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Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway: Heidi Acosta

YA author Heidi Acosta is stopping by today with a guest post and giveaway. Heidi is the author of Barbie Girl...

Barbie Girl
The only thing that 17 year old Barbie Starr wants to do is graduate high school so she and her little brother, Everett, can get out of Alabama. She doesn’t care about the rumors that are spread around about her like wild fire. Rumors are nothing new to her. Sure, maybe she could change her reputation, but why bother. She is leaving Alabama as soon as she can. That is, if she can pass algebra and graduate.
The only thing Dylan Knight would like to do is go through high school unnoticed; he has had enough of the drama that is high school. He took the whole of last summer to bulk-up, finally he is not being called names and being picked on. He wants to remain on the outside of the circle of constant rumors that surround the so-called popular kids who get all the attention. He would not, however, mind if his long time crush Katie took notice of him.
It’s Barbie, however, who notices Dylan and she offers him a deal he can’t pass up, if he helps her pass algebra, she’ll help him get his dream girl Katie.  Dylan agrees, but, as it turns out, nothing is simple when it comes to Barbie.  Somehow, she can’t help but draw attention to herself -- and to him. Soon Dylan finds himself tossed into the whirlwind of rumors that seem to follow Barbie everywhere.  Can he save his reputation and still get the girl of his dreams? Or will Barbie be the one to break through his carefully-built facade?

Purchase: Amazon / B&N

by Heidi Acosta

Hello and a big thank you to Aeicha for inviting me to write a guest post for Word Spelunking! So, I have been wondering “What the Fish Sticks” I‘m I going to talk about (I am trying not to curse anymore!) What is a subject young readers want to hear about? And then, it came to me like a fist to the gut (Pun intended; keep reading and you will see.) A subject that almost all of us can relate to, bullying. Bullying happens to the best of us. We are all bullied some way or another. It could be something like being physically assaulted, or making fun of someone, laughing at the girl in faded baggy clothes who looks like she robbed her grandmother’s closet. A group of girls that dump water in another girls backpack when she is not looking.

How about the adult me hiding out in a church kitchen, bawling my eyes out because another grown woman just verbally attacked me and made me feel as tiny as a mouse? Although one friend did come to my rescue, two other “friends” sat back and watched it happen! I felt like I was on that news show “What Would You Do?” I was waiting for the reporter to come out with his microphone and start asking questions, but he never came. So I cried some more and then I cried some more. I drove home with the traffic lights a hazy blur behind tears I tried to fight. Then I called my sister and cried. Then I called a best friend and cried some more.

The next morning I lay in bed, shattered from the night before. I started to wonder and dwell on how the other person felt. Was she happy that she hurt me? Was she sad or remorseful? Did she regret the way she acted? Why did I cry so much? I am an adult, but suddenly I was not.

I am thirteen again, walking down the mustard yellow halls of my middle school in my new Calvin Klein jeans feeling really good, really cool. There was Vikki (I will call her) surrounded by a group of popular girls I wanted so badly to be a part of. They were truly the cool ones, with their layered haircuts that flipped out on the ends (It was the Nineties!) They sported perfectly straight white eye- lined eyes which they applied with one swipe. Not like me who tried repeatedly to get that white line prefect. It never happened. My hair flipped out on one side, but the other tucked in. I remember tightening my yearbook to my chest, my heart beating wildly against my rib cage, as I walked over to those girls. I gave them my best braced- tooth smile and asked if they would sign my year book. Vikki smiled at me, and purred “Of course.” She took the thin blue book from me, jotted down a note and passed it to her friends. I bounced nervously from foot to foot in anticipation on what was being written to me as it went around the circle. What would they write “BFF?”  “Call me to hang out this summer?” “Thanks for letting me cheat off of you in science that one time?”

