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Behind The Book – ALBATROSS

thumb_AlbatrossFinalOne of the popular responses to my blog post asking you guys what you’d like to see more of here was more posts by my clients. With this exciting new feature “Behind The Book”, starting today, I’m excited to oblige. I may be stealing a bit from John Scalzi’s excellent “The Big Idea” posts, but I’m asking my authors to tell you a little bit more about their books. Today, I’m featuring Josie Bloss, author of Band Geek Love, Band Geeked Out, and her latest contemporary YA, Albatross, of which Meg Cabot said:

Taut and emotionally wrenching… I couldn’t put it down. Josie Bloss is an author to watch.

Josie, take it away!

I was inspired to write Albatross after realizing something important from personal experience – the obsession that sometimes accompanies infatuation can be a terrible thing.

There are plenty of YA books that depict the intensity of first love as sweet and wonderful. I wrote about it in Band Geek Love, in which the main character, Ellie Snow, was drawn out of her defensive shell by devoted Conner. Even if Ellie and Conner weren’t meant to be together forever, it was a formative and positive relationship for Ellie and helped her become a better and more mature person.

But sometimes the object of our affection is not…deserving. Sometimes a crush is manipulative, knows the power he or she has and uses it to take advantage. If it involves the wrong person, sometimes an infatuation doesn’t fill us with light and happiness but instead drags us down into the worst parts of ourselves. Into jealousy and darkness and self-destruction where we molder away until we find the strength to climb out again.

That’s what happens to Tess, the main character of Albatross, when she moves to a new town after escaping her controlling and emotionally abusive dad. In the midst of that turmoil, Tess meets and becomes entranced by Micah, an intense and (literally) biting boy who knows exactly how to manipulate and push all of her buttons. Her intense pseudo-relationship with Micah progresses as he gives her just enough to keep her hanging on. Tess becomes obsessed with the girl she considers her competition for Micah’s affection, lies to her mom, and neglects all her other friendships. Because of her infatuation, Tess slowly turns into a version of herself that she despises. It’s only when she finds the strength to confront her dad that Tess is able to really face what her screwed-up relationship with Micah has become.

I sometimes joke with friends that writing this book-of-my-heart almost ended me, that I felt like I was going through every wretched minute of confusion and despair with Tess as she fought her way through her obsession with Micah and out the other side. But the payoff feels worth it. My favorite stories are about a girl casting off her demons and finding her inner-badass, which Tess most certainly does. And I still tear up (happily) whenever I read the last page. Tess is my hero.

Remember, you can win a copy of Albatross by commenting on yesterday’s post with a story about a high school experience that involved music. Or you can order your own copy at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite independent bookseller.