Hey Kid! with Anne Nesbet (THE WRINKLED CROWN)

hey kid

Dear 7th-grade Me,

I am writing from the distant future–from way past the year 2000, even!–to let you know that I have just found the photo album you started keeping this year, in 7th grade, and it really reminds me of you, who are also me. So I thought I would write and say hello. Don’t look at me that way. You LIKE science fiction! And magic! Just think of this letter as a lovely mix of both: brought to you by a slightly magical time machine.


Anyway, I am you, and I can more or less prove that to you, I think, because I know some of your secrets, although I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few of them, too, time being what it is.

I know why you wanted your photo album to be that lovely shade of green, for instance. You are still quietly hoping that a door will open, a balloon will descend, a plastic ring will flash with secret magic, and you will finally find yourself in Oz, which you secretly believe is your true home. This album will not look out of place on your future Emerald City bookshelf, and you know what? I’m glad you want to take it along. I’m glad that despite all the misery of the real world, you want to take along pictures of the people and places you love.

(By the way, I still think about my–our–room in the Emerald City. It looks out onto the garden now. If we finally get there for real, we’re going to have to share.)

I’m looking through the album now, and it’s like stepping into a pool of feelings. Everything was so intense! About 83% sadness and 17% fun, I’d say, at that point. Those ratios are going to evolve over time, Younger Me. Hang in there, hang in there, because oddly enough, although sad things will keep happening in life, you are going to become a lot more resilient, I promise. And “resilient” doesn’t mean merely not being squashed by sorrow: it means feeling joy. There is a lot of joy waiting for you, up ahead.

HeyKidNesbet7thGradePhotoAlbumMost of the pictures in your album, I notice, are not of you. But you do show up in the corners, from time to time. Oh, seventh grade! That was the year when you wore Osh Kosh B’Gosh overalls to school every single day. And had braids. AND braces. I’m so glad you stuck this picture in the photo album, because the overalls deserve to be documented. You took a lot of ribbing in 7th grade for the way you looked. I know how much it hurt to stand out–even though you also couldn’t imagine fitting in. I know your most secret secret: that you felt even more like an unlovable monstrous alien inside than you looked like (you thought) on the outside. But keep in mind the counter-evidence, Younger Me: you weren’t even alone in your dedication to overalls! You had some friends who wore overalls pretty frequently, too, and ate lunch with you in the orchestra room and talked about books. Some of you played a Haydn quartet together! That was amazing.

Here’s some more good news: you will keep being lucky in your friends. In the album is a card from one of them that came to you in 7th grade: “Dear Whomever this may concern–This is an invitation to come to my house & pick out 3 Danish stamps, of which I have an abundance.–Sharon–” You haven’t picked up those stamps yet, Younger Me, but you know what? You still could, because Sharon is still a beloved friend. Isn’t it amazing, that some things do NOT disappear and fade? Forty years from your seventh-grade Now, you will still have friends whom you knew in elementary school. And you will have friends you made this year! And you will have all sorts of people you love dearly: new family members–some very closely related to you (yep, that’s a hint I’m sneaking in there).

You will feel grateful for every day, by the time you are me. I bet you find this hard to believe, but hey, since I already proved I was once you by telling you all those secrets, BELIEVE IT! It is very good news.

And yes, I know you pretty well, so I know you have been skimming through this letter looking for any really useful tips from the future. But listen: time travel is a tricky business, even when it’s just a letter that’s traveling, so I’m not going to pound you over the head with advice. Most of the hard things in your future life (up to this point, at least) could not have been avoided by simply deciding earlier to do “B” instead of “A.” And you’re actually doing the work already that will lay the foundation for the good things up ahead, so I don’t want to get in your way. You just keep writing those odd stories, Younger Me. Keep writing, keep writing. Keep feeling the world deeply. And eventually, dear Younger Me, a miracle of sorts will have taken place, and you will find you love your seventh-grade self much more than you did at the time.

love (yes! love!),

wrinkledCrown_cvr Up in the magical, wrinkled hills, Linny breaks an ancient law. No matter how musical a girl may be, she must not so much as touch a string of a lourka before she turns twelve, or she’ll be spirited off to Away. But Linny, born nimble-fingered and tune-filled, can’t resist: she makes a lourka of her very own. When the curse meant for her strikes her best friend instead, Linny must leave her home behind to try to set things right. With her father’s young apprentice, Elias, she travels down into the Plain, where science may have found a cure for magic. Linny and Elias soon find themselves caught up in the age-old battle between the wrinkled places and the Plain. Can Linny keep the fractured land from falling apart—and save her best friend?

The Wrinkled Crown is available on IndieBound, HarperCollins, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble or ask for it in bookstores and libraries near you.

Find more Hey Kid! letters here.

Anne Nesbet is the author of The Cabinet of Earths and A Box of
Gargoyles, and she lives near San Francisco with her husband, three daughters, and one irrepressible dog.

Connect with Anne on annenesbet.com, @annenesbet on Twitter, or on Facebook.

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