We're so excited to host author Julia Karr for Week 2 (as in second-to-last!) of her 16 Weeks of XVI Tour! XVI, her YA dystopian debut novel, will be released on January 6th, 2011. (note: there is a GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post!)
Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear.
That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.
And now, a guest post by Julia Karr...
Week Two!!! Oh. My. God! XVI will be out there on the shelves (I hope!) in two weeks! SQUEEEEE!!!!!
Oops! Am I being a bad blog guest? Thank you so much for having me here, Kirsten! It’s getting so close to release that I’m having a hard time concentrating on much of anything, but... this week, in honor of the twos... I’m going to give everyone a little insight into two of me. My sixteen-year-old Julia and my present Julia.
Sixteen year old me... in the past
Living in Chicago is the coolest thing ever! I’m not stuck in a small town any more. My friends here are so cool, so fab. I just wish... well, honestly, I wish school was more of a challenge. The only class I can stand is my Honors English class. The teacher lets us write whatever we want. She gives us these prompts and then the rest of the class is spent writing. I love it. Well, I hate it sometimes, too. If I have to tell the truth, some of the things I think about make me really sad. Like that poem about what happened in first grade. And how we moved to live with Gram. Not that I don’t love Gram, but I wanted to be with my mom. Now that I am living with Mother... it’s not at all what I thought. And, I still wonder about that little clay dish.
Present me... about the past
Oh, dear Julia! You were dealt some difficult cards early on. A totally absent father. An alcoholic mother. Thank God you did have Gram and your first fifteen years were spent safely. You certainly did the best you could, navigating a sea of shifting values and morals for women with a compass two generations old. I do so wish you hadn’t been forced to set aside your creative aspirations because you had to get a job and support yourself. No sixteen year old should have to be an adult. *hugs* But, you so did it. And, at enormous expense, you will someday have a treasure trove of memories to draw from for future creative endeavors.
Sixteen year old me... about the future (now the present)
Shit! (Yeah, I can say that, my Honors English teacher let us write whatever we wanted to write, swearing allowed. She was that cool.) Hell, yes! A writer? Me? Who’d have thought that what’s in my head is good enough to be a book? Oh wow! And, look at me. I mean, damn! I have my own really nice house and it’s full of books and cats and dogs. And, I’m not just doing okay, but I’m happy even though I don’t have a boyfriend. (Wow. I can hardly believe that.) And... Yeah. I’d give anything if Mother and Gram were here to see all this. To see me. And to see that I wasn’t totally screwed up forever.
Present me... about the present
All those things in the past that can’t be changed, can be building blocks for a good life. The more I look at me at sixteen, the more I understand exactly what it was like. Why I did the things I did. What I wanted, both good and bad. And, how I am giving that to my present self. I’m able to see that the adults in my life then were just doing the best they could. It wasn’t always good for me, but I learned and I tried things out and I stored up emotions and memories and events that are helping me make my writing real. The time frames may be different, but the basic emotions of teens don’t change. Many of the events don’t change either, because the framework of growing up - being in school - falling in love for the first time - having friends, being a friend - having enemies, being an enemy. Fears, hopes, dreams - they may change as to form, but the basics are always the same.
Life was hard for me at sixteen, even though I didn’t acknowledge it at the time. But, I made it through. I survived. And, honestly, look at me now. That sophomore Honors English teacher would be proud. My mother would be proud. Gram would be proud. You know... a little part of me is proud, too.
Now for the giveaway! Those of you who’ve been along since Week 16 of the 16 Weeks to XVI blog tour know this routine. Please leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for this week’s pre-order of XVI. Winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator on Friday next. All commenters will be eligible for the Grand Prize drawing on 1/6/11.