Marisa de los Santos' 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Marisa de los Santos Why we love her: Very simple: her writing is beautiful!

Her latest: the paperback of Falling Together

The Scoop: It's been six years since Pen Calloway watched Cat and Will, her best friends from college, walk out of her life. Through the birth of her daughter, the death of her father, and the vicissitudes of single motherhood, she has never stopped missing them. When, after years of silence, Cat—the bewitching, charismatic center of their group—urgently requests that the three meet at their college reunion, Pen can't refuse. But instead of a happy reconciliation, what awaits is a collision of past and present that sends Pen and Will on a journey around the world, with Pen's five-year-old daughter and Cat's hostile husband in tow. And as Pen and Will struggle to uncover the truth about Cat, they find more than they bargained for: startling truths about who they were before and who they are now.

Our thoughts: We couldn't put this one down-LOVE it!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday October 7th after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: Marisa has a Ph.D in English and creative writing.

Where you can read more about Marisa: Check her out on Facebook!


1. That thing where you dumb yourself down to be more popular? Forget it.  If it ever worked at all, and high school is just a goofy enough place that it might have, it never works anywhere else.  Ever.  And whether it works or not, every time you keep your burning opinions to yourself or laugh at the cute boy’s really dumb joke or pretend, eyelashes fluttering, that you just don’t get it, a tiny part of your soul goes into hibernation and you’ll have to work way too hard later to wake it up. Don’t get me wrong:  you’re not a genius.  But you are quick, articulate, passionate, full of ideas, some of them good, and you really do know that George Eliot is a woman (a smart one).  The world needs girls like you.  Let your brainy girl flag fly.

2. Enjoy your mother as much as you possibly can. I’m not talking about love.  As a mother myself, I can tell you that even when you are at your most sarcastic, snarliest, eye-rolling worst, she will know that you love her almost more than you can bear.  What I mean is when you’re with her, singing at the top your lungs to records in the basement, talking about a book you’ve both read, dancing, listening to her ringing, ravishing laugh, really be there.  When you are in your twenties, she will be diagnosed with MS and over the years, will lose so much.  The singing voice, the dancing, the ability to stay up with you late into the night.  Drink her up.  Cherish her.

3. Believe this: you are pretty enough.  I’m not just saying that.  Despite the terrible ‘80s hair and the eye shadow, you are lovely.  One day, you’ll have a ten year old daughter who will dance all over the house, so luminous, so at home inside her skin, and you will ache with wanting her to hold onto it, the easy knowledge of her own fabulousness.  So you do it:  stop the dieting; wipe off at least half the makeup; love your legs because they’re strong; lose the dark streaks on the side of your nose that are meant to make it look like Brooke Shields’s. They don’t and your nose is fine.  Trust me.

4. And while we’re on the subject, stop wanting to be blond.  Yes, your friend Allison is beautiful, but your dark hair, brown skin, and black eyes are their own brand of awesome.  Not because of the men who will call you “exotic” (and there will be plenty, most of them creepy), but because they’re yours and they come from someplace.  Right after you stop being a teenager (and I promise it will end), you’ll go to the Philippines where your dad was born, and you’ll fall in love with the place and with his family—your family.  And you’ll realize that to want to be blond is to deny those beautiful people and to want to look like you is to embrace them.  Plus, blond means a lifetime of maintenance, and when it comes to crap like that, you will be forever and hopelessly lazy.

5. Learn how to do stuff.  Seriously.  Wit and a way with words will get you pretty far, but at some point, you’ll need to cook something or fix something or put a coat of paint on something or read an instruction manual and make something run, and the older you get, the harder it will be to learn.  So start now:  program your VCR, fry an egg.  I know you can do it.

Thanks Marisa!  xoxo, L&L