Offering Hope to Those Who No Longer See a Way Out, a guest post by Victoria Vinuesa
Three years ago, I was profoundly moved by the story of a young YouTuber who decided to take his own life. His eyes, so alive and brimming with innocence, seemed to cry out in desperation, the same desperation I had seen countless times and even felt myself. It was a stifled cry for help that went unheeded, from one who couldn’t find a way out, no matter how hard he looked for one.
Ever since I can remember, I have wished to write stories that offer hope to a world that often strikes us as hopeless. I studied psychology with the same goal in mind, but I soon realized that to do so I had to experience the same emotions I sought to alleviate in others. And so for many years I dedicated myself to living life intensely: I traveled the globe, lived in several countries, shared experiences with people from wide-ranging cultures and mentalities. I stumbled, fell, picked myself back up, laughed and cried, but above all, I can say that I’ve loved.
The day I read the YouTuber’s story, and once I’d dried my tears for all those lives lost to desperation, I felt a scream welling up inside me, pleading with me to write a story of hope for those who feel hopeless, guilty, or ashamed; for those who inflict harm on themselves for not receiving love from parents who are not able, or not willing, to give it to them; and above all, for those who can no longer find a reason to live on this beautiful planet.
A few days later, two endearing fictional characters had conveyed to me the beautiful story that would give shape to my new novel, See You on Venus. Told in a manner both profound and moving, tender and lighthearted, it is the story of two people who are broken and incapable of fighting for themselves, yet are lifted out of their despair by the desire to help each other.
I have always believed that books have immense potential (and in many cases a duty) to offer hope to those who have none and to provide options, alternatives, light, and color to readers.
Most of us, particularly in the first twenty years of our lives, think we are alone in feeling or thinking the way we do; that we are peculiar, different, defective, useless, bad, failures who don’t deserve to be loved; or that our families and our lives behind closed doors are horribly abnormal. The reality, however, is often completely different.
In many cases, all we need is an objective eye, a fresh vision of how the world actually works. And books can give us that perspective. We need to realize that we’re not the only ones who feel or think in ways that are strange or cause us pain, that we don’t have to be perfect, we are free to make mistakes, that whatever we might be going through or feeling, as painful as it is right now, will one day pass.
The statistics tell us that more and more teens feel they have already lost the game even though they’ve played very few of the cards they’ve been dealt. They may just need a more experienced partner, one who reminds them that the game isn’t over, that although their cards so far have been bad, the ones they’re still holding will, without a doubt, be better. Or maybe we need a player with enough experience to tell us that even if we don’t like the hand we’ve been given, there are ways to change it for a better one. My book humbly aspires to be one of those players offering hope to those who need it.
Of course there are cases, like the YouTuber who did not find a way out, in which desperation is caused by mental illness. Nowadays, the line between illness and normality grows increasingly fine, and the label we choose to give our thoughts and our feelings seems to matter less and less.
The strides made in the field of mental health, at least in the world of alternative therapies, have been enormous. Each passing day brings progress in understanding the physiological roots of these illnesses and solutions for alleviating them: holistic therapies, the vagus nerve, deep brain or transcranial magnetic stimulation, nutrition (many foods can seriously affect our mental health), supplements, etc. There is always a solution. Sometimes we just need someone to remind us of this and give us hope.
There are extreme cases in which the guilt we feel for having done something we consider unforgivable makes us believe there is no way out. That’s the case with Kyle, the protagonist of See You on Venus, who, having accidentally killed his best friend, can think of nothing but taking his own life. Kyle cannot erase what he’s done, and his guilt and shame will not release him from his pain.
Kyle, like many who are dazed by guilt, thinks it’s too late, that what he did is too horrible for him to still have the right to walk this wondrous earth. But that’s never the case. Who could possibly benefit from a person’s death? If we disappear, will it really do any good to the person we’ve wronged?
Kyle has to learn to forgive himself and make peace with his life, and he can only do so by putting aside his own pain to help someone whose anguish is even greater—Mia.
Mia was born with her days numbered, and given that her life is nearing its end, she has only one goal: to find the mother who abandoned her at birth and discover why she did so. There is an operation that could save her life, but Mia would rather let herself die than risk living and opening her heart to love and the possibility of more heartbreak.
Just like Kyle, Mia has given up on the game before it’s over . . . until their meeting kindles in each of them the fervent desire to help the other and to offer their affection. Little by little, they begin to trust each other and make peace with themselves, and with life.
My characters, like many who contemplate or succumb to suicide, don’t actually want to die; they simply don’t know how to live anymore. See You on Venus aspires to show them one uplifting way to do so.
I hope with all my heart that this story fulfills the purpose for which it was created.
REMEMBER: There’s always someone, somewhere, who is glad that you were born.
Meet the author
Victoria Vinuesa is a multilingual screenwriter, novelist and licensed psychologist from Spain. She’s lived in France, Greece, Spain, Portugal and several US states. See You on Venus is her debut novel.
About See You on Venus
The runaway romance soon to be a major motion picture starring Virginia Gardner and Alex Aiono! Two star-crossed teens embark on a journey to Spain to discover the meaning of love, death and everything in between.
Mia has had a heart condition her whole life. She’s not afraid of dying but something has always stopped her from her biggest fear: tracking down her biological mother in Spain…until now. Before her next surgery, Mia wants to meet the woman who gave her away once and for all.
Kyle has always been the life of the party…that was until the car accident that killed his best friend. Since then he’s been reeling with guilt and willing to do just about anything to escape his reality.
After a twist of fate, Mia and Kyle meet and make the decision to travel to Spain together in search of answers they both desperately need to mend their broken hearts…but did the universe bind them together to change how they feel about death and love forever?
See You on Venus is a heartwrenching novel perfect for readers looking for:
- Contemporary teen romance books
- Complex emotional YA stories
- Books to finish before or after seeing the film
- TikTok favorites like If He Had Been With Me, Girl in Pieces, You’ve Reached Sam and Five Feet Apart
- Colleen Hoover books
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication date: 09/05/2023
Age Range: 12 – 17 Years
Filed under: Guest Post
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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