Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Love

Hi all,
Lorie here! Well, actually I’m not here. As you read this first blog in our Vacation Fling series, I think it’s vastly appropriate that I’m lounging in my beach chair on Hilton Head Island, book in hand, my toes digging into the sand as the surf laps ever closer. Ahh! Wish you were here!

But I digress, today we’re talking about another vacation and a very different beach—a beach in my distant past. A beach packed with bikini-clad bodies, where insulated cups concealed more than lemonade, and base thumped from the cars cruising past. And boys. Cute boys everywhere! Yes, I’m talking about—Spring Break!

It was my first year away at college and my BFF and I headed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Our first day on the beach, a boy with a Harrison Ford-ish, crooked smile plopped down on the sand beside me and didn’t leave my side for the rest of the week. Rich was nice and funny and one of the best-looking guys I’ve ever seen in real life.
Valerie and Virginia, my BFF Jen in the back and that's Rich sitting next to me on the far right.  

We spent every waking moment together playing in the waves, hanging with our friends or just sitting on the beach sharing details about our lives. One starlit night he told me that the first time he saw me, he knew if he didn’t talk to me, he would regret it for the rest of his life. *Sigh* I just knew I’d found the boy of my dreams. And when we discovered we were both from Ohio and our schools were within a few hours of each other, we agreed it was fate and promised to visit at least once a month and talk on the phone every night.

But faster than I could get the sand out of my clothes, reality set in. This was back in the early 90’s. There were no cell phones or internet, which means no texting, emailing or free long distance. My roommate and I shared one phone with no answering machine and no call waiting. So, while she was talking to her boyfriend for hours on end, I was biting my nails off, dying to know if Rich had tried to call. When we did finally connect, every minute we spent talking on the phone cost money—precious spending money neither of us had to spare.

A few weeks after spring break, Rich made the drive from Ohio University to see me at Miami U. The drive took him over four hours. (No Googlemaps or GPS to warn him ahead of time how long the trip would actually take.) We had a fun weekend, but it was clear that musty old dorm rooms and sorority parties couldn’t compare to our week in the carefree sunshine. Our romance soon fizzled out.

My fourteen-year-old niece told me how she met a boy on vacation in South Carolina last month. They text almost every day, send each other pictures, email and even video chat. Will they fall in love and live happily ever after? At fourteen, a long-term friendship is more likely. But it did make me wonder if things would’ve turned out differently for Rich and I if we’d had the same world-shrinking communication tools. Or if vacation romances are meant to be just that—a perfect moment in time that can’t be replicated in the harsh light of reality.

Your turn! Have you had a crazy, intense romance while on vacation or at camp? How did it turn out?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hot for Teacher: He Blinded Me With Binomials

Picture HIM – Tall, blond. . . uniquely gifted at figuring out the hypotenuse of an isosceles triangle. The kind of guy who struts down the hall and instantly a soundtrack of I’m Bringing Sexy Back blares in your head.

Picture ME – Pale, overweight. . . singularly uninterested in isosceles triangles unless they directly relate to one of my two ultimate goals: 1. Getting the Hell Out of School or 2. World Domination. (I’d have been equally happy with either, incidentally. Still would. But I digress).

So, HIM and ME. A match made in heaven, you say?

I agree.

In fact, this became the topic of many a sordid journal entry throughout my high school career.

Make no mistake, the competition was fierce. I attended a small, private all-girls school plagued by the most heinous polyester kilts ever conceived, along with button-down shirts so box-like they made even the anorexic girl look blobby. And did you catch the part about all-girls? Yup. That means no boys to slow dance with, or sit next to, or talk to, or cast oogly glances toward during study hall.

Just HIM.

Our very own mathgod.

Which probably explains why HE became such a focus of attention.

