If you didn’t already know this, this week is the NYC Teen Author Festival. All around NYC and the surrounding areas, different YA-centric events have been taking place. And on Tuesday night I was lucky to attend one of those events.
Held at Word bookstore in Jersey City, New Jersey (practically my back yard), I had the chance to see such authors as Kate Brian, Susane Colasanti, Elizabeth Eulberg, Michelle Hodgkin, David Levithan, and Rebecca Serle. Some of these authors I’ve seen and/or met before, others I haven’t.
I’m not going to speak a lot about the actual event, as that is not what this post is about. But I will say this: the event was great! I had the chance to listen to some great authors, discover a few new ones, and had the chance to add more signed books to my already extensive collection.
Now that that is said, let’s move on to the topic of this post.
After the event I made my way to author Susane Colasanti with the purpose of having her sign her last novel, All I Need (which is awesome!). Now I’ve read most of her books, and I’ve absolutely adored all of them. But, as I mentioned to her, Keep Holding On will always hold a special place in my heart. Not just because it is one of the most honest books I’ve read, not just because it’s handles a tough subject with grace, but because it’s the one that has resonated most with me, not just as a reader but as a person.
You know, readers, I don’t like to share too many personal details on here. And I have my reasons for that. But I’m going to get a bit personal, just for a bit.
Grammar school wasn’t particularly fun. It had its highs but it also had its lows. I wasn’t one of the popular kids. I was the quiet one. I was the one who wasn’t constantly surrounded by a circle of people. I was picked on – for one nonsensical reason or another.
I knew very early on that I was different. Maybe it was because I was quiet. Maybe it was because I liked music that no one else listened to. Maybe because, from a very early age, I knew who I was – not just as a grammar school kid, but as a person. I learned early on that kids can be cruel. But I also learned, and understood that things get better … life gets better. Grammar school wasn’t the end all or be all of my life.
High school was vastly different from grammar school. All those nonsensical reasons I was picked on for didn’t seem to matter any more. I had discovered like-minded people, people I was proud to call my friend, and who were proud to call me theirs.
I knew there and then that things really do get better. And that we are control of our futures, no one else.
But the thing is this: not everyone knows that.
At the Tuesday evening NYC Teen Author event I had the chance to speak with author Susane Colasanti. I had the chance to chat with her about how Keep Holding On, and why it left a lasting impression. We talked about how, in today’s world, it’s so important to reach out and connect with people who may need that human connection. We talked about how it’s so very important for people to hear, to know, to understand that even though life can be tough, it’s worth all the trials and tribulations because, as the title of this post says: it gets better.
Even though I wasn’t popular, and I was picked on for reasons outside of my control I’ve worked hard to become the person I am today. Not that I worked hard to prove a point to all those nay-sayers but to prove a point to myself: I control my life – my present and my future. Only I can ensure my happiness.
And now, so many years after graduating from grammar school I am exactly that: happy. I was happy then, as much as I am now.
So readers, this was a bit long-winded. But through this post I just wanted to say that when life hits a rough patch remember to keep your head up, and keep holding on. Remember that there are people in your corner, rooting for you. Remember to take the good with the bad. Just remember that THINGS GET BETTER.