GUEST POST & PLAYLIST: AUTHOR BETHANY CRANDELL
Today at All The Write Notes, author Bethany Crandell stops by to give us some insight into the playlist for her upcoming debut Young Adult book, SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS. ENJOY!
I was nine years-old and at sleep-away camp for the first time. Days were occupied launching arrows at bulls-eyes and hiking through the lower hills of the Rocky Mountains, while nights were reserved for campfire fun: roasting marshmallows and listening to stories I knew were nonsense but scared the crap out of me anyway. It was where I held a boy’s hand for the first time, and experienced what life was like under rules not created by my parents.
Saturday night marked the last night of camp—and also the lip synch competition. Some kids were nervous about getting on stage, but my sisters and I had been perfecting routines in our basement for years–this was a no brainer–my only concern was the song selection since each group was assigned a song at random. Considering the first group got stuck with ‘Rockin’ Robin’, there was no telling what atrocity might happen. The head counselor pulled my group’s song title out of the hat and… that’s when magic happened.
Starship couldn’t have performed ‘We Built this City’ any better than my group and I did that night, which explains why we won. Our prize wasn’t anything significant—an extra trip to the camp store—but it was hugely impactful in my life, and in my love affair with music. To this day, whenever I hear that song, I’m transported back to that mountainside stage and the memories of that amazing week away from home. It’s what helped me determine the setting of my novel, and also the songs that would accompany the story.
Since SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS is overflowing with unique and eccentric characters, it was only fitting that the soundtrack do the same. I won’t go into great detail with my song selections, but I guarantee there will be a familiar song here for anyone who reads the book. And that was the plan. I want readers to be transported back to that special place in time like I was.
Seventeen-year-old Cricket Montgomery was born with a silver spoon in her mouth (though Tiffany Platinum would have been preferred). So when her father rips her from her cashmere comfort zone and ships her off to work at a rural Michigan summer camp, she is less than thrilled. Adding to her horror is the arrival of two short buses and the realization that she will be a counselor to teens with special needs.
What puzzles Cricket more than just a world without Vuitton bags and four-star dining, is why these “strange-faced” kids are so happy, despite their obvious differences. But between being force fed a hearty dose of reality (by a very cute co-counselor) and organizing the end-of-summer talent show, Cricket might be able to survive this summer one wheelchair spoke at a time.