YOU, ME, & LETTING GO by Katie Kaleski
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Van Sato’s got labels. Tourettes, ADHD, SPD – words that have defined his existence since the time he was old enough to know what they meant. Now, Van wants to prove he’s more than an acronym, a syndrome, a problem kid. He takes a summer job as a day camp counselor to prove he’s capable of independence and moving on to the next phase in his life. Maybe, he might even make a friend while there. Someone who’s got just as many or even more labels than him. Someone who understands what it’s like.
Tabby Dubanowksi wants to forget about everything, the hospitalization, the judgment, the whispers behind her back. As a camp counselor, she will be admired, looked up to, and able to help people who don’t know anything about her old life. Tabby wants a fresh start and a chance to re-ignite her passion for film-making, if only for one summer. After running away from their pasts, Van and Tabby collide in a storm cloud of attraction laced with self-doubt, insecurity, shame, and blame. Now, with Van feeling like he might have to quit his job, and Tabby struggling to quell the urge to cut, they will struggle to find themselves in a world designed to keep them apart.
A both of them scene
Van slunk back to his table, and once he was almost there, he lunged one knee toward the ground. For a second, I thought he hurt himself. “Oh, my leg.” He held his calf and reached up with one of his arms. “They got me. Oh, the sharks got me.” He swatted at an imaginary shark.
“Van,” a couple of his kids shouted out.
“No, it’s too late for me. Stay in your seats and eat your lunches.” He then shook and wiggled about and flailed his limbs, his head rolling to the side with his tongue hanging out.
“Van,” the kids shouted again.
He jumped to his feet and made his way back to his table. “I lived.”
All his kids and half the other campers all cheered for Van. “Okay, name song.” He smiled at his table.
Van seemed like he would’ve been a fun camp counselor to have, and as I watched him sing his song, I knew that I’d have to find a way to deal with him and myself too.
“There was Carlos and Lucy and Phoebe and Russell,” he sang, pointing to each kid. “There was Boompchee and Loopy and Bunny and Fluffles.”
“No, no!” the kids yelled and laughed.
“Did you guys know that a group of bunnies is sometimes called a fluffle? So I think you all are my fluffle because you’re all cute little bunnies.”
“I don’t want to be cute or a bunny,” one girl said.
“Okay, you’re a horrifically, ugly tarantula we adopted.”
“And our team name shall be Fluffle and Tarantula.” Van still stood, shifting from foot to foot. “Oh, the tournaments we will win.”
All of his kids started cracking up at that point, and mine all started saying they wanted to be a fluffle too.
Katie Kaleski has started down many career paths and held many jobs—indie craft store clerk, pizza maker, photo developer, shoe salesperson and cashier, dental assistant in the army, daycare teacher, student teacher—but her favorite one by far is being a writer.
She’s originally from Chicago, so she says things like pop,
gym shoes, and front room. Her favorite food
group is sugar, and she loves writing young adult novels.
- One (1) winner will get receive a Starbucks Gift Card.
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