Young Adult Book Club

I love young adult books. I don’t think that anyone will be surprised to hear this. I find that many of the most compelling and well-drawn stories are to be found in the pages of these books. Many of my favorite books of all time are young adult: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Even my all-time favorite, The Outsiders, would be considered young adult. (Also, fun fact, those are all female authors. Girl power, yo.)

Do you share my passion for young adult literature? Would you like to have a place where you can interact with other adults who think like you?

Welcome to the Young Adult Book Club! (A better name is tbd, if you think of one, please please please let me know!) Here is an online space where you can come to express your love for YA literature. We will read one book per month, announced a week before the first, with discussion questions posted mid-month. I hope that you are all as excited about this as I am! No sign-up is required, simply mosey on over to this corner of the internet when you have read the book – or when you have thoughts that you just must share with someone else! – and comment away.

I can’t wait to get started!

Now, our selection for October is obviously going to be a little bit late, since it is already nearly the end of September (wait, what?!). So, without further ado, our first poll:

customer survey

I will announce the selection on October 1.

Young Adult Book Club

Five Hours

WARNING: This might be triggering for those of you have experienced the pain of miscarriage. <3

We had already been waiting for five hours. Five hours, just to get ultrasound results. Five hours in which we’d been moved to three different waiting rooms, seen many other patients come and go, and still heard nothing. Five hours in which the pain became increasingly hard to bear and no one would even give me a Tylenol until the doctor had seen me. Five hours in which my frustration, anger, and sadness mounted to a fever pitch.

We both sat on the ER bed, listening to the woman on the other side of the curtain explaining her symptoms to the doctor, saying, “It might just be the flu, but I need to know, because I work as a Costco sampler, you know, and my boss needs to know if it is contagious.” My legs were pulled up to my chest and I rocked back and forth, trying to breathe my way through the ripping, cramping pain, while Bri rubbed my back and I resisted the urge to rip open the curtain and punch that other woman in the face, screaming, “You think it’s just the flu?! Why are you here?! Why are you keeping the doctor from seeing me with your stupid flu symptoms?”

Five hours they made me wait to tell me what I already knew: I was losing my baby.

Earlier in the day, I’d lain on a bed in a dimly lit room while a sweet ultrasound tech with a raspy, comforting voice named Lindsay rubbed a wand over my belly. I couldn’t bring myself to look at her face. I did not want to see what was written there. I scratched at the corner of my eye and she asked if I was doing okay. Said, “I know it is not an easy thing.”

After that first abdominal ultrasound, the doctor elected for a vaginal one, as well. An intern joined us in the room as a camera wand was inserted between my thighs and craned around at all sorts of strange angles. I had a momentary, insane urge to laugh.

Five hours later, and I was still waiting for the results of that procedure.

The pain in my pelvis was escalating quickly, and I could feel strange pulses of liquid between my legs. They finally moved us into a private room. It was for eye exams, and Bri spent five minutes rifling through the drawers to see what treasures they contained, pulling out plastic-wrapped medical tools and reading out their absurd names. It helped to distract me a little as I bowed over in pain, tears running down my face. I loved my best friend, and I was so grateful that she had driven an hour and a half so I would not be alone, but I wished my husband was there, too. Instead, he was waiting by the phone, a province over, in the middle of an island, waiting for any news at all.

I went into the washroom. There was so much blood. My early pregnancy nightmares of oceans of blood washing over me were coming true. The doctor came in a minute after I returned to the room and confirmed everything I had known all along.

Miscarriage.

No fetal heart rate.

No development after 8 weeks.

As she talked, I noticed that the rippling pain in my abdomen had stopped. I wondered if it was over.

She told me a bunch of other things, too, under those eye exam posters, as I sat curled up in the opthamology chair. I couldn’t process much of it, or really do more than nod. Bri asked a few questions, thinks that made me think, Yes, that would be good to know. But I couldn’t process the answers.

Then we gathered our things and left.

