today the spotlight is on The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane, a Contemporary, Young Adult story that will see the light on January 30th 2018.
For Clementine Haas, finding herself is more than a nice idea. Ever since she woke up in an Irish hospital with complete amnesia, self-discovery has become her mission.
They tell her she’s the lone survivor of a plane crash. They tell her she’s lucky to be alive. But she doesn’t feel lucky. She feels…lost.
With the relentless Irish press bearing down on her, and a father she may not even recognize on his way from America to take her home, Clementine assumes a new identity and enlists a blue-eyed Irish stranger, Kieran O’Connell, to help her escape her forgotten life…and start a new one.
Hiding out in the sleepy town of Waterville, Ireland, Clementine discovers there’s an upside to a life that’s fallen apart. But as her lies grow, so does her affection for Kieran, and the truth about her identity becomes harder and harder to reveal, forcing Clementine to decide: Can she leave her past behind for a new love she’ll never forget?
I was born twice. The first time was on July 9 to Paul and Mimi Haas in Cleveland, Ohio. My mother died six years later. My parents hadn’t conceived another child, and my father never remarried. I was born with brown eyes and brown hair, and for eighteen years, I was, for the most part, healthy.
I was delivered again on June 18, just weeks before my nineteenth birthday. The nurses said I was born unconscious with ash tangled in the burned ends of my hair. Rescue workers pulled me from the belly of an airplane, where I was stuck between two seats, like a cushioned sandwich. There was no mother to gaze down at me in amazement or cradle me if I cried, but according to my nurse, Stephen, there were a plethora of camera crews and flashing lights.
Out of the wreckage of that day, which included thirty dead bodies, I was a miracle. Amid so much death and destruction, I was born.
For a day, I lay in the hospital, unconscious, before I opened my eyes to the world for the first time. I had bleached blonde hair and a nasty bump on my head.
When the doctor sat down gently on the chair next to my bed and asked me a question, I could only think to respond with these words, “There are four emergency exits on this plane—two at the front of the cabin and two at the back.”
A handful of nurses and other staff broke into laughter, but my doctor didn’t. She asked me another question, a puzzled expression on her face, to which I replied, “Please take a moment to locate your nearest emergency exit. In some cases, your exit may be behind you.”
That’s when the room went silent. All the laughter fell out of the air.
“Can you tell me where you are?” the doctor asked in an accent unlike my own. It took me a moment to understand her, partly because of the accent, but also because of the odd question.
“Where I am?” I said, feeling around. “Clearly, I’m in a bed.”
A perplexed expression crossed the doctor’s face as the others looked on at the miracle that I was. “Yes, but do you know where? Specifically, what country?” she asked.
I thought for a long while, touching the bump on my head. The bump was a flaw, and something told me that’s not how this was supposed to be. People are born perfect, right?
“What happened to my head?”
“You don’t remember how that happened?” When I shook my head and didn’t offer an answer, the doctor asked me another question. “Can you tell me your name?”
It was a simple question, but at that moment, the complexity of it weighed me down, so much so that I had a hard time breathing.
“Or better yet, can you tell me anything about yourself?” the doctor asked.
“About myself?” I thought long and hard. As if the people gaping at me weren’t clue enough, my confusion should have been. A person shouldn’t have to think so hard about that question. It should come naturally. It’s me. I know me, right? But concentrating so hard made my head start to ache, and I thought I might pass out. And for all that thinking, nothing happened.
The doctor glanced at the nurses, who stared at each other, but all the looking didn’t find them any answers. I started to think answers don’t come that easily.
I died and was reborn on June 18 in a plane crash in Ballycalla, less than eight kilometers from Shannon Airport, and I awoke to a new life a day later in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Ireland, not far away. When the nurse called me by name, I didn’t respond.
He touched my arm. “Your name is Clementine, love.”
“Clementine.” I said the name over and over in my head, hoping one idea would stack on top of another and another and create something concrete. A person filled with a lifetime of memories.
But nothing happened. Instead, I said, “I have no idea who you’re talking about.”
- 10x print copies of The Upside of Falling Down + stickers