Friday, October 9, 2020

Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ OUR FRIENDSHIP MATTERS by Kimberley B. Jones

Our Friendship Matters
by: Kimberley B. Jones
Genre: Young Adult Coming of Age/Social Justice
Release Date: October 5, 2020
Publisher: Rhetoric Askew, LLC
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Leah and Sasha are 17-year-old friends who had been close to one another since elementary school, but as the summer approaches they find their friendship tested in ways they never anticipated.

Following graduation, Sasha’s privileged life and perception of the world around her is suddenly altered when an old childhood friend persuades her to join in a campaign against an injustice after his best friend is killed by a cop.

But joining the protest has unforeseen consequences for Sasha, distancing her from Leah, who becomes jealous of Sasha’s new friends and finds herself on the opposing side, protesting alongside her group of new white friends.

As the tension mounts between the two bitterly opposed factions, a tragedy strikes and threatens to make Sasha and Leah enemies. Can they find a way to resolve their differences, putting them to the side and learn to accept each other’s viewpoints? Or is their long friendship finished for good?

Advanced Praise
"Engaging and heartfelt, Our Friendship Matters opens and continues much needed discussions for young people and their families. Read and discuss!" ~ Mrs. Rita Williams-Garcia, NYT bestselling author, 2011 Newberry Honor Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Scott O'Dell Award, and PEN/Norma Klein Award winner.

Unfortunately, the world we live in isn’t at peace. In Our Friendship Matters, Sasha and Leah have been friends since elementary school. Do best friends really grow apart after high school or is friendship forever? From the awakening of police brutality, opinions, and lack of knowledge of one’s culture the friendship is challenged and pulled in several directions.

Sasha is stuck between her private school friends and her old childhood friend Ricardo who attends a public school. This summer would be the most memorable summer for Sasha and Leah, and not just a regular summer hanging out on the Lake of the Ozarks or partying together every weekend before heading to college.

Sasha expresses how she feels by protesting with her new friends while trying to balance sudden changes from awareness of an injustice.

Advice to that Teenage Girl

I appreciate your kindness in hosting me as a guest. Sasha, the main character of Our Friendship Matters is struggling with her friendship with her best friend during high school after an encounter with a childhood friend. Isn’t that normal for teenagers. Finding out who your friends really are and if they value the relationship. The typical teenage drama. Friends today and not tomorrow.

There was a time that I was in high school. If I could reverse the time, my life would be different because there’s always that one thing I would do differently. Some things, I wouldn’t change for the world. As I travel back during the time of my teenage life, what advice would I give that tomboy who played sports and didn’t take her life seriously?

Join More Clubs
Even though joining clubs doesn’t depict the outcome of your life, but joining clubs helps you gain awareness of your community. It gives you a chance to be involved with your community as well as prepares you for future endeavors that you may come across.

Be More Social
Try talking to everyone other than just the friends you have. It helps to be social so when you face people in life it gives you strength to have conversations not with just people you know but with others in your environment.

Choose Your Friends Wisely
As a teenager we hear our parents say, “That boy/girl is no good for you.” They could be wrong and most of the time they could be right. All we want to do is have fun and hang around that person who’s not scared to do anything.

Sometimes, it’s hard to say but that parent could be right because all we think about is that’s what they do, and you don’t do the things they do. But people do judge you for your company. We know it’s not right, but you can’t explain their actions every time something happens.

Pick your friends wisely. Help them make change.

Believe in yourself
This is particularly important. Believe in yourself no matter what people tell you. Maybe you weren’t the prom king/queen, you weren’t the top of your class, or never join the Student Government, or you didn’t get The Most to Succeed award. But those categories don’t determine who you are. If you look back and see where most of the people are you could say that you’ve done a great job.

Everybody has a purpose out there and it’s up to you to go out there and find it.

Diversity is everywhere
Accept people for who they are and what they have chosen for their life. We are all different in some way and everyone has a flaw we don’t know about. Treat others as you would want them to treat you.

There is no such thing as the popular group, the fat girls, or the nerds. They are all just people who determine what they want from life and placing them in categories isn’t their lifestyle.

As we pulled out of the driveway, Dad waved goodbye. I could picture the smile on his face once he walked into the house and noticed Mom was cooking lasagna.

“So, how is the public-school life at Eastview High?” I asked Ricardo. “Other than Chester beating your guys in sports.”

“Ya’ll just have better resources than us,” Ricardo said.

“How come we couldn’t just be good at what we do?”

“What! Anyway . . . Eastview is great, I guess, but we are dealing with some issues. It’s our senior year and I am just thinking about leaving this place.”

“Why would you want to leave?”

“Because I feel trapped in a box. Everywhere I go, I feel like a suspect.”

“A suspect, what makes you think that? You shouldn’t feel like that,” I said as my brow lifted from his response.

“Yeah, I know you wouldn’t understand because you go to this perfect private school and stay in this big, beautiful house.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m sorry. Just drop me off at the next block. I got it from there.”

I pulled to the curb and, as Ricardo got out of the car, he leaned against the closed door—with half his body leaning over the window—and said, “Wake up and find out who you really are.”

I squinted my eyes, “Okay.” I drove off. Why would he say such a thing to me?

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Kimberley is a professional early childhood educator. She was born in the small town of Saint George, South Carolina, on September 12, 1982. Graduated from Woodland High School in 2000, Benedict College in 2004 with B.S., Child & Family Development, and from Ashford University in 2013 with a Masters in Early Childhood Education.

After receiving her education and being a military spouse, she held several jobs as a preschool teacher and a preschool director, but she wanted to her education to use by writing children’s books. She wrote her first book in college for her children’s literature course. She has self-published several children books on Amazon.

Currently, she is branching off into writing fiction YA, NA, and A novels on issues in society. She loves writing and would not change it for nothing in this world She is now published by Rhetoric Askew. Kimberley is the author of Our Friendship Matters.

Places to find Kimberley B. Jones:

You can follow the Our Friendship Matters Blog Tour here.

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  1. I have a niece that would love this book! I think I would love it as well. Congratulations!!!

  2. A timely book that sounds like a perfect read for young readers. Thank you for sharing. Best wishes to the author on the novel.


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