I’ve just finished a YA Contemporary novel called How To Be, about a teenager trying to balance her bipolar disorder with the pressures of high school. Here is a brief summary:
Two months after a failed suicide attempt, seventeen-year-old Ellie Reid is home from the hospital and trying to cope with the aftermath. Everyone at school looks at her differently, and she’s becoming increasingly alienated even from her closest friends. At home, she and her family walk on eggshells, and tension with her mother makes opening up impossible.She dreams about the time before the attempt. When things were better. When she was still with Aaron.
As Ellie struggles to stay on medication that makes her sick, tired, and numb, she must come to terms with her illness and the events that led up to her suicide attempt. Through memories of her first love, Aaron, their break-up, and her ensuing downward spiral, Ellie realizes her feelings of isolation and despair have always been with her. Now, despite an overwhelming desire to give in to the darkness, Ellie must learn how to accept her reality, how to be in the world, and simply how to be.
I’m in the process of submitting it to agents. I’m not quite ready to return to the series, however. Instead I’m starting research on an historical novel based on the lives of my great-grandmother, who came from Italy to the United States as a “mail order” bride, and her daughter, my grandmother. Neither women were strangers to tragedy, and they left a wealth of interesting, sad, and funny stories. I haven’t decided how I’m going to frame the novel yet, but most likely it will be targeted at young adults.