Burnt Hills Getting through the teen years can be difficult — not only for kids, but for parents too. And when bullying is added to the mix it gets even tougher.
Fifteen-year-old Erin Billings of Burnt Hills hopes to provide a window into the teen world and the issue of bullying through her new book, “Sincerely,” which was released on July 17.
“Sincerely” is the story of 16-year-old Lucy Benson, a bright girl with physical limitations due to cerebral palsy. She encounters usual teenage drama, though it’s compounded because she is the target of ridicule at her high school.
“I wanted to give victims of bullying a voice through this character Lucy,” Billings said.
While Benson doesn’t have firsthand experience of bullying, she felt it was an important theme to bring to the story. Bullying is often discussed at school assemblies at Burnt Hills Ballston Lake High School, where she is a student. Billings said she hopes that after people read her book that they can be a lot more understanding of one another.
“And not so quick to judge, and that there can be a lot less bullying going around,” she added.
In “Sincerely”, Benson turns to her diary as an outlet to talk about being made fun of, and life in general. Billings used the format of diary entries for “Sincerely” and found that was a way to capture the emotions of her main character. Each entry is signed only, “Sincerely” a direct reflection of Benson’s low self-esteem brought on by the tormenting of fellow students.
“She had no one else to talk to because no one wanted to be her friend. She never signs her name because she’s so insecure. She really doesn’t know who she is and it takes her a little while to figure that out,” Billings said.