We are so thrilled to welcome back to The Debutante Ball former Deb Danielle Younge-Ullman! We were so thrilled to get the news about Danielle’s new book EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED – Congratulations, Danielle! This novel, that Quill & Quire called in its starred review “An emotionally resonant, fabulously crafted novel,” was just released on February 21st. We Debs are so excited to read this book which is described as “Wild meets The Breakfast Club in this story of a girl who must survive an extreme wilderness experience to prove to her mother that she has the strength to pursue her dreams.”
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) February 25, 2017
Or you can also enter by sharing the post on Facebook. We will select and contact the very lucky winner on Friday, March 3rd at noon (US Only).
And now we will hand the post over to Danielle! Welcome back!
When I was a Deb in 2007/2008, one of our weekly prompts was “My Worst Vacation”…and I had a perfect story for it. As a teenager, I was sent on a wilderness trip. I didn’t particularly want to go, but both my brothers had done it and my mother was determined that I go, too. I’d just finished high school and was on my way to McGill in the fall, and I think my mom felt the wilderness experience would somehow prepare me to be out in the world.
It did, but not in the way anyone expected.
The trip turned out to be much more hardcore than I’d been led to believe, and many of my fellow campers were troubled individuals. Looking back, I suspect my mom had just chosen whatever program was running during the timeframe she wanted me to go, and not investigated further. I don’t believe she sent me on purpose to a bootcamp for at-risk youth…but that’s what it seemed to be.
The story of me on that trip is one I have pulled out to entertain people my entire life, one my family loves to chuckle about. But the fact is, I had a total meltdown out there in the wilderness, and it wasn’t funny at all, It did, however, end up being transformative.
I framed my Debutante Ball blog post about my wilderness adventure in sarcastic, fictional letters to my mom, and it turned into a three-post saga. Somewhere during the (very cathartic) writing of these posts, I thought… “Oh, I have a book here,” and sure enough, there were comments on the posts to the same effect. Write that book.
Well, it took a few years before I could get to it. And then it turned out to be harder than it looks to turn real life into fiction—many of the physical details of the trip are true to my memories, but the characters and backstory had to be completely changed.
But I did finally write it, using my Debutante Ball posts as a starting point, and here we are. The book is called EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED. It’s being published by Viking in the U.S., Razorbill in Canada, and rights have also been sold in Denmark, Italy, France and the U.K.
In case you are interested, here are links to the original posts:
Thank you for having me back!
About Danielle: Danielle Younge-Ullman (danielleyoungeullman.com) is the author of the YA novels, EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED, and LOLA CARLYLE’S 12 STEP ROMANCE, and of the adult novel, FALLING UNDER. Danielle studied English and Theater at McGill University in Montreal, then worked as professional actor for ten years. This was character-building time during which she held a wild variety of acting and non-acting jobs—everything from working on the stage and in independent films, to dubbing English voices for Japanese TV, to temping, to teaching Pilates. She now lives with her husband and two daughters in an old house in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleYUllman.