Authors: Heather Smith Meloche
If someone you love is dealing with alcohol abuse, help can be found at
For guidance with alcohol/drug abuse and mental disorders, contact
And for help with understanding and dealing with sex, intimacy, and love, the following sites are invaluable:
â¢ The young adult information hub for the American Sexual Health Association,
â¢ Dubbed “sex ed for the real world,” a great forum and guidance center for people in their teens and twenties,
â¢ And a site written by teens for teens,
Getting a book out into the world takes hordes of very hardworking people, and I have to thank the most integral parts of my horde. To my fabulous, wise, levelheaded agent, Heather SchroderâI am a very lucky writer to have you in my corner. During this process, there were times when you had more faith in me than I had in myself. Your reassurance and guidance are priceless.
To my editor, Stacey Barney, for taking
on. All your questions and comments pushed me to dig deeper into the characters' lives and the story, and I'm a better writer for it. I apologize for all my “staring” and “glaring,” and I can't thank you enough for teaching me that I can love words but I don't have to use every single one of them. And to assistant editor Kate Meltzer for getting back to me in 0.2 seconds whenever I had a question or request. You are awesome and possibly magical! The entire Penguin team has been phenomenal to work with. From copy editor Laurel Robinson's attention to detail to Tony Sahara and the design department's amazing artistic vision for
's cover to
publicist Katharine McAnarney's help getting the book out into the world, I am forever grateful for all your time and effort.
The ups and downs of being a writer require lots of pep talks, consoling, cheering, and TONS of coffee and chocolate. My personal cheer team includes my biggest writing confidante, Julie Angeliâyou've been with me from the very beginning of this writing-for-kids-and-young-adults journey. Without you, I'd have less insight into this field, less courage, and much less chocolate. You are one of the greatest friends and writing partners I could ever ask for! And, Laurie Weeks, without your comment about the short story on which
was basedâ“You should submit this to
”âI would not be in this fortunate position. Thank you for your encouragement and all your comments on my work.
Massive amounts of appreciation must go to
Hunger Mountain: The Vermont College of Fine Arts Journal for the Arts
, along with 2011 judge Kimberly Willis Holt, for the immense honor of receiving first place for the Katherine Paterson Prize. The short story “Him” was the seed for
, and your encouragement and love for the story was true motivation for developing it into a novel.
To all my friends and critique partners who read one or more versions of this book, helped me revise, and/or encouraged me to get the story out into the worldâMelina, Lynn, Danielle, Mary Ruth, LoriGoe, Heather, Molly, April, Cheryl, Neal, Jacey, Makiko, Chris, Ian, Michelle, Courtney, Rae, and Coletteâyour hugs, nudging, and praise worked, so I owe you all giant coffees/teas/hot cocoas and even more chocolate. And to my fellow Sweet Sixteens, all your forum posts and tweets have been a lifeline. Can't wait to read what beautiful work you all continue to offer the world!
Maria, my caregiver and earliest best friend, you showed me how books can be made with watercolors, markers, laughter, and love. I was a writer with you before I knew what a writer was.
To my husband, one of the smartest and funniest humans ever, without your wit and patience, Jack would never have been born. Thank you for giving me the time to follow my dream and for reading whatever I shoved in front of you. I love you fiercely. And to my boys for putting up with me shouting, “Quiet!” and “Close your doors!” from my study. Eventually, you'll realize I wasn't just being mean; I was actually working.
To my sister, Serenity Brain, my best friend and a true light in my life, thank you for helping me understand the scope and effects of schizophrenia. I'm so proud of how gifted you are with helping those suffering from mental illness. Your compassion and drive to do the work you do is astounding and commendable. The world is a better place because of you.
To my mom, for being the best mom and teacher ever. You've taught me compassion, drive, and how important literature, music, and art are in this world. Your love has made me as strong as I am.
To my dad. Thank you for always being there, no matter what stupid thing I did. For accepting me as your own and giving me your heart even though you didn't have to. For working so hard to make sure I had what I needed. And for teaching me that a person is not defined by their mistakes but is measured by how they fix and learn to overcome them. I love you.
And finally, to all those dealing with addiction, either personally or by watching it ravage someone closeâyou are not alone.
After being surrounded by addiction my entire life, I've met tons of wonderful, caring, knowledgeable people out there who can help. They are dedicated to recognizing and stopping the patterns of addiction, one ripple at a time.
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