Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrating A Need So Beautiful with Random Acts of Kindness

In case you didn't know, as of today you can FINALLY buy yourselves a copy of the fabulous Suzanne Young's A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!


*tosses sparkles everywhere*

(You can read my gushing review HERE)

And to celebrate this amazing book, a group of authors and bloggers have teamed up for a very special blogging event.

(yes, I know, it's kind of a blogfest. What can I say? When a book is this awesome I'll compromise my no-blogfests policy) :)

So here's what's going down. Since A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL is all about a girl who feels an uncontrollable "need" to help strangers--despite tremendous personal sacrifice--we've all gotten together to share a story about how a simple act of kindness affected our lives. And then we're paying that act of kindness forward with an awesome contest for you guys. (With some seriously amazing prizes to be won!) Details are listed below.

But first--my story!

I'll start by saying that I try very, VERY hard to be a nice person. I'm not perfect--by any stretch of the imagination. But I TRY. And had it not been for a single act of kindness during my freshman year of high school ... I'm not sure if that would've been the case.

I'm sure this will come as a HUGE shock (or...not at all) but I was a HUGE nerd in middle school. I went through the mother of all awkward phases (no really--I have pictures to prove it) (and no, I will not be posting them) (I may aim for niceness, but I'm not an idiot). Just believe me when I say it was bad guys. I was not cute. Not even a little bit.

And then, over the course of my freshman year, things started to ... change.

I got taller, thinner, learned how to dress a little better and how to put on make-up. I was hardly the hottest girl in school, but it was a vast improvement. And people started to notice. The bullying calmed down. Some of the "cool" kids actually talked to me. I guess you could say I was "transitioning."

Which is where Tommy* came in.

Tommy was ... well, lets just say even the old, awkward Shannon looked cool next to Tommy. Short. Freckles. Glasses. Braces. Stocky. He was a living, breathing Nerd-Stereotype. And... he decided that he liked me. And made it very clear. By talking to me ALL the time. And following me between classes. And pretty much making my life as humiliating as possible.

I tried ignoring him. I tried avoiding him. But he wouldn't be deterred. And one day in the lunch line I finally reached my breaking point. He was two people ahead of me in line, talking my ear off in his loud, squeaky voice, making everyone stare at us, and I. just. wanted. it. to. stop.

I don't remember what I said. Just that when I was done, for the first time all year, Tommy was quiet.

I'll never forget the look on his face. Humiliation, with a dash of hurt and disappointment. I knew that look. I'd worn it pretty much every day for the entirety of middle school.

But I immediately started to shrug it off. He drove me to it. Followed me around like a yapping puppy and wouldn't leave me be. Which was--to be fair--technically true. So I was about to let myself off the hook. Until I got to the cashier.

I handed her my money and she told me my lunch had already been paid for.

By Tommy.

I was stunned. I'd humiliated him in front of everyone. Told him horrible cruel things. And instead of getting mad at me, he bought me lunch.

And that's when I realized he was a way better person than me. And that I didn't like who I was becoming. Somehow I was turning into one of the awful bullies I used to hate. And I didn't EVER want to be that person. 

I won't lie and let you guys think Tommy and I became fast friends from that moment on. But we did find a sort of truce. He scaled back on the nerdy-stalker vibe he had going on. And I was never mean to him again.

I doubt he had any idea that Snapple lemonade and bag of chips (yes, I had horrible eating habits even back then) would have such an impact. But it did. It made me realize that we always have two choices. To be nice. Or to be mean. And from that moment on, I have always striven to be nice. 

Which is why I was so quick to jump on this blogfest blogging event. Not only do I get to support a book--and an author--I love. But I get to give something back. 

Check out the amazing list of prizes we're giving away:

First 3 chapter critique (Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic)
YA Lit Swag Bag (Sara at Novel Novice)
Hourglass Order from TBD – Int (Corrine at Lost for Words)
First 3 chapters Critique (Cindy at Books Complete Me)
First 15 pages Critique (Kari at A Good Addiction)
Signed ARC of Hereafter (Kari at A Good Addiction)
Query Letter Critique (Shannon Messenger)
Signed copy of Invincible Summer – US/Can (Hannah Moskowitz)
First Chapter Critique and a Skype Chat (Keri Mikulski)
Signed copy of Tell Me a Secret with signed TMAS art print - US (Holly Cupala)
First Chapter Critique (Lisa and Laura Roecker)
Signed copy of Chasing Brooklyn – US (Lisa Schroeder)
The Pledge Swag Pack including ARC (Kimberly Derting)
5 Copies of A Need So Beautiful (to 5 winners, through her FB page) (Daisy Whitney)

There will be one winner per item. 

Three of those lucky winners will get a special grand, bonus prize: A SIGNED COPY OF A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The contest will run June 21 - 28

Click HERE to fill out the entry  form.
(and please, only fill it out once--not once per blog/website. We're all linking to the same contest form)

Want more entries?

Earn one extra entry for each of the following:
Take a picture of an author's book in the wild and tweet it to us and the author
Post a positive Amazon review for a book you loved
Donate a book to a library or classroom
Tweet a good deed you plan to do this week, using the #ANeedSoBeautiful hashtag

Earn 10 extra entries for each of the following:

Take a picture of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL in the wild and tweet it to us and Suzanne Young
Post an Amazon review for A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL
Donate a copy of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL to a library or classroom

Any questions? Ask away in the comments.

Good luck!

*name has been changed out of respect for privacy


  1. Great contest. I try too to be the nice person I am everyday. Sometimes I don't meet my goal. But I keep trying.

    I have an ARC of The Need So Beautiful. Am looking forward to reading it.

  2. What a great story! Things like that stick with you forever. I've had a few random acts of kindness happen to me and I'll never forget them.
    Can't wait to read this book!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I'm always amazed when people are kind to me despite my failings. They inspire me to do the same for others, too. :)

  4. Awesome story!

    I so want to get my hands on a copy of A Need So Beautiful.

  5. Tommy* was, despite all appearances to the contrary, a class act. Odd who are teachers can sometimes be.

    Thanks for your honesty in telling this story, Shannon. A Need So Beautiful sounds like an amazing concept.

  6. I think we forget it's so easy to be cruel in middle/high school. I'm pretty sure I could have handled some things better. Thanks for sharing this story!

  7. Wow! Beautiful and sad story. I think we all have a JHS/HS/Secondary School story where we do soemthing that we're mortifyingly ashoamed of then and forever.

  8. Very cool story - Tommy sounds like he was a nice kid, just misguided. Here's hoping life turned out good for him too :)

  9. What a fun and feel-good contest! :)
    Can't wait to read this one.

  10. Thanks for sharing about your random act of kindness. I wonder where Tommy is now? Sounds like a great contest. Good luck to everyone who enters!


Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Any arguing or intense debate--on any subject will be removed. Let's keep this a safe, fun space.