By Cindy R. Williams
LDS author, Valerie Ipson released her first book, IDEAL HIGH. “My book is a young adult contemporary story…set in the Texas Panhandle in the fictitious town of Ideal. The title IDEAL HIGH is the name of the local high school,” explains Ipson.
The blurb on the back of the book states, “There’s no way Taryn Young’s taking her late boyfriend’s place as president of the student body. She prefers to grieve in private, not center stage in front of the entire school. When the memorial for her seven classmates is over, she’s resigning as VP. Really. Except when she finds out a bullied student started the tragic fire, she’s forced to come out from under her paisley comforter to get to the truth. It’s what her boyfriend would have done, and Ideal High has had enough victims.
The problem is maybe the bullied student didn’t do it, and he has a very determined brother set on clearing his name. The truth kept hidden guarantees someone else will get hurt, and Taryn might miss the chance to heal her heart.”
Arizona writer, Susan G. Haws finds, “When you read IDEAL HIGH the characters and their problems feel authentic. You know you could walk on campus and recognize each of the students you meet in the book.”.
Ipson, the mother of eight and grandmother of three, says the idea for the story came from a time in junior high where she witnessed some bullying, but was afraid to speak up.
“As an adult I have often thought about a particular girl from my junior high who no one ever spoke to. It was as if she was invisible. I feel sad that I never even tried to say a kind word to her,” admits Ipson.
Later, Ipson attempted to write a poem about what she would say to the girl now if given the chance, but the poem was a “huge fail.” Around this time, she read a news article about a bus accident where several students from a high school were killed returning from a school event. This made her wonder what it would be like to begin a new school year after losing so many of your fellow classmates. How would things be different?
“Then I remembered the girl from my junior high. Would the deaths of so many popular students somehow also affect those that are bullied or ignored? The concept for Ideal High was born. Bullying is not the whole focus of my novel. At its heart, is a story of a girl trying to overcome a tragic event. As she goes through that process, she heals more than herself.”
Ipson serves as the Stake Relief Society President in the Mesa Skyline Ward. Her book will be available on Amazon. For more information, go to www.valerieipson.com.