Guest Post and Excerpt: Hope’s Rebellion by Jade Varden
Hope’s Rebellion by Jade Varden
Their friendship will test the fabric of tradition, duty and destiny…
There are only two seasons in Godenor: summer and winter. Weather brings the only surprises to a society where everything is planned, and everyone’s status is determined at birth…by the color of their hair.
Rinna has the right hair, Drexi the wrong, and Prelly is almost too ordinary — in every way but one. Small mistakes bring them together, creating ripples in a pond that knows nothing but serenity. If they reach their goals, they can’t help but shatter the world they know.
Love of any kind, even the bond of friendship, isn’t allowed in their world…but then, the heart can’t always follow orders.
“Do it again!” Maura screamed. “One, two, three.”
All at once, twenty little bodies hit the stones beneath them. The sun was starting to sink, and they’d been doing drills for hours.
“If an Argot passes you or enters into the same room as you, it’s your duty to react appropriately. To do otherwise could cost you your life. Keep your eyes on the ground!” She shouted. “Remember to touch your forehead to the floor in front of you, and then you’ll never forget.”
“Do you think she listens to herself when she speaks?” whispered Preeka.
“Shhh,” Yala warned, behind her.
“She never listens to anybody when they speak,” Drexi replied. “She only likes the sound of her own voice. The words don’t matter.”
“Maybe you think you know more than me about proper behavior, Drexi?” Maura was suddenly standing in front of her. Drexi saw her own black hair reflected in the shiny tips of Maura’s boots. “Up!”
Drexi bent at the waist, pointing her eyes downward.
“All the way!” Maura screamed. “We’ve been doing this drill all day.”
“But you’re not an Argot,” Drexi answered innocently, keeping her eyes trained on Maura’s boots. “I thought the drill was proper positioning. This is the proper position for you.”
Snickers rippled through the girls, and when Drexi chanced a glance upward she saw that Maura’s face had turned a deep, terrifying shade of red.
“Go stand on the peg!” She screeched. “Up, the rest of you. I want you to see what happens when you let your smart mouths run away with you. If I were Drexi’s mistress, I could have her beaten or even put her out of my home. She’s lucky to only stand on the peg.”
Drexi almost snapped that Maura wouldn’t really know if it was better or not, since she never stood her big body on the peg, but there wasn’t any point in making her punishment worse. So she bit her tongue as she walked to the center of the quad, toward a narrow post that rose six feet above the ground. She climbed the ladder and established her balance before kicking it away, the way she was supposed to.
The peg measured about two inches in circumference, too narrow for both feet. Drexi would have to balance herself, and try not to fall down to the hard stones below. If she did, she would only have to climb back up again.
And she would know. Drexi had been on the peg more than anyone else in Camp Five…ever.
After the other girls all filed passed her into the cafeteria for dinner, Preeka got her wish. It started to rain for the first time that winter. The deluge lasted well into the night. Maura finally let Drexi step down from her spot ten minutes before lights out.
When she couldn’t be roused the next day, she was taken to the infirmary. It took four days before Drexi became conscious again, she was so ill from standing in the cold rain. When she was able to return to the dorm six days later, Maura gave her kitchen duty for two straight weeks.
Mature Themes in YA Fiction
My newest book, Hope’s Rebellion, has been criticized by some as being outside the YA genre. This is because there are some adult themes in the book, some scenes depicting violence and frank sexuality (frank, but not graphic). But more and more, readers are finding mature themes in YA fiction. Murders, sex, drugs, foul language — you’ll find it all in young adult books. And it begs the question: with all this adult material, what could possibly make these books suitable for teens?
Traditionally, YA books are written for young adults because they touch on themes that are important to teens. First love, growing up, discovering yourself, learning how to handle confrontation and figuring out how to deal with mistakes. Any of this, or all of this, may be present in YA books. And in the past, YA books frequently refrained from talk of sex or drugs or hardcore adult issues. The Anne of Green Gables series, for example, talks a lot about love and courtship but there’s nothing of sex in those books. Children appear magically.
But the world has become a little more mature in recent times, hasn’t it? Statistics show that teens are dealing with issues of sex, parenthood, abusive relationships, drugs — all the stuff that adults have to face sometimes. These things have entered the world of teens, and now more YA books are including these themes. The Outsiders, for example, told readers brutally about gang violence in an all-teen setting. Mature themes do appear in YA fiction because teens sometimes have to deal with mature issues. Literature can help young adults process what they’re experiencing.
Some YA books are a bit more mature these days, and parents who are touchy about reading material have to pay attention. Before buying a YA book that looks good, check the online reviews. Reviewers will let you know if some YA books contain themes that are more adult than young adult in nature.
Jade Varden writes young adult novels for teen readers. When she’s not crafting mysteries in her books, Jade also blogs practical writing tips for authors who self-publish. Jade currently makes her home in Louisville, Kentucky, where she enjoys reading and reviewing indie books by other self-published authors. Follow her on Twitter @JadeVarden. Visit Jade’s blog at http://jadevarden.blogspot.com/ for reviews, writing tips, self-publishing advice and everything else you ever wanted to know about reading and writing books.