I realize that outside of my circle of beta-readers (who have been nothing short of spectacular, by the way!), that there haven’t been many revelations about the story itself. So, I decided to open myself up to questions from both beta-readers and those of you that are considering purchasing The Place We Went to Yesterday.
To kick things off, I’m going to start with a general request for more details to be released. I’ve been working to put a trailer together for the book launch and I showed it to one of my mentors (David Garten – co, founder of Ask What Matters) who gave me some sage advice, but also reiterated that there are still so many open questions about the story itself.
When we meet Ella, she is simply going through the motions to get through her typical day. A product of rape, she is despised by her mother and only barely tolerated by her siblings. She’s sixteen, out-of-shape and surrounded by poverty in Manhattan’s Lower East Side projects.
After a rumor spreads that she is gay, her overly traditional Puerto Rican parents beat her and she barely makes her escape. She is moved to foster care in Brooklyn which despite being right over the bridge she has seen all her life, may as well be a foreign country. She quickly discovers that her foster mother is abusing her own daughter – eight year old, Anne – and without divulging any family secrets, manages to get moved into a group home so as to not to have to continue being privy to the abuse.
It doesn’t take long for her to be singled out in the group home. She sticks out like a sore thumb. Introverted and quiet, Ella’s strategy is to fly under the radar. That doesn’t work for Lara – a fellow Latina – who shares her bunk. Lara takes Ella under her wing and teaches her the ins and outs of surviving in the home. On a series of walks along the High Line in Manhattan, Lara and Ella develop their friendship.
All of this begins to unravel after a physical altercation breaks out. Ella is hospitalized and Lara is placed into foster care. Ella realizes she needs to break the cycle of poverty and violence in which she is surrounded and begins to work with, rather than against, the leaders in the home. With Ms. Kole and Ms. Jackson’s help, she finishes high school and begins to move towards independence and success.
The Place We Went to Yesterday is more than a coming-of-age tale. It’s a realistic look at what life is like for many of today’s modern day urban youth.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the High Line, so stay tuned! In the meantime, you can pre-order your copy now for $2.99!