Happy Tuesday and welcome to my stop on the LIFE IN THE BALANCE blog tour! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Jen Petro-Roy to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
Life in the Balance by Jen Petro-Roy
Published on February 16, 2021 by Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary
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Veronica struggles to balance softball, friends, and family turmoil in this new honest and heartfelt middle grade novel by Jen Petro-Roy, Life in the Balance.
Veronica Conway has been looking forward to trying out for the All-Star softball team for years. She's practically been playing the game since she was a baby. She should have this tryout on lock.
Except right before tryouts, Veronica’s mom announces that she’s entering rehab for alcoholism, and her dad tells her that they may not be able to afford the fees needed to be on the team.
Veronica decides to enter the town talent show in an effort to make her own money, but along the way discovers a new hobby that leads her to doubt her feelings for the game she thought she loved so much.
Is her mom the only one learning balance, or can Veronica find a way to discover what she really wants to do with her life?
If you could trade lives with any character for a day, who would it be and why? What about a week? A month, year, or forever?
I will forever hold a place in my heart for Anne Shirley from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books. I like to think that all my characters (and me, too!) have a part of her in them: her spunk, her curiosity, her sensitivity, creativity, and ability to be a good friend. I’d love to live in her world—to explore Prince Edward Island, imagine with Diana, and of course, meet Gilbert Blythe! I’d also really love to live Cammie’s life for a day, from Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series—being a spy sounds so much fun! Or be one of the Vanderbeeker kids—Karina Yan Glaser’s Vanderbeekers series is so homey and comforting.
What would you do if you spent the day with veronica? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
We’d definitely take in a baseball game. Load ourselves up with ballpark hotdogs and nachos and enjoy a game in the hot sun. (Once it’s safe to be in a stadium, of course.) Even better if by then baseball teams have female managers! We’d do some karaoke, get some ice cream, and then finish up with a move marathon. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking of it!
If Veronica were to hang out with characters from other books, who would they be and why?
Oooh, I love this question! I think Veronica would actually get along super well with Riley from my own book Good Enough. Although they’re discovering balance in their own unique ways, they’re alike a lot in the way they’re trying to discover who they are, independent from those around them. I think she’d love to talk sports with Annabelle from Laurie Morrison’s Up for Air, Mikayla from Laura Shovan’s Takedown, and Quinnen from Jenn Bishop’s The Distance to Home, too. Oooh, I’m loving this party!
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
For a while, I wasn’t sure whether or not Veronica would decide to be on the travel team or not, and I did a lot more research about how specific tournaments were structured, how travel team schedules are made, where games are held, etc. I’m so in awe of the effort and training all of these young athletes do and how passionate they are about their interests. Kids are amazing in so many ways.
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from Life in the balance?
I really love the scene where Veronica visits her mom in rehab for the first time. It’s such a vulnerable, scary moment in so many ways, and I almost felt like I was treading upon something I shouldn’t while writing it. I love how Veronica is nervous and excited and angry to see her mom and how that shows how kids can have so many emotions at the same time—and how that’s perfectly normal and okay.
Were there alternate endings you considered, or did you always know where the story was headed?
I always knew where the story would generally end up, but I changed a bunch of how Veronica ended up there. Whether she walked down one path a bit longer or made her decision earlier. Things like that come with time for me—the first draft is for getting the basic outline of the plot down, the second is for discovering who my characters are, and all the subsequent drafts are about finalizing the journeys everyone takes. I love revising because I get to fiddle with my story. It can take a while for a characters’ journey to reveal itself, and it’s such an honor to be along for the ride.
Jen Petro-Roy writes “honest books with heart,” about kids who are strong, determined, unsure, struggling to fit in, bubbly, shy, and everything in between. She is the author of P.S. I MISS YOU, GOOD ENOUGH, YOU ARE ENOUGH, and LIFE IN THE BALANCE (out February 2021), all from Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends.
When she isn’t writing, Jen can be found reading, playing board games, belting out songs in the car to embarrass her two daughters, and working as an eating disorder awareness advocate.
What do you think about Life in the Balance? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!