I have just purchased the ebook edition of Bad Apple by Kristi Petersen Schoonover.

This is probably the first time I’ve posted an entry about a book before I’ve read it, but Bad Apple — a “dark emerging YA novel” (YA = young adult) — is also a fundraiser for the American Association of Caregiving Youth.

Schoonover and I both belong to Broad Universe, which promotes women writers of genre fiction. Any Yahoo member can subscribe to BU’s discussion group, where Schoonover writes, “For as long as Bad Apple is in print, I will donate 50% of my royalty checks to the AACY. In addition, $3/per every print copy I hand-sell myself (such as at a [convention] or speaking engagement) will be donated to the AACY. The remaining monies will go right back into promotions to keep spreading the word…”

She quotes from the AACY website:

“Caregiving youth are children and adolescents who look after someone in their family who has an illness, a disability, frailty from aging, a mental health problem or a substance misuse problem. They take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that normally would be the role of an adult…In addition, many caregiving youth also have responsibilities for younger brothers and sisters and all or most of the household chores.”

Schoonover herself “was a childhood caregiver, as were two of my siblings. It is a hell like
no other, and its damaging mental and emotional effects often limit or thwart a productive, healthy adult life. In order to minimize that long-term damage, the AACY, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, provides these caregiving youth with a myriad of services, including but not limited to
respite, counseling, education, social activities, and tutoring. By providing such services and support, these children have a better shot at balanced adulthoods.”

For example:

>$15 pays for back to school supplies for one child.
>$25 pays for a month of internet access for caregiving youth for whom AACY has provided computers.
>$65 pays for four hours of respite services.
>$75 pays for a comprehensive home visit with referrals.
>$120 pays for two hours of in-home tutoring.
>$250 allows one child to attend AACY’s unique Camp Treasure.

Schoonover had learned about AACY through the CNN article “A voice for America’s caregiving kids.” AACY’s director, Connie Siskowski, was named one of CNN’s “Top 10 Heroes of 2012.”

“I was thrilled,” Schoonover writes. “Someone was not only exposing this terrible situation as a valid social concern to the general public, but making people aware that it is more common than anyone would have thought. And on top of it, working to let these children know that not only are they not alone, they shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help, that they are deserving of a childhood, and they are not doomed to failure due to circumstances beyond their control.”

She continues, “I can only imagine how things might have been different if an organization like the AACY had been in existence when we were growing up. Bad Apple is, through the lens of horror fiction, my story. At its very core is the message, ‘this is what can happen to a youth caregiver when he/she doesn’t get help.’ That’s why I want to use it to spread awareness about this important issue that affects, according to the AACY website, 1.4 million children between the ages of 8 and 18 in the United States.”

About Bad Apple

After an unfortunate incident on a Maine apple orchard, precocious teen Scree is left with a father she’s not sure is hers, a never-ending list of chores and her flaky brother’s baby, who she is expected to raise. In a noble move to save the child from an existence like her own, Scree flees to a glitzy resort teeming with young men just ripe for the picking. But even as life with baby becomes all she’d dreamed, Dali-esque visions begin to leach through the gold paint…

Bad Apple is a dark, surreal ride that proves not all things in an orchard are safe to pick.

About Schoonover

Kristi Petersen Schoonover is the author of the short story collection Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney, and her short fiction has appeared in Carpe Articulum Literary Review, Full of Crow, Eclectic Flash, The Adirondack Review, Barbaric Yawp, The Illuminata, Macabre Cadaver, Morpheus Tales, Citizen Culture, MudRock: Stories & Tales, New Witch Magazine, Spilt Milk, Toasted Cheese, and a host of others, including several anthologies. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and is the recipient of Norman Mailer Writers Colony Winter 2010 and 2011 Residencies. She hosts the paranormal fiction segment on The Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show broadcast and serves as an editor for Read Short Fiction.

Schoonover is also doing a Goodreads Giveaway, which ends on November 5.

I purchased my copy of Bad Apple directly through her publisher, Vagabondage Press Books, which offers ebook and print editions. Bad Apple is also available through Amazon (in print and Kindle editions) Barnes and Noble (for Nook), and at Smashwords in many electronic formats.

“This is my passion because I lived it and I know these kids have an uphill climb,” Schoonover writes. She is available for blog posts and interviews about the book and/or about the issue of caregiving youth. Anyone wanting to review the book can also contact her.

Back later — I’ve got some reading to do! 😀

About ejourneys

Ejourneys cares for her partner, who has MS that acts like traumatic brain injury.  Author of Caregiving in Five Lines (all proceeds from sales benefit Caregiving.com) and contributor to several CareGifters anthologies, ejourneys is a panelist on Your Caregiving Journey's "Hot Topics" show.  She manages the groups Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Caregivers; MS Caregivers; and Caregivers Create; and is a co-founder of VRide.

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HI EJ–I just emailed Kristi a request to join me on Your Caregiving Journey. 🙂 Thanks so much for this heads-up.

Connie has been a champion for kids in the caregiving role for many years. She does terrific work.