YABC Scavenger Hunt: What I Lost (Alexandra Ballard), Plus Guest Post & Extra Giveaway!

WhatILostSM

Today we're excited to share a guest post for Alexandra Ballard's What I Lost as part of the YABC Scavenger Hunt! Read on for more about Alexandra and her novel!

And don't forget to answer the question from this post on the Scavenger Hunt form for a chance to win the Grand Prize!

 

 You can find Scavenger Hunt rules HERE!!

 

 

 

Meet Alexandra Ballard!

Alexandra Ballard

Alexandra Ballard has worked as a magazine editor, middle-school English teacher, freelance writer, and cake maker. She holds master's from both Columbia (journalism) and Fordham (education) and spent ten years in the classroom, beginning in the Bronx and ending up in the hills of Berkeley, California, with her husband and two daughters. What I Lost is Alexandra Ballard's debut novel.

 

 

Website * Facebook * Twitter

 

 

 

~ Guest Post ~

 

When I was 17, I made myself throw up after feeling guilty about eating a brownie. I’d gained ten pounds the previous summer, during a disastrous teen tour-type trip abroad. I’d been miserable and used food to feel better. And then, when I came back to confront a senior prom and a dress that didn't fit, a crash diet triggered something inside of me. An eating disorder was born.

 It was a long, hard 13-year struggle to get well, but I did it. I’m now 43 years old, a mother of two, and I’ve been in recovery for the same amount of time that I was sick. And even though I am as proud of the accomplishment as anything in my life, I still can’t shake the shame.

I thought writing about it would help, so I did. A young adult novel about a girl not so dissimilar from me. Fictionalizing the experience made it easier to go back to those dark places, at least on the page. What I didn’t expect - though I should have - is that it’s not just my story anymore.

The moment that drove this home came last month, when a woman I knew came up to me at the elementary school book fair. She knew about my book and, after a bit of small talk, broached the unavoidable question: “Do you have any experience with eating disorders?”

I steeled myself. I’d dreaded this question, but knew it would come eventually. “Yes,” I finally said. “I do. But it was a long time ago.”

And that’s when a voice popped up behind me. It was my ten-year-old daughter. I hadn’t known she was there.

“You had that?” she said, eyes wide.

I immediately wished I could go back in time and lie. But I couldn’t.

 “Yes, honey, I did. A long time ago.” And then, seeing she was confused, I added, “but not now.”

 “Oh,” she replied, an uncomfortable look on her face. Then she ran off to find her friends.

As I watched her blonde head disappear through the library door, I wanted to cry. This was the first she’d ever heard about me having, as she called it, “that thingy your main character has.” The moment I’d been dreading had arrived. How was I going to tell my two perfect little girls about my past?

Right now, they live in a world where body image doesn’t exist. They eat what they want, when they want it, and they do so with complete, innocent joy. They like to be naked, although my eldest, now skidding into tweendom, is phasing out that habit. Neither of them have ever looked in the mirror and hated their legs or stomach or arms.

And as far as they know, neither have I.

But I have. Thousands of times. Probably more.

Today, I do everything the parenting advice sites say when it comes to teaching positive body image. I don’t complain about myself in front of my girls; I don’t label foods good or bad; I feed the girls everything, from zucchini to french fries to sushi to green beans to pizza, which we have every Friday night. I even cook with butter. And, as much as it occasionally still pains me, I eat what they eat with a smile on my face. Sometimes, I take seconds.

In our house, when my husband and I talk about eating healthy, we talk about making our bodies strong, not slender. We discuss how all foods are good foods, how a delicious, drippy ice cream cone on a hot summer day can be as good for the soul as broccoli is for the body. We bake cookies, breads, and brownies together, enjoying both the process and the final products. 

Sometimes, I think that I overcompensate, that maybe I should crack down more on their eating habits. But I’m afraid to. I don’t want my children to ever think I’m not pleased with their bodies or introduce the idea that they shouldn’t be. I want them to live in their current state of body-image bliss for the rest of their lives.

But with my book coming out this month, my children are about to discover my past. For a while, I thought we’d hire a babysitter and keep them home from the book party. But I want my girls to see their Mom reaching one of her life goals. Our entire family sacrificed so that I could write this book, and I want to celebrate this moment with them. And I don’t want to hide anymore.

