Hello! Today I have YA author Jo Ramsey joining us with a post! She is contracted with Jupiter Gardens Press and Featherweight Press! Cluing In was released November 9. She also has a series called Reality Shift, and book 5, From the Ashes, just released on November 17. If you haven't started the Reality Shift series, you can get books 1 and 2, Connection and , as a set at a reduced price for the holidays HERE!!!!
Take it away, Jo!!
Anyone Can Be a Hero
I’ve known a lot of teenagers who think they aren’t anything special. They live their lives, maybe play sports, maybe fight with their parents or siblings. They do their schoolwork—or not—and think about the future—or not. And they figure that they’re just average and boring. They definitely don’t think they’re heroes.
Maybe my definition of hero is a little broader than other people’s, but I know a lot of heroes. Teens and adults.
I know a teenage boy who is gay and has to hide it from his family because he’s afraid they won’t accept him. He’s bullied at school for “looking gay.” But he’s one of the most cheerful kids I know generally, an A student, and cares a lot about his . I consider him a hero.
A teenage girl I know is involved with her school’s Day of Silence and Spread the Word to End the Word campaigns. (Day of Silence is in support of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, etc.; Spread the Word to End the Word is a national campaign to stop people from using the word “retard.”) She and her friends just started a new group at their school dedicated to stopping bullying. She has anxiety disorder and has been through some difficult times in her life, but her first thought is usually about how to help others. I consider her a hero.
Another girl I know has high-functioning autism (Asperger’s Syndrome). She isn’t always sure how to interact with other people, and the “rules” of social behavior are a little beyond her. But she’s a good listener to her friends, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is always offering to cheer people up if they seem upset. She’s an amazing artist, and animals that won’t let anyone else near them go to her. I consider her a hero, too.
In my books, the “heroes” aren’t always who you might expect. In my YA urban fantasy Reality Shift series, Shanna Bailey and Jonah Leighton literally save the universe. Meanwhile, though, Shanna is dealing with an abusive past; Jonah doesn’t really like spending time with anyone except Shanna; and both of them are bullied.
In my series The Dark Lines, also YA urban fantasy, the two main characters, Topher James and Blake Walker, both have had difficult lives. Topher’s mother was only seventeen when he was born and is mentally ill, so since age five Topher has been pretty much raising himself and her. Blake was turned over to foster care by his mother when he was five, after she beat him for demonstrating his psychic abilities. Both of them are extremely loyal to their friends, and both of them choose to take on the task of fighting on the side of the light in the universal war between light and darkness.
As a less extreme example, Jamey Mandel in my YA contemporary novel Cluing In is a pretty average teenager. His parents were teen parents, but they’re married and provide a good life for Jamey and his younger sister. Jamey occasionally teases kids at school and has run-ins with the kids he doesn’t like, and when he breaks up with his girlfriend, he wants nothing to do with her even when she needs his advice. He’s not perfect. But to me, he’s a hero because when a tragedy occurs involving his ex-girlfriend, even though he blames himself and considers ending his life, he gets help and is able to go on with his life.
Like I said, my definition of hero might be broader than some people’s. But to me, all the people I’ve mentioned above, the real and the fictional, are heroes. Anyone can be.
Thanks Jo! Both Cluing in and the Reality Shift series sound really good! I am putting them on my 'to read' list asap!
All of Jo's books are also available on Amazon and other third-party retail sites, and can be ordered at your favorite bookstore. For more information about Jo Ramsey and her books, please visit her website, http://www.joramsey.com.