Less Than Humble Beginnings
Growing Roots Book 1
by Chelsea Falin
Genre: YA Coming of Age
Willie and Babette have long, long been shielded from their own culture and heritage by their mother. When circumstances change, the girls are thrown into what they were once shielded from - only to find it is nothing like they once believed.
While Babette adjusts easily, Willie finds herself much more hesitant. While she struggles to find her true self, Willie is forced to learn she is not the only one suffering from "Less Than Humble Beginnings."
"Try to remember everyone here has their demons, but we put those demons to good use. Make ourselves better, stronger, wiser." - Jack
My arrival home two days before hadn’t been everything I’d hoped. Oh, everyone was excited to see me, but I felt the void of Jack and Spike tremendously. They hadn’t made it back for my homecoming because they’d had to work. I idly wondered whether they’d always have to work now. With their tech school starting up soon, there wouldn’t be any time for a silly sixteen-year-old girl like me. I couldn’t let myself drown in self-pity. I knew that statement was wrong. Jack, Spike, and Dakota had purposefully waited for me to arrive home before they threw their big house party. Johnny had told me earlier the party would be this Saturday night, and we (along with Lee) would crash at Jack’s new place. Aunt Janie was okay with that because it meant we wouldn’t drive home drunk. I was certain she trusted the older guys to make sure nothing happened to us. Buck and Takoda had gotten their own place, which was where I headed now. The new place was only a twenty-minute walk, according to my cousins. I hadn’t called to tell Buck or Takoda I was coming but was eager to get out of the house for a bit. Tiny baby Levi, while adorable, was what Aunt Janie called a “colicky” baby. All I knew was that he screamed for hours on end, and when he slept, the whole house tiptoed around him. I’d asked Johnny and Lee if they wanted to go, but they’d been working on a car project. They were trying to keep up the shade tree business Jack had started while he was gone at school. When I reached the right area, filled with small homes on small plots, I began to worry I wouldn’t know which house was the right one. I hadn’t had the forethought to ask Johnny or Lee if they knew the house number. I didn’t have to worry long, however, because I soon saw a long, lean form waving from two houses down. As I walked closer, Takoda hollered “Hey, little one!” I began walking up a short, cracked walkway leading to the front of the house. “Hi, Takoda.” “I didn’t know you were back yet.” I smiled, nodding. “Yeah, I got back two days ago. Things have been kind of crazy at the house since I returned, so I came hunting for your new house.” I paused and looked around. “Is Buck here?” Takoda shook his head. “No. He’s usually off today, too, but he called in to cover a shift. It’s just me.” He grinned lopsidedly. “You’re not still afraid of being alone with me, are you?” I laughed and shook my head. “No. I think I’m over that.” Takoda smiled broadly. “Good, then come up here and have a seat.” He patted beside him. As I moved up the steps I saw it was a cheap metal glider meant to seat two. I sat a little hesitantly, but Takoda didn’t seem to notice. “So, tell me about your summer. How did you get along with your dad and other family, little one?” I sighed. “Do you have to call me little one? I’m not that little.” Takoda gave a half-smile. “I think we’ve gone over this before.” I didn’t say anything but noticed his eyes flickered up and down my frame. I felt a little self-conscious, and the feeling increased when he added, “No. I guess you’re not so little anymore. You’ve changed this summer.” “How so?” I regretted the question almost immediately as I looked at the uncomfortable look on Takoda’s broad, friendly face. “Ah… well, I couldn’t help notice you’re leaner and curvier. Your hair is a little different, too, and I think you may have grown half an inch.” Takoda sighed. “You’re growing up fast, little one.” “Please, stop calling me that.” I decided to not remark on how he said I was leaner and curvier. Takoda was always very perceptive, and the statement was made more as an observation than anything harmful. Still, I couldn’t help feeling a little awkward he’d noticed. Takoda shook his head and chuckled. “Tell me about your summer, Willie.” He stressed my name to make certain I noticed he’d used my real name instead of his nickname for me. “Well… I got along well with my family. I have a grandma and everything, which I didn’t know until I got there. Oh, and I went running with my brother every morning while I was out there.” I started. “That explains some things,” Takoda interrupted. I decided to ignore his comment and continued. “Oh, and…” I paused, blushing. “I also had my first boyfriend.” Takoda’s eyebrows shot up. “Oh?” He paused. “Does your dear love interest know this?” I couldn’t tell if Takoda was teasing or serious. Sometimes it was hard to tell with him. “Love interest?” I questioned, confused. “Spike?” Takoda prompted. “Oh… uh, no. I guess he doesn’t. But he won’t care. It’s a long story and I don’t want to get into it right now.” Takoda nodded. “So, are you still dating this mystery guy? Or was it a summer thing?” “A summer thing,” I answered. “We knew it was from the start. But he was nice.” “He’d better be.” Takoda’s voice was half-joking and half-serious. “There would be a lot of angry men to face if he weren’t, after all.” I laughed. “Yeah, that’s true. I feel bad for any guy who thinks about dating me, here.” Something flickered across Takoda’s face. It was a strange look I didn’t understand, and it was gone