For hours we’d slave away at the mirror, slathering on the blue-frosted eye shadow and Aquanet hairspray, each girl hoping this would be the day HE’d notice. We did all our homework (plus extra credit). We prepared questions so HE’d stop by our desk, perhaps leaving a soft cloud of Drakkar Noir in HIS magnificent wake. We found reasons to tap HIS shoulder or say “hi” to HIM in the hallway.

For years, this went on. .  .until the JUNIOR CLASS LOCK-IN.

As potential fire hazards go, it was one of the cooler ones. We all showed up on a Friday afternoon, with our jammies and sleeping bags and pillows. Popcorn was popped, mix-tapes exchanged. The ugly girls were made to cry, and the pretty ones consoled one another about their most recent boyfriend dramas. The typical Friday.

Then HE walked in. With his wife.

Now, it honestly never occurred to me that HE might be married. If it had, and if you’d asked me what HIS wife might look like, the image I’d have produced would be something like this:

The reality, however, was more like this:

Which meant, according to the Rules of Dating, that we may have – just possibly – misjudged HIS global appeal.

Yes, when you stripped away our testosterone deprivation, our desperate need for male attention, and our adolescent addiction to fantasy space, all the mystique of HIM – no, check that, him – faded. What we were left with was this:

’Nuff said.

So did I learn my lesson… that just because something’s off-limits doesn’t mean it’s good?

No, I did not.

This was a good thing, or I might not have crushed on (and married) my grad school Teaching Assistant. (Oh, chill-lax, rule-mongers. We didn’t even kiss until after the class was done. AND we told the teacher everything so future-hubby wouldn’t be in charge of my grades.)

Nonetheless, my point stands:

We all romanticize what we can’t have. In fact, the existentialist Arthur Schopenhauer believed humans are innately motivated toward striving. If we ever got our hearts desire, we wouldn’t be happy. . . we’d be bored.

Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with having unattainable goals.

Fantasy is good. Crushes are good.

They keep life interesting.

Just don’t forget to pull your head out of the sandbox occasionally to assess whether you’re actually chasing the Ark of the Covenant, or whether you’re stalking a crate of musty-smelling cat litter.

Because, honestly, they don’t look that different.

Now it’s your turn!

Ever had a fantasy revealed as something… less than expected? 

Cecily White is a Golden Heart finalist and author of the Angel Academy series, coming in 2013 from Entangled Teen. You can connect with Cecily on Twitter, and she'd love for you to add her debut to your Goodreads shelf

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hot for Hotties

Hot teachers. As if.

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure there are hot teachers out there, men who are so devilishly handsome, witty and charming, they make teen girls quiver in their hightops. They just weren't in my school.

Oh, we had male teachers. And some of them thought they were God's gift to the student body. Case in point: Mr. Jr. High Band who dated a student; Mr. Health who had a penchant for leaning his junk up against kids' desks; and Mr. Art, the eternal flirt who was eventually fired for taking things too far.

But a true dreamboat who looked like a movie star, smelled like a fashion model, quipped like debate champion AND had no romantic interest in his students? Not so much. Crushing on that kind of teacher is fun and safe, the stuff of every adolescent girl's dream.

Like for instance, Mr. Shoop in Summer School. Before Mark Harmon solved crimes against the navy, he was the adorable yet lazy summer school teacher forced to babysit a band of misfit students who couldn't pass a basic proficiency exam. He's funny and sarcastic, cool and laid back, and most importantly of all, he rebuffs cute and perky Courtney Thorne-Smith when she makes a move on him. Who wouldn't want him teaching their kids? :)
Or, how about another awesome hunk-o'-teacher, Mr. Griffith in Easy A? Thomas Haden Church is the definition of dreamy. He's cute and hilarious, yet exacting and motivating, and truly cares for his students, especially Olive Penderghast when she takes a turn toward crazy and starts wearing, um "provocative" clothes to school.
Unfortunately, I never ran into these kinds of teachers. Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of teachers who cared, even went out of their way to teach me and help me excel. They just weren't droolworthy specimens of pedagogic manhood. But maybe that's a good thing. Given my teenage penchant for distraction, I probably wouldn't have learned a darn thing.


