Release Date: March 14th, 2016
Summary: The Broken One. Sixteen-year-old Farris Sloan is picking up the pieces after the untimely death of her best friend Kelsey. But even one year later, Farris can’t seem to find “normal” again—not until Lane Evans pops back into her life and pushes her to face reality. When he offers her the chance to find out the truth about Kelsey’s death, Farris fears what will surface. Is it too much too soon or just what she needs to move forward? The Broken One explores a teen’s struggle to overcome loss and her hope to rediscover what it truly means to live and love.
Genre: Contemporary YA
I turned onto Miller Street, a dead-end road with only one turnoff, which led into Kelsey’s neighborhood. I immediately spotted flashing blue lights ahead in the distance, up the hill at the dead-end. An unexplainable force pulled me toward the mesmerizing lights that danced against the overcast sky. I didn’t think—I just sped off past the wall of trees that edged the front of Kelsey’s upscale neighborhood and passed right by the turn onto her street. My legs burned as I fought my way uphill. At first, I ran as fast as I could, but the closer I got to the lights, the farther off they seemed to be and the slower I moved.
When I finally made it to the top of the hill, I stopped and stood a few yards away from a fire truck and police SUV that, together, formed a barricade. It was all a blur—a blur of uniforms, colliding voices, rumbling engines, and emergency dispatchers echoing from radios. In all the chaos, I managed to slip between the two vehicles unnoticed, like a ghost.
At first, I only saw the yellow police tape. Then I spotted the back of Kelsey’s two-door hatchback with its “Stay Weird” bumper sticker. Beyond the silver car, I saw the guardrail Kelsey and I had dented two years ago in her dad’s golf cart. My eyes narrowed in on the dulled metal, pulling me in like a magnet.
I moved closer, marching to the loud drumming in my ears, and only stopped when my legs hit the rail. I gripped the cool metal and looked down over the steep ravine, watching a few small rocks tumble down the side. I blinked a couple of times, trying to focus on the activity down below where even more uniformed officers stood. Then I saw it. “No,” I whispered. “No.”
All of a sudden, I felt someone pulling me from behind and fell onto the pavement, hitting the side of my head on the way down. Slowly opening my eyes, I caught a blurry glimpse of the officer who had taken me down. He asked me if I was okay, and I nodded, shutting my eyes again.
Flashes of the silver car I’d been in a million times flew by in my mind, spliced in with another image—of the body I’d just seen at the bottom of the ravine. I kept seeing it over and over like a trailer for the latest horror movie. But it wasn’t some actress in a film. It was my best friend’s lifeless body at the bottom of that rocky cliff. The stark image taunted me: large, jagged boulders breaking out from a coating of pure white snow forever marked with her blood—her body, splayed across them, crooked and broken.
Christine H. Bailey teaches creative writing and written composition at a private university in Tennessee. Before teaching English, Bailey worked as a journalist, a marketing/public relations writer, and a freelance editor. Girl in the Middle is Bailey’s debut novel that takes a look at the aftermath of a family crisis and what happens to a family when a child goes missing. The book also touches on the hierarchical nature of high school. Bailey’s third YA novel (April 2016), The Broken One, deals with love, loss, and a beautiful awakening after a tragedy. Bailey is currently working on her fourth YA novel. Bailey, a native Canadian, is also a blogger, teacher, speaker, and mom of two!
Casey Marie: Two of your novels, Girl in the Middle and The Broken One, touch on loss and tragedy. What inspired you to write Young Adult novels that include such devastating topics? Is it difficult putting yourself into the mind-set of characters who are experiencing loss?
Christine Bailey: My inspiration often comes from local news stories. Too often we read or hear about tragedies and I often wonder how the friends and loved ones move on after such a devastating event. In my novels, I hope to capture real life, raw emotion, uncertainty, and ultimately, hope.
CM: How would the characters of The Broken One celebrate the Holiday season? Are they excessive decorators or do they say, "Buh! Humbug!"?
CB: The Farris at the end of the book would celebrate with singing and going Christmas caroling. She might even write a new song and perform it at a local coffee shop. The Farris at the beginning of the book is definitely a "Buh! Humbug!" kind of girl.
CM: If you had to change the year in which The Broken One is set by at least twenty years, what year would you place the story in?
CB: Probably the 1960s. There’s a part in the book in which Farris compares herself to her mother, who resembled the 1960s actress Brigitte Bardot. Farris even tries to replicate the cat eye make-up to look more like her. I think it would be fun to incorporate the music and style of the 1960s.
CM: When you write your Young Adult novels, do you ever put personal experiences from your teenage years into your stories?
CB: Yes, I do! There’s a scene in Girl in the Middle about someone placing a “Hot” sticker (the kind they put on sausage in the meat department) on Skye’s chair at school. In the book, Skye sits down on it and later walks down the hall with people calling her “hot.” Laughter ensues. Unfortunately, that happened to me. Years later, I can laugh about it, but back then, it was devastating. And, I never found out who did it!
CM: Do you write with music on or do you prefer a silent room to write in?
CB: I need perfect quiet to write. But sometimes, I listen to music to inspire a scene I’m working on, like I did with the dance in The Broken One. I listened to Cyndi Lauper, but a modern remix of her music.
CM: What books do you recommend reading during the holiday season?
CB: My all-time favorite is The Catcher in the Rye. It’s about a young adult named Holden leaving school around winter break. It’s a timeless read!
Two signed copies of The Broken One;
A signed copy of Girl in the Middle by Christine Bailey;
Two $5 giftcards to Amazon
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