Tonight marks the official launch of the second book in the Shy Town Girls series, Katie Leimkuehler’s addition that revolves around the party girl, Ivy Westin. I’ve been around the Shy Town Girls for five months now, working toward getting this book on shelves and into readers’ hands.
Working as a Shy Town Girls editorial intern was my first project, first job, first anything out of college—Katie called to interview me for the job just six days after I walked across the graduation stage. And in the midst of editing chapters and writing blog posts, the strangest thing happened. It was completely unplanned, but meeting and working with Ivy, Bobbie, Ella, and Meryl helped me transition from being a terrified and directionless college grad to a (somewhat) professional young woman.
The women of 721 Dearborn pushed me to rely on my friends in these trying and uncertain times of being a twentysomething. Ivy in particular reminded me to stand up for myself and that being confident is the only way to get what you want. I learned to be strong but not to be isolated—everyone needs support.
“I sat down and watched the waves roll in. I felt calm—a world away from the city” (Shy Town Girls, pg. 373).
Ivy turns to running to escape the drama of her life, remembering that the world is so much bigger than she is and allowing herself to be calmed by that vastness. When you’re 24, like Ivy (or 22, like me), the sheer size of your life before you can be scary, but it shouldn’t be. Ivy is excited by opportunities—the overwhelming quality of all you still can and will do with you life. She doesn’t shrink away from them, but bounds up to meet them.
“My dear Ivy, finding love starts with you. You have to be ready for it. Great love comes when you truly want to experience great love. If you give it, you will receive it. It’s not simply going to show up on your doorstep; it comes when you let it in” (Shy Town Girls, pg. 134).
And of course, all the best lessons come from their landlady, Barbara. So much of the story in this second book revolves around overcoming our fears: of being left, of getting hurt, of failing. Ivy may be the brashest of the Shy Town Girls, but she isn’t necessarily the bravest. Book Two isn’t just another story about a shy girl finding her voice—it’s a book about a girl who already has a voice learning how to use it. Just because you’re confident doesn’t mean you’re not scared.