You Won't Know Her Name By Shanti Hershenson - Contemporary, Young Adult - “I thought they were my best friend…”
This is my post during the blog tour for You Won't Know Her Name by Shanti Hershenson. You Won't Know Her Name is written by a fourteen year old author and is based on a true story.
This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours and the tour runs from 21 February till 6 March. You can see the tour schedule here.
You Won't Know Her Name
By Shanti Hershenson
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: July 27, 2021
“I thought they were my best friend…”
There lives a little girl whom you will never know the name of, and for her, a terrible storm is coming. She is going to a new, public middle school knowing no one but her sister, and the horrors are absolutely endless.
But she doesn’t expect what is to come.
In her first few months of school, terrible and unspeakable things begin to happen, that go beyond what is considered “normal”. Finding the courage to get away from the wrong people is a difficult thing, but when a horrific incident occurs, she finds herself running from who she once thought to be friends.
Now lost and alone, The Girl turns to one thing to help her get through her darkest moments. Writing poetry is the one way she can express her anger, and when her school announces that they will be hosting an open-mic night, she knows she has to enter. But entering means that she will have to face her demons, and it could be her worst nightmare…
From a teenaged author, You Won't Know Her Name shines a light on a heartbreaking reality that often goes unspoken about - the issue that is bullying in middle school. From hateful comments to real, shocking violence, this book shares what cannot be ignored.
A Guest Post by Shanti Hershenson
Writing You Won’t Know Her Name
I wrote You Won’t Know Her Name not because I ever imagined it would do well, not because I wanted to help people - I wrote You Won’t Know Her Name from a place of anger and sadness, to lift a weight from my chest.
I began writing the book in June of 2021 - the summer between seventh and eighth grade, to be exact. Well, I say I started writing You Won’t Know Her Name then, but really, it was months prior. I have dozens of discarded first and second chapters, tons of book cover concepts I designed, and even more outlines for books that I wanted to write. All on the same topics. All with the same characters - most of them nameless little girls.
For those who do not know, You Won’t Know Her Name is a novel told in poetry that covers the bullying and assault that my sister and I faced at the beginning of sixth grade. The injustices we faced amid trying to get closer and punishment bled into seventh grade - I was constantly meeting with people about it, and as what happens when bullying goes unpunished, incidents continued to happen. I was angry and upset, but most of all afraid. For, in eighth grade, we would have to return to school fully in-person - seven hours a day, five days a week. The pain was so overwhelming that, after writing numerous poems (that were about the topic), I decided to do something both different and similar at the same time.
Taking reference from my prior poems, I began to write a novel-told-in-poetry. Because I was afraid of revealing that the story was true and any information about the parties involved, I decided to leave each and every character nameless. I happen to think that the story is more powerful this way.
I breezed through the first draft. Ten days after writing the first poem, I had written 200 poems, each following the same format, conveying the story. I don’t want to say that writing the book was at all easy, even if it took a short amount of time. Each day, I awoke telling myself that, it’s a waste of time, that the book will do more harm than good, that you should write something people would read, and, most of all that, when the time comes, you should not publish.
However, I continued to edit the book. After a few rounds of editing, I was ready to publish. And I do so only to get a weight off my chest, because I feared if I did not publish it, the completed manuscript would bug me forever and all the time I had spent would be a waste. So, on a midnight in July, I decided to publish it. I had hardly marketed the book prior, hardly told anyone what I was writing. This differed from my usual process of release, made the book seem less important, weakened the chances of someone buying it. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted any sales at that point. I just wanted to be done with the manuscript.
I designed the original book cover at midnight the same night I filled out the form and uploaded the book to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). The cover has thankfully since been redesigned to the beautiful cover you now see.
Flash forward a week, the date was July 26, 2021. A day before the book’s release. I had made a few short posts on Instagram, created a TikTok account, and texted a few friends. I wasn’t expecting much of anything, really. But, low and behold, I was baffled to discover that not only had the book already generated a few sales from people who had found the book early, but it had become a #1 New Release in several of its respective categories. I was stunned. Absolutely, utterly stunned. But this was not the end of my surprise. In the days - and weeks - following, my TikTok’s began to get more views, my accounts continued to grow, and the book continued to gauge more sales.
You Won’t Know Her Name is currently my most successful and most talked-about book by a long shot. I’ve had people write to me - particularly teens - to share with me how to book has helped them. I think that is one of, if not the best, things that has come out of writing this book. I never expected any of this to happen. I never expected my Goodreads account to read: Shanti Hershenson, author of You Won’t Know Her Name, as opposed to any of my other books. However, I am undoubtedly grateful, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
About the Author:Shanti Hershenson's first two novellas were published when she was in the sixth grade, although her writing journey started long before then. Ever since she could hold a pencil, marker, or crayon, she was creating stories. They started from pictures, mere scribbles, and eventually, turned into captivating tales.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of You Won’t Know Her Name. 5 winners will win a paperback copy of You Won't Know Her name by Shanti Hershenson (US Only).
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