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Teenagers get ‘Smashed’ in young adult novel

Mariela Patron
News Editor

Lisa Luedeke, author of the young adult novel, “Smashed,” signed books and discussed the process she went through to write her book at the Campus Center Ballroom on Wednesday.

Luedeke obtained inspiration for settings and themes for her book from real life places and experiences.

“If you write honestly about universal human experiences you will connect with your readers,” Luedeke said.

“Smashed” centers around Katie Martin, a high school student with an opportunity to leave her small east coast town on a field hockey scholarship.

Unfortunately, Martin begins to have a turbulent relationship with alcohol and her new questionable friend Alec who has an interest in her.

Luedeke wanted to write about experiences every person, specifically teenagers, have gone through, like rejection, loneliness and betrayal.

“You can connect to their friendships,” Tawny France, junior from South Hills High School said.

France found “Smashed” relatable by the way the characters had different personalities, yet were able to have a bond.

Luedeke’s inspiration for the novel came from a car accident she had when she was 17 that left her with 65 stitches.

“It [the accident] was something that lingered in my mind,” Luedeke said.

“Once I got this image (of a crashed car in the woods) in my head, I started asking ‘what if,’” Leudeke said.

Luedeke started playing with different ideas and making different decisions on how the characters got themselves in this situation.

“There are no right or wrong answers, but my decisions are going to affect everything else,” Leudeke said.

Leudeke interacted with the audience and had them come up with their own stories surrounding her image of the car crash while also interpreting the cover.

The cover shows a girl behind shattered glass with a bottle in her hand.

The audience speculated that the shattered glass could be a windshield or a mirror.

“It could be connected to a lot of themes and motifs in her novel,” junior child development major Audrey Rangel said.

The smashed glass could also be more symbolic and portray the idea of shattered dreams, Rangel said.

Rangel’s own experience with a car accident made her feel connected to the book and want to read it.

Upon describing the thought process of writing, Leudeke encouraged teachers to motivate and teach students how to write fiction.

The graduate reading program read “Smashed” as an example of a young adult novel, Jan Pilgreen, director of literacy center, said.

Leudeke’s talk persuaded some attendees to read her novel and buy it after the lecture.

Luedeke is currently writing her second book with the same setting as “Smashed,” but with different characters and from two points of view.

Mariela Patron can be reached at mariela.patron@laverne.edu.

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