so quickly I might have imagined it. “Well, tell me about this boyfriend. What was his name, how old was he, the usual stuff.” “You’re interested in all that? Isn’t that something guys don’t usually care about?” I teased. Takoda snorted as he grinned. “Well, I don’t have anything else to do today, and I’m certain you want to spill the details to everyone who will listen.” I grinned. Without responding to his comment, I began to tell him about Nash. “He’s eighteen. No, wait, he’s nineteen now.” Takoda raised an eyebrow at me. “Isn’t that a little old for you?” “You hang out with sixteen-year-old girls, don’t you? And you’re even older.” Takoda shook his head. “I’m not dating one, though.” I snorted. “Bet you wish you were.” My eyes grew wide when I realized my mouth had spoken before my brain told it not to. I clasped a hand over my mouth in shock. That was something I wouldn’t have normally said. Maybe Alabama had changed me in some ways. Takoda arched an eyebrow and stared for a moment before answering. Slowly nodding, he said, “You know, you might be right.” I stopped breathing. Takoda shrugged his shoulders heavily and said, “Then again, maybe you’re not. We’ll never know, will we?” He spread his hands wide to punctuate his statement and then he laughed, his typical grin returning to his face. I assumed Takoda had been joking, although I was never really certain, and I laughed with him. His eyes twinkled in the sunlight for a moment and caught my attention. They were the most beautiful shade of light brown. Not that I was crushing on Takoda, but I’d learned to pay attention to the beauty around me in all things. Even strange guys who left me constantly confused and feeling I’d been left out of an inside joke.
Growing Roots Book 2
Willie, despite a rough start, has become immersed in the culture she should have been born into. As she grows in her own knowledge of her ancestral roots, she also grows in who she is as a person. All things are now within her reach, and all she must do is put forth a little effort. With all of this in mind, Willie has decided to dedicate herself towards her own 'Personal Growth.'
"Our heritage might be bloody, but that's no reason not to be proud!"
'Personal Growth' is the second installment in the fairly popular indie series, Growing Roots. It is the sequel to 'Less Than Humble Beginnings.' Here is what people have said about the series:
"The characters are believable and realistic."
"Chelsea used concise descriptions of her characters which made it very easy to imagine their interactions."
"Chelsea Falin is a great story-teller. With her clear descriptions of the characters, settings and dialogue, it was not difficult for me to imagine the characters and to picture every scene. With her excellent weaving of words, the world of Willie came alive as if I'm watching a movie."
"Being a teenager is never easy, and Willie's internal struggles were easy to relate to."
Growing Roots Book 3
Willie has finally found her father, and he's welcomed her with open arms. Now she must forge a relationship with the man she never even knew was alive. It isn't just him, however, Willie must also find out how she fits in with her step-mother and half-siblings. Left in Alabama with no close-in-age peers, Willie makes great strides in finding out who she is as an individual without a group of close friends to rely on.
Alabama offers many firsts for Willie. The most notable in her own mind is her first relationship. There are other firsts in store, however, and a whole new cast of characters to get to know. How will Willie handle this newest experience? Will she handle it in the mature the way she has always handled change? Or will this be the point in which Willie loses herself?
“Genetics are a tricky business at times, and you just never know what you're going to get when you throw two ancestry’s together.”
Putting the Pieces Together
Growing Roots Book 4
Living a “normal” life doesn’t always mean that things will always be good. Bad things happen to even the best of people, and this is a life lesson Willie must now learn when tragedy strikes her close-knit group of friends.
As she continues to grow and change, Willie knows that she is far from the girl who arrived in Oklahoma little over a year ago. She’s growing, changing, and working on putting the pieces together in her life – just as her friends struggle to do the same.
“You never know, Willie. Death doesn’t discriminate by age or gender or social status. It’s one of the few things that doesn’t care. When it comes for you, it comes. It could be today, tomorrow, or a hundred years from now, but when your time is up, it’s up. There’s nothing you can do to change that.”-Dakota
Praise for the 'Growing Roots Series':
"a great lesson in the way life can change at any time"
"an eye-opener for teenagers and older adults alike"
"Chelsea Falin is a great story-teller. With her clear descriptions of the characters, settings and dialogue, it was not difficult for me to imagine the characters and to picture every scene."
Chelsea Falin is the 25 year old independent author of well over ten titles. She began writing with intents to publish in 2006, at age 16, and finally published in 2009, at age 19. Chelsea writes in a variety of genres, including but not limited to: romance, young adult, comedy, cooking, poetry, and dramatic fiction. Professionally, Chelsea is also a freelance blog/article writer, web designer, and book blogger.
In her personal life, Chelsea is the mother of a six year old daughter. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, fishing, hiking, biking, traveling, and spending time with her friends or family.
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