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 Christina June
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become — whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal—the east coast of the U.S. and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter.
It seems as if everyone I know has been a life-long Anne Shirley fan. In conversations about favorite childhood books and series, her name inevitably comes up. When discussing beloved literary couples, someone is bound to mention Anne and Gilbert Blythe as their OTP. And what’s not to like? Anne is bubbly and gregarious and plucky and the reader cheers for her through all of her hijinks. I like Anne a lot.
But I’m not an Anne. And when you’re thirteen and you feel like no one could possibly understand you because you’re insert applicable false self-loathing assumption and you don’t identify with the heroines everyone is reading, you rejoice when you finally find one you do connect with.
I am an Emily.
Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Emily Byrd Starr, protagonist of Emily Of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily’s Quest, is quiet and sometimes overly sensitive. She loves words and story and finds ways to write even when her guardians forbid her from doing so. Despite tragic beginnings and many obstacles, Emily never gives up on her dream of being a published author. She is obstinate and she makes mistakes — including getting engaged to the absolute wrong man — but she learns from her choices and moves on.
I have this very vivid memory of reading the ending of the third book — which is, hands down, one of the most romantic scenes I’ve ever encountered — the summer after eighth grade. I’d always been a voracious reader, but living vicariously through Emily as she let go of her stubbornness and gave in to the thing she always knew was right for her was one of the first times I’d stayed up all night. I read those last few chapters over and over, replaying the enchantment for myself, and finally fell asleep smiling.
Emily lives so much in her head and is frequently misunderstood and called strange. She has a rich inner life that she struggles to share with others. In time, she finds a way to express herself through her writing. Finally, she gets her happy ending. And she never changes who she is to make that happen.
As an introvert, reading Emily’s story was transformative.
Emily made me realize that being introverted wasn’t something to be ashamed of. She taught me that it was perfectly normal to prefer my own company to a social gathering when I needed to recharge. That it was acceptable to share my thoughts better through writing. That it was okay to make up stories and have characters talk to me. That it was fine to not be the loudest or the showiest or the first all the time. Emily showed me how there really is magic in everything, even myself.
I find the theme that pop up in my writing most often is doing the thing you love, no matter what, and being who you are without apologizing. Emily is a character who embodies this perfectly and twenty plus years later, I feel her influence in the characters I’m creating.
In a world where extroverts often get the last word in, Emily was my first example of how there can be power and strength in quiet. There are moments when I need to call on my inner – Anne for sure, but most of them time, I’m thrilled to be an Emily.
Title It Started With Goodbye
Author Christina June
Pages 304 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
To Be Published May 9th, 2017 by Blink/HarperCollins
Find It On Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.
A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s It Started With Goodbye shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.