Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2019 with Ronni Davis

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 Ronni Davis

Ronni Davis grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where she tried her best to fit in — and failed miserably. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology, she worked in insurance, taught yoga, and became a cat mom. Now she lives in Chicago with her husband Adam and her son Aidan. By day she copy edits everything from TV commercials to billboards, and by night she writes contemporary teen novels about brown girls falling in love. When she’s not writing, you can catch her playing the Sims, eating too much candy, or planning her next trip to Disney World. Her debut novel, When The Stars Leads To You, will be released by Little Brown Books for Young Readers in November 2019.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

When I met Caitlin O’Koren from Sarah Dessen’s Dreamland, I felt like I’d descended into a dream myself.

I’d been reading and enjoying Sarah’s books for a while, but Dreamland hit me on a whole other level. I knew that feeling. I still know that feeling…of setting myself on fire so others can be warmed.

I guess you could call me a people pleaser. I don’t like it when people dislike me, or are angry or disappointed in me. I avoid confrontation, and I tend to cower if someone is being aggressive toward me. And I put too much energy into trying to win over people who obviously hate me and will never change that opinion.

I kind of hate that part of myself.

In Dreamland, everything Caitlin has known is blown apart when her older sister runs away. This starts the disintegration of Caitlin’s own carefully curated life. Suddenly, the role she’d been thrust into is gone, and she struggles to fill that void. The rub is that Caitlin’s life hadn’t even been curated by her, but rather by the roles she played in her family and with her friends.

Enter Rogerson Biscoe. Brooding, dangerous, handsome. He eases his way into Caitlin’s empty spaces, and once he’s good and settled there, the abuse begins. Emotional and physical. Caitlin becomes a shell of her former self, so as to not enrage his temper and “make” him hurt her again.

In order to cope with what’s happening to her, Caitlin rearranges her entire life to keep from “triggering” him. She rationalizes the abuse, blaming herself. Knowing it’s wrong but feeling swept up, and in love, and like he’s her constant in the midst of so much change around her. She disassociates when he’s hurting her, focusing on random facts she learned, from Rogerson, during those in-between times. Still focusing on him.

I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship, but I have known people who had no issues punching me down to lift themselves up. Or maybe just because they thought it was fun. Sadly, it’s part of the territory of being a Black, cis woman. The second I step out of society’s prescribed role — my place — I’m no longer worthy of friendship, or even acknowledgement that I exist…let alone deserving of respect. It stings every single time, so my first instinct is to deny it. Force my mind to think of other things so I don’t have to focus on someone being mean, or someone treating me badly or shunning me. Second instinct is to go within, try to figure out what I did wrong. But sometimes, my mere existence is what’s wrong.

I get angry later, but by then it’s too late to clap back.

In Dreamland, (spoiler alert!) Caitlin eventually rediscovers her strength. She gets better. But it takes a lot to get her to that place. Her journey isn’t perfect. It’s messy and she struggles a lot. But she has a support system. She has her family and her friends, and they finally see the real Caitlin, not the one they wanted to see. They are there to support her and love her even if she’s not who they expected her to be.

Seeing her find and settle into herself, her REAL self, gives me hope that one day I can be strong like that too. That I won’t feel like I need to be sunshine and light all the time to get people to like me…and it helps me appreciate those who stick around even when they see my shadows and darkness.

Caitlin had to go through a hell of a journey to get to this place. I’m lucky I had Caitlin’s journey to learn from.

Title When The Stars Lead to You
Author Ronni Davis
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date November 12th 2019 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Nicola Yoon meets Jenny Han in a heated first-love romance about two teens who are torn apart one summer by prejudice and mental illness, and find each other once again.

Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.

The stars.
And the boy she fell in love with last summer.

When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of the following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.

Now it’s senior year and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it, as she prepares for a future studying galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school.

Can she forgive and open her heart to him again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?

From debut author, Ronni Davis, comes a stunning novel about passion, loss, and the power of first love.

One response to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2019 with Ronni Davis”

  1. I agree with this post so much! I loved reading DREAMLAND and really connected with the main character. I can’t wait to read Ronni’s book! Thanks for sharing, Jen 🙂

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