Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Publication Date: July 29th 2014
Part of a Series?- Stand-Alone
Blurb Description: When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.
Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.
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1. 5 Things you would change about yourself if you went back to high school
1. My hair.
2. My jeans.
3. My penchant for looking “different” by wearing mismatched socks and stuffing my pants into the aforementioned mismatched socks.
4. My aversion to sunscreen.
5. The way I compared my insides with everyone else’s outsides and genuinely believed they had it better, were better, deserved more, and/or that there was something wrong with me—some kind of flaw that had magically missed everyone else.
2. The cheesiest line (pick up or otherwise) you've ever been told:
“That ass is going to get you in trouble. Just sayin’.”
Interestingly, that is also the most recent line I’ve been fed. And as an almost-40-year-old wife and mother, I was oddly conflicted at hearing it.
3. This or That
-- University or High School: UNIVERSITY. Hands down. No contest. Nothing left to see here.
-- Italian or Chinese You have no idea how long I stared at those two words, weighing up my internal pros and cons. Seriously. I love food. So…. My answer is food.
-- TV shows or movies- TV shows that went off air five years ago without me ever watching them, so if I discover that I love them I can watch an endless marathon without answering my phone or, you know, showering.
And now, on to your masterpiece:
4. What inspired you to write Every Ugly Word?
In terms of the actual premise of the book, it was reading the website www.dearteenme.com in which authors write letters to their sixteen year old selves. It got me thinking what would happen if I spoke to my teenage self—how she’d react, what she’d do (namely, she’d argue with everything I said, especially the compliments, and nod-and-smile when I gave advice, then go out and do whatever she wanted anyway).
As for the content of the story . . . well, it isn’t MY story. But I was bullied to atomic proportions, so I did draw on my own emotional experiences to drive that part of Ashley’s journey. And as soon as I did, it became obvious (through early readers) that people were going to resonate with those experiences. So I tried to incorporate some hard truths (and some beautiful truths) I didn’t learn until I was out of my teens, just in case they could encourage someone who’s in that place now.
I don’t believe in preaching through fiction. But I’ve had my life changed by stories in the past. If I can inspire hope in any young woman through Ashley’s story, I’ll die happy.
5. Give us a little on you main character, Ashley:
Ashley is a normal girl—she’s insecure, she’s in love (or at least, she thinks she is), she’s funnier and smarter in her head than in her skin. She’s often underestimated by those closest to her because they’ve stopped seeing her and started seeing what they’ve decided she is. I tried to make her real.
For the record, she isn’t me. I know that sounds weird, but I get that question a lot. She really isn’t me. And the events in her life don’t mirror mine. But her emotions do.
She’s a young woman who’s been mistreated a lot. In many ways she’s her own worst enemy—and I think that’s a part of her that many readers get frustrated with. But in telling this story I couldn’t ignore the fact that more often than not, we are fueled more by our failures than by our successes. Ashley makes many, many bad decisions. But she’s also weighed down by burdens put on her by others. Things she has no control over and shouldn’t have to deal with.
In short, her life is crap. But pretty soon she’s going to figure out that the crappiness she lives every day is molding her into someone worth being.
6. What is the significance of Ashley having an "Older Me"?
I could have titled this book A Fictional Setting and Course of Events Creating the Opportunity for Me to Outline Nuggets of Advice I Would Give Myself if I Could Talk to My Teenage Me.
In other words, I put myself through therapy for the two years I wrote this book, then gave myself a happy ending. Sort of.
Read it. You’ll see what I mean.
7. If there was one thing you could say to your following characters, what would they be?
-- Ashley's Mother “Stop convincing yourself the problem is Ashley and accept that it’s your own insecurities that make you feel so miserable.”
-- Finn- Because I know Finn much better than the reader gets to know him, I’d say “You have two choices. You can let all the pain of what’s happened in your life burn you up until you succeed in incinerating everything in your life that has any value, or you can suck it up and get some help. It’s time to realize that making other people hurt won’t make you happier.” I’d also say, “I want to help.”
-- Matt- “You absolutely can be the kind of man you want to be—not the man your father wants to mold you into. So stop listening to his voice in your head and start trusting your instincts. You’re smarter than you know.” (On a bad day I’d add “Denial is not a river in Egypt.”)
8. Your dream cast, were Every Ugly Word turned into a movie:
Because I’m a terrible acting snob (i.e. I know what really good acting looks like and I’m awfully judgmental of mediocre talent) I’d embarrass myself by naming forty-somethings for their skill rather than their appropriateness for the role. So instead, I’m offering a visual diary. Here are some images of the main players that look very similar to the ones I see in my head:
Thank you so much for having me, Aditi! This has been a blast!
Can I just start by saying, that this book is BRILLIANT?!
The synopsis is vaguely endearing, and the cover a great representation of what the book is about, and I couldn’t help but falling SO SO SO in LOVE with this book. I swear, this book is ALL FEELS!
When you read a book with the central theme on bullying, you expect the laughing in the hallways, getting taped to the toilet seats bullying, but Every Ugly Word brings out the other kind; the subtle, and equally painful, if not even more kind.
Ashely is just a normal girl- whatever ‘normal’ stands for. In love with the most popular guy, who also happens to be her best friend (you know the cliché, right- that he can see her as nothing more?) who just happens to be dating her tormenter (most popular girl, who acts like an absolute angel, but is actually a TOTAL bitch) after her fallout with the cool crowd.
All normal, right?
Except, for one, tine thing. She can see herself. In the future. Through a mirror. And the ‘Older Me’ talk to her, advices her, guides her. But the ‘Older Me’ has a secret- something she doesn’t want the one now to make. One that she can’t even tell her.
Like I said, this book is ALL about the FEELS! There was all the regular stuff that Aimee Salter managed to turn into something enchanting; something regal. Most of all, I loved how Ashely wasn’t portrayed as someone perfect- but more like a girl who makes mistakes, and it just tied everything together.
And that ENDING. HOLY GOD.
I can’t say more, honestly. You just HAVE to read it!