Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people…
Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.
As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world…and happy endings aren’t always guaranteed.
The companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again.
There’s an old writing tip that says, “Write what you know.”
I always hated this tip because, growing up, the only thing I knew was that I didn’t know anything. What I’ve come to understand over the years is that you don’t have to write what you know, but what you wish to know.
While it’s true that I’m no stranger to grief, I think that the key to writing about loss or anything else is honesty. When I lost my friend Em to ovarian cancer, I was overwhelmed with so many questions, things I had no way of answering myself. I wanted to know why a person as lovely as my Em would have cancer in the first place. And how was it possible for us to clone entire animals, but still not be able to cure cancer? What was I supposed to do with all the memories I had of Em, all the silly stories that felt suddenly meaningless without her? And how was I supposed to feel whole again when I’d lost such an important piece of my heart?
There was no way for me to know any of these things. According to that adage, I was in no position to write about loss because I knew very little about it other than I hated it.
Writing is a wonderful tool for learning about our world. I wrote about loss because it was something I needed to understand. And even after writing LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES and LIFE AFTER JULIET, I can honestly say that there is still so much about grief that I still don’t know. But that’s not going to stop me from trying to know it, and it certainly won’t stop me from writing about it.
If there is something you’re struggling with, write it. If something in your life makes you happy, write that, too. Something scaring you? Write. Confused about who you are? Write. Want to know what makes people tick? Write. Need to explore but stuck in one place?
Write and keep writing and keep writing. When you’re honest with your writing, then people will take notice. They’ll feel what you feel—loss, happiness, anger, confusion, fear—they’ll know what you know. And after all that writing, I guarantee you’ll know a few new things, too. Maybe not everything, but you’ll know enough to keep writing.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Entangled
Open internationally, but prize packs ship only to US. International winners will receive Amazon gift cards (listed below).*
- Grand prize: Hyperboles are the best EVER! tote bag, a 4oz. Novelly Yours Antique Books candle, Toe-meo and Juliet Shakespearean socks, Life after Juliet poison and dagger necklace, Velveteen Rabbit note card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate*
- 1st Runner Up: Hyperboles are the best EVER! tote bag, a 4 oz. Novelly Yours Antique Books candle, Toe-meo and Juliet Shakespearean socks, Life after Juliet dagger earrings, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate*
- 2nd Runner Up: 2oz. Novelly Yours Antique Books candle, Life after Juliet dagger earrings, Velveteen Rabbit note card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate*
- 3rd Runner Up: 2oz. Novelly Yours Antique Books candle, Life after Juliet dagger earrings, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate*
*All contests are open internationally, but international winners will receive the following:
- Grand prize: $25 Amazon gift card, signed signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate
- 1st Runner Up: $20 Amazon gift card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate
- 2nd runner up: $15 Amazon gift card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate
- 3rd runner up: $10 Amazon gift card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate
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Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. She spent most of her time in high school hiding out in the theater with the drammies and techies. Math still makes her break out in a sweat. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.
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