Finding Me by Kelly Gunderman Blog Tour with Giveaway :)

Finding Me by Kelly Gunderman

Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Romance

Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you of everything?

Sixteen-year-old Claire Williams spends most of her days feeling angry and alone. After a car accident took her mother and Claire’s ability to walk, life in a wheelchair is the new normal.
When she’s sent to live with her grandmother, away from school and friends, Claire has a chance for a fresh start. Just when Claire thinks she can handle things, she runs into Todd - the son of the man who caused the car accident.

At first, Claire wants nothing to do with him, but the more time they spend together, the more she hates to admit her feelings. She’s slowly falling in love with Todd.

Now, Claire’s father wants to move and take Claire with him. But she can’t go. Not now when everything is falling into place, and she’s just now finding herself. Claire’s defiant. She won’t leave Greenwood, her new friends, her grandmother, or Todd.

Can Claire find the strength to let her dad go on with his life while leaving her behind to live hers, or will she allow the guilt and shame of surviving the accident pull her back under?

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At five after six that night, the doorbell rings. I’m sitting in the kitchen, putting the finishing touches on some sugar cookies I had baked with Grandma that afternoon, adding some rainbow sprinkles to the creamy frosting layered on each cookie. I lean back in my chair and admire my work. They are pretty, the colorful sprinkles playful against the baby-blue frosting. Todd comes walking into the kitchen behind my grandmother a minute later, with a backpack slung over one shoulder and a book in his hand. He smiles. “Hey, there. I heard you were baking cookies, but your entire house smells like a bakery. Those cookie-scented candles don’t do this justice.” Laughing, I push a plate of cookies across the counter. “Here, have one. We made two batches today, so there are plenty.” I turn around, grab a glass off the sink, and make my way over to the refrigerator. I pour a glass of milk, close the fridge, and set the glass next to the plate of cookies. “Where’s the pizza?” Todd laughs. “I see you didn’t forget. I hope onion and pepperoni is okay. I ordered it before I walked up to the door, so it should be here in about a half hour.” “Good,” I start. “I need something other than cookies to eat. I’ve had my fill of sugar.” I fold my hands in my lap and tilt my head to the side, trying to figure out the title of the book he brought with him, but he has it covered with his arm. “What are you reading?” I ask him. “Oh,” Todd begins, “I brought this for you. I wasn’t sure if you had read it yet, but I thought maybe we could do our project on this book. If you haven’t read it, I figured you could borrow mine. I must have read it at least a dozen times in the past year.” He pushes a tattered and well-read copy of To Kill a Mockingbird across the counter. I shake my head. “I haven’t read it yet. It was on my summer reading list for my old school, but with the move and everything, I didn’t really have the time.” I pick up the book and look over the cover. “I can tell you really enjoy this. I don’t think I’ve heard of another kid our age actually reading it for fun, though.” “I read a lot, especially since the accident, so I don’t think about things as much, I guess.” “Understandable. I do the same, only with baking.” I gesture to the cookies on the table. “I never used to bake much before the accident, but since I lost my mom, I guess I had to find ways to work through my grief.” Todd goes silent for a few minutes, and a hollow look crosses his face, clouding his eyes. I’m not sure if I should bring it up, but I guess with the two of us here alone, there’s no way around talking about what happened. I just didn’t realize it would be so difficult for him too. “Have you seen your dad? You know, since the accident.” Todd turns his attention back to me, then lowers his eyes to the plate of cookies in front of him. When he answers, he’s lost his usual chipper tone, and now sounds flat and cold. “No, I haven’t seen him. I refuse to visit him. Because he couldn’t let off the alcohol for a single afternoon, he took the life of an innocent woman and caused irreparable damage to her daughter, both physically and emotionally. How can I forgive him for that? Not only that, but his decision tore our family apart. My mom has to work two jobs now, just to make ends meet. I work at the bookstore downtown after school four days a week, plus weekends. Even with that, we still can’t pay the electric bill some months. It’s hard. My mom walks around, acting pretty much as numb as possible to everything going on, and I feel like I don’t even know her anymore. Everything feels so different. I can’t bring myself to go and see the man who ruined two families in a single afternoon.” At first, I bristle when he refers to me as being “damaged.” I want to say something, but I’m not sure where to start, so I stay silent. He looks at me, straight in the eyes, and continues. “I really am sorry, Claire. I’m sorry for what he did.” Hearing his apology doesn’t make anything better. He shouldn’t be apologizing, not for his father’s mistakes, anyway. What he should be apologizing for is calling me “damaged.” Anger boils inside me, threatening to spill out. “Todd, it isn’t your place to apologize for your dad. You didn’t make the choice to drink in the middle of the afternoon. You weren’t driving that car. You didn’t run that stop sign. I mean, I’ll admit when I first saw you, and realized who you were, I was furious with you. I didn’t even want to talk to you. But my grandma, she isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and she told me what I needed to hear. And that’s that it isn’t your fault. I don’t blame you. "But, Todd? Please don't refer to me as being 'irreparably damaged.' Yeah, it sucks that I can't walk anymore, but it just hurts when people say things like that to me. I don’t like being pitied." I see a pink flush creep up Todd’s neck and cheeks, and I instantly feel bad for saying anything. I didn’t mean to embarrass him, but I’m tired of hearing people discuss me like that. “Oh, God, Claire. I didn’t think—I’m sorry. I don’t know why I even said that.” Todd slaps his forehead with the palm of his hand. We sit in silence for a few minutes, me rubbing the well-worn corner of To Kill a Mockingbird with my thumb, and Todd staring at the floor. I’m afraid I’ve ruined the beginnings of a friendship, but the words that had been spoken needed to be said, no matter the outcome. Todd needed to know that I don’t blame him for what happened to my family, and that I don’t want to be treated like I’m broken. 


Kelly Gunderman was born a child of the late eighties in small-town Pennsylvania. A bibliophile in
her own right, she is hoping to one day surpass the number of pages she has turned with those she has written of her own accord.

Having recently completed her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development, Kelly suddenly found herself with a bit more free time than usual, and began her immediately successful foray into blogging and Freelance Writing, which subsequently led to her renewed desire to finally put her ideas and imaginings “on paper.”

Focusing primarily on the Young Adult genre, Kelly has recently finished and her first novel, Finding Me, which is set to be published in early 2019 by Swoon Romance.

She currently resides in her original home town with her husband, their two daughters, and a few cats that constantly challenge the sanity of all with their ill-advised attempts at what can only be assumed to be world domination.

Giveaway Info:
  • One (1) winner will get a Swoon Romance ebook title from a previous publication year of their choosing.


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