Full of irreverent wit, biting sarcasm, and difficult honesty, Bethany Crandell’s debut, SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS (April 2014), explores what happens when we are stripped of our former identities and forced into new situations that make us feel awkward in our own skin.
Cricket Montgomery, the spoiled, Versace-clad main character of Crandell’s book, is sent off to work as a camp counselor for the summer. Unbeknownst to her, it is a camp for teens with special needs, and Cricket is anything but happy. In the coming weeks, she’ll face challenges that never even scratched the surface of her pampered life at home. It will be a summer of firsts for Cricket. From the discovery that she can actually get by in a world without Vuitton bags and infinity-edge country club pools, to the realization that she may truly care about Claire, Meredith, and the other young campers. And with the help of her cute co-counselor Quinn, whom she seems to be having her first real romance with, she may be able to survive the summer after all.
With Cricket Montgomery, you get a young person who isn’t afraid to be real and say exactly what is on her mind, even if some of the words that come out of her mouth make you cringe. Bethany Crandell lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters, one of whom is “differently-abled.” “My eight-year-old daughter, Rebecca (Becca), has cerebral palsy, says Bethany, “and in her short lifetime, I’ve already seen it all, heard it all, and at times thought it all, when it comes to the obvious differences between her and her typically-developing peers. The story was loosely inspired by my relationship with Becca, and my personal journey to understanding and accepting her disability.” You can visit her at bethanycrandell.com or follow her on Twitter @bethanycrandell.
Summer on the Short Bus is a humorous and harshly honest and non PC story that causes the reader to reevaluate not only themselves, but also our perception of others. 3 stars
Ken Baker’s HOW I GOT SKINNY, FAMOUS, AND FELL MADLY IN LOVE (May 2014), takes readers on a different kind of journey of self-discovery, with brutal honesty and charming wit.
Sixteen-year-old Emery feels out of place in her model Californian family; Emery is, according to her doctor, more than fifty pounds overweight. After discovering her family may lose their house through a foreclosure letter, Emery agrees to take part in a reality show that will win her family one million dollars if she can lose fifty pounds in fifty days. Her aptly named show, Fifty Pounds to Freedom, puts Emery through rigorous workouts, strict diets, and a whole bunch of crippling anxiety that raises questions about family, truth, and freedom. Emery begins to shed fatand the ownership she once had over her body as her personal life spirals out of control. Uncovering secrets about beauty, love, and fame, Emery sets herself free by making the choice to reclaim her identity as the person she wants to be.
The cultural obsession with perfection makes it easy to let the expectations and pressures of society make our decisions for us; Emery’s journey will resonate deeply as she fights to stay sane in a world that believes that losing fifty pounds really can buy happiness.
As an E! News Correspondent, author Ken Baker has seen the harsh realities of fame & reality TV, and not just through interviews. Ken’s appeared on several episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and has known many people who have gone on reality shows, including his fellow E! News correspondents Ali Fedotowsky and Giuliana Rancic. He’s basically seen the good, the bad and the ugly along the way. You can follow Ken Baker on Twitter at @kenbakernow.
HOW I GOT SKINNY, FAMOUS, AND FELL MADLY IN LOVE is funny and smart, with a main character that you could not help but love. Authentic in the tone, tempo and voice and remarkably believable! A great read for summer!!!! 3.5 stars