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Happy summer! Okay, technically, according to the calendar, it isn't summer yet. However, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, and that's good enough for me.

Today's summer reading is a young adult book about learning to like who you are. We're going to meet Layla and find out what her summer plans are.


It amazes me that people think that teenagers need to have their entire summers planned. They think they’re being helpful or keeping us out of trouble. What they’re doing is systematically destroying any chance of a spontaneous lifestyle by suffocating us with too much planning! Why ruin a two-and-a-half month stretch to catch up on sleep and forget the apocalyptic stress of social circles and pre-calculus by coordinating the hell out of a summer?

In case you can’t tell, my parents have taken control of my life this summer. I apparently get no choice, and all because of a stupid misunderstanding. It isn’t my fault one of my stupid kid relatives found my CD collection! How was I to know they’d gravitate to Bowie and GNR over Kidz Bop? It isn’t my fault I live in a small stupid town where everyone assumes everyone else is going to act their given roll as it’s been done since way back since the dawn of time here, or something.

I still blame Footloose for this. If my parents had never seen that movie one afternoon. Somehow, they determined that since Dad’s a minister and I’m a girl, I must be getting up to no good like the chick in the movie. I keep trying to tell them that Rapunzel would get more action than me in this town—every guy I know is afraid that they’d end up in one of Dad’s sermons—but do they listen to me? Of course not, because somehow, someway, they just think they telepathically know what I’m up to and how I feel.

So what does this have to do with summer? Simple. I don’t get a summer. What I get is to get shipped up state for a long stint of reprogramming, church camp style. Somehow, in a couple weeks I’m supposed to be magically transformed into some loving, gushy conformist robot that sways along to old folk camp songs from the sixties or something. If they think I’m giving up my fighting spirit (or my classic rock and hair metal), then they’ve got another thought coming. Besides, do they know who they’re sentencing me to be around? There’s a reason I avoid youth group! All the kids in there are a few rungs above me on the social ladder, and they’re all freakin’ sadists. And somehow I’m supposed to sing kumbaya with them. Sure thing.

I’m doomed, I tell you. Doomed.

I’d plan a jail break, but a fat lot of good it’ll do me in the end. No, all I can really do at the moment is sneak along all my CDs and try to suffer through it…and blast I Want to Break Free at maximum volume. That’ll show them. Or it would if they weren’t freakin’ musical Philistines.
Summer. Bleh. Who needs it? I do, but it looks like I’m not going to get a real summer so long as I’m stuck here in Nowheresville with moralistic parental wardens who think they’re telepathic.

And all because of Footloose. It’s not fair, I tell you. Not fair at all.


Remember when everyone else thought they knew you? Remember when everyone else thought they knew better?

Layla’s a small-town teen trying to be herself and is misinterpreted at every turn. She’s not popular because her dad’s a minister and her interests never seem to match those around her. She’s learned to keep to herself and her music – big mistake. When her love of classic rock makes her parents wonder if she’s “getting ideas,” she finds herself shipped off to church camp.

There she’s faced with horrible food and her day is planned out by the millisecond. To make matters worse her bunkmate is the cheery, tow-the-line sort and Donna, her nemesis, is at the same camp and is determined to make things hard for her. The only thing Layla has left to cling to is her music, but when her interests and character are challenged, will her faith in herself and her shaky trust in something more be strong enough to see her through?

Find out more about Zillah Anderson at the book at these places:

NBP Store



Zillah Anderson's Blog


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