Today is the Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop – a celebration of strong females in young adult literature. I’m honoring the heroine of Welcome to Sortilege Falls, Grape Merriweather.

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Because I love you all and I know that Grape’s name is unusual, I’m posting the portion of the novel where she explains the origins of her name. This is from a conversation where Grape meets Mandy, one of the Models in Sortilege Falls:

“It’s not really a great story.  Basically, my dad was really nervous when I was being delivered.  To keep himself busy, he kept buying and drinking sodas from the vending machine.  But he doesn’t really like soda.  So he kept buying the only one he enjoyed.”

“Grape?”

“Yep.  By the time I was born he was in the midst of a huge sugar high.  They almost had to hospitalize him.”

So you see, her dad named her after soda. There are worse things to be named after. I’m named after my grandmothers and my sister is named after nametags my parents read and liked at Disney World and on a game show. We all have our stories.

I started writing this WTSF years ago, when Twilight was a huge hit. You remember that time, right? When everyone wore their “Team Edward” T-shirts and talked about the sparkling vampires? I actually wasn’t a fan of the books but I was interested in the debate it sparked. At a book club meeting, one reader mentioned how she had to explain to her daughter that Edward watching Bella sleep wasn’t romantic, it was stalking. On Goodreads, people were furious with the insta-love, the love triangle, and with Bella being weak.

When I started WTSF, I was actually poking fun at the YA tropes that were popular at the time, but then I got involved in the story and it took on a life of its own. BUT, there was one element of Twilight I couldn’t help making fun of, the stalking as love scenes. So, I will leave you with the scene where Grape first shows us she’s a true bad ass and my answer to Edward watching Bella sleep at night. As the scene opens, Grape is watching her brother disappear into the forest. It’s late and it’s dark outside.:

Grape watched Brad head into the woods.  He didn’t hesitate, just traipsed right into the thick underbrush.  Peering into the dark, she thought she saw movement at the edge of the woods.  It looked as if something shook the leaves of one of the far bushes.  Was that a tail?  No.  She was tired, that was all.  Still, she took a few steps closer to get a better look.  She must have been exhausted because next she thought she saw a small animal wearing a tiny red hat run into the woods in the same direction as her brother.  That was one of the reasons she didn’t like the dark, it was too easy for her eyes to play tricks on her.

“Fancy meeting you here.”

Grape screamed.

“Calm down,” the vamp kid from school said, his hands raised in the air like a victim.  He had switched his purple shirt for a black one and slicked his curly hair back as well.  “It’s cool.  It’s just me,” he said and reached out to grab her shoulder.

Grape pushed him hard in the chest, making him stumble backwards.  “Don’t touch me.  What are you doing here?”

He regained his balance and rubbed his chest where she’d shoved him.  “I wanted to see where you lived.  That really hurt.”

She slit her eyes at him.  “I’m glad it hurt.  It was supposed to.”

“That’s not very nice.”

Grape grabbed the lawn chair and held it above her head.  “Are you a stalker?”

“No.”

“You’re sneaking around my house at night wearing all black.”  She readied herself to swing the lawn chair.  It was pretty light and wouldn’t do much damage so she decided to aim for a vulnerable spot: his face.

“No.  I just thought…  I don’t know.  I thought you looked nice.”

“Do I look nice now?”  She gave the chair a swing, missing his nose by inches.  She hopped back a little and held the chair up high again.  He got one warning shot, that was it.  The next swing would break his nose.

“I’m sorry.  I thought this would be romantic.”  He reached into his baggy pants pocket and pulled out his iPod with a little set of speakers attached.  “I was going to play a song for you.”

“Totally creepy!”

“No.  Really, listen.”

He pressed ‘play’ and an unholy mix of instruments blasted out in a tinny blare.  He shut it off quickly.  “Wrong song.  One second.”

“Leave.”

He looked up at her with heartbreak in his eyes.  “I just need one second.”

“Shoo!  Go!  Off with you!”  She shoved the chair at his chest, driving him backwards.

He gave her one last dejected look and walked around the corner of the house toward the street.

Grape carried the chair back into the house with her.  She locked the door.  If Brad didn’t have his key, then he’d just have to knock and risk alerting their mother to his late night shenanigans.  She was not leaving the door unlocked for that boy to break in and serenade her.

WHAT A BADASS!!!!

If you want to learn more about Grape, then you’re in luck! Welcome to Sortilege Falls is on sale now for 99cents!

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Share with me interwebs, who’s your favorite YA heroine?

 

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