Gem’s back to interview more children heroes – middle grade and young adult books that can be enjoyed by your kids. 🙂 Make sure to pick up books on Amazon that interest you, and feel free to share the interviews! And check out Gem’s own hero story as the sole savior of his dying planet of Topha here.
1. Sadie Larcen, 16 years old, from The Tethered World by Heather L.L. FitzGerald
Gem: What’s the best thing about being a kid?
Sadie: I’d have to say that the best thing about being a kid is the way you can quickly adapt to new circumstances. When you’re young, it’s easier to take life’s unforeseen plot twists and turn them into an adventure. My little sister Sophie definitely embraced the crazy things that happened to our family better than I did when our lives were first turned inside out. (laughs) But these days I actually get bored if something doesn’t stir the pot—or the plot—and break the monotony. I’m sixteen, which is still kind of a kid, right? These days there’s definitely a fairytale loving princess inside who wants to get out and find some excitement. Maybe even a little danger 😉
Gem: I’ll let you come save my planet, and take your monotony then! Ha! So what’s your dream job?
Sadie: I feel like my life is divided between “before the kidnapping” and “after the kidnapping.” Okay, it totally IS divided into those two parts. Who am I kidding? So, before everything I would have told you I wanted to be an author. Or maybe just a bookish English professor or something.
But now–NOW–my life, my location, my interests have all become, well . . . complicated. Though I’ve achieved one particular goal–that of being an author (see The Tethered World Chronicles for more on that. Haha!)–that particular accomplishment now feels like a small fish in a big pond. It was something I’d always assumed I’d do later in life. Instead, I actually set my family’s adventures down right after they occurred. (It was cheaper than therapy so, there’s that.)
And yet, in the vast, hidden realm of the Tethered World, there’s so much work to be done. I know God has a bigger purpose for me than I’ve ever dared to dream for myself. Plus, there may be a particularly tall, dark, and handsome Nephilim prince whom I’ve grown rather fond of . . . *sigh*. I guess I can no longer give a safe and definitive “what I wanna be when I grow up” answer to your question, Gem. Sorry for the roundabout way I’ve replied. But, like I said, it’s complicated! One thing is certain . . . it’s going to have more to do with my life underground in the Tethered World than it will Topside, where I grew up in Washington state.
With everything that’s happened to me “after the kidnapping,” I can accept that. And, hey, it’s not like I really have much choice anyway. One can’t escape the call of their Maker.
Gem: I totally get that. Whether or not I survive telepathically controlling my first core earthquake will mean I can suddenly begin to dream about my future. I know I want Soleil by my side, but what else is there? It’s hard to think past the big bits of suffering that have to come first, and going through a near-death experience and (Hopefully!) surviving may totally change my perspective.
So, along those lines, what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Sadie: The bravest thing? (laughs) A couple of years ago I would’ve said that forcing myself to ride a rollercoaster at Disneyland (with eyes closed, of course) would have counted as my attempt at bravery.
Now…well, for starters, I’ve ridden a dragon, have been transported by a cyclone of faeries, and have traveled to mysterious places to rescue those that I love—without always succeeding. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the changes that have taken place inside—sometimes I hardly recognize myself! Until recently, my idea of adventure was what I could find in books. It’s only by God’s grace that I’ve come through these things. Seriously. And not just “by the skin of my teeth” sort of come through…but I’ve learned to be thankful for everything that has happened to me and my family, despite the fact that I once fought so hard against it.
I think that kind of thankfulness takes bravery.
Gem: I can learn a lot from you. Thank you, Sadie.
“Normal” means different things to different people. For sixteen-year-old Sadie Larcen, family dynamics look a little different than most. Parents with oddball occupations? Normal. Five home-schooled siblings—one with autism? Normal. Police knocking on the door and parents gone missing? Definitely not normal! When Sadie uncovers the reasons behind her parents’ disappearance and the truth about her heritage, she despairs of ever feeling normal again. Especially when she learns that her mother’s interest in Bigfoot, Dwarves, and other lore extends beyond her popular blog. Sadie’s family has been entrusted with keeping the secrets of the Tethered World—home to creatures that once roamed the Garden of Eden. Sadie and her siblings must venture into this land to rescue their parents. Stepping out of reality and into a world she never knew existed is a journey Sadie fears and resents. But she chooses to risk all to save her family. She’s just not sure she will survive during the process.
Gem: How many children do you want when you grow up? I know you’ve been a caretaker to your own siblings for a while.
ClaireLee: I want eight children.
Gem: Wow! That’s a love of kiddos! Do you have an embarrassing hidden talent?
ClaireLee: I can bite my fingernails off and spit them a long ways across a room!
Gem: Sounds like a great weapon! Haha! Okay, but now the important, serious question: what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
ClaireLee: The bravest thing I’ve ever done is crawl across a log over the river to save someone.
Gem: That’s why I wanted to interview you, because a little bird had told me you were a secret hero too. 🙂 Thanks, ClaireLee!
One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place.
ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu which hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.
Gem: Bensin, you’ve been living life as a slave. Boy, do I know how that feels. Although you’ve had a little sister, Ellie, to protect as well!
Who’s the hardest person in your life to understand?
Bensin: Officer Shigo, definitely. He’s the City Watch officer who arrested Ellie and me. All slaves know we’ve got to be careful around Watch officers, even when we’re not breaking the law. A lot of them look for any excuse to punish us. But Officer Shigo is different. When I needed money, he invited me to do some chores over at his place. I’ve gone a few times, and he pays me well. He always asks how Ellie and I are doing, and he’s come to watch several of my cavvara shil tournaments. He acts friendly and supportive, but he’s still a Watch officer, and I know he would arrest me again if he caught me trying to escape again. Sometimes when he asks questions about Ellie and me, I’m afraid he suspects what I’m planning. I can’t figure out what he really wants from me.
Gem: That would be confusing. My ability to read minds would come in handy in this situation. (winks) Who’s your best friend?
Bensin: That would be Ricky. He’s a little older than me, and he knows a lot about nearly everything. He’s the one who taught me how to pick a lock. He’s got a list of helpful tips that he calls Ricky’s Rules for Surviving Slavery, and he says someday he’s going to publish them in a book and make enough money from it to buy his freedom. Of course, the people who would benefit most from a book like that are the ones with the least money for buying things, so I’m not too sure that’s going to work out for him. But in the meantime, I’m glad he’s around to help me figure out useful stuff.
Gem: (laughs) I’d buy his book. 🙂 What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Bensin: That was probably when I tried to help my little sister Ellie escape from our owners, Mr. and Mrs. Creghorn. I’d promised our mom that Ellie would be free someday, so I picked the lock and sneaked out with her one night. I knew what happens to slaves who get caught trying to escape, but I had a plan I was pretty sure could work. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly work out the way I hoped. (sighing) Actually, it took even more courage a couple months later when I had to sneak into an abandoned warehouse by myself and face three armed criminals who were hiding out there. I knew I could get killed, but what would have happened otherwise would have been even worse.
Gem: I can’t even imagine having to protect a little sister. Wow!
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?