May 9, 2018

What I Leave Behind by Allison McGhee Blog Tour: Guest Post +GIVEAWAY

Super excited today to be a part of the blog tour for 

What I Leave Behind by Allison McGhee!

The tour is hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club.

What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 


After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each. Sixteen-year-old Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the Dollar Only store, trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe, and walking the streets of Los Angeles. Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped. But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on Fourth Street where his father died, and his childhood friend Playa’s house. When Will learns Playa was raped at a party—a party he was at, where he saw Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn't left early— it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness and do some good in the world. He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life, from Superman the homeless guy he passes on his way to work, to the Little Butterfly Dude he walks by on the way home, to Playa herself. And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again. Oh, and discover the truth about that cornbread.

About the Author
Alison  McGhee writes novels, picture books,  poems, and essays for all ages,  including the forthcoming novel  Never  Coming  Back  (out in October  2017) and the #1 NEW  YORK  TIMES  bestseller  SOMEDAY, illustrated by Peter  H.  Reynolds.  Her work has been translated into more than 20  languages.  She lives in  Minneapolis, California, and Vermont. 

I was able to ask Allison to share her thoughts on a topic for a blog post. Since I'm a middle school media specialist I know kids always want to know what authors were like in middle school. Here's what Allison had to say.

What was I like in middle school? I was full of happiness. I grew up way out in the country, and I loved it. I loved waking up to the sun coming up over the pine woods across the road. I loved making hay forts in the barn and keeping them secret from my sisters and brother. I loved building a treehouse that no one but me was strong and agile enough to climb into. I loved reading and writing and dreaming up worlds in my imagination.

I was full of doubt. Will I ever stop growing (I grew six inches in eighth grade)? Why are my toes so long? Does my hair look good? Should I have gotten different glasses?
I was full of sadness. My best friend in the world moved to Florida, and I missed her terribly.

I was full of questions. Why are there so many cliques? What is my place in the world and how do I figure it out? Is there a world beyond this one, and was there a world before this one, and did I live before?

I was full of anger and heartbreak. I rode the school bus to school, and it was a horror show of cruelty. Kids were so mean to each other, especially the ones who couldn’t fight back and had no resources of sharp tongue or humor to help them get by. The driver encouraged their meanness. In school, kids could be so mean to each other. Bullying was common. I tried to be kind, and I tried to defend, but I could never do enough. The injustice of the world was mirrored in middle school.

I was full of love. I loved my mother and father. I loved my sisters even though I wasn’t entirely sure they loved me back. I loved my little brother. I loved our dogs and cats. I loved my friends, and I loved the woods and the fields, and I loved the big sky and the smells of the earth and the clothes on the line and dinner cooking. I loved the sense that the world was full of possibility, and my life and everything I would do in it was also part of that possibility.

I absolutely love everything about this guest post! Especially the "full of anger and heartbreak". I know that for some kids the two toughest times of the school day are lunch and the bus ride. I hurt for some kids know what they face as they step on that bus. It's the one thing I wish I could stop forever as a teacher!

For more blog stops check out the tour information


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