So I’m going to do it. At some point in the coming weeks, I’m going to sit my daughters down and tell them that back when Mommy was a teenager, she got sick. And her sickness made eating really hard, and that she was very sad. 

I’ll tell them how that poor girl was ill for too many years, that recovering was one of the most difficult things she’s ever done, but how sometimes the hardest battles we fight can be the most rewarding. I’ll explain how it took a lot of help, strength, bravery, courage, and determination, and I’ll finally give that girl who worked so hard to get better her due.

Or at least that’s my plan. Just like no one ever sets out to get an eating disorder, no one ever looks ahead to all the repercussions once they have one, and certainly not this far down the line. We always expect our children to be better than us, to do what we say not what we do. But our past has a way of catching up to us. Is it better to confront it head on, or provide information on a need to know basis? Which of our faults and struggles provide lessons for them, and which only confuse?

I don’t pretend to have any answers, but I know I have to try. So the last thing I’ll tell them has nothing to do with lessons, or strategies, or modeling. I’m just going to hug them - my two beautiful, perfect girls – and tell how amazing, how special, how unique they both are, how I love them for who they are on the inside, that their insides make their outsides shine. And then I’ll hope and pray and beg the universe that my words stick.

 

 

 

 

What I Lost

By: Alexandra Ballard

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: June 6th, 2017 

 

 

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

One winner will receive a copy of What I Lost (Alexandra Ballard) ~ (US Only)

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

**And for a chance at the YABC Scavenger Hunt Grand Prize,
 
continue to the Official Entry Form!
 
When completed, submit your entry by clicking the Rafflecopter post below**
 
 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

YABC Scavenger Hunt: Waste Of Space (Gina Damico),...
YABC Scavenger Hunt: Follow Me Back (A.V. Geiger),...

Related Posts

 

Comments 10

Already Registered? Login Here
John on Sunday, 09 July 2017 19:27

The cover made me see the world in a whole new way. The synopsis was crisp and efficient.

0
The cover made me see the world in a whole new way. The synopsis was crisp and efficient.
Dianna G. on Sunday, 09 July 2017 20:47

The cover is an interesting play on words with photography. The chocolate speaks to me! I didn't see a synopsis but the guest post was quite moving. This is a book I'd like to read, and it's a message that many teens need to hear.

0
The cover is an interesting play on words with photography. The chocolate speaks to me! I didn't see a synopsis but the guest post was quite moving. This is a book I'd like to read, and it's a message that many teens need to hear.
Tiffany Engler on Monday, 10 July 2017 11:35

The cover looks delicious! I think this book sounds wonderful and inspiring in every way.

0
The cover looks delicious! I think this book sounds wonderful and inspiring in every way.
Danielle Lynn on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 11:28

That author interview was so incredible. It takes is lot to face the past and even more strength to confront it head-on.

I love the cover. It's simple but it focuses on what it needs to. This is going to be an empowering story to so many people and I can't wait to read it.

0
That author interview was so incredible. It takes is lot to face the past and even more strength to confront it head-on. I love the cover. It's simple but it focuses on what it needs to. This is going to be an empowering story to so many people and I can't wait to read it.
Aireanna Lesch on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 12:16

Omg CHOCOLATEEEEEE. I think this book sounds incredible! And the guest post was very nice too!

0
Omg CHOCOLATEEEEEE. I think this book sounds incredible! And the guest post was very nice too!
KM on Friday, 14 July 2017 22:11

This is going to be such a powerful story.

0
This is going to be such a powerful story.
Penny Olson on Sunday, 16 July 2017 00:11

The cover is perfect. This sounds like a really important and powerful story.

0
The cover is perfect. This sounds like a really important and powerful story.
Asteria on Monday, 17 July 2017 19:58

I think the cover is so cute and perfect, and I like the idea of this story.

0
I think the cover is so cute and perfect, and I like the idea of this story.
Danielle Hammelef on Friday, 21 July 2017 18:54

The cover is perfect for this book. this topic is so important today.

0
The cover is perfect for this book. this topic is so important today.
Courtney Gendreau on Sunday, 23 July 2017 01:25

I love the cover for the book, it really fits the synopsis. This is a book I definitly want to get my hands on.

