Tag: Holly Bourne

OCD Awareness Week


Hello! We’ve hijacked Holly’s tumblr today for OCD Awareness Week, a global campaign to promote
awareness and understanding of OCD. We wanted to share an exclusive extract with you from Am I Normal Yet? – it’s one that definitely made us think about the language of mental health, as well as the many misconceptions of OCD. We’ve asked Holly to introduce it: 

“I’ve been blown away by how one section of Am I Normal Yet? has resonated with my readers. It’s Evie’s rant about how we use the language of mental health. So, to celebrate #OCDAwarenessWeek, here’s the extract. Let’s try and stamp this language out. As Evie, and so many others of you out there know, OCD is not being neat and tidy!

– Holly x”


I don’t really “get” angry. If I’m going to be emotional, I do
sad. Crying. Not swearing and yelling and punching walls.
Apart from about this.
Sarah once told me about the “dark ages” of public
awareness, where people didn’t really know much about
mental health problems. And what they did know was
mostly wrong. There was loads of MISINFORMATION and
STIGMA and it was really terrible and everyone suffered in
silence for ages, not knowing what was wrong, and not
seeking help because they didn’t understand what their
brain was doing to them and why.
But then we decided we needed to CHANGE THE WAY
WE THINK about mental illness. Huge awareness campaigns
were set up. A few soaps gave their characters depression
and whatnot, following each episode with a voiceover saying,
“If you’ve been upset by anything seen on this programme,
go to this website and yadda yadda yadda.” Slowly, but surely,
mental health eked its way into the public consciousness.
People began to learn the names of conditions. People began
to understand the symptoms. People began to say the oh-soimportant
phrase “it’s not their fault”. There was SYMPATHY and UNDERSTANDING. Even some politicians and celebs
came out, as it were, and told national newspapers about
their own suicide attempts or whatever.
We couldn’t stop there, could we?

I can say, with some confidence, that it’s gone too far the
other way. Because now mental health disorders have gone
“mainstream”. And for all the good it’s brought people like
me who have been given therapy and stuff, there’s a lot of
bad it’s brought too.
Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe
minor personality quirks. “Oooh, I like my pens in a line,
I’m so OCD.”
“Oh my God, I was so nervous about that presentation,
I literally had a panic attack.”
“I’m so hormonal today. I just feel totally bipolar.”
Told you I got angry.
These words – words like OCD and bipolar – are not
words to use lightly. And yet now they’re everywhere. There
are TV programmes that actually pun on them. People smile
and use them, proud of themselves for learning them, like
they should get a sticker or something. Not realizing that if
those words are said to you by a medical health professional,
as a diagnosis of something you’ll probably have for ever,
they’re words you don’t appreciate being misused every single
day by someone who likes to keep their house quite clean.

People actually die of bipolar, you know? They jump in
front of trains and tip down bottles of paracetamol and
leave letters behind to their devastated families because
their bullying brains just won’t let them be for five minutes
and they can’t bear to live with that any more.
People also die of cancer.
You don’t hear people going around saying: “Oh my God,
my headache is so, like, tumoury today.”
Yet it’s apparently okay to make light of the language of
people’s internal hell. And it makes me hate people because
I really don’t think they get it.
“Oh, you have OCD. That’s the thing where you like to
wash your hands a lot, right?”
It annoys me that I’ve got the most clichéd “version” of
OCD. The stereotypical one. But it’s not like I chose it. And,
yes, I do like to wash my hands a lot. Or did. Well, I still
want to, every second of the day, but I don’t. But I also lost
two stone because I refused to eat anything in case it
contaminated me and I died. And I have a brain on a
permanent loop of bad thoughts that I cannot escape so I’m
technically imprisoned in my own mind. And I once didn’t
leave the house for eight weeks.
That is not just liking to wash your hands.
No, you don’t have OCD too.
If you had OCD, you wouldn’t tell people about it.
Because, quite simply, despite all this good work, some
people Still. Don’t. Get. It.

EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT taken from Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne.

I’m going on tour!

Hey everyone

It’s that time of year again. I’m COMING TO SEE YOU. Well…I’m putting myself in various locations around the UK, in case you want to come met me. Here’s my upcoming whereabouts, I can’t wait to see y’all (not sure why I’ve gone Southern American all of a sudden)

Southbank YA Weekender, Saturday 3rd October 



Daunt’s YA Bookclub, Tuesday 6th October 

I’m going to be launching their YA book club, in fancy Chelsea no less. 


Dept Con, Dublin, Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th October

I’m going to Dublin, I am so, so SO excited. And I’m doing THREE events there. Dublin, prepare to be SICK of me


YA Shot, Wednesday 28th October

This incredible day essentially allows you to meet every single brilliant YA author from the UK. It’s going to be epic. I’m on a panel about trigger warnings and writing about ‘issues’


That’s just October folks, I’ve got more things planned in November too. See you soon!

What it’s about

So I was very, hugely chuffed when my close friends, Ruth and Dave, asked me to write something for their wedding. I was also VERY TERRIFIED, as anyone who has read my books knows, I’m not necessarily the most romantic person. But this is what I wrote…it took longer to write than a whole book. And people have asked me share it. So here it is. And congratulations to Ruth and Dave!

