Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jo Ramsey's newest book, Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts, is out! Book 4 in the Deep Secrets and Hope Series!

It is my great pleasure to welcome Jo Ramsey to my blog and her newest novel, Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts, book four in the Deep Secrets and Hope Series!

Blue Jeans and Body Image

In my new novel Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts (Deep Secrets and Hope series book 4), main character Holly McCormack is struggling with her relationship with her girlfriend Chastaine. Not because the relationship isn’t going well, but because they’re hiding it… and because Chastaine, in Holly’s eyes, is thin and gorgeous. The complete opposite of how Holly sees herself. And because Holly wants to see herself as worthy of Chastaine’s affection and attention, she tries to starve herself down to her ideal weight. Whatever that might be.

The title of the novel, like the titles of the other three books in the series, is something the main character would be likely to wear. In Holly’s case, she’s always been a little “chubby,” at least in her opinion, and for years her preferred outfit has been baggy jeans and sweatshirts. Clothes that hide her body. With Chastaine’s encouragement, Holly has been trying to break out of her jeans-and-sweatshirts box, but the tighter clothes, miniskirts, and skinny jeans Chastaine wants Holly to wear only make Holly feel worse about her appearance. To Chastaine, Holly is beautiful, but Holly can’t see herself through her girlfriend’s eyes, only through her own. And in her own eyes, she’s sadly lacking.

Unfortunately, a lot of teens, regardless of gender or gender identity, battle against negative body image. Whether it’s a case of feeling too fat, or too skinny, or a developing body that doesn’t match one’s gender…or any number of other things. We live, unfortunately, in a society where beauty is valued too highly, and no one can quite agree on what “beauty” is. And some people pay the price with eating disorders, excessive surgery, or other unhealthy choices. (To anyone who’s had plastic surgery… please note that I said *excessive* surgery can be unhealthy. Not plastic surgery in general.)

By the end of the book, people in Holly’s life have realized that she needs help, and she’s getting that help. Some people don’t get help. Some don’t dare to ask for it. Some don’t believe they need it. Some simply don’t realize the harm they’re doing to themselves.

Recovering from an eating disorder, or from body dysmorphia (defined as a mental illness which causes someone to fixate on a flaw in their appearance—a flaw which may not even exist), isn’t as easy as “just start eating right” or “take a good look in the mirror, you’re fine”. It takes help and support. If you’re struggling with your body image, regardless of how serious the struggle seems, please reach out to someone you trust. Talk to them. If you need help, seek and accept it. Please.

Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts is now available from Harmony Ink Press
and third party retail sites, in e-book and paperback.

About Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts

Holly McCormack has secrets. She’s started a support group for sexual assault survivors at her high school, but she was never assaulted. She’s also dating a girl, but she’s not a lesbian—at least not to the outside world—and that’s how she hopes to keep it. To top everything off, her girlfriend, Chastaine Rollo, is the most gorgeous girl at their school, and Holly is eating as little as she can because she thinks she’s “too fat.”

When hearing the stories of survivors begins to take its toll, Holly’s eating becomes even more of a problem. And as she struggles to hide her relationship with Chastaine from her parents, the stress becomes too much. But when keeping secrets has become second nature, it leaves her with no one to confide in.

About Jo Ramsey

Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher who now writes full time. She firmly believes that everyone has it in them to be a hero, whether to others or in their own lives, and she tries to write books that encourage teens to be themselves and make a difference. Jo has been writing since age five and has been writing young adult fiction since she was a teen herself; her first YA book was published in 2010. She lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, and two cats, one of whom likes to read over her shoulder. Find out more about Jo and her books at JoRamsey.