I’ll Be There for You
A debut young adult novel
Rae Ballester loves movie musicals and—thanks to her dad—’80s rock. Since he died a year ago, his favorite music helps keep his memory alive. Struggling to move on, Rae keeps her head down and earbuds in, but shunning the world has cost her even her closest friendships, leaving her the “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”
When Rae 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 edges his way into her heart, but when he proves “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” Rae thinks about withdrawing to the comfort of hair metal and the silver screen.
Should Rae retreat from the world to protect her already broken heart, or will her involvement in the school’s theatre program and the random acts of kindness she and others have started performing give her “Something to Believe In”? I’ll Be There for You delves into the personal journey of healing old wounds, making new friends, and learning how to build a future with pieces of the past and present.
The Kindness Domino Effect
Just like a domino, an act of kindness can set off a chain of events. One good deed leads to another. Generosity begets generosity. Altruism inspires more selfless conduct. It doesn’t take much to be a Kindness Champion—a friendly gesture, an unexpected courtesy, a positive message on a Post-it note. Let’s set a kindness domino in motion and see if—together—we can perform 50,000 acts of kindness.
About the author
Brieanna Wilkoff (she/her) believes wholeheartedly in the power of kindness, the importance of theatre, and the awesomeness of ’80s rock. She married her husband onstage 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.
I’ll Be There for You is Brieanna’s debut young adult novel. It was inspired by her family’s commitment to kindness, including performing 100 kind acts in a single day. Brieanna lives in Westerville, Ohio, with her husband, daughter, and dog.