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August 23, 2017

The Summer Before College --- Guest Post by Eric Walters, Author of 90 DAYS OF DIFFERENT

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With summer wrapping up, we know that many of our Teenreaders are heading to their next adventure: college. There are lots of young adult books that deal with the stressors of applying for college and wondering what the next four years of your life will be like, but what about that long summer between high school and college? According to author Eric Walters, there is no time as full of possibility and potential as the 90 days (give or take) between one period of your life and the next. In his newest book, 90 DAYS OF DIFFERENT, Eric explores this concept through Sophie Evans, a girl who is dedicating her summer to doing one new thing each day in an attempt to become less predictable. In this blog post, Eric explains what he finds so magical about this time in a teen's life and how you can make the most of it.


There are times in your life when you are nothing but potential. There are times, much later, when it seems that your whole future is all behind you. Then there's that wonderful time of life, when potential and future intersect. You are already so much but you can become almost anything more. You have so much ahead of you, so many opportunities, so much success still to come, so many dragons to tame, battles to fight, goals to reach, so many triumphs and potential failures ahead. It’s an age that’s almost magical. And that's why I often place my characters in that age --- between 14 and 18 --- a time when anything not only seems possible but is possible.

My character Sophie Evans is 18-years-old. She’s finishing up her senior year of high school and has everything planned --- as she always does --- for the summer that’s about to start. There’ll be some time with her best friend, Ella, her boyfriend and her family, but there will be time to read all the text books she’ll need for her upcoming first year at university. Sophie always likes to be prepared. She is always ready, responsible and organized. That’s the very core of who Sophie is. That all changes in a heartbeat --- or in the breaking of a heart.

As the bell sounds to end the last day of her last year of high school her boyfriend of two years asks to speak to her, alone. He has something he wants to share with her --- the fact that he doesn’t want to share any more time with her. He tells her it’s over.

“Is there somebody else?” she asks.
"No, of course not!" he protested.
"You're not going to give me that old 'It's not you, it's me' line, are you?"
"Oh no," he said, shaking his head. "It's definitely you."
"What?"
"It's you. It's definitely you."

He tells Sophie that she’s “boring,” that she “never wants to do anything.” He wants to have fun and she just isn’t fun.

Sophie’s backstory --- her mother died when she was 11-years-old, her father is emotionally fragile and she has a little brother who needs to be cared for. She’s always had to be the one who’s responsible, the one in charge, the one not willing to take risks or chances. For her the safe thing has always been the right thing.

Turning to her best friend for comfort and compassion, instead she gets unwanted confirmation of what her boyfriend has just told her --- she is boring, she is unwilling to risk or take chances. But Ella also has a solution for her friend. There are 90 days between high school and university and those days are going to mean something more than reading text books. Ella is going to help Sophie to “break out of her comfort zone.” She’s going to arrange new things for Sophie to do --- she calls them differents. These are things that Sophie would never normally do. She has to promise to do everything that’s arranged no matter how difficult and different she finds it. Further, Sophie must Tweet, Instagram, blog and post her activities. From eating sushi, to demolition derby, being in a glider, walking a runway, crashing a wedding, doing street art to even more adventurous adventures. Let the differents begin!

Social media is a powerful part of life --- especially for those under 25. I wanted social media to be a big part of my novel but I wanted this to be more. This novel incorporates social media not just as being at the core of my story, but as an adjunct to the book.

You, the reader, have the opportunity to go beyond the story, to follow along with Sophie through her Twitter account @sophie_evans90, on Instagram, @sophieevans90, on her blog, 90daysofdifferent.wordpress or through email at sophieevans90days@gmail.com.You can see pictures and videos, follow connections, read blogs that outline a dozen “differents” that are not in the text of the book. This is a novel that’s more than a novel. It goes beyond the written page and into the real world of social media.

I hope my readers will be inspired by Sophie pushing herself to try new things and see the potential that exists in them. I want them to push aside fears and doubts and look for adventure, seek out different and embrace the potential for new and exciting. And please, take the time to share those adventures through your social media so that you can be the inspiration for others. This is your time! Try something different!