Today, we are excited to share an exclusive guest post from You & Me & Him author Kris Dinnison as part of the official blog tour. AND we’ve got a chance for you to win a copy of the book, too – so be sure to keep reading all the way through today’s post for details!
This has got to be one of the toughest questions for a book lover to answer. How do you pick just one? When someone asked him what his favorite book was, Charlie, the main character in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” said, “The last one I read.” And I really do feel that way sometimes.
But there are some books that I go back to again and again for various reasons. Jane Austen is a favorite of mine for her wry wit and social criticism. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger is one of my favorite stories of family disfunction and growing up. And I am in love with the novels of E.M. Forster, which I discovered when I was a senior in high school and have re-read ever since. But when I think about impact on my life, I have to say Chris Crutcher’s novels stand out as being immensely important to the path I have taken.
I was first introduced to Chris’ novels as a teacher at an alternative high school in 1995. He was already more than a decade into his career writing for young adults, basically inventing the young adult novel as he wrote each book. The only other thing I remember reading at the time that even came close was Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat. Anyway, the school I was working at was using Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes in the curriculum.
I read the story, which broke my heart, in one night. Watching this friendship between Sarah, disfigured by burns when she was three, and Moby, who was overweight and outcast growing up, was a revelation. Chris never shies away from violence and controversy, choosing instead to portray humanity at it’s best and worst through the wrenching, complex interactions of his characters. And seeing the way he allows his characters and their relationships to grow and evolve as they navigate high school and the world’s cruelty brought into stark relief for me the idea that these stories about teenagers had magnitude and sharp edges and deep heart.
The power of Chris’s writing became even more evident as I worked with students around the novel. The alternative school kids I taught saw themselves in the characters. For many of them it was the first time they had ever recognized their own lives in a story. It helped them see that there might be strength and hope in places they hadn’t considered before. And it made them want to read other stories about people like them. That was so powerful, and it made me see not only the impact but the importance of stories for young adults.
By the time I started writing my book, a decade and a half after first reading Chris Crutcher’s work, young adult literature had already taken root as a powerhouse in publishing. Chris’s books forged a trail through the publishing industry, acting as a beacon for writers like myself who wanted to find those stories that would feel true and important to teen readers and anyone else who found them. And he’s still writing and speaking truth to power in a voice that resonates with readers of all ages. I am immensely grateful for his books, and for his work as a pioneer in the world of young adult stories. Without first having read his books, I might never have written mine.
Maggie and Nash are outsiders. She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. The best of friends, they have seen each other through thick and thin, but when Tom moves to town at the start of the school year, they have something unexpected in common: feelings for the same guy. This warm, witty novel—with a clear, true voice and a clever soundtrack of musical references—sings a song of love and forgiveness.
In stores July 7th.
Kris Dinnison learned to read when she was five years old. She grew up reading books nobody else had read and listening to music nobody else had heard of and thinking she was weird, which she kind of was. She spent nearly two decades as a teacher and librarian working with students from kindergarten to graduate school. The bulk of that time she spent teaching High School English while dreaming of becoming a writer. Nowadays, when she’s not writing, she helps run her family’s retail and café businesses. She lives and writes in Spokane, Washington.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of YOU AND ME AND HIM. US Only.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
- 6/29/2015- Paperback Princess– Interview
- 6/30/2015- StuckInBooks– Review
- 7/1/2015- Novel Novice– Guest Post
- 7/2/2015- Book Briefs– Review
- 7/3/2015- Fictitious Delicious– Interview