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-three 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 Rebecca Podos
Rebecca Podos is the author of the YA novel The Mystery Of Hollow Places (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), with her second novel, Like Water, coming October 17, 2017. By day, she works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.
I find it kind of ironic that Ellie Linton was my first true literary hero, because she spends seven books (and a sequel series, Wikipedia has just informed me?!) wrestling with exactly what it means to be a hero, and how quickly the definition shifts depending what side of a battle you’re standing on.
The plot of the Tomorrow books, my favorite YA series when I was a young adult, is pretty simple: Ellie and her friends are teenagers growing up in rural Australia when, in the middle of their boys-and-girls camping trip, their country is invaded overnight. They return home to find their parents missing, their pets dead, their regular lives of raising sheep and making out backstage during drama rehearsal upended. Retreating to the bush, it isn’t long before they decide to fight back in any way they can.
It’s an exciting set-up. The first novel pulled me in when I took it from the shelf in my sixth grade classroom, to be read behind my propped-up history book in the next period. But what kept me in was Ellie.
Ellie is by turns brave, exhausted, in love and out of love, angry, determined and terrified. She’s extremely capable — because of her upbringing, she can build a bomb from supplies found in abandoned farmer’s sheds — but she makes mistakes, and sometimes stumbles or lucks into victory, as she’s the first to admit.
Ellie is responsible for the deaths of enemy soldiers, a mounting weight that sometimes buries her. But sometimes she finds it livable, and that troubles her even more so.
And as the series comes to a close, Ellie sifts through the pieces of her life as a wildly different person than she was when the war began, hoping not for an impossible happy ending, but for a new beginning.
I spent seven books and probably as many years with Ellie Linton, reading the unfolding story of a messy, complicated, painful fight through her messy, complicated, painful point-of-view. Though the suburbs of Connecticut were from the war-torn Outback, and it’s really dramatic to compare girlhood to Guerilla warfare, I recognized myself in Ellie.
And, even as an eleven-year-old, I recognized in Marsden’s writing of Ellie something I’d only be able to name years later: infinite respect for this character, and for teenaged girls like her (and like me.) Because damn it, teen girls deserve respect. They are messy, complicated and painful; they are by turns fearless, and angry, and terrified. They spend what seem to be the last shreds of their tired hearts falling in love, but when they fall out of love, their hearts beat onward. They stand on battlefields, trying to figure out what it means to be a hero in their own stories.
Title Like Water
Author Rebecca Podos
Pages 304 Pages
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published October 17th, 2017 by Balzer + Bray
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon.com ● Chapters ● The Book Depository
A gorgeously written and deeply felt literary young adult novel of identity, millennial anxiety, and first love, from the widely acclaimed author of The Mystery Of Hollow Places.
In Savannah Espinoza’s small New Mexico hometown, kids either flee after graduation or they’re trapped there forever. Vanni never planned to get stuck—but that was before her father was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, leaving her and her mother to care for him. Now, she doesn’t have much of a plan at all: living at home, working as a performing mermaid at a second-rate water park, distracting herself with one boy after another.
That changes the day she meets Leigh. Disillusioned with small-town life and looking for something greater, Leigh is not a “nice girl.” She is unlike anyone Vanni has met, and a friend when Vanni desperately needs one. Soon enough, Leigh is much more than a friend. But caring about another person stirs up the moat Vanni has carefully constructed around herself, and threatens to bring to the surface the questions she’s held under for so long.
With her signature stunning writing, Rebecca Podos, author of The Mystery Of Hollow Places, has crafted a story of first love and of the complex ways in which the deepest parts of us are hidden, even from ourselves.