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message 1: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1016 comments Most of what I've written as a young adult author has been urban fantasy. In addition to my series The Dark Lines (or whatever that ends up being), I have another urban fantasy series called Reality Shift, and I'll start a new thread for that in a few days. I'm trying to pace myself. LOL

I also write contemporary YA fiction, just not as much of it. My Helping Hands story Life Skills is only my second published contemporary YA.

This thread is about all my contemporary novels, the one that's been published and the ones that are upcoming. Any questions or comments about them can be posted here. I'll have a separate post for each book, but not a separate thread because that would get a bit much.


message 2: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1016 comments My first YA contemporary to be published was Cluing In, which just came out in November, also from Featherweight. The main character, Jamey Mandel, would probably be described by his friends and family as "a good listener" and "dependable" and "reliable" and all those kinds of things. Even his girlfriend Tina thinks he's a good listener.

Tina's problem with Jamey is that they disagree about that age-old question: To have sex or not to have sex? Jamey's parents were only seventeen when his mother got pregnant with him. By the time she found out she was pregnant, Jamey's father had moved out of state, and she didn't dare tell him about the baby. Until Jamey was five, his mother raised him with the help of her father. Then Jamey's father came back to town and he and Jamey's mother had their happily ever after. (And yes, that will be a novel at some point in the future.)

Because of his family's history, Jamey has decided to stay a virgin until he's at least out of high school. He breaks up with Tina because she won't stop pressuring him to sleep with her. Tina immediately starts dating--and sleeping with--someone else, and before long rumors fly that she's pregnant.

Tina's new boyfriend breaks up with her, and not knowing where else to turn, Tina comes to Jamey for advice. But Jamey doesn't want anything to do with her. He feels bad for her, but this isn't his problem and he's still angry with her for all the fighting before their break-up, and for moving on so fast after they broke up.

On the night of the big school dance, Tina calls Jamey and tells him she's had an abortion. Jamey is sympathetic to an extent, but he tells Tina he can't help her and suggests she get help. He goes to the dance with his new girlfriend and has a great time.

The next morning, his world crashes. His parents wake him with the news that overnight, Tina committed suicide. Jamey blames himself, and through the rest of the book he mourns, almost loses his friends, and finally heals.


message 3: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1016 comments My second contemporary YA novel, Dolphins in the Mud, will be out in March from Featherweight. (I think. Ralph?)

Chris Talberman has lived in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, for six months and barely has any friends. That isn't so much because he's bad at making friends as because his mother has alienated most of their neighbors. Chris's younger sister Cecilia (whom Chris insists on calling Cece even though his mother doesn't like it) is autistic, and Chris's mother believes people think she's a bad mother because of Cece's behavior.

One day, a pod of dolphins get stranded in the cove beside Chris's house. Cece runs out of the house to see them, and Chris has to chase her. She's stopped by a boy about Chris's age, whom Chris has never seen before. After Chris's mother shows up to retrieve Cece, Chris starts talking with the boy, whose name is Noah Silver. Noah's family is very well-off, and the house they own in Wellfleet is one of five homes among which they split their time. Noah is homeschooled, and he barely knows anyone in Wellfleet either. The two boys become friends, and Chris, who's openly gay and left his boyfriend behind when his family moved, hopes they'll become more.

A few days later, Chris comes home from school to find Cece's school van (she attends a special program for kids with autism) sitting at the end of their road, with his mother nowhere in sight. The van driver gets permission from the school to let Chris take Cece, and the two go home to find the house empty. When their father comes home, he finds a note from their mother saying that she's left "for a while."

Chris's father has always worked long hours to afford having Chris's mother stay home to care for Cece, and he has little idea how to manage his daughter. Chris is the one who knows Cece's schedule, the things she will and won't eat, and so on. Even though Chris's father arranges with a couple of neighbors to help take care of Cece when he's at work, a lot of responsibility falls on Chris. Chris starts leaning on Noah and using his time with Noah as an escape.

Then he finds out that Noah and his parents are hiding something about Noah. Something that almost leads to tragedy.

The dolphin stranding in this novel actually happened, at Drummers Cove in Wellfleet in March 2010. I contacted the agency that was involved in the rescue that day for some fact checking about the stranding. The house I gave to Chris and his family actually exists as well; my husband's aunt owns it, and hubby and I spent our honeymoon there in April 2010.

The story came about because I wanted to write a contemporary novel as a follow-up to Cluing In, but I was having trouble thinking of something to write. My 13-year-old daughter (who is on the autism spectrum, but nowhere near Cece's degree) said, "Something about dolphins!" A friend of my 16-year-old said, "A story about two boys who meet in a random circumstance and fall in love."

The dolphin stranding gave my daughter her dolphins and gave me the random circumstance for Chris and Noah's meeting. There is some romance there. And Chris is named (first name only) after the boy who said he wanted a story about two boys falling in love.


message 4: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 13134 comments These sound great too - especially the Dolphins.


message 5: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1016 comments Thanks, Kaje :)

I haven't thought much about Dolphins lately, because I've been writing and revising other things, and also because I think it's the only YA I've written lately that isn't either already part of a series or something that lends itself to a series. It is, however, notable for being one of the books that caused Ralph to tell me I'm not allowed to give my characters younger sisters anymore, especially younger sisters with autism...(Shortly after Dolphins was accepted, I submitted a YA paranormal to Featherweight; the main character in that one also has a younger sister with autism. And Jamey Mandel in Cluing In has a younger sister too, although his doesn't have autism. I'll post a different thread about the paranormal book because it isn't contemporary, so it won't fit here, plus it's the first book in a series.)


message 6: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 13134 comments Write what you know. Up to a point I guess ;) And what were you doing up at that hour?


message 7: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1016 comments For some unknown reason, the past two mornings I've woken up at 3 and haven't been able to get back to sleep. Hopefully it won't happen again tomorrow; I like having the peace and quiet, but I'd rather have the sleep.


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