The last girl signed it and handed it back. I tried not to snatch it back too fast. I slowly, calmly, coolly walked away. Yeah, I’ll read it when I get around to it, or maybe not, whatever. But inside I was doing summersaults and screaming “They actually wrote in my year book!” And it was as easy as just asking. They put aside their teasing and snide remarks about my name. It was the end of eighth grade. We were high schoolers now and above the pettiness of childhood games. I was no longer going to be haunted by a name like Heidi. No, we are mature ninth graders. Going through middle school with a name like Heidi was just asking for someone to shout out in a crowded hall, “Hey Heidi, where’s your goats? Ya leave them home?” Yeah, real mature. But there were the ones that were really embarrassing. Like when some boy called me “hiney” with the popular girls there to fall in a fit of giggles and then repeat it to anyone who would listen. No more, we were turning over a new leaf, traveling on a new journey together.

The school was abuzz with anticipation that day. I continued my cool walk all the way to the gym where the end of year party was going on. I walked right past the pink lemonade and cheese pizza to a pile of gymnastic mats. I plopped down and flipped frantically through the pages, past other signatures, trying to find the page they signed. I reached the last page and there they are! One “Have a great summer!” two “Thanks for letting me cheat of you in science!” but where was Vikki’s? I know she wrote something. I saw the pen moving. And there it was in the right-hand corner, in small blue inked letters. “Nobody likes you. - Vikki.” And with those three small words, she cut me. She hurt me on a deeper level than before. Yes, it hurt when I didn’t wear the right clothes and she pointed it out. It hurt when she got my crush to chant “hiney,” but this was different, a whole new type of hurt. Now I wish I could say that I went up to her, because she had followed me to the gym too cruelly watch me read her words. And I’d like to have said “You know those words really hurt me and please don’t speak to me like that again.” This is the advice I now give to my daughter. But I also really wish that one of those girls who passed that book around signing next to Vikki’s words had stood up to their friend and said, “That is not cool to talk to her like that.” Or to have at least marked out those words before I anxiously took the book back. I wish I could say that I was not bullied again the rest of my school years. Not all high schoolers magically become mature upon entering those high school doors.

The next day after the church incident I did not get a phone call from that lady at church, apologizing for her actions. But I did learn a lot about myself in both experiences. One is, I learned I cry a lot in tense situations. Another is, I am stronger than I think. Sure, their words hurt. But I can rise above them, and above all, not react vindictively or allow anyone to be bullied in my presence. So I guess my challenge to you reading this is “What did you do?” when you were part of a bullying incident? Were you the one who bullied? The victim? Or the witness? What will you do the next time? Thank you for taking your time to read this.

Lots of love -Heidi Acosta

Heidi Acosta: Website / Facebook / Twitter
Heidi Acosta was born on Long Island, New York. Moving around a lot when she was younger, she has lived in New York, Arizona, New York (again), Washington, Georgia, and Florida, in that order. Each place offered her something special, but she will always consider New York her home. Heidi started writing as soon as she could spell. When she was three, Heidi’s mother gave her a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods; thus beginning her lifelong love affair with literature. Writing soon also became a form of therapy for Heidi, when she realized that no matter what was happening in her life, she could find emotional escape while writing. Some of her earliest stories featured her as a princess who explored new worlds with her horse Buttercup. If it sounds romantic, it wasn’t, there was no prince charming in those fairy lands (boys where yucky). Heidi now resides in Florida with her husband, very active daughter, one hyper Chihuahua, two sweet cats, and one very fat moody cat. Barbie Girl is the first Novel of Heidi’s new, four-book, Baby Doll Series.

Win one of two ebook copies of 
Barbie Girl!
Heidi has offered two e-copies of her book for two winners.
-Will run from 12/19 - 12/23
-Must be 13+, One entry per person
-Winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours


Vickie said...

I had never heard about this until just now but it's definitely on my to read list! Thank you for the giveaway!

Mary Preston said...

BARBIE GIRL sounds great!! I'm looking forward to a wonderful read.