Agony of Being Me

Teen * New Adult * Coming of Age Romance
June 1, 2016
GenreComing of Age, Contemporary, Drama, Romance, Women's
Audience Adult, New Adult, Young Adult
Format Book Length Manuscript
Type General Fiction
Word Count 100-120k (average/long)

Editing, Production, Marketing & Sales

Workshopped with Amazon
Edited by Phaedra Valentine
Cover design by Victoria Valentine
Formatted by Victoria Valentine
Published Through Water Forest Prerss
Marketed by Victoria Valentine
Read a positive review

Reviewed on November 21, 2016

Review by Chantelle Atkins

The Rundown

A touching and heartbreaking coming of age drama told from the point of view of the two main characters, Agony Of Being Me is not always an easy read. Zoe Channing is a promising student who writes songs and plays the guitar. Jesse is a popular boy, who could have any girl he wanted. Whilst working on the school play together, chemistry starts to grow between shy, studious Zoe, and Jesse, who is looking for something different in a girl.

However, before their romance can get off the ground, Zoe’s life is turned upside down when she becomes the victim of a horrifying sexual attack. Ashamed, terrified and convinced her attacker will track her down, Zoe has no idea what to do or who to turn to. Meanwhile, Jesse has his own problems. Since his mother passed away and his father fell ill, he and his reckless older brother Jamie have been running the family garage business. Jaime causes him nothing but trouble, as do the girls he so regularly casts off.

Despite the drama in his own life, Jesse cannot get Zoe out of his head, and when he bumps into her at a party, he finally makes his move and lets her know how special he thinks she is. As the story is narrated by both characters, the reader is always painfully aware of how much each teen likes the other, but life and circumstances just keep getting in the way. The author expertly uses first person narration to draw the reader into the minds of these teens and their tumultuous lives. It makes for a bumpy, emotional ride, but you become so entwined and involved, that you do not want to get off until you know that everything is going to be okay for them. After the party ends in tears and chaos, tragic Zoe’s life takes another dramatic turn for the worse. Convinced their romance is over before it ever got a chance to start, Jesse loses himself in other girls, but Zoe is never far from his mind.

Zoe is an interesting character, who goes on quite a journey in this book, which is part one in the two book series. I found myself totally absorbed in her life and her thoughts and was rooting for her at every stage. The narrative voice used for both teens was very convincing. It reads almost like diary form at times, with interior monolog letting us in on their deepest, darkest fears and emotions. As they both stagger from drama to drama, you feel you want to step in and offer a guiding hand, which I think is a testament to the strength of the characterisation. An edgy, hard-hitting and emotional read which expertly captures the young adult voice, I am looking forward to reading the next installment in this story and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys character driven contemporary drama or young adult romance with a gritty edge.

The Recommendation

A gritty and hard-hitting exploration in young adult voice and characterisation. Not for the faint hearted, strong issues are dealt with and experienced from the teenager’s points of view, and the narrative voice is excellent.

The Rating Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars

4 Stars (out of 5): Recommended. For the right audience, this book is a great read. It can hold its own against any traditionally published novel in its genre.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Characterization, Emotional, Plot, Strong World-Building
Cons: Dialogue

Author’s Summary

Agony of Being Me is Part One of a Two Book Set. Finding You is Book Two
Release date of Finding You is on or before June 30, 2016 and is available for Pre Order on Amazon..

An intense teen & young adult romantic drama intended for coming of age & other readers 16+

For some girls, life is a romance novel; for others, a horror story. Zoe Channing has it all: beauty, brains, talent. She owns the heart of high school hottie, Jesse Sinclair. She’s the star of the school play, with love at her fingertips, but just before her sixteenth birthday, tragedy strikes, hurling her on a turbulent course back from the hell that replaced her heaven. Can a soul withstand so much torment? A mind such terror? A body such physical agony?

Jesse’s life is all planned out. Graduate high school and head to art school in the city. His mother is gone, and his dad has just suffered a near fatal heart attack, leaving Jesse to fend for himself. Older brother, Jamie, could be Jesse’s twin, but only in appearance. Jesse James as they’re referred to couldn’t anymore different on the inside. Where Jesse is responsible, Jamie is a fly by night woman abusing man whore. Jesse’s senior year of high school brings about a dramatic and delightful change in the form of a small blonde girl with big blue eyes. Jesse’s never felt this way before, but fate sends him into a tailspin, and he’ll spend the next few years trying not to follow in his brother’s footsteps. Sometimes life doesn’t leave much choices. And the choices you make can be devastating.
Zoe is like a sudden storm that charges the air, leaving it sweet and fresh. Plain and simple, Zoe is pure energy.—Jesse

And the moment is pure magic. I’m not Zoe. I’m someone like Claudette. I have no past. There’s just tonight. No party. No one else in the world. Just Jesse and me. Me and Jesse. And I’m about to be kissed like a woman. Made love to like I’m something precious. —Zoe

The wheels in my head start spinning, I want to do so many things with her. To her. Kissing her within the next five minutes is exactly how I plan
on starting.—Jesse

Warning: Contains one sexual assault scene. As in real life, some language represents the character angst. Two book set.  Agony of Being Me is Part One of a two book set. Finding You is Part Two, the twisting, explosive conclusion.

Short Description

Although a work of fiction, Agony of Being Me is loosely based on actual events and the traumatic & tragic aftermath experienced by an awkward teenage girl who is forced to mature way before her time. Follow Zoe and Jesse through their erratic journeys, poor choices and triumphs. New Adult.


A trauma twisted mind, broken heart, damaged soul.

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