                                          What it’s about

And they’ll be mornings when

you turn over in bed,

See their still-sleeping face

creased into the pillow

and think,

Oh no, they’ve
dribbled again.

And they’ll be fights

at the bus stop –

Neither of you really knowing

what it’s about, only

that you’re SO ANGRY.

And there will be mundane grocery shops

Tiffs over the washing up

Hangovers you take out on each other

Toenail clippings where they shouldn’t be

Bad days

And loaded silences,

and quarrels over the remote.

All the everyday fabric

of human life

with this person

this one whole person.

Just them…

But there will also be

those times

you hold your face to their chest,

hear their heart beat,

and know only you get to hear this.

And those moments

when they hold you, and

you know everything is going to be OK.

They’ll be the warmth of their body

The way they smile

Your own secrets and in-jokes

Your own shared world

That you both constructed from scratch.

And you’ll find that you miss them

when they go away,

Even when you can rely on

them always coming home again.

Times when you look over at them

in the car

And think so clearly

How lucky you are.

They’ll be the clasp of their hand when you’re sick

Them knowing what’s best for you

before you do.

And giggles

and tears

…both the good and the bad kind.

But you cry them together.

And adventures,

And security.

And exciting times,

And nights just on the sofa.

And You

And Them.

And Them

And You.


Forever together.

You are not alone on this earth anymore.

Because this person,

This perfect and imperfect person,

loves you.

Just you.

And that

…that is what it’s about.

By Holly Bourne



Hands up if you love Holly Bourne?

We love Holly too, so this weekend, Usborne YA Shelfies are giving away free UK + IE iBooks downloads of each of Holly’s stunning YA books.

There are three books to be won, with one winner per prize.

For a chance to win, follow Usborne YA Shelfies and reblog this post, telling us which book you would like to win! 

The competition ends at midnight GMT+1 on Sunday 13th September 2015.

We’ll message the lucky winners with their code on Monday 14th September. Good luck, tumblrs. 

Holly Bourne’s Top Writing Tips



Keep a diary

Want to write, but still waiting for that
killer idea? That doesn’t mean you can’t start! Begin by keeping a diary. It’s
a great way to find your voice and to get into the habit of writing every day.
Plus, you may find your daily grind actually has a few story gems in there. I
religiously kept a diary all through my teenhood, and re-read them before I
start writing a new book. They’re the best resource.


You cannot fix a blank page. So, if you’re
too worried everything you write is TERRIBLE to actually…you know…write
anything – just DO IT. Every single author I know thinks what they write is
terrible. But they write anyway. Editing is key to making something read well.
Everyone’s first drafts are awful. But you can’t edit what’s not there – so
write write write.


Read all the time. Dedicate at least the
same amount of time to reading, as you do to writing. Reading IS writing. It helps hone your own
thoughts, your own ideas, your own craft. If you want to be a writer, and yet
you don’t read books…Well then I can’t help you my friend.  

Holly Bourne is the author of Soulmates, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting and Am I Normal Yet? She’s really awesome. For more of her inimitable wit and wisdom follow her on Twitter @holly_bourneYA. 

And head over to Holly’s tumblr here for two INCREDIBLY EXCITING REVEALS about her new book, How Hard Can Love Be? coming later today!

HOW HARD CAN LOVE BE? exclusive reveal



We are uber excited to reveal that the second book in the Normal Series – HOW HARD CAN LOVE BE? will be published in February 2016! THE book for Valentine’s Day!

And here’s the super-gorg cover in all it’s glory:

Isn’t it a beaut?


All Amber wants is a little bit of
love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to
California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber’s
hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there’s prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he
really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends
Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.

And there’s even more – there will be EXCLUSIVE EXTRA CONTENT limited to the first print run of HHCLB.

Bring on February 2016!

Introducing: A Boy and a Biscuit



Here at the Usborne YA Shelfie HQ,
there’s nothing we like better than nattering about our favourite
characters while enjoying a biscuit or three. It only seemed logical
therefore that we brighten up Monday afternoons with:


Monday, we will be sharing one of our favourite characters, along with
the biscuit we think they’re most suited to. So, without further ado, I
am very pleased to introduce our first boy, and our first biscuit…

BOY: Noah

BOOK: Soulmates by Holly Bourne

BISCUIT: Jaffa Cake (we are, for the purposes of this post, counting this as a biscuit…)

REASON: When Noah, the mysterious but incredibly attractive guitarist, locks eyes with Poppy at a gig, we fell head-over-heels in love more quickly than you can say “McVitie’s”.

Like Noah, the Jaffa Cake has really nailed the whole “dark and brooding” thing on the outside. But we’re not fooled by that, no. We know both Noah and the Jaffa are full of sweetness and jam on the inside, with hearts of (orangey) gold. Noah is also very dependable but not afraid to show his emotions, which we thought was perfectly matched with the Jaffa’s solid but subtle cake base.

Noah, meet your biscuit match!

And ready yourselves for much more biscuity excellence next Monday when we reveal our next #BoyandaBiscuit…