14 January

A Special Note From Laurie Boyle Crompton

Pretty in Punxsutawneyhas such a clear premise it really was fun to write. Which isn’t to say it was easyto write. I love new challenges and keeping Andie’s story moving despite the repetitiveness of her days was certainly something I worked hard on. Sometimes, I felt like I was caught in my own repeating loop as I needed to start and restart chapters until I figured out Andie’s next move. Fortunately, I loved spending time with her! And I believe readers will too!

One of my favorite things about Andie is the way she handles being an outsider. Even before she gets caught in her time loop, she is forced to find her way in a brand-new town. She manages to turn her love of film into a new friendship at the movie theater and she’s brave enough to get close to her crush. When the first day of school rolls around she’s actually in a strong position for a successful start! Of course, things don’t go quite as expected.

Once Andie starts repeating her first day over and over she becomes even more of an outsider. She isn’t able to build new friendships because every morning her classmates all forget that she even existed. I admire Andie’s spirit and love the way that even when she is the most frustrated, she never loses her sense of humor. She is completely stuck and feels utterly helpless, but still finds ways to laugh at her own inner-dialogue. She is never truly alone because she is a good companion to herself!

I think we have all felt like outsiders at one time or another. Sometimes we even experience this within our own families. No matter how well people know us, or have similar views or shared histories, we are each unique and this leads to sometimes feeling alone. That sense of awkwardness at feeling like an outsider is something that is completely universal. Not that it makes it any easier when you feel like everyone is watching you as you sit alone at the cafeteria!

And speaking of sitting alone in the cafeteria, I love to point out to teens that they have a little trick called ‘scroll on your phone and pretend you’re talking to your actual friends’ anytime you happen to feel a bit overly awkward and alone. When I was in school, we had no choice but to allow the awkwardness to wash over our whole being as we felt the entire room staring and whispering about us. Of course, it only feltas if everyone was watching us sit in a puddle of awkward. Mostly everyone was more worried about how awkward and lonely theyseemed too.

We may not have had cellphones, but fortunately, books have always made for great companions. And I may not have had many friends, but I was never alone when I had a book with me. And so, I always had a book in my schoolbag! Which pretty much led me on this path of becoming an author and hopefully helping other teens who may feel like they are complete outsiders to feel a little bit less alone. And in order to combat that pesky awkward moment or two when you might feel like you look like a lonely loser, may I suggest carrying a copy of Pretty in Punxsutawneyas a perfect companion!

It’s okay to read it more than once. Just as Andie learned, sometimes repetition can be a good thing!

-Laurie Boyle Crompton