Shattering Stigmas: On Perfectionism as a Debut Author by Zack Smedley

Welcome to the ninth day of Shattering Stigmas! From now until October 22 I’ll be highlighting voices from the book community on mental health. I’m co-hosting this event with Taylor from Stay on the Page, Shannon from It Starts at Midnight, and Amber from YA Indulgences so make sure to check their blogs out each day to see different content.


In September 2013, filmmaker Damien Chazelle—best known for the acclaimed films La La Land and Whiplash—was in a roadway accident that totaled his car. Despite being hospitalized, Chazelle returned to work the next day to resume filming Whiplash, which had a shooting schedule comprised of 18-hour workdays. The film went on to rack up 114 award nominations, win 49 of them, and is considered by many—myself included—to be one of the greatest films of its time.

When I read about this, I smirked and thought, “now there’s a guy who’s serious about the things he creates.” It reminded of the stories I’d heard of Aaron Sorkin, who would regularly turn in scripts late for The West Wing because he wasn’t happy with them yet. Or pop star MARINA, who rejected offers from 14 record labels because she wasn’t satisfied with their level of creative control.

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Author Guest Post: Kelly Gunderman

Title: Finding Me
Author: Kelly Gunderman
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Pages: 306

This post does contain affiliate links. I will receive a small amount from any purchases made through Book Depository at no extra cost to you.

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.

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Author Guest Post: Christina June

I’m so excited to be welcoming Christina June to my blog today to discuss what movies and books played an influential role in her life growing up! Her third YA novel, No Place Like Here, released on May 21 and is the perfect summer read. Head over to a previous post to read my full review and make sure you stick around because there’s a giveaway at the end of this one!

This post does contain affiliate links. I will receive a small amount from any purchases made through Book Depository at no extra cost to you.


I read a lot of contemporary stories when I was upper elementary school, like Sweet Valley Twins and the Babysitter’ Club, as well as those by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. I’ve always liked friendship and family-centered novels.

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Author Guest Post: Zack Smedley On the Use of Profanity in YA Books (Including My Own)

One afternoon towards the end of my eighth grade year, I was standing in the hallway of my Catholic K-8 school chatting with a classmate. He mentioned having to babysit that night or something, and I told him, “That sucks.”

“Hey!” This came from a teacher walking by us. “Watch your language!”

She didn’t even say it sharply, but it was a warning—a shot across the bow. I spent the next few minutes keeping my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t get written up.

Growing up, this is what life looked like for me most of the time. Eventually I graduated from K-8 to a public high school, where I was exhilarated to learn we could now say things like “hell” and “sucks” and even “damn it.” Make no mistake: none of this reshaped my opinion on cursing. But it did profoundly instill the sincere belief that adults—“proper” adults, at least—hardly ever used R-rated language except for the occasional lapse, like the dad fixing that furnace in A Christmas Story.

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