FTC Disclaimer: Received from author for blog tour in exchange for my honest opinion
Blurb: Forever Me is considered YA and NA.
Inspired by True Events
Hannah Richards isn’t your typical 16 year-old at Wichita Falls High. Fashions, trends, cosmetics and style are unimportant to her. An avid reader, guitar player, classic movie and television buff, Hannah marches to the beat of her own drum. Visible only to her Father the town Sheriff, and her two best friends. Hannah lives a simple, un-pampered life as an “Eastie.”
After coming to the aide of Taylor Monroe, a popular member of the ultra snobby “Stilettos” at school, Hannah’s life beings spiraling out of control. As she starts spending more time with Taylor, her best friends abandon her, after a series of misunderstandings, causing Hannah to re-invent herself.
Hannah quickly gets caught up in a life much different than the one she knows, where status, glamour, makeup, appearance and acceptance become her masters. And what of the dark secret that haunts the streets of Wichita Falls?
Can Hannah survive the lies, deceit, jealousy and rage that are now waiting for her behind every corner? Will she succumb to the pressures of popularity? Or will she be crushed under the heels of the “Stilettos”?
~High school is hard enough just being yourself, let alone being someone you’re not~
About the Author:
Thomas Amo is the author over 20 comedies and farces for the live theatre. This former full time theatrical producer has spent the last thirty years writing in many different genres, from pilot scripts for television to screenplays on independent films. Outside acting, directing and producing, his first love has always been writing. Forever ME, marks his debut into YA fiction
I’ve had a great streak so far with books. I don’t think I’ve picked up a book I haven’t liked lately. I just had the privilege of reading Mr. Thomas Amos’ new YA novel Forever ME, and it was to say the least amazing. It definitely puts some things in perspective, and it is one that EVERY girl needs to read no matter how old they are.
I love how the book is set in Texas. Being a Texas girl myself I love reading stories that take place in my own backyard. I haven’t been out of high school very long, and this book definitely got me thinking to my times back then. I knew there was always the “mean girls” that attended every school, and I’m sure most of us have endured some bullying at one time or another. This book tackles all of those issues and then some.
Our heroine in the story is named Hannah. She is such a kind hearted person, and is wise beyond her years. She is classified as one of the “Easties” which is the unpopular white trash of the town. Hannah is nowhere near white trash. She has two friends that have been her friends through grade school and they pride themselves for not being snobs like the “clubbers” who live in the gates of the local country club. Everyone knows there are cliques in high school, but I don’t think it registers until after you are done and look back on the experience. I enjoyed this book for several reasons. The message is clear – Stay true to yourself and don’t let anyone or anything change who you are.
This book brings to light that even though you leave high school, high school never really leaves everyone. There are some adults in this book that act just as bad if not worse than the kids do. There is a level of superiority that these adults have that drives me insane. I love that this book could make me laugh, cry, and get completely angry. The issues that are dealt with will have you in complete awe. Mr. Amo did a fantastic job with the story, characters, and overall feel of the novel. I was captivated from the moment that I started it, and as I expressed to Mr. Amo, I was also lacking sleep because I just had to find out what happened and sacrificed sleep in order to read this fabulous story.
Everyone who is part of the bookish things and more family needs to read this book. It will open your eyes to some real issues, and touch your heart so that we can all try to stop bullying and accept people for who they are. I give this book 5 out of 5.
1. Q: I understand Forever ME is inspired by true events. Tell us how that came about?
A: I was just about to leave the house one morning when I caught a segment on morning television about a group of teen girls at a Texas high school who had organized a group called, “Redefining Beautiful.” They were trying to encourage fellow female students to go one day a week without makeup. They were stressing that you don’t need makeup to be beautiful. I was so amazed by their bravery and confidence to go against type, especially in high school and at an age where girls feel the most awkward with themselves. A close friend of mine who is a film producer had been asking me if I had anything I was working on I could share with him. By time the segment was over, I had the basic plot in my head and before I left the house, I already knew the ending of the story. I phoned my producer friend and told him I had something, we met that afternoon and I pitched the idea to him as a film. He loved the concept and told me he was interested. Could I write the screenplay? I went to work right away. But about 50 pages in, I found these characters were so lifelike, I felt it needed to be a book, it could always be a film later. I called my friend back, said, I have to write this as a novel. With his blessing and two years later. Forever ME was published.
2. Q: How are teen girls responding to a book written by male?
A: I was concerned about that. Would they relate to it? Would it seem real to them? Or would it come across as a guy giving his version of what he think teen girls are like today? Well, to my pleasant surprise, teen girls are sending me emails, tweets, and telling me, they completely relate to the situations, they’ve said, “OMG, that is so me!” “I’m just like Hannah!” Or they know girls like Shelby and the Stilettos. Or jerk guys who treat them like property. I got plenty of praise from some parents even grandparents on Forever ME, but the real vindication comes from the teens who love it. I couldn’t ask for better than that! (Plus I have a 19 year old daughter, so I wasn’t totally in the dark.) But I did do my research.
3. Q: What did you learn about teen girls that you didn’t know?
A: A lot! I learned that some girls lose precious hours of sleep by getting up at sometimes between 3 and 4 a.m. to begin their daily regiment of getting ready for school to make themselves look “normal” or what they feel they must look like to their friends and fellow students. Girls are under tremendous pressure to always look a certain way, weigh a certain amount. Often it is self-imposed, even the prettiest girls feel insecure about their looks. Girls who are bullied often feel completely alone with no one to turn to. Even if schools have zero tolerance for bullying, there’s always an unspoken rule to not tell. Being bullied is embarrassing, especially when girls get publically humiliated in school and other students stand by, watching or laughing. School can more often than not, feel like prison instead of an educational institution.
4. Q: Speaking of Bullying, there’s quite a lot of it in Forever ME. Were you attempting to send a message?
A: Actually no I wasn’t. Not consciously anyway. My wife pointed out to me that bullying wasn’t just limited to the students. Friends bullied each other and even parents bullied their teens. It made me realize, there are many different ways for kids to be bullied, like there are as many forms of abuse. It’s not always physical but it is always damaging.
5. Q: I see in several past reviews Forever MEgets compared to the film, “Mean Girls.”Did that have any influence on your writing?
A: Not at all, I have not seen the film. So I’m always surprised when someone compares it to that film. I imagine since the subject matters are similar I can see how someone could draw that conclusion. It was important to me in the beginning that my main character, Hannah was not the new girl at a school. That’s always tough on a teen to be the new kid. I wanted her to have her own friends, a well-adjusted home life and content with her life as it was. It was only when she crossed the invisible line of mixing with the social elite did it present a problem in her life. Wichita Falls is a place where a girl from her side of town is often reminded it’s best if she stays there.