Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Ami Allen-Vath

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-four 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 Ami Allen-Vath

Ami Allen-Vath is a writer of contemporary YA, lover of ice cream, and an experienced avoider of birds. She’s lived in 9 of the 50 states and currently resides in NJ with her husband, two children and dog, Yoda. Liars and Losers Like Us is her first novel.

Author Links: WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Moving sucks. When I was in seventh grade, I switched schools three times. The third move was from Minnesota to South Carolina after an ugly custody battle between my parents. I said goodbye to my mom, my family and friends (okay, more like a friend. I was a total nerd at 12). For these reasons and more, seventh grade was the crappiest year of my life.

At twelve, I was reading a lot. Most books were fun and exciting ways to escape, but Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes was more than that.

In Tiger Eyes, the main character, Davey Wexler, moves to Atlantic City with her mom and brother after her father’s death. Dealing with such a tragic loss and then moving to a whole new state was incredibly difficult for Davey. Because of the stuff I was going through and the way Davey’s emotional journey was woven so seamlessly into the story, I felt a strong connection to this book. It had a voice that really resonated with me. The whole tone of the book mirrored my own feelings of anxiety, loneliness and depression.

As a seventh grader in 1989, I had no idea what depression or anxiety was. I didn’t have a therapist or anyone I could talk to about the real shit going on in my life. Getting through the day by pretending to be a better version of me was the best I could do. I was hiding a lot of pain and secrets. I felt invisible and I had no voice. But Davey did. And because I related to her, for the duration of the book, I felt real.

Even though we were different and dealing with different things, someone else knew what it was like to be alone, sad, and afraid. Davey’s strength amidst her sadness was inspiring. Her journey was inspiring! Her growth was inspiring! And did I mention that voice? As soon as I finished reading Tiger Eyes, I started writing my own novel. It was an issue book, obviously. And it was brilliant. Just kidding, it was pretty terrible.

At the end of Tiger Eyes, Davey and her family moved back home to Atlantic City. The summer after I turned 13 was one where things changed for me, too. I moved back to Minnesota. My journey was starting right where Davey’s story ended. Life didn’t become easier exactly, but the one thing that did change is something I will forever be proud of. I was able to tell something I’d been keeping buried for too long. I’d been a victim of sexual abuse and finally was able to speak up. The words came out quiet, scared, and broken but they were understood. I was heard. In this moment, I found my own voice and it was empowering.

The time frame in which I read Tiger Eyes is the first time I felt sparks within my gut. Sparks that inspired the desire to move, to fight, to want more, to do more. And to be a “something” because I didn’t know I already was. When I think back on this time and this book, I am grateful. I am in awe. I am forever indebted to Judy Blume and Davey Wexler.

Title Liars and Losers Like Us
Author Ami Allen-Vath
Pages 192 Pages
Genre Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher Sky Pony Press
To Be Published March 1st, 2016
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChapters

For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High.

When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.

With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast — as a party of one.

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