You can learn more about Lea Nolan at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Her debut novel, CONJURE, is the first book in The Hoodoo Apprentice series. It will be released in mass market trade paperback by Entangled Publishing in October 2012 and is available for pre-orderatAmazon and at Barnes and Noble.

So what about you dear readers? Which teen movie idol teachers come to mind? Who do you wish had been in your classroom?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome Wednesday: Pintip Dunn is Hot at Teacher

Our Golden Heart nominee feature continues with my friend and fellow Marylander, Pintip Dunn. Pintip's entry, Forget Tomorrow sounds great. Best of luck in the Golden Heart, Pintip! Now, tell us why you're Hot for Teacher...
Hot for teacher? Um, no thanks. I did have male teachers at my high school. Maybe they were cute? I have no idea. I just wasn't the type of girl who noticed that kind of thing. To me, there was a sharp dividing line between student and teacher. Teenager and adult. Us versus them. It just never occurred to me to think of a teacher in that way.

Now, hot AT teacher? Oh, yeah, that's happened.

It was my senior year in high school. I was on the debate team, and it meant everything to me. I would spend countless hours researching in the library, and nearly every weekend, I would travel to nearby and far-away schools to compete in debate tournaments. It was my goal to qualify for the national tournament, and I would've done almost anything to do so.

Anything, that is, except jeopardize my chances of getting into my dream college. That fall, the date of the SATs happened to fall on the same weekend as a Very Important Tournament. Now, I no longer remember why this tournament was so important. Maybe it was the last big tournament before the National Qualifier; maybe it was simply a prestigious competition. But my debate coach and I argued over my decision to re-take the SATs. Or rather, he stormed, and I listened. It was as if my previous three years of hard work meant nothing. All of a sudden, if I opted to skip this tournament, I was the worst student ever. I was letting down my squad, my partner, myself.

I left this argument absolutely mortified. My debate coach wasn't just disappointed in me. He was angry. And short of changing my mind (which wasn't happening), there wasn't a thing I could do about it.

The following Monday, I walked into fourth period class with sweating palms. But when my debate coach asked to speak with me, it wasn't to chew me out. Instead, he apologized.

Apologized! He had overreacted, he said, and upon further consideration, he could understand where I was coming from, and he was sorry he let his emotions get the best of him.

I may or may not have gaped during this entire speech. No adult had ever spoken to me this way before. As if no line existed between teacher and student. As if we were equals.

I've had many wonderful and inspirational mentors in my life. But one of the most important lessons I've learned comes from this moment.

We may be at different stages in our lives, but we all deserve respect. To this day, I am as likely to apologize to a colleague as to my three-year-old child. If I have overreacted, if I have said things I didn't mean, then the recipient of my words deserves an apology -- regardless of age.

You know what else I learned? Teachers are human, just like me (gasp!). Knowing what I know now, if I could go back to my high school years, would I find any of my teachers hot?

Hmmm, I'll have to think on that one...

Pintip Dunn lives with her husband and children in Maryland. She is a 2012 Golden Heart finalist in the YA category and is represented by Beth Miller of Writers House. She blogs at the Waterworld Mermaids.

Thanks so much for visiting with us, Pintip! I love that your teacher was humble enough to swallow his pride and do the right thing. A very good example, indeed.

So how about you, dear readers? Did you have an inspirational mentor? What did he or she teach you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Special Monday Giveaway

Hi All! 
Lorie Here! This morning we're breaking from our regular schedule because we are too excited to wait for this giveaway! Over the weekend I had the distinct pleasure of attending a writing workshop given by the fabulous, NY Times best selling author, Cinda Williams Chima. It was an amazing day of soaking up Cinda's authorial wisdom. She even went for coffee with a few of us, including Carey and Melissa, after the workshop. Squee!

