Samantha Cross has always been in her older sister Veronica’s shadow, but this could be a summer of big changes. When the Cross girls move with their mother from Calmer Cove to the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Samantha’s first friend is a handsome eighteen-year-old boy, Ben Swift. Samantha watches the inevitable sparks fly between Ben and Veronica and she knows she can’t compete with her sister’s beauty and flirtatious charms. Maybe, she dreams, Ben will tire of Ronnie and appreciate Sam’s love of books and artistic talents. And maybe he will notice those pretty green eyes behind her glasses.
What sounds like a simple story of first love is much more complex, however, because the Cross family has been upended by crisis. The girls’ parents have separated, money is tight and their mother Darlene is drinking too much. Between Darlene working the night shift and her father far away in Alberta, Sam and Ronnie are on their own to navigate the new social terrain. High school starts in a couple months but for now it’s new friends, parties and Ben.
Ben may seem like the perfect guy, but he is keeping his own family problems shut tight in his head. As the weeks pass, sibling rivalry, jealousy, misunderstandings and fistfights add tension to romance and friendship and the Cross family spirals towards disaster.
Calmer Girls is a realistic and at times, edgy Young Adult coming of age novel, taking the typical problems of adolescence and placing it in a part of the world many people have not seen. Perry also includes the important themes of alcoholism, abuse and economic downturn to make her story both relevant and meaningful. Set in the 1990s, readers will also enjoy many references to popular music, including Pearl Jam, Green Day, REM and Nirvana.
I very much enjoyed reading Calmer Girls. Newfoundland, Canada sounds like a beautiful place and it’s easy to picture the scenes, thanks to Perry’s descriptive talent. From a sizzling plate of “chips” and gravy, seasoned with packets of vinegar and salt, to city street scenes and the beauty of the sea, Calmer Girls is both a love story and a visit to a charming place.
Although I'm not normally a reader of YA fiction, it was easy to relate to these well-drafted characters and the difficulties their lives posed. From parental divorce and a move to two teen sisters falling for the same boy. Lots of drama with real-life consequences make this an important read for teens of a similar age. But with its rich description and ability to take the reader back to his or her own youth, adults will enjoy it too. I also loved the setting of Newfoundland, Canada. Took me to a place I haven't read much about before.
This book really grabbed me. If you have experienced or are experiencing adolescence or have any Newfoundland blood in you, you will feel at home with this book. The description of the plot provided by Amazon only hints at all of the twists and turns of the story. And then there are the more “mature” scenes…
Samantha and Veronica have an uneasy relationship, then Ben enters and sparks and consequences fly. The book provides vivid descriptions and is solidly rooted in time and place. The story moves along smartly and you are always curious about what will happen next.
We had a lovely gathering of folks here today, to hear Jennifer Kelland Perry read an excerpt from her debut novel, Calmer Girls. I am very happy to have been able to host this book signing event...so impressed with Jennifer's skills as a writer.
I am even more pleased to be reading the sequel, Calmer Secrets, as one of Jennifer's first readers. I'm enjoying it thoroughly, especially as it's set in a time and place very familiar to me. Lots of parallels with my own life to make me smile.
All I can think, is that these books would make a great tv series or movie! - Janet Davis, Norton's Cove Studio Website
My Book Signing Event was a success!
The Launch included an introduction and bio, a short author reading of an excerpt from Calmer Girls, question period, and sale and signing of books.
I wish to bestow a huge thank-you to everyone who took time out of their Saturday to attend. It meant the world to me. Several of you even drove from out of town to be there, and for that I am forever grateful.
I also wish to thank Jewel S. Cousens, B.A., M.L.S., NL Librarian with the A.C. Hunter Public Library, Arts & Culture Centre, for all of her valuable assistance, as well as her insight and suggestions for future promotions. Ms. Cousens was happy to tell us that interest in Newfoundland and Labrador books has grown in recent years and continues to grow.
Special appreciation to my husband and family for everything you did to make this past weekend one I will never forget.
I hope you enjoy the photos and the slide show I’ve shared below.