Mondays are usually reserved for Bookish Banter posts. However, Bookish Banter has been put on the backburner (booooo), because we have run out of topics to discuss! So for now, I am just going to post bookish topics that have to do with something I read about in a book recently that relate to me IRL, under the hashtag #IReadYA.
If you read my ARC Review Letter to The Truth About Alice, I briefly mentioned how I was bullied in high school. Now, this is something I have a difficult time thinking/talking about, because if I'm completely honest, it was a horrible time in my life. Most people say they would give anything to go back to their high school days. I am not one of those people.If given the chance, I would do anything to never go back to those dark, dismal days.
I'm sure you may be wondering, "Well, Becca, why are we talking about bullying? This post is supposed to be about The Hows and Whys of #IReadYA." We are talking about bullying because if it wasn't for me being traumatized from bullies, I wouldn't be the 'Book Pusher of all things YA'.
You see, I had a pretty normal high school experience up until my senior year. Sure, I was a reader before then. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't something that I would choose to do over going out on a Friday night, until that year. I'm not going to get into specifics, because it would be pages and pages of nonsense. Really, I'm not sure what I did to be hated so much. One day, I was living the high school senior year dream, and the next, I was the social outcast. I distinctly remember it having to do with me telling my best friend that she deserved better than the guy she was dating. (Trust me on this guys, he was an asshat) Well, I may have said that in front of said guy, and well, long story short, my best friend took her boyfriend's side. Some best friend, right?
I couldn't walk down one hallway in my entire school without obscenities being shouted in my direction. Any variation of something you could call someone to hurt them? Yes, I've been called it. I was wary about reading The Truth About Alice, because I knew it was about bullying, and I knew it was a book that I would identify with all too well. I was right. It brought back those memories full force, and I haven't been able to shy away from them for the past few days. I needed to get this out. So here I am, telling you my experience.
Being shunned from not only your group of friends that you've had throughout the years, but also the rest of the school (I'm talking at least 1,000 people in just my class, alone) without being asked your side of the story is one of the absolute worst things to experience. Trying to remain strong throughout the never-ending school day is torture. I never, in a million years, would have thought I would be the girl resorting to eating her lunch in the library. I thought that only happened in movies. I mean, it was either the library or the bathroom, and the bathroom was so not happening. EW.
So, I found myself in the dusty library with hardly any books to choose from besides nonfiction and books that were falling apart. How is that possible in a high school? Thankfully, my English teacher at the time was amazing, and demanded I pick up Twilight. I know, I know, but loving the Twilight series is not something I will ever be ashamed of. It distracted me from the threats I received hourly. It drew me into a world where what people thought of me no longer mattered. I read the first three books within three days, and was dying for more. I needed that escape, because if I didn't have it, I had to face the lies being spread about me.
That week, I ventured into a Borders bookstore for the first time in my life, and loaded up on books. Books that I still have lining my shelf today, and will always hold a dear spot in my heart because they sheltered me through the storm of drama my senior year. I will always be thankful for YA, because not only did they save me from being alone- they gave me a reason to keep my head up. I read YA, because my troubles in real life no longer exist when I read that first word, first sentence, first page, first chapter..
I read YA, because nothing can make me feel like I do when I can relate to a character in a book I'm reading. I know I'm not alone, because of YA.
Of course, looking back now (five years later), I am in awe at how I handled myself that year. YA gave me the strength to hold my head up high, while receiving pictures sent to me through MySpace (Yes, I'm that old) of the guns that people were going to shoot me with. Just think of where I would be now if I would have chosen to eat my lunch in the bathroom instead of the library. I would be pushing toilet paper on everyone instead of books. (I don't know if that was really funny or not. It was funny in my head) But for real, guys. The things I mentioned in this post are just the tip of the iceberg of things that actually happened that year. In fact, the other unmentionable threats/actions that happened were far more intense.
I am an advocate for reading. Ever since that experience in my life, I have been a fangirl of all things YA. I developed a horrible book buying habit, and I have read countless amazing works of authors. One day, I hope to be that author for someone. For now, I will settle for writing my experiences, sharing my book love, and meeting all of you, my best friends in the world. I hope this post has been helpful to some. I want to know your reasons for reading YA- the Hows, the Whys, the Buts, whatever. And if you suffer from being bullied, please please please do not hesitate to contact me. Email me. Tweet me. DM me. Instagram me. Find me on Facebook. I am here for everyone, because I can relate and I can help you. I want to be there for anyone who needs/wants me to be. I love you all!