Monday, May 18, 2020

How I Survived Junior High

I've got a new book!  It's entitled "How I Survived Junior High" and is available on all the major ebook sites (Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Nook), and is also available as a paperback.

Those who know me as a fantasy writer will note that this one is short on wizards and dragons or even a medieval (or semi-medieval) setting.  It is however "historical fiction," set back some 60 years ago in the US.  Like all of my novels, I think of it as "searing," while readers may say, "Gave me a few chuckles."  I deny that it is autobiographical.

Here's the description:

Back before cell phones, before computers or streaming video, even before they called it "middle school," life was easier, right? Wrong!
It's the early 1960s. Shelley, shy and twelve years old, leaves a small elementary school for a big junior high. Her experiences are both painful and very funny. Will she be able to make friends? Will the kids in the popular clique even notice her? Which is more obnoxious, her little brother or the school principal? Why is her body changing like this, and will she ever get a date?

And here's the opening:


I didn't get lost once on the first day of Junior High, even though I had 
never been in the building before. I cheated, though. My mother had
taught there before I was born and told me, “Go in the front door, turn right, and your homeroom is at the end of the hall on the left.” And for the rest of the day I just followed the other people in my classes from one room to another. Since they had not gone to a three- room grade school as I had, they could be expected to be able to find their way around a large building. 

Homeroom 110 was at the end of the hall, on the left, just as my mother had said. Our bus had been early, and there were only two other people there besides the teacher.
“Hello,” she said as I came in. “Is this your home- room? I’m Mrs. Wilkes.” 

“I’m Shelley Langdon,” I answered and smiled. Smile at your teachers, my father had said as I left that morning. Mrs.Wilkes was glancing at a list on her desk. “Shelley is short for Michelle.” 

Mrs. Wilkes returned my smile. She had a plump face and smiled just like my favorite aunt.
“Choose any seat you like, Michelle. Make yourself comfortable until everyone is here.” 

I took a seat next to the window. Be sure to get a desk with enough light, my father had said. And since our bus had been so early, I had plenty of time to make myself comfortable.
“I wonder what she teaches,” I thought, looking at Mrs. Wilkes. “I wonder if I’ll have her. I wonder if any of the other kids in this homeroom will be in my classes.” 

My older brother Jack had gone to junior high on the other side of town before they’d changed the school districts. “Homerooms are alphabetical,” he said, “but your classes depend on how smart you are.” Jack thought he knew everything about junior high, just because he was three years older than I and in high school now. He had ignored me when I said that maybe Sidney Sharpe Junior High was different from his. 

Other students were coming in now. “Hey there, Tom!” “Barbie, how you been?” “Did you guys have a good summer?” “Hey, Jamie, we’re in the same room again!” “I had a great summer!” 

No one said, “Hi, Shelley!” There was no one in the room from my grade school. I sat up straighter, flipped my long curly hair back over my shoulders, and hid my chewed fingernails under the desk. 

© C. Dale Brittain 2020

If you came to my blog looking for medieval history rather than fiction, see my ebook, Positively Medieval:  Life and Society in the Middle Ages, available on Amazon and other e-tailers.  Also available in paperback.

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