Blog Tour: Purple Moon {Giveaway + Guest Post: Teen Substance Abuse}

Good morning, my lovely readers! Today we have the lovely Tessa Emily Hall here on tour with her debut novel, Purple Moon. Take it away, Tessa!

About the Book

Selena's life isn't turning out to be the fairy tale she imagined as a kid. That hope seemed to vanish long ago when her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house. This summer might finally hold the chance of a new beginning for Selena ... but having to live with her snobby cousin in Lake Lure, NC while waiting for her mom to get out of rehab wasn't how Selena was planning on spending her summer. She soon begins to wonder why she committed to give up her "bad habits" for this.
Things don't seem too bad, though. Especially when Selena gains the attention of the cute neighbor next door. But when her best friend back home in Brooklyn desperately needs her, a secret that's been hidden from Selena for years is revealed, and when she becomes a target for one of her cousin's nasty pranks, she finds herself having to face the scars from her past and the memories that come along with them. Will she follow her mom's example in running away, or trust that God still has a fairy tale life written just for her?

Filling the Void: Teen Substance Abuse

In Purple Moon, the protagonist—Selena—has a habit of both smoking cigarettes, as well as drinking with her friends. And she’s only sixteen years old.

Some Christians might wonder why I didn’t write about a character who could possibly be a role model for young readers. However, that’s actually why I chose not to. I didn’t want my teen readers to read about a character who is such a good Christian, and make them feel as if they can’t measure up. I wanted to create someone who could possibly relate to them, someone who might struggle with the same things that they do.

And unfortunately, many teenagers do not have a relationship with God. In fact, several of them have a habit of smoking cigarettes and drinking with their friends, much like Selena.

One thing I’ve realized is that one small, supposedly “innocent” decision leads to several more bigger ones. One simple “yes” opens the door to an endless amount of similar choices, and the more you give in, the easier it becomes.

But why is it that someone might say “yes” in the first place, despite the fact that they know how harmful it may be?

There are several reasons why a teen might give into this kind of temptation.

When Selena was eight-years-old, she and her mom were kicked out of the house by her dad. Now Selena and her mom live in Brooklyn, NY, where Selena is forced to be the caregiver for her alcoholic mother.

Life did not turn out the way that Selena had hoped. And for that reason, she fell into depression, which is probably one of the leading causes for teen substance abuse. Another might be family issues, including having a parent who struggles with substance abuse as well. As you can see, this is also the case for Selena.

Another cause for teen substance abuse is peer pressure.

In Purple Moon, Selena says that if it wasn’t for her ex-boyfriend, she would’ve never given into smoking cigarettes.

Another factor for substance abuse is anxiety and stress.

For Selena, smoking was a way to cope with her anxiety. She suffered from anxiety attacks, which I’m sure many teens can relate with. Since nicotine helps relieve stress, it makes it that much more addicting. However, there are many other ways teens can learn to handle their stress. In Purple Moon, Selena’s therapist told Selena that she should replace smoking with sketching.

Teens don’t realize that what they’re ultimately searching for is Christ. The hole is one that only He has the power to fill.

It’s the hole that might’ve been created due to a broken family.

Or the hunger a teen might feel to be loved.

Or the yearning they have to be accepted.

Or the anxiety they experience in the midst of attack.

That is why teen substance abuse is so widespread. Teens are searching for an answer. They keep coming back to their addictions, why? Because it’s just not satisfying. Or maybe it does temporarily, but not completely. These teens are in an endless search for something to satisfy, and it is our job to tell them that what they’re searching for can only be found in Christ.

If you are struggling with substance abuse, can I tell you something? There is an answer. Not only can Jesus fill the void and calm your anxiety, but He has the power to break the chains of your addictions. You can only find the freedom you are searching for in Christ. He always offers the chance to start brand new.

If you’re struggling with substance abuse, please find someone to talk to—preferably a parent, preacher, or Christian counselor. You can also email me at tessaehall (at) gmail (dot) com if you need someone to talk to.

Your addictions—as well as the causes of your addictions—don’t have to hold you back from experiencing life any longer.

~ ~ ~

How can adults help teenagers who might be suffering with substance abuse addiction? What are some other alternatives to substance abuse? Why do you think it has become so widespread amongst teens?

Fact or Fiction?

Guess this fact or fiction, and be sure to stop by the next blog tour stop to see if you guessed correctly! (You’ll also receive one extra entry for the Purple Moon Prize Pack if you send Tessa your guess.)

About the Author

Tessa Emily Hall is a 19-year-old author of Purple Moon, her YA Christian fiction novel to be published September 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also the editor over the faith department for Temperance Magazine, a column writer for Whole Magazine, a contributing writer for More To Be, as well as the PR for God of Moses Entertainment. Other than writing, Tessa enjoys acting, music, Starbucks, and her Teacup Shih Tzu—who is named Brewer after a character in her book, as well as her love for coffee.


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