Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Abby Cooper

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 thirty-nine 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 Abby Cooper

Abby Cooper lives in Minnesota with her miniature poodle, Louis, and a whole bunch of books. A former teacher and school librarian, her favorite things in the world (besides writing) are getting and giving book recommendations and sharing her love of reading with others. In her spare time, she likes eating cupcakes, running along the Mississippi River, and watching a lot of bad reality TV.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

I’ve always been terrified of blood tests (Yup, even the finger pricks!) It’s the anxiety of it all, sure, but it’s the pain, too, and it’s the way it makes me feel about myself. Despite my (mostly) positive attitude, I’m no match for the Needle Thing of Doom. As it gets closer to my skin, I can almost hear it making fun of me. You wimp. You’re scared of a teeny little poke. You weakling.

My most recent blood test was no exception.

“Are you sure?” the doctor asked me for the gazillionth time. I nodded, looked away, and tried not to pass out. It was an optional blood test, and I was taking it. It’d be hilarious except for the fact that it wasn’t funny at all.

A couple days later, the doctor called with my results: the test was positive.

I hung up in a daze. I hadn’t expected to have the genetic mutation, even though there was a 50/50 chance that I would. This particular mutation practically guarantees that I’ll get two types of cancer at some point in my life.

I ignored the news for as long as I could. I felt alone, even though I wasn’t. My mom has it, and she’s had the cancer, too, and she fought it and she won. Plus, there are support groups everywhere you turn, but I wasn’t ready for them. And as time went on, I still wasn’t ready to talk, to accept that this was real. No matter how much I cried, no matter how many feelings I ate, I still wasn’t ready.

And then I met Rose.

Rose is the main character of Kate McGovern’s Rules For 50/50 Chances. Rose’s mom has Huntington’s disease, which is genetic, and Rose has a 50/50 chance of having it as well. Though she hasn’t been tested yet, the possibility alone is enough to cause Rose to hesitate when considering her hopes for the future. She creates a set of rules to keep herself in check, to hold herself back when goals and dreams become too powerful.

Rose and her situation captivated me instantly. Even though her circumstances are far more dire than mine — Huntington’s causes the disintegration of the mind and body and has no real treatment — I could identify with a lot of what she was going through. Like Rose, I worried that planning long-term goals was a waste of time. I worried that potential love interests would run away screaming. I worried, period.

After reading this book, though, something changed in me. I joined support groups. I scheduled doctor appointments, then closed the calendar and went about my life. I even told a guy, and while he ended up not being The Guy, his reaction was nothing less than sweet and supportive. Maybe this thing didn’t have to ruin my life; it could just be part of it. We all have to deal with something.

Rose’s journey isn’t over, and neither is mine. We both have tough decisions ahead, plus more doctor visits, and probably more blood tests, too. But I’m not as afraid anymore, and I have Rose to thank. There is so much strength in her, and as she helped me remember, there is so much strength in me.

Title Sticks & Stones
Author Abby Cooper
Pages 288 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Fantasy
To Be Published July 12th, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just “cute” and “adorable,” but as she’s gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like “loser” and “pathetic” appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like “interesting,” which she’s not really sure how to feel about. Now, at age twelve, she’s starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying “I know who you are, and I know what you’re dealing with. I want to help.” As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.

2 responses to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Abby Cooper”

  1. Kathleen says:

    Jen, this is a wonderful series. Abby your story and your heroine touched my heart.

  2. Alexa S. says:

    What a beautiful story! And Rose was absolutely incredible as a character.
    Alexa S. recently posted…Souls and Thrones • And I DarkenMy Profile

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