Blog Tour for My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: My Crunchy Life

Author: Mia Kerick

Release Date: 26th June 2018

Genre: LGBT, Young Adult

BLURB

John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.

After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.

When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.

Find My Crunchy Life at Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harmony Ink

 

EXCERPT

Julian, 4: 00 p.m.

On my first day back to school after the incident, Sydney Harper, a junior from the right side of the tracks, cut me off in the hallway by the gym and got up in my face. “You didn’t really wanna die. My mother said it was just some kind of pathetic cry for help.” Having made her point, she spun around on her Ugg-booted nonheel and headed for the girls’ locker room.

Then in precalc, some guy I barely knew poked me hard in the back with a Sharpie marker, and I was the lucky recipient of another dose of compassion. “You just crave attention, don’t you, girly-boy?”

Maybe, on some level, they were both right.

But on that night in October when I decided my best move in life would be to wash down the last of the Extra Strength Tylenol in our medicine cabinet with a bottle of Citrus Cooler Gatorade, I knew I couldn’t lose, however it turned out. The alternative to my clever plan to get some attention, and maybe even a measure of help, was that I’d fall asleep and never wake up— which, in my opinion, served just fine as Plan B.

If nobody heard my “cry for help” and I checked out, we’d probably all be better off. No real harm done… except to Mama. But the freaking UPS man heard my “pathetic cry,” or more accurately saw my apparently lifeless torso hanging from the tree house in the side yard, and saved me.

 

GIVEAWAY: WIN $15 Amazon Gift Card

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About the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

 

Release Blitz for My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Title: My Crunchy Life

Author: Mia Kerick

Release Date: 26th June 2018

Genre: LGBT, Young Adult

BLURB

John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.

After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.

When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.

Find My Crunchy Life at Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harmony Ink

EXCERPT

So, Kale, you say you’re a champion of human rights, hmm?” It’s clear to me that Julian detects my discomfort. When he steps up close, his voice emits from directly beneath my left ear. “That means you’re here to protect my human rights, even if it takes you to a place you never figured you’d go— not even in your wildest, but most certainly unoriginal, dreams.”

His breath tickles my neck— or maybe I just imagine it— and I shiver. “Yeah… that’s why I came here tonight.” My urge is to add “dude” to the end of my sentence, but I don’t want to make an assumption.

“Really.” It isn’t a question or a statement. It’s just a word. But the way he says it is sharp enough to cut glass.

I nod for the zillionth time tonight, and about ten thousand prickles of dread pop up in my armpits, which might sound strange, but I hear it’s a common response to stress.

“Really.” He says it again in exactly the same way, then steps in front of me so we’re standing face-to-face. I don’t want to look him in the eye. I’m not sure why I feel this way, because I’ve got balls. So I force myself to be a man and drag my gaze up his body from the badass combat boots, to the tights, to the oversized purple plaid flannel shirt that would make even a lumberjack look like he’s going dancing. And finally I focus on the important stuff: long, dark hair, freshly brushed and falling over his shoulders, even darker eyes that lift a little bit at the corners, and an “I dare you to mess with me” smirk on shiny red lips.

His lips… well, they’re moving again, but I don’t have a clue what he’s saying because I’m too busy staring.

At. His. Lips.

Are hippie dudes supposed to get captivated by other dudes’ lips?

Because this is a first for me, and not just in my brief life as a hippie. I’ve never been one to suffer with debilitating crushes on movie stars or pop singers or the high school’s most popular girls. And here I am totally caught up in the lips of a dude I don’t even know. Weird.

GIVEAWAY: Win $10 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

A Lucy Pre release Review: My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick

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Rated 5 stars out of 5

This young adult book focuses on Kalin, who goes by Kale, a 16-year-old searching for himself in that angsty adolescent time known as high school.  He’s facing a mother who was downsized from her job and has no pretty much abdicated from her adult responsibilities, a dad who is trying really hard, and a brosin, Hughie, (“…by my definition, a person who is midpoint between an irritating brother and an annoying cousin…”) who is sharing (invading) his room.  Kale is now a hippie, with dreadlocks that fall into his eyes, organically hand tie-dyed t-shirts, a vegan diet and a need to do “hippie things”, meaning he needs to find a social cause to embrace.  He does this by joining REHO, Rights for Every Human Organization.   It is here that Kale meets Julian.  Julian has big time problems at school, mostly in the form of a huge bully named Sydney.  Julian is incredibly smart, wants to be the best at academics so he can get a scholarship to college and be a doctor, attempted suicide and is now seeing a therapist.  Julian is transgender, a female trapped in his male body, and he’s bullied unmercifully for that.  “I have no problem with the world addressing me as Julian.  In fact, I insist upon it, even with those like Dr. E, who know that, inside, I’m actually a girl.  I want to be called Julian until the day I begin to live as one.”    Julian joins clubs to make sure his academic resume is complete and one of those is REHO.

