Teenage Temptation & Personal Honor by Meena Jelks Genre:Teen Fiction/ Contemporary Age category:Young Adult Release Date:May 31, 2016
Fifteen year old Gaby swore she’d always put books before boys. She could solve an algebraic expression faster than anyone in her class, play Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor with better technique than her music teacher, but couldn’t tell her best friend Anna that she secretly adored her older brother, Josh.
Gaby’s secret feelings tormented her for almost a year. Now that they were all going to be counselors at Camp Sesquahade for the summer, Gaby wondered how long she’d be able to keep her own secret.
Surrounded by temptation, she worries about shattering her good-girl image. Will Gaby get through summer without falling victim to her furtive feelings? How can she be with Josh while standing firm on her values and morals?
Note from the author: My YA novel, Teenage Temptation & Personal Honor, is finally complete at 74,059 words. Fifteen-year-old Gabrielle Perez is a straight A good-girl musical prodigy. Gaby comes from a hard-working, two parent, loving home, lives in an upper-middle class neighborhood in a small town in upstate NY and has lived a pretty sheltered life up until now. With her junior year ending and summer camp looming around the corner, Gaby isn’t sure how long she can keep her secret from her best friend, Anna. What’s her secret: she is in love with Anna’s older brother Josh. Gaby is forced to deal with her hidden feelings this summer as they all attend Camp Sesquahade as summer counselors. Over the summer, Gaby gets a taste of her first kiss, first crush and first heartache. She realizes quickly that being book smart isn’t the same as being street smart. And that being into a boy doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give into your desires. Gaby is faced with the decision to follow behind what all her friends are doing, or staying true to her values and morals. But Gaby’s life is changing with unexpected and meaningful relationships that broaden her sense of what love and loss is. These new relationships along with the discovery of love, maturing and following your dreams leads Gaby down a path of uncertainty and confusion. How will she ever learn to balance it all? This is a coming of age story of self-discovery, self-empowerment and how the many shapes of love – maternal, romantic and platonic – lead to Gaby’s struggle to come to terms with growing up and owning your destiny. This novel was has been a labor of love for so very long. I hope that you enjoy reading it. My personal experiences as a teenager (oh so many years ago) being exposed to similar scenarios and just having a longing for characters that realistically portray a young girl’s growing up.
Intoxicated with happiness, time flew by and the party wound down. Everyone said goodbye. Josh stayed behind to help me clean up the mess. Just as I was ready to head back to the cabin, I saw Josh sitting and looking out into the waves. He motioned for me to sit down next to him. With a pounding heart, I fell to my knees.
“I’m not afraid anymore,” I whispered. “I want to be with you. I want to be yours.”
Without any words, he kissed me. There was so much heat between us that I felt like my clothes would catch fire. His hands had become curious wanting to explore my curves, and I was so swept up in a passionate current of emotion that I didn’t stop them. He caressed me in places, awakening desires I never knew existed. I didn’t ask him to stop or push him away. Encouraged, he took off his shirt and laid me down on the sand. My thighs pulsated, my head was dizzy. He kissed me again at the base of my neck. His kisses were like fire. Still, I didn’t pull away. All I could think about was how good it felt. I didn’t want it to end. I felt like I was in purgatory but in the back of my mind, I knew this temporary pleasure would cause me permanent pain. With that realization, my body stiffened.
“What’s wrong, Gaby?”
“When you were kissing me, it felt so good. Maybe too good,” I confessed. “It just made me think of what my dad always tells me: ‘Gaby, don’t grow up too fast.’ Then, I think about Miguel telling me that boys his age only want one thing. And let’s not forget about Anna. Remember how I promised myself that I would never put myself in such a predicament?”
“What makes you so determined?” he asked, perching up on one elbow.
“My mother got pregnant with Gloria at 18. Dad was a senior in college. Mom had to quit her senior year of high school to take care of my sister. A year later Miguel came along. Dad finished college and was offered a chance to go to law school. They struggled and saved until they could afford a house in a decent neighborhood. My parents got married, got their degrees, and had me, not in that order, but to make a long story short, they made their lives more difficult than necessary.”
“But, look at your parents now. They are proof that struggle is good for the soul. It’s a part of life, Gaby. Don’t be afraid of it.”
“Listen to me, Josh. I don’t want to make things hard for myself. Life doesn’t have to be a struggle. For the most part, I believe that people create their own destiny. Life can be so much easier if I establish what is most important in my life first.”
“Gaby, relax. I thought you wanted this but, if not, my respect for you lies deeper than having one amazing night of sex,” he said, getting up to pull his shirt back on.
Josh walked me back to my cabin and kissed me goodnight. Anna, Carly, and Rene were fast asleep. I peeled off my clothes, fell into bed, and thought about the future. What did it hold and would I be strong enough to face it?
Meena Jelks is a dreamer. From an early age, she developed a voracious appetite for reading, writing and daydreaming. Being a writer was always something she loved but never thought would ever come to fruition. That is, until she decided to take her writing seriously, bypassing the traditional limitations of the literary industry as a whole.
A fan of punchier, pacier, and chattier books, her love for Young Adult (YA) fiction cultivated her desire to do what makes her happiest--she believes you don't have to be a teen to enjoy reading or writing stories of self-exploration, new-found love, or uncharted waters.
Young Adult/Teen fiction is exploding now, it's finally getting the recognition that it deserves. Meena is so happy to be contributing to such an amazing movement right now. Her first book, Teenage Temptation & Personal Honor will debut May, 2016.