Today I'd like to welcome Linda Kage, author of the novel The Stillburrow Crush. Linda stopped by to discuss high school and social cliques. Take it away Linda!
I gotta start with a quote:
“Oh, he's very popular, Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.”
That’s from the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).
Do I show my age too much by using that one? Hmm. Here. We’ll try one that’s a bit more up-to-date. How about a little something from Mean Girls (2004).
“You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks, Unfriendly black hotties, Girls who eat their feelings, Girls who don't eat anything, Desperate wannabes, Burnouts, Sexually active band geeks…”
I’ll stop there because you’ve probably figured out what I’m gonna talk about today. Yep. Cliques. I’d like to know if anyone made it through high school WITHOUT noticing a few cliques, or maybe without being part of a certain social group?
Nope? I didn’t think so (man, I feel so smug right now).
I went to a small high school of about 200 students, and still…there were divisions. There was a sporty-smart-popular crowd and, well, a not-so sporty-smart-popular crowd. I’d like to think I was a floater that didn’t quite fit into any specific mold yet was still liked by everyone, but it’s impossible to judge oneself, so who knows how everyone else really saw me.
The point is, there has always been cliques in school, and I’d say it’s a safe bet to guess there will ALWAYS be cliques in school. So, what better topic is there to write about when telling a high school story than cliques?
I was shooting for the best, so that’s what I did with my story, The Stillburrow Crush. It’s about a girl and guy hooking up and—you got it—they are from two different social circles.
It was fun to do this because both the hero and heroine had to step outside the comfortable security of their “clique” to come together. And all sorts of interesting things happened when they did that because leaving behind their group seemed to kick up the intensity.
I swear, Carrie (that’s my main character) was aware of every breath she made whenever she talked to Luke (that’s her love interest). Being that freaked out made it uber easy for her to grow embarrassed, become defensive, and blurt out all sorts of crazy things she wouldn’t have said if her brain hadn’t felt fried.
I remember always getting crushes on guys I considered “way out of my league.” Whenever I actually dared to talk to one of them, I think my face would flame a tomato red. Then I’d rush my words, and they’d stare at me like I was insane. All because I stepped outside the nice, safe realm of my social circle…AND because I was talking to a total hottie.
Whenever I read Carrie’s first encounter with Luke, I can still remember how awkward I felt—my face heating and the oxygen deserting my brain—whenever I talked to a hottie, and I totally sympathize for my poor heroine.
Their first scene went a little something like this:
BACKGROUND INFO: Carrie, editor of the school paper, has been assigned to interview Luke (the gorgeous, popular quarterback of the football team) after they make a big win.
A bead of muddy sweat trickled out of his hairline and down his temple, mixing with blood before moving on. Fascinated, I watched it drool a crooked path down his cheek and neck and then into the collar of his jersey.
As if catching my entranced stare, he lifted the hand that held his helmet and wiped the sweat away with the back of his palm. “What do you want to know?”
I cleared my throat and dropped my eyes. “Umm, well…” I yanked a notebook from the inside pocket of my trench coat. The wind caught a few sheets, making the lined pages flail and thrash like they were drowning in the ocean or something. I tried to get a hold of them and rein them in but only succeeded in wrinkling most of the pad.
“Sorry,” I muttered, and dug deep into my outer pocket, frantically searching for my pen. I couldn’t find the irritating thing there, and switched hands on the notebook to search the other pocket. I didn’t dare look up. I could feel him watching and it made my cheeks hot.
He coughed, trying to get my attention, and my head flew up—long bangs falling into my eyes. He motioned toward my right ear with his index finger. I frowned, wondering if there was a twig or something in my hair and reached up, patting the area. And the pen, which had been securely tucked behind my ear, stabbed me.
Now I’m curious: does anyone have any wonderful, embarrassing story about a certain time when you stepped outside your clique and felt royally exposed, trying something new? Please share, and go heavy on the details!
Thank you Linda for taking the time to stop by!
Linda is giving away and e-book copy of The Stillburrow Crush and signed postcard. If you are interested in reading this novel, all you have to do is leave a comment for Linda.
Contest ends March 15th 2010