Title: My Crunchy Life
Author: Mia Kerick
Release Date: 26th June 2018
Genre: LGBT, Young Adult
John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.
After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.
When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.
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Kale, 3: 00 p.m.
STANDING IN the hallway at the junction of the science and mathematics corridors, I debate whether I should walk left, toward the Gay-Straight Alliance meeting, or right, toward the buses and home and freedom.
I should really go to the Gay-Straight Alliance meeting today because I need the names of a few clubs to fill in all of those blank spaces on my future college applications. More importantly, back when I first became a hippie, I told myself that GSA was a club I really ought to join because it reinforces two of the Basic Tenets of Being a Proper Hippie: rejecting established institutions and embracing peace and freedom. The thing is, there are two really good reasons why I don’t want to go.
Number one is Julian’s lips. Before meeting Julian Mendez and his captivating lips at REHO, the Crestdale High GSA was just a club I figured I ought to join. Now, I think it might be an alliance I really need, seeing as I’ve been thinking about another boy’s lips far too much for my own comfort. And I don’t know a sixteen-year-old guy who is eager to head down the “Am I gay?” path.
It shouldn’t matter to me if I’m gay, straight, or if I’m what any of the other letters in LGBTQIA stands for. I’m a free-spirited and open-minded human rights activist. Going to this meeting is just an example of global citizen, free-loving me being me. But it isn’t that simple at all. Maybe I don’t want to take a closer look at my sexuality, which could very possibly happen at a Gay-Straight Alliance meeting.
Second, by the end of every single school day since I was in kindergarten, I’ve craved the mental freedom that comes with the 3: 00 p.m. bell. I’ve been told what to think about for the past eight hours, and now I want to go home and dwell on the stuff I’m interested in— about how far a spider can jump and what the best thing was before sliced bread. And if man is evolved from apes, why do we still have apes? Stuff like that.
Julian, 4: 00 p.m.
On my first day back to school after the incident, Sydney Harper, a junior from the right side of the tracks, cut me off in the hallway by the gym and got up in my face. “You didn’t really wanna die. My mother said it was just some kind of pathetic cry for help.” Having made her point, she spun around on her Ugg-booted nonheel and headed for the girls’ locker room.
Then in precalc, some guy I barely knew poked me hard in the back with a Sharpie marker, and I was the lucky recipient of another dose of compassion. “You just crave attention, don’t you, girly-boy?”
Maybe, on some level, they were both right.
But on that night in October when I decided my best move in life would be to wash down the last of the Extra Strength Tylenol in our medicine cabinet with a bottle of Citrus Cooler Gatorade, I knew I couldn’t lose, however it turned out. The alternative to my clever plan to get some attention, and maybe even a measure of help, was that I’d fall asleep and never wake up— which, in my opinion, served just fine as Plan B.
If nobody heard my “cry for help” and I checked out, we’d probably all be better off. No real harm done… except to Mama. But the freaking UPS man heard my “pathetic cry,” or more accurately saw my apparently lifeless torso hanging from the tree house in the side yard, and saved me.
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About the Author
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.
Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.
Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.