And because Cinda is the kind and generous woman she is, she left us with a few gifts, which of course, we are going to share with you! 

One lucky Honestly YA follower can win a gorgeous *signed* poster of the new Crimson Crown cover art and a *signed* book plate!

The Crimson Crown is the final book in The Seven Realms Series. It will go on sale Oct. 23, 2012.

How can you win? It's easy! You must:

1. Be a follower of this blog. (Click the blue button on the upper right-hand side of the page that says "Join this site.")

2. Leave a comment to this post and include your contact information. (yourname (at) email (dot) com) We promise not to use your email for any nefarious purpose, such as framing you for murder or adding you to a newsletter.

3. Due to the high cost of international shipping, this giveaway is only open to US residents. By participating, you agree to the rules set forth on our contest disclaimer page.

4. That's it! The contest closes, Friday, July 20th, at 5pm EDT. At that time, we'll assign each comment a number and use to choose the winner. If the winner doesn't respond within 48 hours, we'll choose another winner, and so on.

Feel free to share the news with your friends...just know it won't earn you extra entries. We're all about keepin' it simple here at Honestly YA.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Welcome Wednesday: Two Time Golden Heart Finalist, Amanda Brice

“Normally it would be pervy for a middle-aged man to touch a teenager’s rear. But there hasn’t been anything normal about my life ever since I moved to Arizona this fall.”

Those are the opening lines to the second book in my Dani Spevak Mystery Series, Pointe of No Return. The middle-aged man in question is my heroine’s dance teacher, a Soviet-era soloist with the Kirov who defected during a US tour.

I didn’t go to a performing arts boarding school like Dani, and there was a distinct lack of mystery-solving going on, but my tween and teen years were definitely shaped by countless hours at the studio. Between classes, private lessons, and rehearsals, I spent around 30-ish hours dancing every week in addition to the regular academic workload of, well, middle school and high school. Needless to say, my life revolved around dance.

So when Carey told me that this month’s topic was all about teachers, I knew I had to write about dance teachers. One specific dance teacher, actually – the director of the studio I attended. We’ll call him Mr. K.

Like Grigor Dmilov, Dani’s intimidating teacher in Pointe of No Return, most of us were scared of Mr. K. No, I take that back. We weren’t exactly scared of him, but we respected his authority and didn’t want to risk his wrath. He wasn’t a former Soviet soloist, but he’d worked with some of the top names in the biz during his own performance career. And he had a very impressive track record for turning out dancers who went on to dance on Broadway or in ballet companies.

I’m very grateful to Mr. K for instilling a strong work ethic in me, which to this today continues in my non-dance pursuits such as writing. I also love the memories I have of performing. Some of the best times of my life.

But even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was also engaged in some very risky behavior. Mr. K was notorious for holding weekly weigh-ins. Dancers had been moved to the back of a routine – or worse, out of the piece entirely – for such minor infractions as being even a pound above what he felt they should be. (Which had nothing to do with actual medically-recommended body mass charts, of course.)
We lived in fear of having to sit out of a performance. Because a dancer’s not a dancer if she doesn’t dance, you know?

When I was 13, I was cast as an understudy in Gaité Parisienne, this fabulous 1890’s can-can ballet (which is probably why I wrote my as-yet-unpublished 2008 Golden Heart finalist, Party Like It’s 1899). I didn’t think I’d get to perform, but at the last minute, one of the older girls got hospitalized for bulimia.

I was thrilled. Pretty morbid, huh? But it seemed like fabulous luck at the time. Looking back, I realize just how warped that was, and also realize how disordered my own eating really was – even if I was never officially diagnosed. But it just seemed normal to me. We didn’t want to get Mr. K upset with us, so we did what we had to do.

Codename: Dancer and Pointe of No Return are lighthearted and fun, but they also tackle the very serious issue of eating disorders in the dance world.

