Worth the Effort: Ella’s Story
Ella Jones is a coward. There is a teen boy living in the alley behind her work and she is
terrified of him.
Desperate to leave behind the stereotypical and judgmental world she was raised in, Ella
forces herself to make a true connection with seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth. As their
friendship grows Ayden’s quiet, gentle ways teach her true courage.
But there’s more to Ayden’s story than Ella knows. When their worlds collide in the
most unexpected place, Ella feels betrayed. Will she find the courage to learn who Ayden
really is, or will she determine he’s not worth the effort?
We asked Kai why she chose to write for a YA Audience:
Why Young Adult?
I love writing for young adult readers. First, there are no limits. I can address any topic,
with any language—good or bad—that I choose. Does that mean my books are filled
with inappropriate actions and cussing? Well, no. But they could be if I wanted them to.
And I love that! Plus I feel there is no more passionate reader than a young adult reader.
Regardless of the reader’s age, I believe those who choose to read young adult are still
vehemently invested in life. They want to experience the highs, the lows. They celebrate
and lament them with zeal. After all the hard work that goes into writing, and editing, and
producing a book, it still isn’t complete until melds with the thoughts and feelings of a
About the author:
When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her
family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were
rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning
children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from
their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and
short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults.
Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.
And our second title this week is:
Ascension by A L Patterson
Published: May 2014
“This is the most amazing thing I’ve seen or done . . . This is the power of God.”
Clark O’Sullivan and his girlfriend, Sarah, are throwing the biggest party of the year. The guests include everybody from their school’s wealthiest socialites to the brainiest nerds to the strangest loners. But when they and six of their friends discover a glowing crystal in an abandoned barn, the party that follows is unlike anything they ever could have planned. All eight teens touch the crystal at the same time—and in doing so, take their first steps down a road that will change their lives forever. The teenagers awake the following morning to discover that they have each been granted very powerful telekinetic abilities.
Initially, they use their gifts to accomplish small, selfish goals: winning football games, dispatching bullies with ease and making the cheer squad. But it isn’t long before the students begin to grow careless with their increasingly daring exhibitions. When Clark publicly prevents a train from crashing, the media catches on to the adolescents’ powers; almost overnight, they become a global sensation. Riding high on waves of unchecked adulation, the teens begin to entertain an impossible idea: that they should become real-life superheroes.
Clark becomes so obsessed with being a caped crusader that his grades begin to suffer, though not nearly as much as his relationship with Sarah. Other members of the superhero squad are torn by differing priorities. But is it even possible for the friends to return to their previous lives? Though their time in the spotlight has been brief, their nighttime vigilantism has created powerful enemies — enemies who will never allow them to disappear safely back into their high school anonymity....
We asked why A.L. writes for a YA audience:
As a young teenager, I was a voracious reader.
I wasn’t yet on the track to passionate writer, but I was certainly a passionate reader. I discovered countless favorites while browsing the library, usually checking out about five or so at a time. But it was during the summertime roughly a decade ago when I decided I wanted to own a few more novels. I wanted books of my own that I didn’t have to return to a library. Given my allowance or lack thereof I knew I couldn’t afford a host of brand new paperbacks from a bookstore. So one random week in late May, I found myself perusing the stands of the local flea market. After searching through mounds of antiques and every assortment of kitsch items imaginable, I found a booth stocked with books. They were all old and mostly tattered. But they could be mine.
I turned around and the booth’s owner looked me squarely in the eyes and said it once more, “You oughta check out the Stephen King.”
Up until that point, I hadn’t read a single book by Mr. King. His name was synonymous with horror and that’s as far as my knowledge went. But I immediately gave the booth owner a resounding “yes.” He told me that he usually charged one dollar per book, but he’d give me a dozen for eight dollars.
That day, I lugged a tomato box home filled with a dozen Stephen King novels and felt as if I had the world to look forward to. I had copies of The Shining, Cujo, Dead Zone, Salem’s Lot, but the first one I read was King’s debut novel, a story about a lonely teenage girl who harnesses the powers of telekinesis. Her name was Carrie and she changed my life forever.
I must have sped through Carrie across two days and was floored by every page of it. The moment I put it down, I picked it back up and read through it again. Carrie, the powerless teenager at the mercy of the world soon found the world at her mercy. This dark tale of triumph turned tragedy (or perhaps tragedy turned triumph) moved me so much that I jotted down Stephen King’s fan mail address and wrote to him. Imagine my surprise when I received a letter directly from him a few weeks later.
A simple “thank you” form was what I was told to expect. Instead I got a full page reply from Stephen King himself. His letter informed me that Carrie was devoted to every painful adolescent, that the novel was inspired by his time as both a student and a teacher in high school. He explained that he thought Carrie was a little rough around the edges but it had received more fan mail over the years than perhaps any other book of his. He referred to me in the letter as a constant reader and signed his name in black ink. It remains a priceless artifact in my home.
Since that time, I’ve gone on to write countless pages of material. I’ve written for the stage and was recently hired by a small South Carolina-based producer to pen a screenplay. And now I am releasing my debut novel, Ascension. It wasn’t until just recently that I realized the quaint similarities between Ascension and Carrie.
Both books are about teenagers who aren’t quite sure what to do upon gaining unimaginable powers, namely telekinesis.
Young adulthood is the time in life in which we come into our own. I believe stories that show heightened reality toward a young adult’s actions and reactions tend to share the same sensibilities as our own reality.
You may be reading about stories of teens that can move any object with their mind or control entire towns, but their actions mirror our growth as individuals. Stephen King did a stellar job of making Carrie feel both larger than life and true to reality.
I hope the same can be said of Ascension.
A.L. Patterson studied literature and playwriting at the Art Institute of Atlanta and also has a degree in Social Work from Georgia Regents University. His play, The Figs, was performed at Tuckahoe Theater in Richmond, Virginia and his short stories have been featured in Sand Hills Magazine. He currently lives in Augusta, Georgia. Ascension by A.L. Patterson (published by Amazon Digital Services, RRP $2.99 ebook only) is available at online retailers including amazon.com.