0
I love the cover for the book, it really fits the synopsis. This is a book I definitly want to get my hands on.

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution...
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 2001, audiences first met and fell in love with...
On the Come Up
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers...
Spin
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord's (aka DJ ParSec) career--and life--has come to...
Leah on the Offbeat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best...
The Brightsiders
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A teen rockstar has to navigate family, love, coming out,...
IMG_4918.jpg
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The black X of the Aramach Rebels marks the...
City of Beasts
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
"If you see a beast, and you have the...
The Grace Year
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden....
The Fractured Empire
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Ceithren Empire is finally at peace, but for...
The Survival List
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sloane Weber is devastated when her older sister dies...
To Kill a Kingdom
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This action-packed YA debut pits a deadly siren princess and...
Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Into the Crooked Place begins a gritty two-book YA fantasy...
Kingdom of Souls
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay. The...
A Warm Friendship
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
"This heartwarming story deals with friendship, empathy, caring, nurturing and...
The Rift
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
As corporate greed is pitted against supernatural forces, two young...

Latest Member Reviews

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
"FIREBORNE is a new YA fantasy that follows two teens, Lee and Anna (Antigone) in alternating points-of-view. Lee and Anna..."
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
 
4.0
"As Middle Grade graphic novel adaptations go, this urban fantasy is above par. The artwork has a bit..."
Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place, #1)
 
4.0
"INTO THE CROOKED PLACE is an engaging YA fantasy that follows five characters on a quest of aligned goals- even..."
To Kill a Kingdom
 
5.0
"TO KILL A KINGDOM is a wonderful YA fantasy about a siren and a pirate. Told in alternating points of..."
A Warm Friendship
 
4.5
"A WARM FRIENDSHIP is a story of friendship and loss, celebrating the time that you have together. Squirrel finds Snowman..."
Winter's Captive
 
5.0
"YA fantasy has always been my favorite. However, the past few months, I'd been in a slump. I struggled getting..."
The Rift
 
3.3
"THE RIFT is a unique YA fantasy that takes place on Black Water Island, a place prized for the herd..."
The Fractured Empire
 
5.0
"I don’t know where to start! The Fractured Empire by Robin D. Mahle is the first in the World Apart..."
Abraham Lincoln: The Making of America #3
 
4.5
"A highly accessible biographical overview of (arguably) the most renowned and history-altering of all the United States presidents. The book..."
The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
 
3.3
"THE BEAUTIFUL takes place in New Orleans, primarily following a young woman, Celine. Celine fled France after a terrible event..."
Hilda and the Mountain King (Hilda, #6)
 
5.0
"HILDA AND THE MOUNTAIN KING is an engaging and thrilling children's fantasy adventure. This graphic novel tells the story of..."
 
5.0
"Eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson goes to Madrid, Spain with his family in order for his mother to reconnect with the country..."
Glow of the Fireflies
 
3.3
"GLOW OF THE FIREFLIES is a YA fantasy that follows a teenaged girl, Briony, who has no memories from before..."
Good Night, Santa: A Magical Christmas Story
 
5.0
"GOOD NIGHT, SANTA is a simple but elegant book that celebrates the Christmas season, perfect for bedtime. The illustrations are..."
Jolly Jingly Christmas: The Best Christmas Book Ever!
 
5.0
"JOLLY JINGLY CHRISTMAS is a cute rhyming, lift-the-flap, musical, non-religious celebration of the season. Each of the five full page..."
Dear Sweet Pea
 
4.0
"Sweet Pea is in her last year of primary school (K-7th grade) and will be starting at secondary school the..."
I Can Make This Promise
 
5.0
"I CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE is a moving middle grade contemporary fiction about trusting your parents, finding your heritage, and..."
Peppa Pig Festival of Mud
 
4.5
"What I Loved: The story is based off an episode of Peppa Pig, and definitely reads like one. It..."
Everybody Says Meow
 
N/A
"What I Loved: This is one of those books that you can't help but smile while you read, even..."
The Other, Better Me
 
4.0
"THE OTHER, BETTER ME is a contemporary middle grade novel that follows a ten-year-old, Lola, as she explores herself and..."