My new fave fictional dance teachers these days are this pair, Fanny – played by Gilmore Girls alumna Kelly Bishop – and Michelle, Broadway darling Sutton Foster. (Although I regret to say there’s been a distinct lack of singing and dancing coming from Ms. Foster. Why cast a Tony Award-winner if you’re not going to use her talents?)

Anyone else watching Bunheads? If so, then you know that teenage character Boo is an excellent dancer despite not having the stereotypical ballet body.


Although Fanny’s tactics to keep Boo alive in the auditions during this week’s episode bordered on the ridiculous, it showed that she believes in her and wants her to succeed without having to resort to starvation diets. Although you’d never call her “fat,” Boo will never have a long, lithe body because she’s short. But that doesn’t mean she should give up her dream. I do hope the show will continue to portray a healthy body image and use the pulpit they’ve created to tackle eating disorders head on.

YOUR TURN: Tell us about a teacher who encouraged you to follow your dreams.

Amanda Brice lives a double life. During the day she’s an intellectual property attorney for a large federal government agency. At night she writes young adult mystery novels with a touch of romance. A two-time Golden Heart finalist, she’s the president of Washington Romance Writers. Barnes & Noble called her newest release, Pointe of No Return, a “compelling read from an author you need to know.” You can learn more at

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot for Teacher? I'm so sure.

Picture if you will the fine ladies of Honestly YA sitting around brainstorming upcoming topics for the blog. You're just picturing it in your head, so you can go ahead and imagine us all in one place, maybe with snacks.

In reality, we're scattered across the country, each sitting at our own pc's. My esteemed colleagues are gleeful with the idea of doing Hot for Teacher. My reaction? Not quite as enthusiastic. Why? Three (make that four) guesses -- here's a hint:

Okay, so my teachers didn't wear black habits. But the rest is pretty accurate. G'head, pick one to get all hot and bothered over. I dare you.

In fairness, we did have two (count 'em, TWO!) male teachers in the school. One taught spanish...I took French (with a nun). The other taught art, which was a lot like having Tim Gunn teach you to paint. Invaluable, wonderful, no need to waste time on a crush, know what I'm saying?

Why couldn't I have had this glee club instructor?

Or this English teacher?

or for pete's sake, even a librarian!

But no. I had this:

Okay, not really. To the best of my knowledge none of my teachers were actually men hiding out from mobsters by dressing as nuns. But you see my point. There wasn't a whole lot of dreamy-eyed thoughts of teachers.

On the plus side, I really had nothing much to focus on while being educated other than, you know, being educated. And I supposed that really is a good thing. Plus, just think of it. Some day here at Honestly YA we'll have a "Your Favorite Nun" topic and I'll be all set!!

So while we're waiting for those pigs to get done with their flying lessons, here's something for you to help out with. Who is your favorite TV teacher? Who would you have really liked to have grading your papers or writing out hall passes? come on! Share your knowledge ; )


Friday, July 6, 2012

Cinda Williams Chima Workshop Announcement

Cincinnati welcomes Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times Best-sellingYA Author for 7/14 workshop

Workshop Description:

Developing Characters Your Readers will Love

Characters are critical in engaging readers and driving story. In this
interactive writing workshop, participants learn to develop compelling
viewpoint and oppositional characters, identify what their characters want,
and use those desires to drive plot and conflict. Effective techniques for
delivering character and allowing readers to participate in story are

About Cinda Williams Chima:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima grew up
with talking animals and kick-butt Barbies. She began writing poetry and
stories in third grade, and novels in junior high school. Her Heir
Chronicles young adult contemporary fantasy series includes The Warrior Heir
(2006), The Wizard Heir (2007), and The Dragon Heir (2008), all from
Hyperion, with two more books forthcoming.

