by Layla Messner
Release Date: November 13th 2015
Summary from Goodreads:
The living crystals that feed elemental power to Atlantis are exhausted. They give and give, but the Altantians just want more energy to fuel their magical city. Sixteen years ago, the crystals came up with a plan to make it all stop, a plan that revolves around three teens: KALIOPE is a soulsinger, an empath with the power to sing the souls of the dead to their next lives. She just wants to grow up, but her mother won't let her. DANICA is Kaliope's whipping girl. She gets punished whenever Kali disobeys. CHIARAN is a firestarter, so reckless even his family considers him a monster. When Chiaran arrives in Atlantis, he's the first fire person to set foot on the island in a hundred years. Kaliope naturally considers him an enemy and uses the last of her depleted power against him. But the battle reveals that the two have more in common than anyone could have guessed. Anyone, that is, except the crystals. Three teenage antiheroes, a bisexual love triangle, and an island about to sink. Overwhelm is a darkly sensual fairy tale about growing up against all odds.
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Láyla Messner is a young-adult author and the founder of ChrysalisSanctuary.com for healing childhood sexual abuse. She has an M.A. in embodied writing from Goddard College and her novels provide New Sexual Mythology for teens. She believes that love is real. She does not believe in unsolicited advice or the word "impossible."
Author Links: Website│Goodreads│Twitter│Facebook
Revenge of the Awkwardly Sensitive Teen Girl, guest blog by author Layla Messner
“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To [her]... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god...” - Pearl S. Buck
I was a...sensitive teenager.
To say high school made me awkward would be a massive understatement. I wasn’t merely awkward. If you had come to my school looking for the Queen of Awkwardville, you would have found me, wearing all black, with my hair pulled back in a severe braid.
Forget about dating boys; I couldn’t even smile at one! When my friends started holding parties that included—*gulp*—dancing with guys, I spent those parties staring at the wall as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world and refusing to look away from it, no matter what boys did to attract my attention.
I once attended a Boy Scout camp—guys everywhere, ahh!—at which I earned myself the nickname, “The Wall”, because nothing a boy did could make me react.
This was less because of self-control and more due to terror. I was sexually abused as a child and pre-teen and though I, like many sexual abuse victims, forgot the abuse pretty much as soon as it happened, my body always remembered.
Teenage guys terrified me, and my terror made me awkward.
But what they say about the geeky girls is true, you know; we do grow up to be bombshells.
I know. I did.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m still awkward. The other day, I fell headfirst and backward off my lawn chair. I wasn’t trying to attract the attention of the muscular, tattooed man across the pool, but I certainly did. When he came over to make sure I was okay, he told me how adorable I was.
Let’s translate that into a simple equation:
Awkward = Adorable
Awkwardness is sexy. Why? Because awkwardness is vulnerable.
Vulnerability is the hottest trait out there, because it means you can be touched, really touched, to the core of your being.
The only reason nerdy girls don’t get all the dates in high school is because teenage boys don’t have mature eyes. They don’t have enough experience to know who’s really going to be the best date.
Most teenage guys—and if you’re a guy reading this, you’re probably the exception, and I’m impressed!—most teen guys only know how to look with their physical, mass-media-influenced eyes.
They haven’t yet discovered the eyes of their soul, the eyes that see true beauty and sensuality and connection.
They will. Guys grow into geeky girls.
It’s a pain waiting, though. I know that first hand. I suppose that’s one reason I wrote the characters in my novel, OVERWHELM, the way I did— With a sensitive and popular female protagonist, who has trouble letting in love; and a wild, masculine leading man who can’t get enough of her.
Another reason is...well, revenge.
Cynthia Ozick said, “One reason writers write is out of revenge. Life hurts; certain ideas and experiences hurt; one wants to clarify, to set out illuminations, to replay the old bad scenes and [say] the words one didn't have the strength or ripeness to say when those words were necessary for one's dignity or survival.”
Being an author of teen fiction gives me a second chance to speak up about the truths I wish I’d been able to verbalize in high school. Truth such as...
Creativity is sexy.
Sensitivity is a superpower.
Deep people have deep sex, and deep sex is the hottest sex there is.
So this goes out to all you awkward-hot ladies, young or old...
You are adorable! Own it!
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