After months of anticipation, Clara Alex launched her debut novel, Partly Cloudy, on Thursday.
Through a carefully selected series of poems, the 15-year-old from Collingwood walks you through early adolescence, detailing her experience with hardship and heartbreak along with way. Written when she was just 14-years-old, Partly Cloudy follows Alex’s journey from having it all, to having nothing, and finding herself again.
In an early teen world where popularity trumps all, Alex explores sensitive topics that surround teenagers growing up in a digital era and the unique challenges they face. In grade seven, Alex lost her best friend to the hierarchy of high school politics, and it crushed her.
“It was something I didn’t expect at all, and it really felt like a first heartbreak. It wasn’t a boy, but it was my best friend, my whole world. I lost a lot of friends to the popularity scale. I just felt so alone,” said Alex.
Alex fell in love with writing at a young age. She always knew she wanted to write a book, but wasn’t sure what it would be about until the unexpected happened.
“I wrote a lot when this whole thing first happened, so I thought it would make sense to put it all into a book. I think a lot of other teens are dealing with things like this as well,” she said.
Alex set herself a goal to write 100 poems.
For her, the hardest part was having to sort through her emotions. The result was a number of scrap pieces of paper scattered all over her bedroom floor as she attempted to piece together her story, one emotion at a time.
“It was a mess. In the beginning, I think I was too scared to write about how I was feeling. As I was nearing the end, I would to go back and write poems that I was too scared to write a year ago. Then I would add them in, filling in the pieces,” said Alex.
In the end, writing her story became her therapy. The back cover of the book reads, “It might heal a part of you that is still broken.”
“It did a lot of healing for me, and I hope it can help other people as well, other teens,” she said.
Alex talks about heartbreak as well as mental health and the anxiety that ensued. The poems are filled with her feelings, but interspersed with short stories and lighthearted lessons in between.
“I think there is a piece in there for everyone,” said Alex. “I am the type of person who knows a lot about myself, and at the time it felt like I got way more lost than I ever thought I could. Writing this book became about bringing me back, and I really feel like it did.”
To Alex, the biggest issue that teens face today is a fear of being who they are because of the strict rules of the popularity scale.
“Different isn’t bad, different is who you are,” said Alex.
Partly Cloudy was released last night (December 12) at Creator’s Cafe in Collingwood. Copies of the book are available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle, among others.