Friday, May 3, 2013

Review: Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot (and Interview with Anne!)

Paperback, First Edition, 446 pages
Published October 17th 2012 by Butterfly Books, LLC
ISBN: 193781503X (ISBN13: 9781937815035)
Reaction: *sputter* Did that-awhh-what?-YOU ARE JOKING-OMH howww cute
Rating: 4.8 Stars
Summary:  After a car accident--an event he considers a prank gone bad--jaded pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.

Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a 'nice' guy.

Funny thing is…Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.

She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s stunning transformation.

When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist.
And that’s when things get out of control…

First love. Sweet, teen romance.

This was all kinds of heart clenching adorkable-ness. I laughed out loud so many times in the middle of class, I'm sure my peers question my sanity even more than they already did. Totally worth it.
Vere: First of all love the name. I understand the buns. The baggy clothes, girl, those gotta go. She is super shy and all too sweet. The Incident shaped her life. Her entire life. She is obsessed with the boy that The Incident occurred with, Curtis. She cannot confront the male aspect of our community in any way, shape, form or fashion. She goes red. Like redder than a tomato red and stutters like crazy. Especially in front of Curtis. (By the way, Curtis is an ass and his soul deserves to be stomped on by small dinosaurs, other-wise known as chickens.) She thinks (THINKS) she's in love with Curtis. Oh, and she has the best friend in the entire world. She's small but feisty and fiercely protective of Vere.
Hunter Kennedy (Dustin): *fans self, swoons* (hey, I'm a romantic and I love the word swoon) I just wanted to hug him. He seems so sad and then with Vere, he feels important, loved and happy. For the first time in a really long time, he's happy. Hunter is a rock star who has adoring fans, girls who throw themselves at him and a mother who just wants him to disappear. (or does she?) He came to Vere's town to live with his aunt because she was involved in some....dangerous....activities. BUT HE'S SWEET AND AMAZING AND (well not perfect) BUT THAT'S WHY I LOVE HIM! He came expecting to be bored to death, attacked by wolves but, he never expected to fall in love.
I love that this wasn't insta-love. This was the swoon worth "oh-crap-this-can't-be-happening-but-it-is-and-I-think-I-like-it" Falling In Love. Did I mention I'm a romantic. And this book was all about the good stuff. 

“You’re the luckiest person in the whole world to have already figured out what you love. And you’ll be, quite possibly, the stupidest person in the world—if you don’t hold on to it.” 

Charlie: I cannot decide if I like him. He was protective of his sister, but in a slightly destructive way. Okay-REALLY DESTRUCTIVE WAY.
Curtis: I hate him


Okay, Ms. Eliot, you had me really, really, really, really worried near the end of the book. And oh damn, that KISS. I was like 0.0 then I was like O.o then I was like *.* and then I wanted Hunter (not Dustin) to kiss me. This book was all about figuring out who you are and what impact you want to make on the world. It was all about the importance of friends, family and love. It had sad scenes, happy scenes and scenes where I wanted to make sure some guys couldn't have kids. This book, is seriously one of a kind. It's official rating from me is 4.8. Why? I know this is a stupid reason, but I hate Curtis. No don't change him. I don't want to like him. I just don't wanna give something HE'S in 5 stars. But, hey, everything else is 5 stars! Especially Hunter and Vere!!! They're just too cute. And the Press Speech? My heart turned into a puddle of goo. I mean, seriously, why can't guys like that exist outside outside of books?
I've been a little interview crazy lately. Oops. They're just so fun. And addictive. It's like mind reading without having hundreds of whiny voices in your head!! YAY! NO WHINY VOICES! Why aren't you celebrating. I throw my hands up in the air Okay. On with the chat with Ms. Eliot. 

Me:What was the hardest part about writing Unmaking Hunter Kennedy ?
Anne: The hardest part about writing Unmaking Hunter Kennedy was doing the research on teen depression and self harm. Although Hunter's case was not severe, it was dangerous enough to get him into a very dark place. Doing the research made me realize just how many sad teens and adults are in the world and how we all go though bouts of depression, self hate and darkness. Two people I know shared their own stories of teen and adult depression and another shared her journals from when she was sixteen when she'd self harmed as a teen. These were beautiful journals full of poetry, insights and a sadness so great and so profound that I was humbled that she'd shared with me. 
Knowing this woman as an adult today as a friend and as a mom is a gift. 

