Author Guest Post

Dear YA Me with Jessi Kirby

February 8, 2016
The Riveted Team
YA Fiction Is Our Addiction

Dear Teen Jessi,

Someone needs to just say this. Those eyebrows of yours? Wax them. Please. Other than that, you’re doing pretty good. Good friends, solid grades, big dreams, baby doll dresses and Mary Janes . . .

You’re happy, and you should be. But I think this letter will make you even happier. You’re the type of girl who would not only listen to the advice in a letter from your future self, but totally analyze it, romanticize it, and then write about it in one of the many, many journals you keep. You would consider a letter like this fate or serendipity or destiny, because those are ideas you love—ideas that make life seem more magical to you.

You spend a lot of time reading and watching movies about the kind of moments that make life magical. You spend even more up in your room, looking at the stars out your window, and imagining on paper, those moments happening to you— taking a chance, falling in love, leaving your small town for college and broadening your horizons. Becoming a writer. Seeing your words in a real book one day.

I’m so happy to tell you you’ll do all of those things—and so much more. There’ll be some bumps along the way—doubts to overcome and obstacles to get around, but you’ll get there miraculously unscathed.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

If I could tell you anything right now, impart some bit wisdom for you to use in the meantime, it would be to trust your gut, and your voice. Don’t be afraid to speak up and say what you really think, or do the things you don’t think you’re brave enough to do. You are brave enough. And you see, and know, and believe more than you think you do.

Have faith in that because one day you’ll pour all of those things you see and know and believe in into a book called GOLDEN, the story of Parker Frost–a girl who is like you in too many ways to name. Though you will never solve a tragic mystery about a “golden couple,” Parker does, and in the process she finds truths about herself and her path in life. It’s what you would’ve wanted your teen self to read and believe in.

You will struggle writing it, and wonder why, and for a while, your friends and family will know it only as the GDB, or “That Goddamn Book,” because that is what you call it the entire time you’re writing it. But when it’s over, and the drafting dust has settled, you’ll realize why it was so hard. That book is everything you believe in, and sometimes it’s damn hard to put that into words. You are a romantic, and an optimist at heart – a sucker for an inspiring quote, and a goner for a love story written in the stars. Those are the types of things that tend to stay with a person, so when you’re my age, you won’t feel like you’ve changed all that much, and that’s a good thing. Keep your heart and your mind open, and you’ll be more than okay.