by Megg Jensen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: April 14, 2013
Suburgatory meets Indiana Jones...on a farm
Fifteen-year-old Tabitha has had the kind of life that would impress even the greatest adventurers. She's escaped a croc attack in the Amazon, walked the length of the Great Wall of China, and earned a black belt in taekwondo in Korea. She owes her worldly experience to her mother's career in archaeology, but when her mother takes on a dangerous new assignment, Tabitha is devastated to learn she can't tag along.
Instead, she's forced to live on a midwestern farm with her grandparents where she'll have to attend a full year of public school. It's Tabitha's
greatest nightmare, because despite all her adventures, she has no practical experience with the one thing that frightens her the most - other teenagers.
Her math teacher is her mom's old high school boyfriend, she can't tell the friendly girls from the mean ones, and she develops a major crush on a boy she knows she can't trust. And just when she thinks she'll never get the hang of this normal teenager thing, an attack brings the danger of her previous life right up to her midwestern porch. Who could have ever guessed getting totally shucked would bring her face-to-face with her most exciting adventure yet?
The experts always say, “Write what you know.” That’s a tip I’ve largely ignored during my writing career. I mean, really, who wants to read about the things I know? My life is boring! That’s one of the big reasons I’ve always stuck with writing fantasy.
But Tabitha’s story in Shucked is really a reflection of what I know – because I grew up on a farm and went to school in a tiny farming community. I didn’t live with my grandparents or have a globetrotting archaeologist mom, but the flavor and lifestyle in Shucked is 100% authentic. It’s what I know and what I treasure most from my childhood.
In Shucked I wanted to convey the hilarious realities of farm life while mixing in the toughness that comes with growing up in a place where everyone knows everything about everyone else. There’s little privacy, but there is a whole lot of love.
And speaking of love…I wanted to give Tabitha an unusual, unexpected love interest. In the Midwest, you’ll occasionally find adoptees. They stick out because most people in small farming communities are whiter than bleached underwear. It’s not about prejudice, it’s usually just generations of the same families for hundreds of years. There isn’t much movement, or new blood, trickling into these communities.
Alex stands out to Tabitha. As a Korean adoptee, he looks completely different from every other boy in the school. Yet Tabitha, who grew up traveling around the world with her archaeologist mom, is used to guys who are exotic. Seeing him the first day school turns her attitude on its ear. She has a lot of expectations for what school will be like, mainly because her only exposure to American teens has been through reality TV. She finds out fast that while some of her expectations are completely wrong, unfortunately a few are true.
Tabitha has a lot to learn about life, American teens, and, especially, herself. Her layers are stripped away one by one as she learns to trust people. It’s not just because she’s new to attending school or hanging out with teens. Every kid goes through this process in one way or another while in high school. It’s part of the experience. Tabitha just happens to come from a totally different world of experience.
About the Author
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