I'm so excited to have the Starry Night blog tour stopping by today! This is Isabel Gillies' debut YA novel, which releases on September 2nd. I've got lots to share with y'all, including a really lovely guest post from Isabel and a giveaway for a finished copy!
About the book:
Sometimes one night can change everything. On this particular night, Wren and her three best friends are attending a black-tie party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of a major exhibit curated by her father. An enormous wind blasts through the city, making everyone feel that something unexpected and perhaps wonderful will happen. And for Wren, that something wonderful is Nolan. With his root-beer-brown Michelangelo eyes, Nolan changes the way Wren’s heart beats. In Isabel Gillies's Starry Night, suddenly everything is different. Nothing makes sense except for this boy. What happens to your life when everything changes, even your heart? How much do you give up? How much do you keep?
First Love?I was going to write about first love for this piece, but two days ago I heard about something so upsetting I must write about it because it’s haunting me, and in my mind the very opposite of what I think falling in love for the first time is. A friend who has a teenage daughter told me about a trend (I guess trend is the correct word, maybe behavior) that has swept the nation, or at least some high schools she knew of. Here is how it goes: A kid in her child’s school, a girl, will get a text from a boy, it could be a boy she knows -- or one she only knows of. This text will give a location within the school, like “the downstairs utility closet” or “The equipment shed” that serves as the meeting place, and there will be an appointed time. Then the two kids meet and without speaking, a sexual act is performed. Apparently it’s typically the girl who performs this act, again without speaking, and when it’s done, they leave each other. Again, without speaking. At this particular school it’s called, “scorning”.
Saddened and in disbelief, I have spoken to a number of other mothers-of-teens I know about this phenomenon, hoping that it was a one off, that it wasn’t true. They all knew of it –some of the mothers believed that their daughters may have already done this thing, so it must be true, at least in these parts.
Maybe I am naïve, but the alarm I feel about this is so real, I have tears in my eyes at as I write this. What has happened? Where did we go so off track that the uniquely slow, gentle, childlike and beautiful act of falling in love as a young person is in jeopardy? Are kids not writing each other love notes and shoving them in lockers? Have adolescent hearts stopped beating out of their chests at just the thought that they might hold hands with their crush at the football game? Are communications of love not being passed along by friends? What has happened to the sentence (said with excitement and anticipation), “Molly/Mark/Susan/Joe, is sweet on you.”
Is it the smart phone and texting that have endangered the natural and wonderful progression of two people falling for each other, talking all night, kissing at the door after a date -- writing love letters? Because if it has, I beg the companies to stop making those horrible devices. I pray for time to stop so we can look at this blight and arrest it. I call to the schools to assemble and bust this open, and urge students to read Romeo & Juliet, or watch Sixteen Candles by John Hughes.
I am not going to get into the perplexing idea that the feminist movement has had no bearing on these young people, someone smarter than I can handle that. What I am undone by, is that if this is true, that it could be the end of something I have always treasured, romance.
My friend said that sometimes relationships can come out of these silent, and in my opinion degrading hook ups. But I have to ask what chance does this “relationship” have if it started in such an unceremonious way? What kind of relationship starts like that? I don’t want to sound condescending, but before it does become normal to get so intimate with a boy without speaking to him at great length first, can I protest? Can I raise my hand high and yell stop? I cannot imagine how both children must feel afterwards – it must be excruciatingly lonely. Do these kids want something else? Do they long to be courted, asked out respectfully and with reverence and then appreciated for who they are? Do they even know there is another way? Do they know about romance? It seemed like when I was a teenager all we thought about was romance, and there was romance to be had! But if I wasn’t surrounded by it, and if I was in the same position as these young girls seem to be in, would I do the same? I bet I would.
My fear is that it’s gone. That technology has finally gotten the best of us, and our beloved children who can’t or won’t speak to each other, will miss out on the most beautiful of processes. Falling in love for the first time involves intangible magic, but it also involves diligence, work, and effort. And it requires romance.
If what I am hearing is true, I resolve right now to talk to my burgeoning tweens openly and frankly to warn them that there is a dangerous pitfall waiting for them that they must try with all their might to avoid. If I don’t and they miss out all the blissful, sometimes painful steps you take in falling in love for the first time, I will never forgive myself.
About the author:
Isabel Gillies, known for her television role as Detective Stabler’s wife on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has published two memoirs, Happens Every Day (a New York Times bestseller) and A Year and Six Seconds (both Scribner). She graduated from New York University with a BFA in film. Isabel lives in Manhattan with her family.
A huge thanks to Isabel for stopping by today, and for being so open and heartfelt. Also, big thanks to Macmillan Teen for letting me be a part of the tour!
Learn more about Isabel Gillies and Starry Night.
Add Starry Night to your to-read list on Goodreads.
Join in on social media with #StarryNight!
Isabel’s Upcoming Public Events
Decatur Book Festival- Map of My Heart Panel (Decatur, GA)
Barnes & Noble Upper West Side- Launch Event with John Searles (New York, NY)
Books of Wonder- Debut Author Panel (New York, NY)
The Voracious Reader- Reading/Signing (Larchmont, NY)
Starry Night Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, August 26 Fiction Folio
Wednesday, August 27 The Compulsive Reader
Thanks to Macmillan, I have a copy of Starry Night to give away to one lucky reader! US/CAN only.