Jenniffer Wardell, Author of Dreamless: What Makes a Hero?
Jenniffer Wardell | The Children’s Book Review | April 30, 2016
Never let anyone make you think you can’t be the hero of the story.
This is true no matter what gender you are, because having two different words makes it seem like there’s something different between boy heroes and girl heroes. There are just heroes, the people who are brave enough to face whatever’s coming at them and make the right choices, help the people who need helping, and save the day.
For a long time, I thought I could never be a hero. All the stories I could ever find seemed to say that the heroes had to be sweet and beautiful and brave, and I didn’t think of myself as any of those things. I was the round, nervous girl who didn’t know how to talk to people and got angry too often, and if I wanted to be in a story it seemed like the only chance I had was to be the sidekick. So I learned sarcasm, found out the best ways to move words around so I would be ready for my place when a story came along.
That, I found out eventually, was where I started going wrong.
Think about your favorite stories, the ones that lingered in your brain long after you turned the last page. Did the heroes of those stories ever wait for the story to happen to them? Did they quietly do what they were told and never dream of something bigger for themselves? Did they slip quietly to the side and resign themselves to their fate?
No, of course not. The heroes of the best stories always go out and make things happen. They always keep trying, no matter how impossible the odds are, and even when they make mistakes they learn from them and try their best not to do them again. They try to make the world a better place, even if it’s just for the people who are immediately around them.
Heroes can be scared. Even if the story doesn’t say they are, I assure you there’s some moment in the space between the words you see where your favorite hero is shaking in their shoes. Bravery doesn’t mean not being worried about things. It just means that you do them anyway.
I wish I could go around and tell this to every kid in the world, and all of the adults who never got to hear it when they were kids. Sadly, I can’t – I would interrupt a lot of dinners, if nothing else – so I write books about characters who don’t think of themselves as heroes at the start of their stories. By the end, though, they realize that being a hero wasn’t what they thought it meant.
And as readers follow along on their journey, I hope they realize that maybe they were wrong about not being heroes, too.
Written by Jennifer Wardell
Publisher’s Synopsis: Sleeping Beauty never had troubles like this.
For most princesses, a sleeping curse means a few inconvenient weeks unconscious followed by a happily-ever-after with their true love. Seventeen-year-old Elena’s curse, however, was designed without a cure, which means that she’s getting a century-long nap for her 18th birthday whether she wants it or not. After years of study she’s still no closer to finding a cure, even with the help of an undead godfather and an enchanted mirror-turned-therapist. With only a year until the deadline she’s learned to accept her fate. Sadly, there’s one prince who doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo and who’s continually trying to activate the curse so he can be the one to wake her up again. Only slightly less annoying is Cam, her new bodyguard and former childhood acquaintance who disagrees with Elena at pretty much every turn. When the curse threatens to come early, however, they both realize that fate is a lot more complicated than they’d ever imagined.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Jolly Fish Press | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1631630422
About Jenniffer Wardell
Jenniffer Wardell is the arts, entertainment, and lifestyle reporter for the Davis Clipper. She is the author of Beast Charming and Fairy Godmothers, Inc., and has won several awards from the Utah Press Association and the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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