Last week, Penguin Teen began to promote the vlog clips from my site, thejuliangame.com. Anybody who has read The Julian Game, the book, will quickly realize that none of the characters from the site bear any relation to the characters in the novel. But the simple reason for creating a series of videos that don't overtly promote my book is to underline this: bullying is everybody's story. Not just Raye Archer's of The Julian Game or Eve Ventures of thejuliangame.com, but mine and yours and everyone we know who has ever been relentlessly picked on or hurt, or possibly has intentionally hurt someone else.
Of the eight clips on the site, one character (all characters are played by high school sophomore/actress Monica Furman) "Lawrence von Vaughn" is Eve's stand-up friend. In creating LVV as gay, out, proud, cool, a surfer dude, a former bed-wetter and the hunk-in-residence at Eve's high school, he is everything that Raye's best friend, shy, scy-fy-loving Natalya of The Julian Game is not-- except in the critical place where it counts: Von Vaughn's the guy that Eve knows she can count on when life sends her lemons.
In light of the recent, heartbreaking stories that have put cyberbullying in the headlines, this is a message I hope both the book and the site make clear: that leaning on your true friends and allies-- as well as holding fast to a core belief in your most resilient sense of self-- is your best arsenal against your darkest days. And while the clips are meant to be fun, they are also meant to enforce that point; that reaching out to what is most real, true and loyal in your orbit is also what will get you through.
Causes Adele Griffin Supports
Brooklyn Historical Society
Harlem Village Academies
Boys Latin School of Philadelphia