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Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thursday Spotlight: Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
People are usually surprised when they learn I am a newly-published author. They are even more shocked when they find out I wrote a book for teens and young adults. No one expects a woman who is about to turn 50 to start writing stories about making out or getting humiliated in front of an entire high school.
When those same people ask me about The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading I usually tell them it’s a novel about two smart, kind of geeky girls who find their way onto the varsity cheerleading squad. It’s the story of their season on the squad. But it’s also a story about falling in love for the first time, and a story about being a good friend to someone--even when they’re not being such a good friend back. It’s a story about who really matters in the world.
More than anything else though, The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading is a story about expectations.
When self-confessed geek girl Bethany heard her best friend Moni whisper, “Cheerleading tryouts,” she never expected they would really go through with it. And she certainly never expected they would make the squad. She didn’t expect to be walking down the halls of her school in an insanely short skirt either, or the reactions her appearance might cause.
Though she’d dreamed about it plenty of times, she never really expected the hottest guy in school to start talking to her. Or the smartest boy in school to stop talking to her. Her parents’ stunned silence and fears that it was just a cruel joke surprised her too.
About the only consequences she was prepared for were the scathing looks and biting comments from long-ago ex-best friend and recent former cheerleader, Chantal Simmons--the Queen of Cool at their school. And even that turned darker than Bethany could have guessed.
Among the other revelations that came along with a set of pom-poms is this: Cheerleading is hard work. It takes every bit as much talent and dedication as making the honor roll, or being the feature reporter for the school newspaper. And this: Just because a kid looks like they have it all doesn’t mean there isn’t something missing in their lives. And this: Even those who do have it all still have something in common with the rest of us--they share the same doubts and insecurities, the same basic desires for friendship and love.
Sometimes it is the expectations others have of us that hold us back. Sometimes it is our expectations of ourselves that limit us. It is only when we push away those stale, pre-conceived notions that we get the chance to find out that geek girls really can be cheerleaders, that jocks and cheerleaders can be smart--and friendly too--that old ladies can still write pretty good books about making out…and that it is often the unexpected things in life that bring the greatest joy.