Behind the Books We Love From Author Allyson Kennedy

About Behind the Books We Love From the Authors We Love tour

Books are often so much more than just a way to pass the extra minutes or hours of the day. Books are both a way to escape reality, as well as to reshape our reality with the values we take from stories or testimonies. Any dedicated reader likely has a favorite book that changed the way they looked at life or a situation, and that’s because authors–often intentionally–write their books from personal passions or experiences.

In our new blog series, we are sharing the purposes and inspirations of these books. Behind the Books We Love From the Authors We Love will be an ongoing series for the next few months and will feature authors of all genres to all ages of readers. You may recognize some of their books as being featured on Literature Approved before, and others are entirely new. But these posts are sure to give you a fresh look at a book that you loved, or may even motivate you to pick up one you’ve never read. We invite you to join us by checking back with us every couple of weeks, or ensure that you’re following us so that you get the articles in your email–who knows, maybe your favorite author will be featured?!

Catch all the Behind the Books posts

Behind Speak Your Mind from Allyson Kennedy

If you’ve ever set foot in a public middle school, you know how frightening it can be. Everyone was intimidating and seemed as if they had it all together, while you donned the glasses/braces combo, went through an awkward stage, and were always the first to get struck out in P.E.

Now, imagine the horrors of middle school if you were the kid who never talked. The kid who replied with head nods or simply “yes” and “no” to questions, humiliation igniting their cheeks at the slightest hint of social interaction. Imagine navigating the bustling halls, facing bullying, and dealing with social isolation without a true friend by your side.

That was me in middle school, a little over twelve years ago. For three torturous years, I was the textbook definition of a loner, and I longed to feel comfortable in my own skin.

Fast forward to 2010, the fall semester of my junior year of high school. We were days away from Christmas break, and my Spanish I teacher allowed students to do makeup work during class that day. I was always one of those students who never turned in an assignment late, so I focused my sights on the blank pages in my writing notebook.  Those middle school memories were on my mind that day, and I wondered what they would have been like if I had a true friend step in and never leave my side. Thus, the basic plot behind Speak Your Mind was born, and I wrote the first couple chapters that class period.

Speak Your Mind is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl named Victoria who is a lot like I was in middle school, except she’s harboring a secret that could ruin her life at Grahamwood Junior High if it were to come to light. Enter Aiden, her new neighbor, who makes it his business to help her overcome the crippling chains of the secret and her struggle with social anxiety.

Now, social anxiety, or anxiety in general, is a taboo subject. Some of you may be rolling your eyes, but hear me out. As someone who has struggled with social anxiety since early childhood, I feel that the stories of the ones who are scared silent need to be heard. I wasn’t the only kid who has been bullied simply because she was too shy to defend herself, and I wrote this book to give hope to those who are struggling with the same things. I want you to know you are not alone, that social anxiety and shyness can be combated, and that God can use you to speak volumes even if you’re soft spoken.

Were you affected by social anxiety in middle school? Dealt with bullying? Are you a teacher that witnesses this and tries to make an impact on the lives of your students? Speak Your Mind is more than just a story, it’s a reflection of what could happen if we take a stand against bullying! Have you read Speak Your Mind?

Read Our Review of Speak Your Mind

Purchase Speak Your Mind

Visit Allyson’s Website

Author Bio


A native of eastern North Carolina, Allyson Kennedy fell in love with writing at age seven while filling the pages of her Mary-Kate and Ashley notebook. Dozens of notebooks later, Allyson has penned short stories, poems, song lyrics, and two novels. After the second of her three writing contest wins at the University of Mount Olive, God planted a seed in her heart to pursue self-publishing her debut novel, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl. When she’s not writing, Allyson enjoys reading, blogging on her website, Authoring Arrowheads, reviewing books and movies for Indie Christian authors and filmmakers, and following God’s plans for her life. Her next release, Speak Your Mind, is set to be published in November 2018.

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