I’ll Be There for You

A debut young adult novel coming fall 2022

Sixteen-year-old Rae Ballester loves movie musicals and—thanks to her dad—’80s rock. That’s her only way of feeling close to him since he died a year ago. Still struggling to move on, she keeps her head down and her earbuds in, but shunning the world has cost her even her closest friendships, leaving her very much the “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”

So when she meets Mac, a boy with a charming smile who thinks any problem can be solved with a show tune, she cautiously welcomes their easy banter. With his humor, enthusiasm, and well-curated Broadway playlists, Mac slowly worms his way into her heart, and Rae starts to open up again, letting herself be vulnerable and ultimately risking more potential heartbreak. After Mac seems to prove “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” Rae’s instinct is to withdraw to the comfort of hair metal and the familiar figures on the silver screen. But retreating now would jeopardize the random acts of kindness she and others have started performing, which have given her “Something to Believe In.”

Rae must decide whether to return to her safe but solitary existence or put herself out there one more time—to hold onto her new friends, take a second chance on love, and honor her father’s memory.

About the author

Brieanna Wilkoff believes wholeheartedly in the power of kindness, the importance of theatre, and the awesomeness of ’80s rock. She married her husband on stage at the oldest surviving theatre in central Ohio, and their first dance was to Bon Jovi’s “Thank You for Loving Me.” Her favorite musical is a three-way tie between Les Mis, Wicked, and Hamilton, and she loves flavored lattes, aiolis, and flip-flops. Brieanna lives in Westerville, Ohio, with her husband, daughter, and (usually) delightful dog.

Kindness

Kindness is like dominoes: one kind act can set off a chain of events. Check out the website below to celebrate all the ways people can choose to be kind—be it through letters, books, or food, to family and friends, neighbors, or strangers. And if you’re a sucker for quirky national holidays, there’s even a calendar with ideas for good deeds to do 365 days of the year.