Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guest Post: C. Lee McKenzie (and a Giveaway)

Today, I am excited to have C. Lee McKenzie, the author of Sliding on the Edge and The Princess of Las Pulgas, at The Serpentine Library.  

Last semester in YA lit class, we talked about characters that were outsiders and why these stories resonate so much with readers.  Since characters in both of Ms. McKenzie's books can be considered outsiders I wondered what her opinion on this was.  

So I asked:  Why do you think "outsider" stories resonate so much with readers?

Interesting question, Maria. I think outsider stories resonate with readers because at some time in our lives we are all “outsiders.” In our teen years we’re especially vulnerable to those feelings of being left out or being different, of wanting to fit in, yet not knowing exactly what boundaries we should set so that fitting in doesn’t cost us our self-respect. It’s a time of such growth and such confusion, that I think reading about characters who are experiencing the same or similar situations is one way to find help or comfort or even solutions.  

I can relate to Carlie Edmund because I had to move from one high school to another in my junior year. I guess I drew a lot from how I felt during that time. My experience, of course, wasn’t like Carlie’s, but my emotions, my fears, my uncertainty of that time were helpful in developing her story. I was a stranger in a strange land and that’s not easy, but it can be done and when you’ve finally begun to fit in you may find, as did Carlie, that you really like where you’ve landed. 

For more information about C. Lee McKenzie and her books visit her website, blog or twitter.

Check out the book trailer for The Princess of Las Pulgas:

Thanks to Teen Book Scene and WestSide Books, I have a copy of The Princess of Las Pulgas to give away!  To enter please leave a comment about a time you felt like an outsider and then please fill out the Google form by.

A few give away reminders:
This give away is for US mailing addresses only
You must leave a comment, entries without comments will be deleted.
This giveaway ends on January 20, 2011

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  1. I felt most like an outsider when I moved to Texas from West Virginia when I was in 9th grade. It was like entering a new country at that time, and I really missed my friends... Kind of like Carlie only in a different setting. It wasn't until the next year when I started in some classes I liked that I found people to really hang out with.

  2. I felt like an outside on the first day of high school, which was across the city and where most of the other kids already knew each other. I didn't know anyone, and I was kinda scared at first, but I met friends and had fun (:

  3. I felt like an outsider the day I moved into college. I was the only sophomore/transfer on a floor of freshman, besides my roommate who was the sophomore RA. I didn't even know her, because housing stuck us together. Most of the girls avoided me because my name tag on the door was labeled as "RAR" (RA's roommate) and they didn't know what it meant so they were terrified of me. We all bonded quickly however.

  4. From reading the comments it's clear that being an outsider is painful, but it also let's us grow a lot, doesn't it? First, we find out we can overcome that experience. Second we learn how not fitting in feels. Both of these are lessons I treasure.

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