Exclusive Excerpt from My Crunchy Life
by Mia Kerick
Kale, 6: 45 p.m.
I unfold the paper-airplane-essay and add my new ideas to the page while Hughie makes room on the spare bed for his project partner.
A minute later, I hear soft footsteps on the rug. “Hey, Hughie.”
My dreadlocks stand on end— well, not literally, but it makes for a good visual— because I know that voice.
To play it cool, or not to play it cool? That is the question.
I stare at my essay. I’m going with cool.
“What’s up, Julian?” Hughie pats the place beside him on the bed. “Sit down.”
Julian doesn’t move. “Kale? I didn’t know you were Hughie’s brother.”
“Cousins… we’re cousins,” I mumble, then let my eyes pop off the messy writing on the paper in front of me to check out the boy and his lips. “Hi, Julian. I didn’t know you and Hughie were friends.” He looks fantastic again… or maybe as usual. He’s dressed from head to toe in black, bringing the term classy to life once again tonight.
“We’re partners in a project,” Hughie insists, making it clear to me that he and Julian are not friends. I’m not sure why proving this is so important to him.
It kills me to do it, because there’s nothing I’d like more than to invite Julian to sit on my bed and kick back with me for a while, but I tell them, “Well, don’t let me distract you guys. I have to focus on this essay, anyway.” I drag my gaze from Julian’s intoxicating lips and try to sink back into the headspace of a plant in pain.
About My Crunchy Life
John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.
After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.
When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.
Available at: Amazon
About Mia Kerick
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.
Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.
Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.
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