10 March 2015

Guest Post: Natalie Bina, author of Never Trust a Happy Song

Today I am honored to host guest poster, author Natalie Bina. 

Natalie, a student at Wesleyan University who enjoys singing, dancing and baking, is the author of the upcoming ebook Never Trust a Happy Song, available for pre-order until March 14th.

Never Trust a Happy Song is about a teenage girl named Cassidy who is admitted to a very prestigious summer program at Stanford University. Cassidy is use to a mom who is very serious about her study habits and wants her daughter to have the best chances later in life-- education is priority number one. However, Cassidy's host family, the Harpers, seem to be the polar opposite to her mother. With the differences in attitudes and the distractions of Grace Harper, Cassidy has to learn how to balance fun with hard work and realize that she can have both a great education and a social life.

Lately, women vloggers on Youtube have been sharing letters to their younger-selves with the meme #dearme, well, Natalie Bina's guest post is a perfect  to tie the #dearme movement. Here are Natalie Bina's words to not only her 16 year old self, but to everyone who is still in those teen years.

"Being a teenager can be hard. That, I believe, is universally known. Being 16 is especially difficult, because the freedom of childhood slips away and other people’s expectations for The Rest of Your Life begin to rain down on you like anvils. People stop asking about soccer practice or the school play and start asking about summer jobs, GPAs, college plans, career goals, and many other things that make you ball your fists and bite your lip to swallow a scream as you hiss, “I don’t know.” 
Not knowing is okay. Three years later, I still don’t have all the answers, but I’ve written down 16 things that I know now and would love to tell my 16-year-old self. It’s useless to ask the what if question, but I do sometimes wonder if anything would have changed, had I known any of these things then.

  1.        Everyone in the room is not staring at you and thinking you look stupid. They are probably too busy worrying that everyone else thinks they look stupid.
  2.        It’s okay to fail or be lazy once in a while. Those off-moments do not define your entire character.
  3.        Considering getting a ‘B’ to be “practically failing” is not a healthy mindset.
  4.        Weekdays are not off limits for doing fun things. Go to a movie with your friends on Tuesday. Get ice cream after school on Wednesday.
  5.        There is no “normal” time to do anything. Everyone should move and develop at their own pace. This applies to everything from first kisses to getting your ears pierced. You are not a lesser person if you aren’t doing something that other people are doing.
  6.        Start edging yourself a little out of your comfort zone now; don’t wait a couple years to decide to be brave. It may be scary, but it can also be wildly rewarding and fun!
  7.        Sleep in on weekends.
  8.        Learn to enjoy being alone with yourself.
  9.       Learn to enjoy being out doing things with others.
  10.    Don’t get too sucked into thinking only about the future. Yes, you have to think about college, but you will only ever be 16 (or 17 or 18) once.
  11.   It’s okay to not have one single best friend. It can be really nice to have multiple close friends spread out over a series of groups. You might not be able to hang out with all of them at the same time, but you’ll always be aware of multiple opinions and viewpoints on a subject.
  12.    Take naps. Mastering the 20 minute powernap is a life skill.
  13.    If you feel too frustrated and frazzled to do your homework, then clean your room. You’ll undoubtedly feel better afterwards.
  14.    Go running. Take a walk. Go on a bike ride. Just go outside.
  15.    Trying to eliminate chocolate from your life is never a good idea.
  16.   There are many things that you might have to sacrifice to make room for other things in your life, but your writing is not one of them."

I   I want to thank Natalie Bina for being our guest post this week and I wish her the best of luck with her new book and if you are interested in more information about Natalie or her new book you can visit her website at Natalie Bina or her GoodReads account. Never Trust a Happy Song is currently available for pre-order through Bublish, Barnes and Noble and Apple Books for $1.99. (But hurry, the price will increase to $2.99 on March 14th)

  *While reading Never Trust a Happy Song,  I found myself sad for Cassidy (especially in the beginning). The only thing Cassidy could think of was her school work and she didn't have much use for small talk or things that would not help improve her education, college applications and her resume. I can't even begin to tell you how many time I wanted to take Cassidy's mom and shake her, make her realize that the amount of pressure she was putting on her daughter wasn't helping. I did find Grace an interesting balance (at least on the outside) to Cassidy's very studious nature.

I will admit, I did have trouble getting into the story at the beginning of the book, but after a few chapters, I did begin to enjoy the book. I will give Never Trust a Happy Song  3.5 dragonflies.

Full disclosure: I was contacted by Natalie Bina to read her novel and host a spot on her blog tour. Natalie Bina was kind enough to send me a copy of her ebook. Supplying her book did not in anyway sway my review of her book.

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