Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult novel. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her contemporary Young Adult series, Stories About Melissa. Ta Ta for Now!, xoxoxo, and Ciao.
Melissa has had a fantastic summer hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months?
My Fifteenth Birthday:
Happy Birthday to me…. That’s right I’m now fifteen years old. You may be wondering where I have been all summer, since I haven’t written since the day of the Buddy Walk. Well, that last entry filled up my journal. I can’t believe I filled two journals already. I didn’t realize how much I like to write! I kept meaning to get another one, but I have been so busy that I just never got around to it. I have to say, I have really missed writing things down at night. I was so happy when I opened Megan’s present, and she’d gotten me another journal for my birthday. She said it is going to be a tradition, and she promised not to write in this one!
I know I have a lot to write about my summer, but I have to tell you about my birthday party first. I had such a great time.
My actual birthday was yesterday, so I celebrated with the family last night. We all went out to dinner and then they gave me presents when we got home. Mikey gave me some nail polish and Monica drew me a picture of the two of us playing Barbie’s (I think that was a hint!). My parents gave me some gift cards, because I like to pick out my own clothes rather than have them pick them out, and they also gave me a new iPod, which I totally needed. Max smiled at me, so I took that as my gift from him. He is turning into a really cute little guy.
To celebrate with my friends, I wanted to do a BBQ deal at the house and just invite everyone over for a great party. So I contacted my friends and told them to invite their friends, and my dad agreed to man the BBQ and try not to be too intrusive.
I went with pink and white colors, because I just love that combo, and my friend, Cassie, helped me pick out decorations and decide what to wear.
Cassie just moved to Dearborn. She moved in a few doors down from my house at the end of June. Being the outgoing and super friendly person that I am, I went down and introduced myself. Turns out she’s really cool, and we’ve spent a lot of time together this summer. She will be starting DHS as a sophomore with me in a few short days. She already knows Brian and Jimmy, of course, but the BBQ gave her a chance to meet everyone that she will be going to school with this year.
Anyway, it turned into an all-out bash! I was feeling particularly cute (Yoga is making me totally toned!) in my baby doll pink ruffled tank with white shorts and white sandals. I wore my hair in a side braid with pink hoop earrings and this sweet white flower ring that Cassie gave me as a birthday present. Mom kept Monica and Max entertained and Megan wandered outside a couple of times to grab cheese cubes and a hot dog, but was ghost most of the day. Mikey hung out with my friends the most, but it didn’t bother me. He played catch and basketball with some of the guys and stayed out of my hair.
Brian brought Mo along with him, but promised that there wouldn’t be any trouble, and there wasn’t. They’ve had football practice for about a month now to get ready for the season, so they brought some of the guys from the team along with them. Jimmy brought Kasey, Joshua, and Joe, who run track with him, and they brought their girlfriends. I hadn’t talked to any of them very much since my fallout with Layla, but they were all really cool. The others who came must have heard from word of mouth, because I had about fifty people from school at my house. It was awesome!
The biggest surprise came about halfway through my party. I was looking for Jimmy and couldn’t find him anywhere. He’d told me to come find him later, so he could give me my present. Just when I was about to give up, I saw him coming out of my house, and I started towards him. He caught my eye and smiled and then turned to motion to something behind him - and Jess walked out! I let out a “Whoop!” and went running up to hug her. She wasn’t supposed to be home until the day before school, so this was totally unexpected.
“OMG, Jess! What are you doing here?” I squealed, holding her close and not wanting to let her go.
“I wanted to surprise you. Happy Birthday, Mis!”
“You totally did! I’m so happy you’re here!” I said as I led her down the stairs.
“Jimmy, you knew about this didn’t you?” I accused, laughing as I turned towards him.
“Yeah… It was tough not telling you, but I knew it would be a great surprise!” he explained, grabbing Jess for a quick hug and telling her that he missed her too.
She hugged him back and smiled. Then she turned to Cassie, who had come up next to me and said, “You must be Cassie. I’ve heard so much about you. I feel like I know you already! Welcome to Dearborn!”
“Me too! I mean, I feel like I know you too, with as much as Melissa has talked about you. Thanks, and welcome back,” Cassie replied, looking quite stunning. Her hair is a striking red and she has brilliant green eyes. She totally looks like a supermodel and I would hate her if she wasn’t my friend. She would be intimidating if she wasn’t so sweet and friendly.
So, the party was pretty much perfect after that. My mom even gave me a letter from Ben, which she’d saved for me, since he wrote “Happy Birthday” on the front of the envelope. In fact, I have been saving it and didn’t think about it until now, so I’m going to sign off now so that I can go and read it. I’ll write more later to fill in the blanks about my summer vacation!
To be quite honest I had never heard of this series until I signed up to be a part of the tour for Ciao. And at first glance these books appear to be really quick, light reads. And while they are quick, I would most definitely say that they aren't exactly light reads either, because each book touches upon some pretty deep subject matters. But it's done in a way that I'm pretty sure we can all relate to!!
Ciao is written in the same style as the first two books. They are told from the perspective of Melissa as she writes down her thoughts in her journal. Melissa is now 15 years old and heading into her Sophomore year at Dearborn High. Her and her friends are having the normal teenage experiences until completely out of the blue something happens which will put their strength to the test!!
Ciao is a book that deals with friendship, love, loss, guilt, jealousy, pain and family. It's a book that tugs at your emotions because it's dealing with real life issues. As in the previous books there is that BAM factor that manages to throw you for six. That element that you just don't see coming. It's a book that is also filled with lots of feel good moments!
Ciao is filled with a wonderful group of characters and is written in such a way that it can be read by a whole range in age groups. I'm so glad that I have had the chance to read this series and I really look forward to reading what comes next!!
You can check out the other stops on the tour at Charisma Media