The story is told in alternating first person point of view of Julian and Kale and I truly appreciated that.  I liked getting into the problems that both these teenagers are struggling with and how they are trying to deal with it.  It connected me with these characters so much more.   When Kale goes on socialactivism.com to find a cause I rolled my eyes at him. But it got us to where we wanted to be, REHO.

In addition to the trials of Kale and Julian, there is also the family trouble facing Hughie.   He’s a sweet boy who was living under a bridge until Kale’s dad took him in.  Hughie’s mother, “Serenity”, is a stripper and a truly bad mother.  When Serenity (real name Mary Pat) wants to see Hughie, I felt so bad for him.  “It’s like he can’t bounce back from the idea of coming face-to-face with his own mother.”  Because she isn’t a good mother and poor Hughie doesn’t have that sense of belonging to Kale’s home and family.  He’s like a sort of permanent house guest. He is the one who gave Kale the nickname, Crunchy, because of all the granola he eats in a house of serious meat-eaters.

Hughie, Sydney and Julian are in all classes together and they are all vying for the top spot of valedictorian.  That is one reason that Sydney is such a nightmare – she wants to stress them both away from being able to snag that spot. 

The one thing that saved this story from being an “all women are horrible” type is the volunteer best friends of Julian, Anna and Kandy.  Thank Pete for them, because they supported Julian and they were evidence that not all women are horrible.   Yes, Kale mother is not great, Hughie’s mother is awful, Sydney the bully and her female posse are the worst.   But Anna and Kandy, along with Julian’s mother, are gems.  Mama is so amazing, her support is what every kid should have.

As Kale comes to realize he likes Julian, he is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.  Is he gay? Is he bi?  He isn’t really sure, he just knows he is coming to like Julian.  He sits by him at REHO, and is stunned to realize Julian goes to the same high school.  It’s funny that even though both Julian and Hughie have much bigger stresses and issues to face, I still was sympathetic to Kale as he tries to navigate what he’s feeling.  Anyone who says the teen years are the best is delusional in  my book. 

Julian is attending REHO as he is facing his body changing even more into something he abhors.  He is also facing the aftermath of trying to kill himself.  “I still have soul-sucking nightmares about the day I tried to die – dreams about the loneliness, the anxiety, and the hopelessness that brought me to the point that I thought it would be better to be gone.”  It’s heart-wrenching to know that there are so many kids who feel that way.  Julian is his true self- Julia – at night and then has to do the difficult task of “…putting the boy back on in the morning after being myself all night.”  He has to “…numb his body and spirit” in order to be what society says he has to be.  But not forever, Julian. 

Julian doesn’t immediately hit it off with Kale.  He believes Kale is cute, but a poser.  When trouble comes for Hughie, and he takes off,  Kale gets some insight into himself and he doesn’t like what he is seeing.  “Like self-absorbed…or insensitive.  Or both.”  And really, he is.  As he comes to realize that “I’m the Walt Disney World Hippie Theme Park of teenage boys in Crestdale” he begins to do what many adults fail to do.  Look at himself and realize he needs to change. “And maybe I have no idea who I really am, other than a guy who professed to be pro-human rights but who looked the other way at the human being in desperate need who lives in my frigging bedroom with me.”  He’s only 16 but he’s going to be an amazing adult. 

Kale and Julian are slowly becoming friends when Kale is hit with a revelation at REHO that he didn’t see coming and he handles it badly, mainly because he sort of makes things all about him.  But it seemed a true reaction from someone who is struggling with their own identity.   Julian has his mama’s support again and I wanted to cheer for her.  “You chose the only path you could follow.  And now, by beautiful, smart, and courageous daughter, I hope you will follow it with pride”.  Jules has the strength because of that support.

The moment when Kale has to decide whether to do what is right, what is best for him, and what is easy was a great moment, even as it was a painful one.  The ending of this was so perfect, sweet and YA and lovely.  This coming of age story isn’t incredibly angsty, despite some very serious themes, but it’s a story of growth and I thought it was just right.

The cover, by Aaron Anderson, is simple and completely captured the feel of Kale.  The tie dye, the mushroom dreads, the sweet face – it all really leant the picture of who Kale was trying to be and I liked it.

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon – no links yet for Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages
Expected publication: June 26th 2018 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN139781640803923
Edition LanguageEnglish