QUEEN OF SECRETS
by Jenny Meyerhoff was released last week!
Here's the synopsis:
Fifteen-year-old Essie Green cannot believe her luck when Austin King asks her out. He is the captain of the football team and the hottest guy at Pershing High School. Unfortunately, as their relationship heats up, so does a rivalry between Austin’s best friend Harrison and Essie’s estranged cousin Micah, an observant Jew. Essie is forced to decide where her loyalties lie. With a family member she barely knows, or the boy she’s beginning to love?
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And this is what she has to say about the beginnings of QUEEN OF SECRETS:
QUEEN OF SECRETS began one day when I wondered what would happen if I retold the biblical story of The Book of Esther and set it in modern times. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the main character, Esther, was probably in her teens. This was an interesting dilemma, because while Esther was in her teens, I don’t think it would be fair to say she was a teenager. Teenagers are a pretty modern phenomenon, I think. Today, a girl of about sixteen years is still in her adolescence. In biblical times she might be considered old enough to get married and have a family of her own.
In the ancient story, Esther is thrust into adulthood. She’s taken from her guardian, drafted into the king’s harem and forced to spend the night with the king. She is married to the king shortly thereafter. In QUEEN OF SECRETS, the growing-up is more protracted. Essie, my modern Esther, has guardians (her grandparents) who do not want her to grow up. They want her to remain their little girl. And for Essie, as opposed to Esther, this is actually an option. She doesn’t have to take responsibility for her actions or choices if she doesn’t want to. She can let her grandparents make her decisions for her and blame them for the results.
It’s weird to think of growing up as optional, but don’t you know a lot of adults who really aren’t grown-up? And on the flip side, I’m sure we all know plenty of young people who already approach life with a grown-up sense of personal responsibility. Where does this come from? Unless you are thrust into adulthood (like biblical Esther) I think growing up is a conscious choice. Sometimes a choice we have to make over and over. I’m fascinated by this (maybe because I’m still choosing) and I think I wrote QUEEN OF SECRETS in part to explore how we do this.