Jamie is a Canadian book blogger who owns more books than she can fit in her room. She mostly reads YA but has a soft spot for all types Science Fiction and Fantasy, so she carries those around with her as well. Jamie typically reads while drinking tea, curled up in a little ball for maximum warmth.
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Rebecca Phillips: YA About Being Unapologetically You
I guess this isn't really a "Guest Post" since ... this is my blog. But I wanted to contribute with one of these posts as well, so here I am. I am really happy and excited to be able to spend a WHOLE MONTH featuring some awesome bloggers and awesome Canadian authors. But really, this whole thing started because I wanted to talk about Rebecca Phillips in context of her being an awesome Canadian YA author. And thus, We Can(ada) Read was born.
When I started blogging in May 2015, one of the first things I decided to do was give precedence to Canadian authors because I wanted to give back to the community that fostered my reading at a young age. So one of the first books I requested was FAKING PERFECT by Rebecca Phillips. And then I was hooked. I immediately was drawn to Phillips's writing style and story telling because it was realistic and engaging: you could imagine yourself as the main character and also feel empathetic towards their actions.
Upon reading this book, I searched out the rest of Phillips's books and became engrossed in her work to the point that I felt like I was a character in one of her books. And there is an underlying theme across her novels: it is okay to be you.
Rebecca Phillips in her novel FAKING PERFECT allows her main character Lexi to see that it isn't easy to pretend to be someone you aren't -- and that Lexi is enough as is. Lexi is an imperfect character who just wants to be perfect so she changes bits and pieces of who she is in order to fit into a mould of what she (and her friend, Ben) think Perfect is. She learns along the way that it is not worth changing who you are because then the "rewards" you get aren't really for you, but this fake version of yourself.
I think we have all changed or hidden something about ourselves to "fit in" only to realize that hiding part of who we are is more hassle than it's worth. I think Lexi's struggles in this book are something everyone can resonate with. Because of my love for FAKING PERFECT, I immediately requested ANY OTHER GIRL when I saw it come up on NetGalley.
There was no doubt I was going to love it, but it blew my expectations out of the water. ANY OTHER GIRL follows Kat who is so afraid of losing the people she loves because of her personality that she goes out of her way to hide herself (and her true feelings) so as not to step on any toes. Not only does ANY OTHER GIRL perfectly capture summer love, but it does so in a way that allows the main character, Kat, to realize that there is nothing wrong with her and how she acts. I think everyone, especially teenagers, are told by their peers that part of them is "too much" sometimes and that is really damaging.
Everyone should be free to be who they are unapologetically without fear of "losing" friends. But, remember, if someone doesn't want to hang out with you because of your personality, they aren't a friend to begin with. I think Kat speaks to being yourself at all times because that is the only way to live your best life.
If you are a fan of Contemporary YA and haven't read Rebecca Phillips, you are truly missing out. FAKING PERFECT and ANY OTHER GIRL are two of the best contemporary books I have read in a long time. They have altered my outlook on how I present myself (even at the age of 23), and should be books that all teenagers read. Growing up is hard to do, but it is even harder to do it when you're pretending to be someone you're not. I'm glad Rebecca Phillips realizes this and allows her characters to learn to be themselves, unapologetically.
Rebecca Phillips has been a fan of contemporary young adult fiction ever since she first discovered Judy Blume at the age of twelve. She's the author of the JUST YOU series, OUT OF NOWHERE, FAKING PERFECT (Kensington), and ANY OTHER GIRL (Kensington).
Rebecca lives just outside the beautiful city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband, two children, and one spoiled rotten cat. She absolutely loves living so close to the ocean. Visit Rebecca on her website www.rebeccawritesya.com and on Twitter @RebeccaWritesYA
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