Flynn’s from the wrong side of the tracks, but he may be just right for Jess…
The truth is that Jess knows she’s screwed up. She’s made mistakes, even betrayed her best friend, and now she’s paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
The truth is that she wishes she was the carefree party girl everyone thinks she is. She pretends it’s all fine. That her “perfect” family is fine. But it’s not. And no one notices the lie…until she meets Flynn. He’s the only one who really sees her. The only one who really listens.
The truth is that Jess is falling apart, and no one seems to care. But Flynn is the definition of “the wrong side of the tracks.” When Jess’s parents look at him, they only see their differences, not how much she and Flynn need each other. They don’t get that the person who shouldn’t fit into your world might just be the one who makes you feel like you belong.
About the Author:
RITA Award finalist Janet Gurtler’s young adult books have been chosen for the Junior Library Guild Selection and as Best Books For Teens from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. She has had her writing compared to Judy Blume and Jodi Picoult and that makes her happy. She has volunteered at a few soup kitchens and hopes to do more. Giving back is so important. Janet lives in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, with her husband, son, and a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce.
Website Facebook Twitter
Janet, what do you consider when writing romance for young readers?
This is a really good question for me as I am now the proud owner of a teenager of my very own. I joke, but in reality I have a son who is now 14. It’s interesting for me to think of romance from a young man’s point of view now, and compare it to what I thought about teen boys when I was a teen girl. I didn’t think they (boys) really had feelings back then, lol. Well, I knew they did in theory, but they seemed like these kind of mythical creatures with all the power. Now I know how much power teenage girls have. I wish they knew it!
Anyhow, I write my books from the point of view of teen girls and I think I am very cognizant of trying not to show romantic love as the ‘be all and end all’ of a girl’s life. I also have some pretty strong feelings about not portraying first sexual experiences as roses and chocolate Valentine’s Day, earth shattering wildly satisfying encounters. I am way too much of a realist for that. That said, I do believe in love, and man I do remember how strongly I felt about boys when I was a teen. But for me, the romance part in the teen books I write is more magical and innocent. The talks, the kissing, the connecting to another person not great sex. I know for a fact that hormones are going wacko and crazy and it’s all new and exciting and wondrous, but I like to write realistic stories. So there is sloppiness. Bad first encounters. And heart ache.
As I write the romantic parts of teen stories, I tend to focus on the fun parts of romance and then close the door, or portray sex as the big overwhelming thing it can be to teens. I don’t think that there should not be sex in teen novels, but I do like to stick to the more realistic versions, rather than the fairy tale version in my books.
The Truth About Us, is probably the most classical romance YA I have written. The story really is about Jess and how her feelings for a boy change and shape her life. It’s about opening herself up and letting someone in to see the real person she is. And to me, that’s romance.
The greenhouse is sort of shaped like an old barn. It’s opaque with plastic and steel siding. The door is open, and I follow Wilf inside and pause and then breathe it in. The smell nourishes me. Moist air fills my lungs. I’ve forgotten how much the scents of greenery soothe me. It reminds me of different times. Simpler times.
“Nice,” I tell him, looking around at rows of plants on tabletops and plants stacked on the floor. I realize I’ve missed the satisfaction of nurturing plants.
There’s a man on a ladder in the middle of the greenhouse, fixing a shelf, with his back to us. A little boy stands at the bottom of the ladder, watching. Wilf walks over and pats his head and kneels down to his level. “How are ya, big guy?”
The little boy stands taller and giggles and holds out his hand. He’s got it wrapped tightly around a plastic blue train.
The man on the ladder turns and looks down at me. My heart stops.
It’s not a man at all. It’s him.