Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Dahlia Adler

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 Dahlia Adler

Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens by night, and writes Contemporary YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She’s the author of the Daylight Falls duology, the upcoming Just Visiting, and Last Will and Testament, as well as over five billion tweets as @MissDahlELama. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookPinterestGoodreads

I know, I know: When you pick a female E. Lockhart character to obsess over, particularly in a series celebrating feminism, it’s supposed to be Frankie Landau-Banks. And it’s not that Frankie isn’t fabulous — you don’t need me to tell you how aspirational her “smash the patriarchy” glory is. But my softest of soft spots for a female character in YA lit goes to another Lockhart creation: The wonder that is Ruby Oliver.

Ruby is in therapy, and in therapy, Ruby has created “The Boyfriend List.” It lists every guy with whom she has had any encounter that could be construed as romantic or even containing romantic potential, or really…just may have had any meaning at all. The list gets into the wrong hands, and throws her life into upheaval as people discover and misinterpret it. But it isn’t just the list rubbing people the wrong way — it’s Ruby herself, and the way she’s assigned importance to all of these boys in a way that asserts a kind of ownership of them in her mind, or at least an inextricable connection.

And when I read this, I thought, “Well, yeah. Don’t we all do that? Don’t we all attach too much importance to things when we’re young, especially when they mean that we’ve been seen? That we’ve been relevant? Don’t we all experience that weird feeling that isn’t quite jealousy but something in its family when someone we associate with having seen us sees someone else in the same light, or even a better one? Aren’t those people always ‘ours’ in our hearts in a way? Don’t we always hate seeing them with someone else? Don’t we always feel a deep-seated urge to bring them back, re-assert whatever power we may still have, make sure we still have importance?”

Apparently not.

There’s a reason Ruby’s in therapy.

But, confession: I am exactly that way. The Ruby Oliver series is four books long and I nodded vigorously along with her actions through all of it. I was Team Ruby, and I understood her every move and knew I would’ve done the same. And that, to me, was something phenomenal — reading four books with a protagonist who had my same kinda twisted thoughts and flaws, and did these questionable things, and paid the price, and survived, and everything didn’t work out perfectly, but that was okay, and she figured out the right people for herself, and even figured out her heart (through trial and error! She even kissed more than one boy in the process!) but it wasn’t a painless process, and everything didn’t work out like sunshine, and her life didn’t go back to how it was…

Basically, Ruby Oliver went through teen girl BS, and asked for help, and talked about her feelings, and forced herself to be honest, and found her happy ending by being true to herself, her mind, and her heart. Oh, and she rocked fishnets like a boss.

If that’s not a damn strong girl, I don’t know what is.

Title Just Visiting
Author Dahlia Adler
Pages 348 Pages
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher Spencer Hill Contemporary
To Be Published November 17th, 2015
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Reagan Forrester wants out — out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.

Victoria Reyes wants in — in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn’t go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won’t stand out for being Mexican.

One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective… only to learn she’s set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants…only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they’ve sworn to leave.

As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don’t know about each other’s pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they’ll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.

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