January 22, 2016

Guest Post: Jake Gerhardt Author of Me & Miranda Mullaly

Today I'm very excited to welcome to the blog Jake Gerhardt author of 
Me & Miranda Mullaly!

First you need to find out about the book

The fates of three 8th grade boys converge in biology class one day, as each falls desperately in love with the same girl. There's Sam, the class clown; Duke, the intellectual; and Chollie, the athlete. And the object of their collective affection? The enigmatic Miranda Mullaly—the girl who smiles like she means it, the girl who makes Christmas truly magic when she sings, the girl who…barely realizes her admirers exist! 

But nothing will stop the guys from doing everything they can to GET THE GIRL, not even their inevitable confrontation.

Told in alternating perspectives, Me and Miranda Mullaly is a comedy of errors where small misunderstandings lead to big laughs. And beneath the humor, every attempt to win Miranda becomes a compelling look at the larger world of each guy's life.

My Thoughts and My First Crush
I had a chance to read an advanced copy of the book.  I really enjoyed it! As a middle school teacher who has seen many, many students come and go, I could completely see Miranda, Sam, Duke and Chollie! I've had students with all of their traits! This made them very realistic to me.  

I really enjoyed the parts with Sam and his principal because I could just see that all happening! And I felt for Sam because here he was trying to make a change and people not allowing him to be anything than what he was.  

What also really cracked me up was the three boys and their inability to even comprehend that Miranda does not see the situation in the same way they all do.  I would love when you'd hear a whole event from like Sam's perspective and then hear it from Miranda's because the difference was amazing AND realistic.  Boys at this age, for the most part, have no clue how to show interest in a girl.  And then Miranda going on about being in love - I could see that from a girl this age too!

I will admit it did bring back memories of my first crush.  His name was John, and I thought he was so cute! Then he moved and broke my heart! We wrote letters for a bit (yes in those days we wrote letters through the mail!), but that didn't last long.  He came back to visit once when I was a senior.  That was just a little awkward!  I often think of him now and wonder how he's doing and if he's still as cute as I thought he was!

In the end I found it a fun book about being in middle school, having that first crush and dealing with all that comes with that.  I think it's one that students would relate to!

Ok now you've hear from me - but where did those characters come from?  Who were they based on?  Was Jake really Sam when he was younger or was he more like Duke (oh I hope he wasn't like Duke!!!)
He was kind enough to answer those questions for me!

Welcome Jake!!!
The best part of writing Me and Miranda Mullaly was having the opportunity to go back and revisit my middle school years.  There’s a little bit of me in Duke, Chollie and Sam.   I can remember feeling the way Chollie, Duke and Sam do throughout the book.   In fact, there isn’t an emotion that they contend with that I did not experience at the age of thirteen as well.

                Duke:  I was a little bit like Duke because when I was in middle school I had an enormous amount of worthless facts in my head.  Like Duke, I often thought if someone (especially one of my sisters) was unaware of a particular fact he or she was a moron.  I would think this even if I’d only learned the fact the day before.  And like Duke, I must’ve been terrible to live with.
                And don’t let the fact that Duke proudly wears a bow tie and confidently carries as briefcase fool you.  He is just like any other typical teenager; insecure, full of doubt and often overwhelmed.  Who hasn’t felt that way at thirteen?  I know I certainly did.             

                Chollie:  Chollie is very fortunate to have an older brother, even if the advice he is given is always wrong.  I had no such thing, but there were occasions when my sisters and I were civil to one another (a rare in middle school, mostly because of me) and I always appreciated their help when I was in a pickle. 
What I had most in common with Chollie was a love of sports.  Football, baseball, basketball, track, just about anything that was competitive you could count me in.  I definitely needed gym class and time after lunch to burn off my energy.  I’m sure my teachers appreciated it.

                Sam:  If you asked my friends from that time, they would surely say I was most like Sam.  I was a bit of class clown and the assistant principal, a really great guy, kept a close eye on me.  I was never is serious trouble, nor was I ever kicked out of class.  In fact, I loved being in class.  I not only loved watching the teachers teach but really liked being with my classmates.  Probably a little too much, for wherever I was seated I often struck up a conversation with my peers next to me.
                Like Sam, I had sisters.  But I had two older sisters and two younger sisters.  I was surrounded by girls, which was not much of an advantage when it came to the ladies.  In fact, often when my sisters had their friends over at the house it was really only fun for my friends, who were free to hang out and flirt.  My sisters rarely wanted anything to do with me when I was thirteen.  Looking back, I can’t blame them.
                 Although Sam has a plan for his future (to be a standup comedian) I had nothing remotely as well planned as Sam. In fact, I recently read a bio my seventh-grade nephew who wrote he wanted to be a professional athlete or a teacher.  That’s pretty much how I felt in middle school.  Like Sam, I thought no obstacle in the future could stand in my way and certainly didn’t fear failure. 

                I especially enjoyed writing about the relationship between Mr. Lichtensteiner and Sam.  I had a relationship like that with one of the school disciplinarians, Mr. Leiberher.  He knew I was a pretty good kid, and he personally knew my father and knew that my father ran a tight ship at home.  My father gave Mr. Leiberher permission to keep me in line when I needed it, and Mr. Leiberher took full advantage of the carte blanche, often making an example of me in front of the boys.  Definitely not fun at the time, but looking back I realize it was important for keeping me in line. 

So now we know - well kinda! I think that's how it is with all authors - bits and pieces of themselves and the people they know end up in their characters.

Care to share about your first crush?????

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