Chima's best-selling YA high fantasy Seven Realms series launched with The
Demon King (2009), followed by The Exiled Queen (September, 2010) and The
Gray Wolf Throne (August, 2011.) The Crimson Crown is scheduled for fall,

Chima's books have received starred reviews in Kirkus and VOYA, among
others. They have been named Booksense and Indie Next picks, an
International Reading Association Young Adult Choice, a New York Public
Library Book for the Teen Age, to the Kirkus Best YA list, and the VOYA
Editors' Choice, Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and Perfect Tens
lists. Her books also appear on numerous state awards lists. Both series are
New York Times bestsellers.

Chima was a recipient of the 2008 Lit Award for Fiction from the Cleveland
Lit and was named a Cleveland Magazine Interesting Person 2009. She lives in
Ohio with her family, and is always working on her next novel.

Join Cinda at the Oasis in Cincinnati, Ohio 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. on July 14!

The Oasis Conference Center
902 Loveland-Miamiville Road
Loveland, Ohio 45140

Cost for non-OVRWA members $20.*

* Advance registration required. Spaces limited. 

To register, or for more information, visit

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Welcome Wednesday: Meg Kassel's The Honors English Club

I am beyond thrilled to introduce our first guest blog by this year's Young Adult Golden Heart nominees. Meg Kassel's entry, The Silent Sister, sounds very intriguing. Best of luck in the Golden Heart, Meg! Now, tell us how you're Hot for Teacher...

I cannot think about high school without one particular teacher popping to mind. I can honestly say she changed my life. In fact, if it weren’t for her, I wouldn't be a writer today. She was my 9th grade English teacher (let's call her Miss Austin) and she really, really didn’t like me.

Miss Austin was a very pretty and very fresh-out-of-college teacher. The boys drooled over and the girls looked at her and thought, "it might be okay to get old (as in, over 20) if I could look like that." Miss Austin wore oversized cardigans with designer heels and enjoyed a perky gang of fangirls who loved her, Mr. Darcy, Volkswagons and all the versions of that song, "Big Yellow Taxi.”
No offense to Colin Firth. He’s actually quite dishy.
But I, having never been skilled at the art of pointless adoration, did not belong to this club. Miss Austin did not inspire me to stay after school to discuss, A Tale of Two Cities, for fun. My general sullen disposition along with dark-ish essay topics earned me more than one wrinkled nose and sarcastic comment from her. So, I really should have seen it coming. I should have expected that despite my straight A’s, she wouldn't want my introverted, cynical self in her class the following year. I was denied my one goal: Honor's English. I know, my goals were nerdy even then.
Ah yes. I got this look a lot.
When Miss Austin posted the Honors English list, and I wasn't on it, I ended my fantasies of being a writer and resigned myself to plain old English with everyone else. What was the point? If I wasn't good enough for Honors, I certainly wasn't good enough to hack it out there with all those amazing authors who wrote my favorite books. Luckily, my art teacher did like me. I was accepted into the elite "studio track" art classes, and that was that. I was an art girl. Writing was just for fun after that.

But that wasn’t the end of the story, obviously. Eventually, I got over my first true rejection, but it took a long time and a lot of personal growth. The thing is, writing a book is hard. The business of writing is even harder. It takes endurance and an almost obsessive determination to keep going through rejections. To keep learning more and working harder. Back when I just got out of college, I didn’t have it. I had too little confidence and too much drama. I would have folded, like so many others do. I know this.

So wherever you are, Miss Austin, thank you for sticking me in general English. You inadvertently set me on a course that I am thrilled with, humbled by and eternally grateful for.

A Jersey girl, born and raised, Meg lives with her husband and daughter in Maine. She is a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist in the YA category and is represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey Klinger agency. You can learn more about her at website and on twitter.

So Meg's got a question for you, gentle readers, did a negative experience ever turn out for the best in the end?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Don’t Stand So Close to Me

Dear Honest Reader,
Lorie here. What you’re about to read is a cautionary tale that’s not easy for me to share. But I hope telling my story may save you or someone you love from a similar fate.  

