NOTE: Emotional chickness following. You have been warned.
I recently picked up YA Novel “Love Notes” by Heather Gunter. I saw it listed in my BookBub email and it looked like a cute young adult romance featuring a girl with low self-esteem finding happiness. You won’t know it by meeting me now but when I was a teenager, I had some very down years with low self-esteem, just knowing that I was not smart and wouldn’t ever really fit it. I was shy and would steer clear of any confrontation – just couldn’t stand up for myself. I once had a bully follow me home after school, I was on my bicycle, and she actually came along side me and kicked my bike. Of course, me and the bike came crashing down though surprisingly I came out ok. She and her posse laughed and called me names and left. I hurried home and never said a word. So the book blurb spoke to me. I read it in one sitting, a few hours with a cup of tea snuggled in my bed.
Turns out the book wasn’t just about a teen with low self-esteem but about a teen who experienced verbal abuse on a daily basis. Real nasty stuff that made my skin boil. I really did understand. I also really understand the value of a good friend. I was really lucky to have some good friends as a nerdy kid and later found some amazing, supportive friends that I still have to this day. I found a couple in the mix as I went that didn’t really fit the bill, hiding in plain sight while being a verbal abuser of those around. Those ones get kicked to the curb when I find them but I can honestly say I have some of the best friends a girl could have now and quite a few of them. (**Thanks guys, I love you**)
The book really hit a chord with me emotionally as I am sure you can tell. So I, of course, had to pick up book two in the series. “Heartstrings”
Um, yeah, read this one in one morning. The second book featured a girl who had been raped. Now I have actually experienced date rape but when it happened to me, I was so shocked that I didn’t struggle, it really was a surreal moment. He dropped me off at home and I never spoke to him again. Luckily for me, it was not my first time and he wasn’t a brutal, pain lusting freak, no he was just a horny asshole who pushed himself on a shy girl who was caught off guard. I’m so not that girl anymore and it was a sucky moment in my life but it did not have the effect on me like the emotion and broken heart effect that I read in the book “Heartstrings”. Honestly, I can’t even tell you how many times I had to wipe the tears away so I could keep reading.
Then at the end, the author shares that she wrote her own story, surviving rape, into the character and you really could feel it. I cried again after I read that. So I just wanted to shout out to all you ladies, and I am sure there are men too that quietly have had horrid experiences like this, you are survivors – not victims and I for one am proud for each and every one of you who has dusted off your knees, given the finger to the past and moved on to create a future that makes you happy. **Well done.**