Welcome to the book blitz for NEW BEGINNINGS, a young adult contemporary, by Janet Olson. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: NEW BEGINNINGS
Author: Janet Olson
Release Date: February 8, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR
Ida and Engen’s 13-year-old friendship is altered when the death of their friend comes between them. Engen, guilt-ridden over Janelle’s passing, has become violent. Ida, in her grief, attempts to fill the loss with a one-night stand, which leaves her pregnant. As punishment, their parents force them to join a program called Youth of America Help a Nation, and they are sent to Africa on work assignments.
Enter Lev Rosen, Ida’s irresistible boss at the orphanage where she’s been appointed. Lev has his own connection with Ida, although she doesn’t know it yet. Engen hoped the time away would give him the courage to finally tell Ida his true feelings for her, but how can he do that now that she is getting closer to Lev?
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING:
★★★★★”Page Turner of a Coming of Age Tale. From the get go, I knew this wasn’t going to be a typical YA coming of age tale. Olson expertly crafts her characters with realism and humanity.” – JenMN
★★★★★ “Great new YA book! Team Engen? Team Lev? Or perhaps, simply, Team Ida!” – Devon N.
★★★★★ “The Beginnings of a Terrific New Novelist! I cannot recommend this book enough!” – Justin J Atkinson
I kicked Dan out ten minutes after dinner, because I wanted to visit Janelle’s parents before I left for Africa and time was running out. After rejecting Dan’s offer of a ride, I set out on foot for the two-block walk to Janelle’s house. I kept my head down and twirled a dandelion between my thumb and forefinger. I liked to test myself to make sure I could still find her house without using my eyes.
A few moments later, I stopped and turned my head sideways to see the familiar raised cement. I stepped onto the walk just as the screen door banged shut, and my head snapped up. I saw the side of Engen’s smiling face as he said goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Lyndahl, and I was overcome with a feeling of tenderness toward him. The YAHN orientation had been rough. He’d stayed by my side whenever possible; we just hadn’t talked much.
Engen’s eyes swiveled around to mine and his smile faded. I dropped the dandelion, hating that I used to be the reason for his smile, not the disappearance of it. Head lowered, he walked toward me. I continued to trudge up the walk, eyes firmly fixed on the Lyndahl’s garden. We passed each other in slow motion, it seemed. I felt his warm fingers grasp my pinkie finger at the knuckle, and as he kept walking, his hand slowly ran down the entire length of my finger.
I half-glanced behind me in time to see his foot crush the discarded dandelion.
I know how you feel, I thought to the weed.
I rapped on the screen door. I’d spent the walk preparing myself for the inevitable misery I’d see in Mr. and Mrs. L.’s eyes, along with the slumped shoulders and hands that were so weak they could barely hold a coffee mug to their lips.
Mr. L. answered the door. He was 6’1, slim as a rail, and bald.
“Hi,” I greeted, careful not to meet his eyes. The failure to protect his daughter had a haunting way of reflecting out of them at all times. “Evening, Ida,” said Mr. L. “You and Engen just missed each other.”
“I miss him all the time now it seems,” I said, trying to sound nonchalant.
I walked in and closed my eyes at the absence of smell. When Janelle was alive, some sweet aroma was always in the air, sugar cookies or Rice Krispie bars. The untouched grapefruit half that sat in front of Mrs. L. on the kitchen table didn’t even emit a scent.
Mrs. L. let the curtain fall back in place. “Engen’s still not speaking to you?”
“No.” I pulled out a kitchen chair and sat. The cushion was warm. Engen.
“A tragedy born from a tragedy,” she mused.
“Oh, Mrs. L.,” I said consolingly. “The two are hardly comparable.”
“I made him promise to call you this evening.” Her hand flew to her cardigan. She closed it at the throat as if she were cold.
“Would you like something to drink, Ida?” Mr. L. asked.
“Water, please.” I shook my hair back.
“Your hair is so beautiful.” Mrs. L. gave a sad smile. “She envied it.”
I took the water glass from Mr. L. “Thank you.”
Mr. L. kissed his wife’s cheek. “I’m turning in.”
“It’s only seven-thirty. We aren’t going to see Ida again for half a year.”
Mr. L. took off his glasses and rubbed a spot with the corner of his shirt. “Dear, I am tired.”
“Goodbye. I’ll call you guys from Africa every now and then,” I said, before Mrs. L. tried to persuade him again.
“I would love that. Bye, Ida.” Mr. L. bowed his head to me.
Ever since Janelle died, Mr. L. stopped using the word “good”.
“Engen told me that you plan to disappear after high school; he seemed pretty distraught over it.” Mrs. L. looked up from the bottom of her water glass. “I’d like to disappear, too.”
“I know.” Man, it was dark in this house.
“When something horrible happens to a person you love, it changes you.” Her eyes were wide with grief. “You haven’t changed.” “You have no idea what’s going on inside of me.”
“I am perfectly aware of what’s going on inside of you.” Her eyes dropped to my mid-section.
“I wasn’t referring to the baby.” I took a drink of water and thought about how if it wasn’t for her daughter, I wouldn’t be in this pregnancy predicament. I certainly didn’t feel like discussing that with Mrs. L., though.
Mrs. L. stood. She held out the bowl with the half of grapefruit and asked with her eyes if I wanted it, but I shook my head. She brought the bowl to the garbage can and threw away the grapefruit followed by the glass bowl.
About the Author
Janet lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her artist husband, charismatic son, and three neurotic cats. Janet is a lifelong fan of reading and writing stories. New Beginnings may be her debut novel, but she has several projects in the works. Unlike some of her characters, she has never been to Africa, although she does dream of going one day.
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