April 24, 2012

2K12 Guest Post: Jennifer Shaw Wolf - Breaking Beautiful

A long while back I was approached by Caroline Starr Rose to help promote the fantastic group of authors in the Class of 2k12.  These are a group of authors being published in 2012.  I jumped at the chance to help out.  
What we came up with was a series of guest posts.  The topic: 
 Since I teach 7th grade I live and breath middle school (ok some of you can stop shuddering now). 2

So over the course of 2012 you will get to hear from some the the 2k12 authors and their memories/thoughts about that time in their life.  I thank each of them for jumping in a tackling the subject!
To learn about all the 2k12 authors check out their site: Class of 2k12: Fiction that Rocks

Today our 2k12-er is:

Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Book: Breaking Beautiful
Published: Walker Books for Young Readers, April 24, 2012
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

What Were You Like in Middle School?

I can honestly say, middle school (or junior high as we called it) was one of the hardest times of my life. My best friend was sent to another school, so I started seventh grade alone. I felt completely clueless when it came to fashion, or boys, or anything that you’re supposed to know about in middle school. It felt like I was constantly doing or saying dumb things. I was heavy, I had thick glasses, and generally bad hair. I still cringe when I look back on pictures of myself at that age. By the end of seventh grade I’d made friends with the younger sister of my sister’s best friend, so I thought I was doing okay. Then eighth grade hit.

From the outside, my eighth grade year appeared good; I was the eighth grade vice president, I worked on the school newspaper and yearbook staff, I made the honor roll every semester, and I won third place in a regional science fair with a fifty dollar prize. Then my new best friend dumped me because I wasn’t cool enough for her, and the friends I tried to hang out with (old friends from grade school) literally ran away so they wouldn’t have to eat lunch with me. I lived for Wednesdays when I could eat lunch in Mr. Angel’s classroom as we worked on the newspaper and I wouldn’t have to eat alone.

I’d like to say that there was some breakthrough that saved me, that I miraculously found friends or fit in, but it didn’t happen in junior high. I will say that I loved high school, and my high school friend were some of the best I could imagine.

My bad experiences in middle school lead me to read and read and read for escape. I learned a lot about compassion and treating other people with respect.  I also learned that sometimes you just need to put yourself out there to make friends (what I finally did to make friends my freshman year). As painful as they were these experiences helped me as a writer to create characters who feel like outsiders, and to approach the crazy beginnings of adolescence with some degree of understanding.

I read for escape a ton too!  I always had a book with me for that reason I think.  Thank you so much for sharing.  
If you want to know more about Jennifer check out her website.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading about authors and why they chose the genre they did. Always interesting.