Today I am very happy to welcome Cat Clarke onto the blog with a guest post that she has written in support of her newest book, Girlhood! I have already devoured this book and a review will be up on the blog in the next few days – hopefully! I also love this guest post by Cat too but instead of getting straight to it… here’s more information about her new book.
About the Book
Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.
But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.
Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.
How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?
A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.
Not so long ago. fictional depictions of friendships between teenage girls had a tendency to revolve around subjects like clothes, make-up and, above all else, BOYS. These TV shows and books and movies didn’t represent me, and the things I talked to my friends about, which made me feel like I was weird. Surely there must have been something wrong with me, not being remotely interested in any of those things, right?
After metaphorically waving my hairbrush around in an impotent rage, what were my options? To try to get interested in clothes, make-up or boys? Or just give up hope of seeing myself represented?
Sure, some girls like those things, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But in depicting girl friendships focusing on only these things, a real disservice is done to girls everywhere. It makes some of us feel excluded and that possibly, there is something wrong with us. But there isn’t!! We just need books and TV shows to show friendships featuring all of us: bi, straight, trans, cis, ace, aro, questioning, pan, lesbian (or even – GASP! – a combination of these). We need to see girls who are interested in politics and the arts and stamp collecting. (Yes, I did in fact collect stamps when I was younger… what can I say? I’ve always been cool.)
So here’s what I decided to do: I chose to create the representation I wanted to see in this messed-up, heteronormative, misogynistic world.
I chose to write a group of girls who aren’t all straight, and don’t all have fabulous hair and flawless make-up. Harper, my main character in Girlhood, is bisexual, and her best friend, Rowan, is a lesbian. Together with their friends Ama and Lily, they form a tight-knit group. They have vastly differing interests: social justice; acting; swimming; the environment; charity work; bird-watching. But these differences are to be celebrated, not erased. Above all, these girls care about each other and have each other’s backs.
I loved creating this group of friends and showing how close they are… before stomping my big authorly boots all over them by adding new girl, Kirsty, into the mix. (*evil cackle*) In Girlhood, the reader will hopefully see that groups of girls can be mean sometimes, but they can also be mature and kind and forgiving.
I’d love to read more stories about realistic and varied friendships between teenage girls, so please hit me up in the comments below, or on Twitter (@cat_clarke), if you have any recs.