Title: JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY
Author: Kim Turrisi
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
It’s just a normal Tuesday for sixteen-year-old Kai, until suddenly it’s anything but. She’s received a letter from her beloved older sister, Jen, a letter that begins, My very bestest sister, Kai, if you are reading this, I am already gone. From that moment on, Kai’s life will never be the same, as she is forced to deal with the shock and horror of losing Jen to suicide.
Consumed with grief, Kai looks for answers, lashes out at people who love her and eventually turns to excessive drinking and drugs, all with disastrous results and no relief from her suffering. Struggling with their own sorrow, Kai’s parents realize she needs more help than they can give, and they enroll her in the Tree House, a “grief camp” for children. Though reluctant to go, once she’s there, Kai finally finds others who truly understand her loss. No longer alone, she’s able to begin dealing with her pain. And to see light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Kim Turrisi’s beautiful, wrenching young-adult novel sheds a much-needed light on the subjects of mental illness and suicide. Using the unique idea of a grief camp, Turrisi lays out a process for healing and moving forward for readers who have been touched by loss. But this book’s appeal reaches beyond that. With combined elements of tragedy and romance, compellingly told in Kai’s authentic voice, this ultimately hopeful story will be an unputdownable read for any teen.
Jen found this classic desk at a garage sale for like twenty bucks and said if I was going to be a writer, my desk had to mirror my style. Vintage, quirky, retro, that’s me. The classic Rolling Stones Tattoo You album is just getting going. Perfect vibe. I toss the stack of mail and watch as it slides across the slippery surface of my desk. That’s when I glimpse an envelope skidding out of the pile like it’s stealing second base. The lettering on the envelope matches the postcards in my locker. Jen’s writing. Odd that she’d send a letter but she does love to write.
I pick up the envelope and am immediately struck by the weight of it. Two stamps on the front. I’m ultra-careful not to rip it. Learned that the hard way when my grandparents sent money and I tore a crisp hundred-dollar bill. Jen knows I’m saving for my trip. Could she be sending some cold hard cash? That would be so like her. First thing I see is a note.
My very bestest sister, Kai
If you are reading this, I am already gone.
I scrutinize the stationery. It’s definitely my sister’s handwriting. Slanted, looping, like art. If there were an award for best cursive writing, Jen would bring home the hardware, hands down.
I’ve watched you grow up since you were a baby. You’ve turned into an amazing person. I know you know how much I love you and have always wanted the best of everything for you. Please don’t be disappointed in me for being too weak to face down my demons.
Demons? Disappointed? I snag my phone from my pocket and choose her number in my favorites. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk than read stuff that makes no sense. Like this.
Straight to voice mail. I return to the letter, curious.
That’s when I see the word …
A graduate of Florida State University, Kim Turrisi began her career in film and television. After a year of on-set production (getting coffee, wrangling actors and taking lunch orders) Kim segued to the development side of the business. First working as a development executive at Columbia-Tri-Star and eventually shepherding many projects in family entertainment for Disney, Viacom and Hallmark.
Kim created and wrote an online web series for which she won a Daytime Emmy. She wrote for ABC Family’s webisode series, PRETTY DIRTY SECRETS, an internet companion piece to smash hit PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.
While she’s always been a voracious reader and writer, she never thought about writing for teens until she immersed herself in the children’s publishing world as the Director of Special Projects for the Society of Book writers and Illustrators. There, reading children’s literature is a big part of her job.
Her debut Young Adult novel JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY is loosely based on the author’s own experience, the debut YA novel follows 16-year-old Kai as she struggles through the emotional aftermath of her sister’s suicide. Kai spends a month at grief camp, discovering a roadmap to piecing her broken heart back together.
One of Kim’s favorite parts of the writing process is to create playlists for her characters that she listens to when she writes. When she revises her manuscripts, she’s generally in mismatched plaid and her desk is riddled with junk food. She collects Chuck Taylor’s, Van’s, and has a killer sock collection.
Born in Hawaii, she credits her love of travel to her life as an Air Force brat moving every two years. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found obsessing over her dogs, Riley and Rocco.
Represented by Tricia Lawrence at EMLA
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kimmyt22
3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY & swag including a bookmark, magnet, & temporary tattoo, US Only.
1 winner will receive JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY swag including a bookmark, magnet, & temporary tattoo, US Only.
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