th grade were are now sophomores. Towards the middle of the year I began talking to this boy. And we eventually started to date. We had been together about 3 months when my best friend started acting different.  She said it was me that had changed but I didn’t realize I did. She began to say all these rude remarks about my boyfriend. And then she would try to pick an argument with him. She said that I had to pick between my boyfriend and her. But I couldn’t break up with my boyfriend, and I couldn’t lose my best friend. I had no idea what to do. So I just went with my heart. I got advice from my sisters and a lot of other people. I took their advice. For about 2 weeks I tried to be so nice to her and do a lot of fun things with her. I tried to make her feel like she wasn’t left out but no matter what I did, it was like her mind was made up and I couldn’t change it. Weeks passed and we hadn’t said a word. I would occasionally see her in the halls and I would try to look for her and pass her so I could smile at her, but she would rarely smile back. I had no idea what else to do, I thought that I did all that I could and that a true friend wouldn’t have made me pick between my boyfriend and her. It has now been almost 5 months and I haven’t communicated with her at all. My boyfriend and I are still together and doing great, but now that summer is here I’m starting to realize how much I miss her. I have no idea what I should do or if I should even do anything. Should I just spend time with other friends and forget about it or should I try to get in touch with her? I’m unsure of what I should do. Sincerely,

An average 15 years young girl 

Dear 15,

Friend breakups are the worst. Best friends are like sisters you choose, and cutting those ties is more painful than breaking up with any guy, so I completely empathize.

You are absolutely right that a true friend would never ask you to choose between your boyfriend or your friends. (No boyfriend worth dating would ask you to choose, either.) My guess is she’s feeling left out, possibly even jealous of him. And it’s quite possible you have changed since you started dating your boyfriend—and that’s totally normal and healthy! It’s called growth, and it’s important. But I’m curious to know how your friend thinks you’ve changed. Like, does she think you’re behaving irresponsibly? Does she think you’ve been shutting out everything in your life that doesn’t revolve around your boyfriend? Or is she baffled by some new interests you share with your boyfriend?

At any rate, it sounds like you guys need some serious girl time. I suggest you reach out to her this summer and invite her to do something the two of you used to do freshman year. Plan a sleepover with just the two of you, tell your boyfriend you’re incommunicado while you’re with her, and make an effort to talk about anything except him while you’re together.

Friends are important—best friends, especially. In a lot of ways, they know us better than we know ourselves and can identify unhealthy behaviors that we’re too close to see. She may just feel left out, or she may hate your boyfriend because she thinks it isn’t a healthy relationship. But you’ll never know unless you tell her you miss her and ask her to be part of your life again.

I hope you guys can patch things up. Boyfriends are awesome, but there’s nothing like having calorie-fests and complaining with your friends about stupid stuff boys do (and they always do stupid stuff).

xoxo,

-E

****

Everyone GO find WILL THE REAL PRINCE CHARMING PLEASE STAND UP? at AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords, Kobo, and, iTunes! To find out more about Ella and like/follow her all round the internet, you’re in luck. Ella has a blog, is on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.

WTRPCPSU Cover

High-five and a hundred thank yous to Ella Martin for answering these questions, a MILLION thank-yous to the teens who sent your questions in, and the readers who stopped by! Ella has offered to send a signed postcard or poster to a lucky reader and I’m going to throw in an copy of her book for your i-reader. So, if you want to WIN AN E-COPY OF WILL THE REAL PRINCE CHARMING PLEASE STAND UP? AND A SIGNED POSTCARD OR POSTER, all you have to do is comment on the post. Comment with any book you’d recommend to one of the teens who sent a question this month. Also, if you have one, leave your twitter handle in the comment section, so I can shout you out when I announce the winner next Thursday the 24th of July!

XOXO

Dear YA Author: The Dear Dahlz June Edition

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.

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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?

Sincerely,

“Breaking Ties”

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?

Sincerely,

“(Boy)Friendless” 

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.

Sincerely,

“Split Siblings”

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?

Sincerely, 

“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 DepositoryYou can also find Dahlia everywhere on the internet too! Dahlia’s WebsiteOn 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!