Title: Bleed Like Me
Author: Christa Desir
Date of Publication: October 7th 2014
From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and Nancy–like romance full of passion, chaos, and dyed hair. Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just “Gannon” to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers—even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach. Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief. But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she’s standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She’s given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks—until he poses the ultimate test. Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.
This is a story that is different from most anything I have read until now. The two main characters are young teens that need someone to care for them and make sure that they are ok.
Gannon started her life as a very lovely young lady, the only child of her parents who was spoiled and given most anything she wanted. Her whole life changed when her parents adopted three young boys, throwing her life into chaos, making her invisible to all,including her parents. To make herself feel better and release the pain, she cuts herself. This is something that she hides from everyone.
Michael Brooks is a young man that has been suffering his entire life. He hasn't had an easy life, and has in fact been hiding from his father. He has been in and out of juvenile detention due to what he has done. Michael isn't able to have the life he should, and in fact has done some things he is ashamed of.
When these two young people get together, things do not go well for either of them. Tragedy strikes and they both pay the price for their actions. When Michael & Amelia make the decision to run from their pasts to try and start over, things are not easy for them. They barely have enough to live and must make decisions that are difficult.
Their love for each other is to the point of obsessive, on both parts. She is addicted to him, his love and how she feels around him. He is just ass bad, he can't live without her, must have her, and won't leave without her. They are both obsessed with each other, and can't think about how to live without the other one.
Q&A with Christa Desir:
When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively? I usually start with characters and a very vague idea of what their problem is. For example, in my alcoholic girl boxer book, I had a voice in my head of a girl who was really angry and had just gotten out of rehab. The rest of it came out (including her being a boxer) as I started writing.
Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work? My first book FAULT LINE is a book about a girl who is gang-raped at a party and is told from the POV of her boyfriend who did not attend the party. BLEED LIKE ME is told from a girl’s POV who is in a very co-dependent and unhealthy relationship. BLM is not exactly an “issue” book in the same way that FAULT LIINE is and even the things that come up in BLM aren’t as polarizing as FL. Books about rape can be very tricky, particularly if people are sexual violence survivors. BLEED is a different sort of book because it leaves the reader with questions about what we’re willing to sacrifice in order for someone to love us.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? I find the business of publishing to be very challenging and when all that noise gets in my head, I think it is hard to write. I miss writing in a vacuum of pure writing and nothing else. Every morning I try to recreate that vacuum by writing for a few hours with no noise or internet or anything else, but I still can’t stop thinking about the business side of things. (For example: will this book be too controversial? Will schools not want to shelve it? Will people hate it because it’s not a happy ending and therefore sales will suffer?
What are your current projects? I have a book about an alcoholic girl boxer that is coming out in January 2016. And I have a collaboration with author Jolene Perry that comes out in May 2016. I’m also working on a long-term pet project that is just for fun and just for me. Which makes me very happy. :-)
“You sure you’re okay?” I asked again as Brooks navigated the streets to my house. His lips looked bluish-purple and he gripped the steering wheel to keep his hands from shaking.
“Yep.” His teeth chattered and I bit my lip.
“Not to be a bitch, but I did warn you the water would be freezing.”
He pulled the car to the side of the road. “Gannon. You’re gonna need to stop doing that.”
“Acting like you give a shit.”
I opened and closed my mouth. “I—“
He faced forward and gripped the steering wheel again. “Don’t bother lying. It’s true. You don’t really care. You don’t really know me. You’re just intrigued.”
I shrugged. We sat in silence for too long. “Do you want to tell me about your back?” I’d been thinking about his scars ever since I’d seen him at the river.
“Not really. Do you want to tell me about the cutting?”
He released a breath. “Okay then.”
I tapped his shoulder and pointed to the end of the street. “I can get out there.” I moved my hand to the door handle, but he batted it away.
“I can drive you to your house,” he said.
I dropped my hands to my lap and eyed the clock. My parents should be asleep, but after the argument from the other night, I couldn’t be sure. What would they think of Brooks?
He stopped two houses away from mine and faced me. “We’re gonna be a thing, you and me.”
“I don’t even know you,” I repeated back to him. The thing was, I wanted to know him. I was intrigued. But it was more than that. Something I didn’t even want to think about.
His fingers traced a line down my cheek. “You will, though. And I’ll know you. We’re gonna be good together.”
“I’m a mess,” I blurted out. Stupid. Too many emotions skated along my skin when I was with him. It was like my shields didn’t work around his Brooks-ness.
His laughter echoed through the car and I blinked back tears. “Oh Gannon.” His rough fingers traced my eyelids, finding unshed tears. “Don’t cry. I like the mess. It makes me look better.”
He leaned forward then and took my cheeks in his hands. His mouth dropped to mine and then he really kissed me. Not a little peck or a rushed kiss like the one in the woods. A real kiss. Lips and teeth and tongue and it was so overwhelming, I almost couldn’t breathe. My hands tugged at his blue hair and I inched toward him, holding myself back from hopping into his lap. He laughed into my mouth and I let go.
He rubbed his thumb over my bottom lip and looked at me hard. “Yeah. We’ll work.”
He sat back into his seat. I moved on autopilot, grabbing my messenger bag and opening the door. The cool night air rushed over me, but I didn’t feel it. Didn’t notice my feet stumbling as I walked toward my house, knowing his eyes were on me without even turning to check. My fingers brushed over my mouth again and again. I slipped the key into the lock of the front door and finally turned back to see he was still parked in the same spot. He lifted his hand and waved at me. I waved back and then slipped into our dark front hall. My legs buckled beneath me.
I wanted to tell someone. Call Ricardo. Text Ali. Wake my mom. But sharing wasn’t my style. So I snuck up to my room and lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling. My hands slid beneath the edge of my shirt and I traced the lines carved into my stomach. And even though I knew better than to believe it, I couldn’t stop the echoing of Brooks’s words in my head: We’re gonna be good together.
I’m Christa Desir and I write young adult novels. I am an avid reader and have been in love with YA books ever since reading Judy Blume’s FOREVER (while hiding between the stacks in the library). My first success with writing came at the age of five when I wrote a story about my sister and our neighbor Andy “kissing in the dushes.” My parents were so proud of this work, they framed it and showed it to every visitor who came to our house. My sister still has not forgiven me. I live outside of Chicago with my awesome husband, Julio, and our three children. When I'm not writing, I am an editor of romance novels. I am also a feminist, former rape victim advocate, lover of coffee and chocolate, and head of the PTA. It is a rare day when I don’t humiliate myself somehow, and I frequently blog about my embarrassing life moments.