Happy Friday! Today I am so excited to have an interview with Johanna, the main character in Accidental, to share with you!
Accidental by Alex Richards
Published by Bloomsbury YA on July 7, 2020
Genres: YA, Contemporary
This timely, emotionally-resonant story about a teen girl dealing with the aftermath of a tragic shooting is a must-read from an exciting new YA talent.
Johanna has had more than enough trauma in her life. She lost her mom in a car accident, and her father went AWOL when Johanna was just a baby. At sixteen, life is steady, boring . . . maybe even stifling, since she's being raised by her grandparents who never talk about their daughter, her mother Mandy.
Then he comes back: Robert Newsome, Johanna's father, bringing memories and pictures of Mandy. But that's not all he shares. A tragic car accident didn't kill Mandy--it was Johanna, who at two years old, accidentally shot her own mother with an unsecured gun.
Now Johanna has to sort through it all--the return of her absentee father, her grandparents' lies, her part in her mother's death. But no one, neither her loyal best friends nor her sweet new boyfriend, can help her forgive them. Most of all, can she ever find a way to forgive herself?
In a searing, ultimately uplifting story, debut author Alex Richards tackles a different side of the important issue that has galvanized teens across our country.
Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?
I mean, I guess it depends on what you’re specifically referring to. Life with my grandparents can be kind of half empty sometimes. Church and boring dinners. Like, if I never have to see another string bean again it’ll be too soon. Sometimes when I’m with my friends and we’re so in sync and I know they’re there for me, maybe it’s kind of half full? But, then, I don’t know. I’ve always felt like there’s something missing from my life. My mom, specifically. I think, because I don’t have her, or know anything about her, my glass is always going to feel pretty empty.
How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike?
Hah, I was 9. My grandparents are great in a lot of ways, but teaching a kid to ride a bike was like the last thing on their list. It was actually Leah’s dad who taught me to ride a bike. He’s got three kids and he’s a rabbi so he’s super patient and understanding. One weekend when I came over he was just like, “Johanna, we’re DOING this.” And we did. TBH, I’m not all that “bike-y” though. My friends and I are more about carpooling than skinning our knees.
What was your favorite TV show when you were a child?
DO NOT LAUGH. But I have always been addicted to Project Runway. I love sewing, creating wearable masterpieces. I have learned a lot of skills from watching that show. Sometimes I could even get Gran to watch it with me. Okay, maybe that was only once, and I think she left halfway through to clean the oven. Alternate answer? Gabby and Leah and I used to be obsessed with Glitter Force. Glitter Peace was my favorite. ☺
Have you ever taken karate lessons?
No? But, I mean. Being able to kick someone’s ass in a dark alley would be really cool.
What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in?
Definitely Spanish because I live in New Mexico and it’s just a really useful language to know how to speak. But I’d love to learn French, too. One day, I am going to be walking down the Seine River with brie on my baguette, wearing a beret, popping into fabulous boutiques and maybe even selling them some of my creations. Très bon!
Do you sleep with a nightlight?
OPPOSITE. I sleep in a cave in the depths of the ocean. No light. No sound. Nothing to bother me. I don’t even have a clock, besides my phone. I get way too restless too easily. Gran cooking bacon in the morning is basically my alarm clock.
In addition to writing, you could also call me a dabbler. I’ve dabbled in photography, film, theater, television, and my husband and I have been known to make no-budget horror flicks in our spare time. I love movies, cooking, decoupage, yoga, good bands, ice cream cake, and almost anything cheesy (from pizza to Pretty in Pink).
I grew up in Santa Fe, NM but relocated to New York for college and subsequently, life. I live in Brooklyn with my husband, 3 cats, and our 2 fantastically remarkable kids. We love exploring the nooks and crannies of this beautifully diverse city, dancing in the dark, and huggling.