Today we are excited to introduce you to Finding Me by Kelly Gunderman.
Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you of everything?
Sixteen-year-old Claire Williams spends most of her days feeling angry and alone. After a car accident took her mother and Claire’s ability to walk, life in a wheelchair is the new normal.
When she’s sent to live with her grandmother, away from school and friends, Claire has a chance for a fresh start. Just when Claire thinks she can handle things, she runs into Todd – the son of the man who caused the car accident.
At first, Claire wants nothing to do with him, but the more time they spend together, the more she hates to admit her feelings. She’s slowly falling in love with Todd.
Now, Claire’s father wants to move and take Claire with him. But she can’t go. Not now when everything is falling into place, and she’s just now finding herself. Claire’s defiant. She won’t leave Greenwood, her new friends, her grandmother, or Todd.
Can Claire find the strength to let her dad go on with his life while leaving her behind to live hers, or will she allow the guilt and shame of surviving the accident pull her back under?
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Finding Me Excerpt:
They say people come into your life for a reason. I’m not saying that’s bullshit, but I am saying that I never did see a reason why a drunk driver crashed into my mom and me two years ago, claiming her life and leaving me paralyzed from the waist down. They also say people who leave your life do so for a good reason, but again, I have yet to see anything positive come from my mother’s death. Or from the fact that, two months ago, my father went on a date with his twenty-two-year-old girlfriend and never came back.
I’m not exactly complaining, because he does send me a check once a month to cover anything I need, and my grandmother is happy to not be alone in her house anymore, now that I’m living with her. I’d never really spent much time with my father’s mother, but I know she always admired my mother, and that makes me feel closer to my mom even though she’s gone.
Unlike my father when he was still around, my grandmother loves to tell stories about my mom, which I am always happy to hear. Funny stories, sad stories, stories about what she was like before I was born—I eat them all up. I can’t get enough stories about the woman who is no longer here to provide advice and wisdom, because she was stolen from me by someone who thought he was invincible.
My father handled his grief differently, spending long hours at work and pretending my mother’s death hadn’t affected him at all. I’m not really sure how he managed to just swallow his pain and move on, but he did. In fact, I think I had only seen him cry once after her death—then he made himself into a statue and showed little to no emotion. After the funeral, there was no further mention of my mother. If I brought her up, he tensed and left the room, or else continued his previous conversation as though I hadn’t said anything at all. After she died, her belongings were packed up and moved out of the house before I was even released from the hospital, so I never really got to say a proper goodbye to the woman who had done everything for me my entire life.
Sometimes I wondered if he missed her at all. It was impossible to tell, but I imagined that he did, somewhere deep down inside. My grandma often told me that maybe he didn’t want to talk about my mom because it was too painful for him, but he needed to realize that it was just as hard, if not harder, on me.
Looking into the mirror, I sigh and pull my shoulder-length, brown hair up into a ponytail. It’s the same color as my mom’s hair, and being able to look in the mirror and see that little bit of her is the reason I won’t dye it. I try to ignore the scar from the accident that runs down the side of my neck—the scar I stopped trying to cover when I realized that no expensive cosmetics or scar-reduction creams would prevent it from showing. The scar is just another painful reminder of the fact that I am now motherless, fatherless, and, aside from my grandmother, alone.
I did manage to get some of her possessions after my dad left, however—the few things he hadn’t managed to donate or sell. One of these things is a silver bracelet with a single flower charm. I had seen her wear this bracelet almost every single day, everywhere she went. Now, it dangles from my wrist, which is nowhere near as dainty as my mother’s. The way the pink daisy swings from the bracelet’s silver chain brings me comfort, as if I am sharing a private memory with my mother, wherever she may be now. Sunlight streams through the window and glints off of the chain, and I can’t help but smile as I remember the smell of her perfume and how her laugh sounded—airy, light, and carefree.
I shake my head and try to push the memory away. Tomorrow is my first day at my new school; it is a day I have been dreading since I first moved in with my grandma two months ago.
Back at my old school, I had friends. Friends that had no problem with my being in a wheelchair. Friends that had my back when people stared or asked too many questions. But now that I’m living over an hour away from all of those friends, I’m going to be starting fresh with an entire school full of kids I don’t know. Great. Just how I wanted to finish my high school experience.
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About the Author: Kelly Gunderman was born a child of the late eighties in small-town Pennsylvania. A bibliophile in her own right, she is hoping to one day surpass the number of pages she has turned with those she has written of her own accord.
Having recently completed her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development, Kelly suddenly found herself with a bit more free time than usual, and began her immediately successful foray into blogging and Freelance Writing, which subsequently led to her renewed desire to finally put her ideas and imaginings “on paper.”
Focusing primarily on the Young Adult genre, Kelly has recently finished and her first novel, Finding Me, which is set to be published in early 2019 by Swoon Romance.
She currently resides in her original home town with her husband, their two daughters, and a few cats that constantly challenge the sanity of all with their ill-advised attempts at what can only be assumed to be world domination.
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