Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: July 5th 2018
Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Annarenee Stevens is the sole member of her family without a super power. The only time she feels powerful is in the pool. With her sights set on swimming for U.C. Berkeley, she’s ready to win it all at the State championship and secure her future.
When the government unexpectedly ends the secret Genetically Enhanced Asset (GEA) program, Annarenee is uprooted from Dayton, the only home she’s ever known, and relocated to San Diego with all of the other GEA families. Queen of her public school, Annarenee is just another zero at Superhero High, a school without any sports teams.
With the end of the program, her hero older brother now needs a college education, too, meaning the only way Annarenee is getting into Berkeley is on a scholarship. Her dream is slipping through her fingers, no matter how tightly she clings to it. To make matters worse, super hot superhero, Ren Gonzalez, is paying too much attention to her. The kind of attention that has Ren’s ex-girlfriend intent on making Annarenee’s life even more miserable.
But when heroes begin disappearing, zeros and heroes will be forced to team up in order to solve the mystery. If they don’t kill each other first.
This is a blog post I’m writing in conjunction with the suicide prevention hotline, IAMALIVE about embracing your superpower.
My Life as a Socially Awkward Extrovert
Being socially awkward is normally associated with introverts; people who avoid social situations where their awkwardness is on full display. Being labelled weird usually makes people withdraw and avoid settings where their inability to function in socially acceptable ways can be scrutinized. It’s probably what I should have done, but I’m an extrovert by nature. I love being around people. I love talking to them, learning about them, and apparently embarrassing them by asking inappropriate questions or speaking too loudly.
If I was more in tune with the subtle clues of those around me, I would have noticed what was happening and attempted to modify my behavior. But I was too busy just being in the moment to understand what others were subtly trying to communicate to me.
As a teen, I cared far too much what other people thought of me, but I still didn’t get how I was impacting that view by my own graceless interactions. Instead, I was shunned by my best friends in middle school, making the last year of that painfully difficult time, all the more horrific. What made it even worse is that I never knew why. They never told me why I was suddenly persona non grata. To this day I still don’t’ know, but I have to assume it has everything to do with my oddness.
While eighth grade was a nightmare, I made friends on the first day of high school. People I still count as friends today. These people found a way to embrace me the way I was. And even then, I don’t think I understood how my own ways of interacting with others factored into my relationships with them. I was social; had friends in a variety of groups – the party crowd, some jocks, a few brainiacs, and even other floaters like me.
I can’t tell you there was an “ah-ha” moment when I realized I had my quirks. It was more of a slow dawning, like a lazy morning swaying in a hammock beside a lake. I was probably in my mid-twenties when I realized some of my friends would cringe or give me “the look” when I said something I probably shouldn’t have or said it MUCH too loudly.
Once I made the connection, I decided to try to be more socially acceptable. To behave in a way that others expected. But I was uncomfortable; as if I was wearing a shirt that was too tight. Trying to be someone else wasn’t the answer. So what was? To be me. To be the best me I could. I stopped feeling guilty for being who I am and embraced my inner nerd.
Sure, there are times I still say and do all the wrong things, but I’ve accepted that is a part of who I am. I do not shy away from other people. I interact with them in all my geeky glory. My superpower is destigmatizing being different. There is nothing wrong with marching to the beat of your own drum. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.
She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.
When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, affectionately referred to as “the puppycat.”
You can find her online at http://thhernandez.com
- A $25 gift card for the giveaway plus a superhero high t-shirt!