14 Pictures You Need to See from the Launch of Kim Slater’s Debut Novel SMART

I’m excited to have just received this novel this week after pre-ordering! An excellent read to go with surgical recovery.

The Darley Anderson Blog

1. This picture of all these beautiful copies of Smart at Waterstones in Nottingham:

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2. This picture of our own Mary Darby and Clare Wallace (respectively) marveling at the brilliant turnout:

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3. And this one of the live music performed by Jake:

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4. This fantastic reader recommendation from the staff of Waterstones:

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5. This picture of Kim’s editor Rachel Kellehar of Macmillan Children’s Books introducing her:

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6. Especially this picture of Kim Slater taking the stage:

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7. This one of Kim reading an extract from her debut novel Smart:

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8. And this one of her taking questions from the crowd:

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9. This picture of Clare queuing to get our copies signed by the author herself:

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10. This fan telling Kim he liked the opening line of Smart so much that he’d like her to include it with her autograph:

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11. Kim making good use of the perfect space left…

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YA Summer Reading Picks

  • The Circle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths
  • Invisible by Marni Bates
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (the film is also excellent)
  • Wings by E.D. Baker
  • Blast from the Past by Ben Elton
  • The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
  • Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
  • Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
  • Della Says: OMG! by Keris Stainton
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker
  • Radiance by Allison Noel
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass
  • Reasons to be Happy by Katrina Kittle
  • Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • Sundays at Tiffanys by James Patterson
  • Found by Margaret Haddix
  • Huge by Sasha Paley
  • Enders Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Enclave by Ann Aguirre
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Looks by Madeleine George
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Ties that Heal

Even with the advent of Facebook, there are still old friends I cannot find.  I cannot help wondering where close friends from my past in Japan have ventured off to?  I want to tell them: you made such a big impact on my life.  It might not matter that I have to tell them they rescued me at a certain crucial juncture in my childhood/teenage years.  They might already be aware of their importance in the nirvana of life.  However, I wish I could see them again.

I like to hold onto things: friendships, stories, facial expressions, difficult to describe emotions.  I want to capture and replay the new moments, weird happenings, and shifts in reality that make one feel as if they were in a film and not in real life.  Sometimes the light in my classroom will play with a student’s visage enough for me to get an eerie sense of deja vu. 

Half of my life has been spent outside of a native English speaking country.  I can’t help be convinced it has affected my grammar adversely; however, it has made certain moments more poignant and friendships resemble family.  Family is called “the tie that binds” whereas I believe friendships can be the ties that give us a closer perspective on who we can be at different stages of our lives.   Friends know us at his different intervals and can appreciate us in ways that sometimes family cannot, because they remember the “old” you and perhaps the old you wasn’t so clever, helpful, or kind.

I’ve also experienced the betrayal that comes from certain types of friendships and relationships that can wound as much or more than family.  My students daily battle this out in ways only middle schoolers can as they try to find how they want to fit into the world and whether or not they want society to tell them who they ought to be.

At a point where I’m stuck in my house more often than I’d necessarily like to be, I’m thankful for friendships, phone calls, and the daily visits that come from those who love me.  Gratitude cannot express the devotion I feel to those who accept me for who I am and who are also interested in making me a better person, writer and teacher.