Who We're Meant to Be
Status: In revision
Genre: YA contemporary, told back-and-forth in time
Inspiration: When I discovered that I was neurodivergent, after living for years thinking there was something wrong with me, I wanted to write a character like myself, dealing with the highly sensitive intricacies of changing friendships. This one dug real deep, and is still very difficult to work through.
It’s the summer Berklee has dreaded: her tight-knit group of church friends have turned 16 and gotten jobs for the season, while she’s still counting the days to her birthday in August. Feeling left out and fragile, Berklee melts down and her parents decide she needs a change of scenery. Expecting to spend her days moping and lonely at their family friends’ house in Southern California, she’s reluctant when they push her to try out for the local Junior Lifeguards program.
If there’s anything Berklee hates more than overanalyzing every message her friends send (or don’t send), it’s doing something she’s never done with people she’s never met. But Berklee soon realizes that she is facing inner battles bigger than the challenges the guard program places in front of her. Watching the youngest guards dive for dummy bodies, memorizing all the steps for CPR, and competing against the only other 15-year-old, Noah, stir up a buzzing in her stomach not unlike the feelings she gets when her friends from back home make sporadic contact. The more time she spends with Noah and a few of the older guards, and the less energy she spends engaging with her old friends, Berklee starts to evaluate her anxiety triggers and how to deal with them.
When patterns emerge in her reactions, Noah suggests that Berklee may be neurodivergent. While the revelation brings a lot of pieces together, Berklee begins questioning everything she’s learned at church and everything her friends have spouted as acceptable and factual.
While Berklee reconciles who she was with who she is now, she has to wonder, who will she be when she goes back home?
Back to Top