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Monday, August 28, 2017

Guest Post with Jessica Kapp, Author of Body Parts!

Body Parts by Jessica Kapp
Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction)
Date Published: August 15,  2017
Publisher: Diversion Publishing

People would kill for her body.

Raised in an elite foster center off the California coast, sixteen-year-old Tabitha’s been sculpted into a world-class athlete. Her trainers have told her she’ll need to be in top physical condition to be matched with a loving family, even though personal health has taken a backseat outside the training facility. While Tabitha swims laps and shaves seconds off her mile time, hoping to find a permanent home, the rest of the community takes pills produced by pharmaceutical giant PharmPerfect to erase their wrinkles, grow hair, and develop superhuman strength.

When Tabitha’s finally paired, instead of being taken to meet her new parents, she wakes up immobile on a hospital bed. Moments before she’s sliced open, a group of renegade teenagers rescues her, and she learns the real reason for her perfect health: PharmPerfect is using her foster program as a replacement factory for their pill-addicted clients’ failing organs. And her friends from the center, the only family she’s ever known, are next in line to be harvested.

Determined to save them, Tabitha joins forces with her rescuers, led by moody and mysterious Gavin Stiles. As they race to infiltrate the hospital and uncover the rest of PharmPerfect’s secrets, though, Tabitha finds herself with more questions than answers. Will trusting the enigmatic group of rebels lead her back to the slaughterhouse? Read my Review!

The exit door buzzes. My breath catches when I notice it’s not a trainer—it’s Ms. Preen. And, she’s holding a red file, which can only mean one thing.
One of us is getting out.
Her heels make quick, light clicks as she crosses the floor past the weight equipment and yoga mats. She crinkles her nose as she moves through the thick cloud of sweat. By the time she reaches us, Meghan’s out of the pool. We stand, two-dozen bodies huddled together, anxious to hear the news. I scan my friends’ faces, wondering whose turn it is to go. Parker wraps his free arm around me. I imagine this is how a gymnast feels after a routine, waiting for her scores. Did I perform well enough? Could I have done more?
Will I win the ultimate prize: a family?
Ms. Preen presses through to the pool area, but stands far from our group, as if she thinks we’ll throw her in.
It’s crossed our minds before.
The light shines off her blonde bob, and her face is flawless. Freeze-dried, we like to say.
“Where is she?” Ms. Preen looks at our group as if she can’t tell us apart, which is probably true. Even though she pops in at least once a month to check on our vitals, she isn’t interested in getting to know us. She’s the one in charge of pairing us with families, but all she knows is what we’re good at. Meghan is the fast one; Paige climbs like she’s part monkey; Parker’s built like a brick house; and me, I have the lungs.
“The redhead, where is she?”
All eyes turn to me.
“We have names, you know,” Paige says, her voice curt. “Hers is Tabitha. T-A-B…”
Ms. Preen pulls a piece of paper out of the file, holding it up toward the row of skylights to read it. “Yes. She’s the one.”
Parker tightens his hold on me and I clasp my hands together to stop them from shaking. Ms. Preen doesn’t need to know I’m nervous. I’m supposed to be elated, ready to go. Maybe I’ve been fooling myself.
I wiggle out of Parker’s grip to step forward. “That’s me.”
Ms. Preen shoves the paper back into the file. “Get dressed. I’m taking you for your final screening. If you pass, you’ll be out tomorrow.” Her voice is hard and she turns to walk away.
I glance back at the group, at the faces I’ve known since childhood. They’re excited for me, but I can see the disappointment in their eyes. I know the look, because up until today I’ve watched friends leave, waiting for my turn.
Now that it is, I can’t move.

Running into trouble
By Jessica Kapp

There are two kinds of people in this world: People who love running, and people who run from the idea. 
I fall in the latter group.

Still, I force myself to get on the treadmill, because my metabolism isn’t what it used to be and that plate of nachos I inhaled for lunch (totally worth it by the way) will find its way to my thighs in two-point-five seconds. 

So I run and I run and I run. 
And it’s not just to burn off calories so my pants don’t look painted on. 

I run because there’s that nagging voice in my head that says I need to. That I’m not beautiful enough. Not thin enough. Not good enough.

The rational side of me knows that’s not true. I don’t need to look like the girls on the cover of fitness or fashion magazines. Heaven knows I’d trip in three-inch heels because I wasn’t blessed with the gift of grace.

Yes, running is good for the heart and good for the soul. I’m not gonna lie; I always feel great after a workout. But deep down, I know I’m not just running to stay fit.

We’re taught from a young age about body image, even if it’s not really talked about. It’s a looming shadow over our lives. A constant companion we never invited over. Cover models at the grocery store stare back at you while you wait in line. Department store mannequins are always tall and lean. Our favorite actors and actresses are criticized for gaining two pounds. Even if our parents tried to shield us from the advertisements that shamed us for not being stick-thin, the messaged seeped into our childhood. The question is, how loud were the voices then? And how loud are they now? Is there a difference? 

As an adult, I’m more aware of the body images that surround us. The idea of taking a pill for instant muscle tone or weight loss is enticing. We’re a society obsessed with instant gratification. We can get answers at the click of a button. Patience is not our strong suit. Who really wants to spend all that time on a treadmill if you could simply take a pill after you eat ice cream and not have to worry about sweating out the extra calories you’ve consumed? 

When I wrote my YA thriller, I wanted to explore what we’d be like as a society if we could take a pill to fix our image. 

In BODY PARTS, 16-year-old Tabitha has been sculpted into an athlete who runs at Olympic-qualifying speeds. Raised in an elite foster center, she believes parents will only welcome healthy, disciplined children into their homes. But the foster home is owned by PharmPerfect, and the company is using the facility as a replacement factory for clients with failing organs. Perfection-hungry people have grown accustomed to taking pills to erase wrinkles, grow hair, and sculpt muscle without exercise. 
It’s an eerie glimpse into an all-too-possible future. Would society turn a blind eye to the ramifications of popping pills? What’s more important: our organs, or our image?
I’d like to say it’s a no brainer, that we would rise above the body image rhetoric and choose our health over drugs that promise results that would take weeks—even months—to achieve at the gym. But there’s another voice in my head, one that’s whispering that it could happen, and it keeps saying that my fictional world might not be too far from the truth. 

Have you read my review yet!!

Jessica Kapp always thought her penmanship would improve with age. She even wished for it on her eleventh birthday. But after having a hard time deciphering her own writing, she realized she’d never be the girl who stayed in the lines or dotted her I’s with hearts.To improve her legibility and speed, she hijacked her grandma’s typewriter—a really cool one with white correction tape—and started creating fictional worlds.

That same grandma took Jessica to her first writers’ group meeting where she shared a story about fairies.

The writing sucked, but with time, Jessica’s craft began to improve. Sadly, her penmanship has not.

Jessica enjoys writing Young Adult Contemporary and Speculative Fiction. Story ideas often strike at inopportune times, and she’s been known to text herself reminders from under the covers.

She lives on a small farm in Washington with far too many goats and an occasional cow.

To learn more about Jessica Kapp and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

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