Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2019 with Kalyn Josephson

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as twenty authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Kalyn Josephson

Kalyn Josephson currently works as a Technical Writer in the tech industry, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. Though she grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, she graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Biology and a degree in English (Creative Writing). Currently, she lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay Area and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an ever tinier owl). The Storm Crow is her debut novel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

I read for the same reason I write: to know I’m not alone.

In Tess of the Road, Tess Dombegh goes on a journey to understand herself, find her place in the world, and defeat a dragon made of the patriarchy and internalized misogyny. Her journey made me think about all the things that I’d never realized had become a part of me. All those little messages society gives girls: be quiet, don’t be aggressive, think of others first, grow up, get married, and always, always bear the responsibility.

I had internalized and become these things without ever choosing to.

Watching Tess’s society try to cram her into a box and buff her sharp edges reminded me of every time a boy told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl, of every time someone told me who I was and what I could be. Each time a little more of me burned away. Too aggressive? I’d make sure not to beat the boys in the next game. Too opinionated? I listened more and talked less. I saw that in Tess, and I saw what it did to her to walk inside those narrow lines, and I could feel the same thing happening to me.

Then Tess says to hell with it all. To hell with what she’s supposed to do and what people expect. When she sets out on her journey, she not only does what she wants, but what she needs. Every adventure, every encounter strips away those layers her society had wrapped her in, until all that remains is her.

She stops trying to fit into society’s box and instead carves out a place of her own.

She stops worrying about what people think of her and cares only for her own opinion.

She starts living.

Yet, this isn’t a book about rejecting femininity. Rather Tess explores and later learns to celebrate it.

So often the message I heard wasn’t just you can’t be this, don’t be that, but also you are this, you are that. You are a woman, and a woman should be feminine, except femininity is bad, because it’s weak and it’s lesser. In her story, Tess reclaims her femininity, and by doing so gave me a new lens through which to view my own. It raised questions like: why did I feel like being told I wasn’t like other girls was a compliment? Why did I expect people to like me more because I didn’t like makeup and shopping? I’d been taught that those things were frivolous and that to like them made you girly, and girly was bad. Femininity was bad.

Except it’s not, and Tess’s story helped guide me on my path toward learning and accepting that.

It’s so, so easy to let a message slip beneath your skin, to let it become a part of you. Sometimes it takes seeing someone else fight to make you realize that you want to fight too. For Tess, that meant seeking out a legendary beast and putting her body through grueling physical labor. She built an outer strength to support and protect her inner strength.

For me, that means writing.

Tess’s story made me want to fight. I think of it every time I write and I feel it seeping in. I let my character be who I thought I never could, and every time I get a little bit closer to myself. To who I’m supposed to be. Reading and writing are how I’ve begun to rediscover who I am, and it’s characters like Tess who’ve made me realize that’s even possible, because her story was as much a healing journey for me as it was for her.

Tess found her place in the world, and thanks to her, with each new word, I’m slowly finding mine.

Title The Storm Crow
Author Kalyn Josephson
Pages 368 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Fantasy
Publication Date July 9th 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying all the crows.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

One response to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2019 with Kalyn Josephson”

  1. I seriously love these posts and seeing how characters that impacted me also impact others. Thanks so much for sharing, Jen! And I can’t wait to pick up Kalyn’s book!
    Jamie @ Books and Ladders recently posted…#Review: HER OWN HERO by Jenn SadaiMy Profile

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