Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.
Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.
protagonist is illiterate. She recognizes a few letters, she knows
how to read her name, and she loves listening to stories more than
anything. But she cannot read.
name is Serena, and Serena is a bad blood.
Bloods in 35 words or less:
17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now
symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human
despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is
Serena lives in a futuristic world where magical children like her
are executed, illiteracy is a very real issue in our world today. An
issue I wanted to discuss in my Bad Bloods duology. There are a lot
of misconceptions surrounding illiteracy—some of which I discuss in
an article Tackling
Diversity in YA—but the main one is the fact that illiteracy
isn’t as uncommon as the average reader might think.
in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.
readers, this fact might seem startling. Readers generally know other
readers, after all. And—on top of that—many of the characters in
YA fiction love books, because readers love books, and it’s easy to
relate to a character that loves the same things as them. For many
readers, it’s impossible to imagine a world without reading, even
in fantasy and sci-fi settings. I, for one, definitely struggle with
that concept, but illiteracy is a reality for many young people,
especially women all over the world. Granted, I will be the first to
admit that I did not
set out to write Serena as an illiterate person to spread awareness.
No. I originally set
out to write her as a character who didn’t enjoy reading due to
severe dyslexia—something my brother and father deal with to this
a child, growing up in a household where my two role models didn’t
read was very difficult,
especially when my late mother was a reader but no longer able to
share that joy with me. That being said, we can relate to one
another—readers or not—as people, and since so many characters
are readers, I wanted to remind readers we can love those who don’t
read, too (although maybe we can help them find the perfect book so
they try reading again)! We can also understand how illiteracy
happens, and hopefully, we can learn to sympathize with it and also
help others learn to read in the future.
issue of illiteracy developed with Serena’s character over time,
but I wouldn’t change Serena for the world. She is smart. She is
caring. She loves ice cream, her friends, and stories told beneath
the full moon. She falls in love. She cries. She feels pain and
sorrow. She laughs.
may be illiterate, but she still has a story.
so do the millions of people around the globe dealing with illiteracy
is why she’s my protagonist.
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About The Author:
As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat, Bogart, named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Her other two cats bring her coffee. Between writing and befriending cats, Thompson graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and her work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies. Represented by Clean Teen Publishing, Thompson is the best-selling author of The Timely Death Trilogy and the Bad Bloods duology. When she is not writing, she is climbing rooftops, baking cookies, or watching murder shows in the middle of the night, often done with her cats by her side.