I’m very excited to have Kate Brauning with me today on my blog! Take a look at the summary, Kate’s inspiration behind the book, a sneak peak at chapter 1 and a giveaway!
About the book:
Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?
I’m so happy to be here with Sarah on The YA Book Traveler for the paperback release blog tour for How We Fall. This book is dear to me for so many reasons tied to my childhood (rural Missouri, produce farming, classic movies, lots of time in the kitchen, cooking all kinds of things), but one aspect that wasn’t my experience at all was the family structure. I’ve read plenty of YA (and other) books where the parents are divorced, or grandparents are raising the kid(s), or where the parent(s) are abusive and the kids spend most of their time at a friend’s house, or are essentially independent and take care of themselves. But I hadn’t yet seen a multi-family home, and that really stood out to me as an interesting dynamic for this story.
The idea first occurred to me when some friends were talking with my husband and me about student loans, the costs of moving, and setting up a house after college. We vaguely considered purchasing a house together with friends. Sharing cars, sharing the mortgage, only needing one lawnmower, having built-in babysitters, sharing cooking responsibilities, etc. In a lot of ways, it would make life more complicated, but in others, it would make life easier and less expensive. The idea lurked in the back of my mind for a few years, and then when I started writing How We Fall, it fit perfectly for the family in this story.
A few years before the story begins, Jackie’s parents built an earth-sheltered (think hobbit-style) home with Jackie’s aunt and uncle. Basically, an adult sister and brother decided to share a home to be economic and environmentally friendly. Jackie’s parents were fleeing rat-race, stressful jobs that were wearing on their marriage, and Jackie’s aunt and uncle had six kids, with the two toddlers being twins. A produce farm and the twins were overloading her aunt and uncle, so when they were born, Jackie, her parents, and her older sister moved in. Her aunt and the older kids handle the produce farm, her uncle and her mother work part-time out of the house, and her father does legal consulting from home. Everyone fills in with babysitting, chores, cooking, and homework help where needed. Jackie resents going from the youngest of two kids to the second oldest of eight, and it’s a massive shift in identity and responsibility for her. But for the family, it works pretty well– except that there are parenting clashes and lifestyle disagreements, and in my opinion, the parents do lean pretty hard on the Jackie and Marcus for babysitting, chores, and meal responsibilities.
However, the dynamic still fascinates me. And since the book’s release, I’ve gotten several comments from readers mentioning how much they enjoy seeing a different family structure, and how it resembles some way in which their own family is different. You can see Jackie’s family on the page in the first chapter below, but I’d also love to hear if you know of anyone who lives in a combined home like this. My husband grew up in the Dominican Republic, and combined family homes like Jackie’s are more common there and in a few other cultures. What do you think– would you enjoy living in a home like that? What might be easier or more difficult for you about it? The concept still fascinates me, even after having written a book about it (or maybe because I wrote a book about it.)
Read the first chapter!
How We Fall is available through:
Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She now works in publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she’d want to read. This is her first novel. Visit her online at www.katebrauning.com or on Twitter at @KateBrauning.