She's created two of the most beautiful children that I've ever known who both adore her and who will bring the world so much light (children that would not exist, had she taken her self harm and depression to a place of no return as many do). I can't imagine the world without her and I hope and am dedicated to the cause of helping or simply listening to kids with teen depression and I hope Unmaking Hunter Kennedy will somehow reach out and touch a teen even a little to think about the people they have not yet met in their lives, the children they will one day have and I hope they too, like my friend hold out for better days because they will come.

Me: Do you have a favorite place to write?
Anne: I LOVE to write in Panera Bread with my headphones on. Our local Panera bakery is always crowded and the hum of people around me really helps me for some reason. (As do the baked goods!) :) 
Me: What advice you you have for beginner authors?
Anne:My advice is find a local writer's conference and go. And then go the next year and the next. If you want to write romance, join Romance Writer's of America and if you are old enough, get yourself to the national conference. You can learn writing in school or on your own with books (The ones from Writer's Digest are best, I think). But at these conferences you will learn craft, you will meet people who never give up, you will hear editors and agents and readers and writers speak and inspire you, and you will leave with writer friends whom you will need to lean on and cry on and smile with as you go through finishing that first manuscript. Second advice, finish the first manuscript and then start the second. 
Butt in chair. Hands on keyboard. A few pages a day and you will have something to work with.
Me: What do you think is the best cure for writers block?
Anne:The best cure is to not listen to the voices in your head and to keep your dreams and your writing close to your heart for awhile. Sometimes writers share too much too soon, and get feedback from people, then take that one opinion or one bit of advice and re-write. You end up trying to do what that person wants, and when you read back over it you are blocked because you aren't writing your heart. 

Sadly, writer's are really good at beating themselves up and writing paragraphs that make them sigh, only to look at the work the next day and trash it all while wondering who wrote that junk? Don't delete stuff...write forward...write from your heart and don't look back at it for a couple of days and then you'll aren't blocked. You are writing, and if you are using your heart and your voice no one else's (even if that voice is loud and shocking and your Mom says it's too extreme) that is how you get out of being blocked. what I do. Cry it out, lie on the carpet, have tantrums when your family can't see you doing it, then vow to quit, quit for a few days and then because writer's usually can't quit, stop your sniveling and get back to work! :) 
Me: How did you come up with the title for Unmaking Hunter Kennedy ?
Anne:Well, in high school I had a huge crush on a boy I can't name but who's last name was Kennedy. Later on, I fell in love with the name Hunter and so I stuck them together. -Is there any music that helped you write Unmaking Hunter Kennedy ?
Oh yes. So much music. Usually for writing first drafts I use classical in my headphones, and for editing I chose songs that match the scene or the emotions in my head and in the voice of the character's head and blast it while I edit.
Me: How did you come up with the idea for Unmaking Hunter Kennedy ?
Anne: I'm addicted to MTV's programming and I always have been. MTV, for a long while, ran this show called MADE where they had a coach show up in a small town and MAKE kids over in six weeks from a nerd to a cheer leader, or a shy girl into a pageant queen, or a quiet girl into a rapper, etc. At the same time, a lot of teen stars were in trouble in the media as they often are. I wondered if a star like one of the Disney Channel kids, who grew up on TV, then launched a music career (as we know there are many of those who've done that and they are and were amazing) I wondered what if one of those kids wold be like if they didn't like the job...or had been brought up with no other choices...or got depressed and didn't have a way out. Could he/she be UNMADE? How far would a parent go to save their kid even if it meant trashing a career? Could the pop star like one of the One Direction kids ever hide out for awhile and rest in a small town somewhere for a little while?

That idea just kept plaguing me until I wrote the story. Plus...who doesn't love the story of a prince or a pop star falling in love with the girl next door?


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