Welcome, YA Reads America tour readers! My post features Martina Boone's debut novel called Compulsion. I am utterly and completely obsessed with Compulsion!! It is one of my top favorite books of 2014!!
Make sure you click on the rafflecopter link at the bottom of the page to enter an phenomenal giveaway!!! and thanks to YA Reads for putting on the Debut Authors Bash!
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. Her first teacher in the U.S. made fun of her for not pronouncing the "wh" sound right, so she set out to master "all the words”—she's still working on that! In the meantime she’s writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she'd love to visit.
If you like romance dripping with mystery, mayhem, Spanish moss, and a bit of magic, she hopes you'll look forward to meeting Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven and the other characters of Watson Island.
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Strong Heroines Don’t Always Carry Swords
by Martina Boone
I love strong girls, in life and in fiction. But just as courage requires fear, true strength is forged from weakness. If a girl is raised to believe she can do anything, in a world that lets her do anything and be anyone she wants to be, in theory, there are no impediments to her becoming a strong woman. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.
There are too many girls whose lives are a quiet desperation of confinement, either physical or metaphorical. They are restricted by their environment, their gatekeepers, and even, sometimes, by each other. We think that only happens in other countries, other cultures, and it’s true that women are increasingly at risk in some places in the world compared to others. But its still a universal problem. There’s a reason Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, wrote Lean In and started the “Lean In” movement. There’s a reason that Emma Watson is speaking up for women as a U.N. Women Global Goodwill Ambassador and has launched a new campaign asking women AND men to become feminists. One of the reasons she gives is that:
“I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called ‘bossy,’ because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not.”
Have you encountered that? I have. And I wanted to create a character who would make us think about what that means.
Even the most progressive societies perceive both physical and mental strength differently in men and women. A woman who charts her own course and stands up for herself is called a bitch—often by other women. A woman who challenges the status-quo is often called unlikeable.
My daughter has a learning disability. I started writing Young Adult fiction because she and I read fiction it together. I wrote Compulsion for her, for real girls, for girls who are afraid when they look outside into the world they will enter when they go off to college or into the workplace. For girls who scrape up their courage to believe in themselves despite their fear and set off to do things they know won’t be easy. Even though people may not like them for it. Even though they may fail.
Strength begins with failure. Having the courage to put yourself out there and fail, having the courage to embrace failure as a path to growth, requires far more strength than playing it safe.
Whatever we do in life, we have to own it. That’s what Compulsion is about.
Barrie, my protagonist, is a girl who has been so sheltered, she has no idea who to trust. She craves love and acceptance and pursues it, sometimes against her better judgment, but that’s her fatal flaw. It’s the lesson she has to learn, but even when she’s wrong, she pursues her beliefs and decisions with intent. She isn’t afraid to argue with people. She fears losing her aunt’s approval, but she pursues a friendship with her cousin Cassie anyway. Eight is gorgeous and seemingly interested in her, but she risks that by standing up to him when he tries to tell her what to do. She resents the fact that she WANTS to give in to their desires instead of her own, and that solidifies her resolve to go after what she believes is right. She’s often wrong. She makes mistakes. Boy does she make mistakes, but don’t we all when we step out of our comfort zones?
I love Barrie. She’s a grieving, naive, confused mess of a soul when we meet her. Despite having a gift for finding lost things, she’s the one who’s lost. But she’s stubborn and determined to try her wings, even if she makes mistakes. And that makes her strong.
That strength, even more than the magic of Watson Landing, is what lets her find herself. Falling in love with the island, and with Eight Beaufort (who is a bit lost himself), and her Aunt Pru (who is very lost), feeds that fledgling strength and gives her the courage to fight, to grow. She grows so much in Compulsion as she unravels the mysteries of the plantation and her tangled family, but that’s only the beginning of her journey.
Barrie’s strength is forged from doubt and weakness, and as the books in the trilogy progress, she is growing into the kind of young woman who can not only conquer the world, but even more importantly, into the kind who can hold a world together.
Barrie doesn’t carry a weapon. She is a weapon. And so is any girl or woman who thinks for herself and has the courage to stand up for herself.