I didn’t let myself cry right away. I forced myself to act calm, to keep my voice as steady as possible as I uttered any inane thought that entered my head. I didn’t let myself go until I was walking to my car, alone. The sobs clenched my heart and shook my core. I couldn’t breathe.

I lost our baby.

Bryan called as I was pulling out of the parking lot. I sobbed even harder at the sound of his voice. All I could get out was, “I’m so sorry.” To which he responded, low and fierce and full of heart-rending grief, “You have nothing to be sorry for.”

I know it’s not my fault. I know I didn’t do anything. But I still feel an awful lot like it’s my fault. I lost our baby.

Bri and I sat in Boston Pizza. The AC was on high. I tried to be normal. I might have even laughed some, I don’t know. Bryan called again. He was the one crying this time.

As we stood up to leave, I realized that the hem of my shirt was oddly wet. I looked down at my seat; it was drenched. My chest constricted and things slowed down as I swiped at it with a napkin; it came away bright red with blood. I stared at Bri, unsure what to do, my brain grinding to a painful halt as I hovered there. She waved a hand at me and said, “Go, I’ll deal with this.” I balled the bloody napkin in my hand and hurried across the entire length of the restaurant to the washroom.

The whole back of my pants were soaked in blood. I mopped at myself, crying again. I checked my reflection; it wasn’t even noticeable. But now that my pants had been off, they were cold and wet against my skin. Not damp. Wet. Would the pain and frustration and humiliation of this day never end?

I just wanted to go home.

It has been a few weeks now. I feel okay, considering. It hits me randomly every so often; as I bound up stairs without wanting to collapse with exhaustion, as I order a beer at a bar, when I notice pregnant women and tiny infants on the streets. Oh, right. I’m not pregnant anymore. But I’m coping with it better than I ever would have anticipated. Which brings a whole other slurry of emotion with it; why aren’t I more devastated? What is wrong with me that I am this okay about losing my baby? Am I a terrible person?

I am sad, and I am not, and I am okay, and I am not, and all of that is okay. There is no right way through this pain. There was a baby, and now there is not, and I feel horribly, thickly sad, and I also don’t. I don’t know if that will ever go away.

But one thing never changes: I wish I could have my baby back.

Five Hours

Book of the Month: If You Find This Letter

ifyoufindthisletter

Wow, how is it already the middle of September? Time is sure flying.

Anyway, here is my book of the month for August, just a few days late (ha).

I stumbled upon If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher mostly by accident. I had heard her mentioned peripherally a few times, and I had watched her TED talk several months ago, while running on the treadmill at my gym. But as soon as I read what her book was about, what her organization does, I was hooked. I needed to know more.

Her book does not disappoint. It is a lovingly written portrayal of how she came to establish The World Needs More Love Letters. She talks frankly about the darkness that led her there, and her writing is so beautiful, so honest, so hopeful, I could not put it down. I wanted to be reading it every moment. Her story is inspiring and accessible, and soon, I found myself writing and leaving love letters of my own. It was like I couldn’t help it; I needed to be part of what she had started.

Honestly? This book changed my perspective on the world. It changed how I think about how I interact with the world. It changed how I think about my place in the world. It made me realize that it is not about me. I do not think that you could possibly ask for more from a book than to change your entire world view, do you?

(Psst, find the rest of my book recommendations here.)

Book of the Month: If You Find This Letter

Poem: The Fall Fade

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***

Already, autumn has come to claim the year.

I’m trying to force these rhymes

to illuminate these grey-washed streets

and the ache in my chest at the death of summer.

The slow fade of the childish glee of sun-soaked

days and languid nights, of all the time in the world

to do whatever we please. Autumn heralds crisp winds,

shorter days, the contracting of time and the slowing

of my blood, preparation for a long hibernation.

I love the sparkle of fresh fallen snow, the deep, sweet

comfort of being warm indoors while frost steals over

the world outside, the crack of a fire, and the rest

for my bones, but I long to be alive, and part of me

fears the deep stillness of winter. It fears that I will never

wake up. So I walk these damp fall streets with wistfulness

and joy and not a little bit of dread.

Poem: The Fall Fade