Rebekah Crane’s new novel, The Odds Of Loving Grover Cleveland, takes a look at serious mental health issues without ever taking itself too seriously. I loved that about the book, and when Rebekah recently stopped by the FYA lockers for some dishy girl talk, I quickly realized that like her book, Rebekah can talk about the important stuff while still being totally fun.
THE ACTUAL BOOK-RELATED QUESTIONS
The characters in your book are each struggling with some form of mental illness - Zander's depression, Cassie's eating disorder, Grover's possibly-one-day schizophrenia. Did you find it challenging to write characters that were each facing a different sort of battle within themselves?
I found it challenging on the level that I wanted to present an honest depiction of each battle, but at the same time allow for the uniqueness of each character beyond their diagnosis. Cassie’s battles are unique to her personal story. No person can be put in a box when it comes to our issues. That’s the beauty of developing characters with this complexity.
Even though the title is about loving Grover Cleveland, female friendships play a huge role in this book. Zander and Cassie's unlikely bond forms despite both of them putting up some major emotional walls. Without naming names, have you ever had a friendship that was as difficult, but ultimately as rewarding, as Zander and Cassie's?
Yes, most definitely, but I think my most rewarding relationships along these lines came from my high school teaching experience. I’ve taught in some pretty tough schools—all underfunded with kids who deserve better. I encountered so many wonderful, but truly struggling teens. They pushed me to my limits and I did the same for them, but somehow, we came out of it together. Even now, I still get emails from former students. It’s amazing.
The Odds Of Loving Grover Cleveland takes place at a summer camp. Did you attend summer camp as a kid or teen? Where did the inspiration for Camp Padua come from?
I did! The setting for Camp Padua (on Lake Kimball in Michigan) is actually based on the camp I went to as a kid. While Camp Padua doesn’t exist, Lake Kimball totally does. I perfected my waterskiing skills on that lake.
And finally, are Lemonheads the best candy? Yes or yes?
HELL YES! I got sick on Lemonheads at camp because I ate so many!
THE YA QUESTIONS
If your real life adolescence was a YA book...
What would you, the main character, be like?
The musical theater queen. While most kids were driving around listening to Stone Temple Pilots, I was driving around blasting Hair. On my 16th birthday, my friends and I sat around watching the 10th Anniversary Special of Les Miserable on PBS. True story.
Who is your secret crush?
Kyle Crane. He was on the basketball team and all the girls thought he was super funny and cute. (Spoiler: I ended up marrying him.)
What is your number #1 source of angst?
If there was a big audition, watch out because I would lose it. Total stress ball. I would stand by the phone in our kitchen, waiting to get “the call” all night, and just yell at people. It was ugly.
At what point would the reader pump his/her fist in victory?
When I finally get together with basketball playing Kyle Crane. It was a big deal. The musical theater queen ends up with the jock. Fast forward to present day and Kyle knows every word to Hamilton.
And who would play you in the film adaptation?
Anna Kendrick. Just add homemade bell-bottom jeans, a show t-shirt of some sort, and bangs.
(Pictured here: the actual Rebekah.)
THE SLUMBER PARTY QUESTIONS
What is your secret power?
Intuition. I have crazy déjà vu.
What is your #1 favorite food?
Bagels. I miss the 90’s when calories didn’t matter as long as the food was low fat.
Tell me about your area of expertise.
Headstands. I can rock one like no other. If I’m having a bad day, I do a headstand. No wall needed.
If you could assemble your own Ocean's 11 of fictional characters, who would you pick and why?
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, because she could insult you and you’d never know it.
Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, because she would be the sensible one.
Elias Venturius from An Ember in the Ashes, because he could fight anyone who gets in our way.
Alex Trebek from The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland, because he would keep us entertained.
Kim Choi from Aspen, because she’d be the brains of the operation and she doesn’t take anyone’s shit.
Mr. Thornton from North and South, because then I could stare at him all day.
Four from Divergent, because… obviously.
Matt Watkins from Flat-Out Love because he’s good with numbers and equations and stuff.
Frankie Fairholm from Elegantly Wasted because she’s one stealth, badass assassin.
Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone because she’s magic and it’s always good to have magic on your side.
Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower because I love him.
What is your best karaoke song?
“Me and My Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. I’ve sung that song in more bars than I can count.
Tell me something scandalous!
I cheated on a class in college—like the whole class. I had all the tests (which were multiple choice) and the teacher never changed them. I only went on test days and just memorized the letter order of the answers. I think I ended up with a B. SCANDAL!
What is your favorite adult beverage?
Dirty Martinis. Yum.
What book have you read (or movie you’ve watched) the most number of times?
Pride and Prejudice, book and movie (PBS version). I reread Austen every holiday season.
YA authors are so cool. Who would you give a BFF charm to?
Bethany Crandell. She’s my writing soul mate.
Out of all of the characters you’ve written, which one do you most wish you could be?
Aspen. She’s a mess, but she’s hilarious and witty and I love her so much.
If you were invited to the FYA slumber party (and obvs, you ARE), what is the most crucial snack food and/or movie/or anything you'd bring?
Skittles and popcorn. I eat popcorn every Friday night.
AND NOW, MASH!
M A S H
Captain Von Trapp
A parking lot
# OF KIDS
Julie Andrews' best friend
A Gilmore Girl
Kirk from Gilmore Girls personal assistant
Unlimited Free Books
A google dollars
A million Galleons
Ten thousand a year, Mr. Darcy style
Beebe, Arkansas (Rosemary's hometown)
The little worm from Labyrinth
Dobby the house elf
Kreacher the house elf
A white Ford Contour
The Flying Ford Anglia
A clown car full of clowns
The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland is available now.