The summer before my sophomore year, I did something naive and incredibly stupid. I’d signed up for an 8-week gym class so I wouldn’t have to take P.E. during the school year—this wasn’t the stupid part. Why go to class soaked in sweat when I could earn that credit over the summer?

The stupid part involves my reaction to the gym teacher/assistant football coach, Mr. B. He was tall, blond, athletic, and fresh out of college. From day one, Mr. B paid attention to me…a lot of attention. As a shy teen who’d just gotten her braces off, I was dumbfounded. What could this gorgeous, older guy, who all the girls twittered about in the locker room, see in skinny, awkward me?

The first week of class, Mr. B singled me out by yelling at me every chance he got. “Get it moving, Luneke! Is that the best you can do?!” (Yes, Luneke was my maiden name and I caught a ton of grief for it.) Finally, after several consecutive days of this treatment, I’d had enough. “Yes!” I yelled back, “As a matter of fact, it is!” He grinned, apparently getting the reaction he’d been seeking. But my assertiveness didn’t defuse the situation. Instead, his taunts became more aggressive and personal, until one day I marched up to him—my teacher—and yelled right in his face.

I’ll never forget the admiring look he gave me in that moment, or the excitement in his eyes. For the first time in my life, I became aware of my power as a woman. It was exhilarating and terrifying all at once.

I began experimenting with my newfound power by catching his eye and smiling at him across the field, or making excuses to go talk to him and standing a little too close. He’d give me his dimpled grin and I went all gooey inside. The other students noticed, because one morning a few of them asked me to talk Mr. B out of making us do our morning calisthenics routine, and it worked! Instead, Mr. B and I chatted and teased for the whole twenty minutes. Suddenly, getting up at the crack-of-dawn all summer didn’t seem so bad.

Soon, Mr. B was using any excuse to touch my arm or adjust my posture during exercises, or lean over to whisper some inane comment in my ear. My internal alarm—that intuitive spirit inside us all—began to sound. At first, it was a weak buzzing. Flirting with my young, good-looking teacher seemed harmless, not to mention, for the first time in my life, I felt wanted. Every morning his face would light up when he saw me, and I knew I made the sweltering days of never-ending gym class bearable for him too.

But when we started a swimming rotation things changed. Mr. B became almost possessive. He would walk along the side of the pool as I was swimming, and stand in front of the pool ladder when I was trying to climb out. The alarm in my head grew to a steady wail.

Then one day I got out of the pool and Mr. B wrapped a towel around my shoulders and began to dry me off. I freaked. I told him to get away and pushed at his arms, but he laughed. When I finally slipped away from him, I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall. Disgust, embarrassment and fear battled inside me. The flirtation no longer felt harmless.

The next week I became nauseous during class and ran to the girl’s locker room. Mr. B followed me. Honestly, I don’t remember the exact words of that confrontation, but I do know when he tried to make his move I shut him down and told him never to touch me again.

The taunts and touching stopped; he couldn’t even seem to meet my eyes. But I was ashamed. I worried that it was my fault for encouraging him, and enjoying his attention.

On the last day of summer school, Mr. B handed out the grade cards. When I walked up to get mine, he yanked it back and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “I wonder how you got that grade?” And then he threw the grade card at me. It was an A-.

Looking back, I now realize it was wrong of Mr. B to touch me, even though I flirted with him. As a teacher, he should have ignored the attention of a naive 15-year-old student. But I wish I'd done things differently. I wish I'd gone to the principal as soon as the first alarm bell sounded in my head.

Friends, it’s a miracle my situation didn’t result in seriously devastating consequences. But later, I heard rumors of other girls who hadn’t resisted Mr. B’s charms. Maybe if I’d stepped up and reported him, I could’ve stopped it. Maybe not. But at least I would’ve done the right thing.

How about you, honest reader? Have there been any teacher’s who were more of a negative influence than a positive one?