By Debra Downey
Special to The News
Female friendship, first crushes and the angst that goes hand-in-hand with being a teenager all take centre stage in author Lara Hyde’s novel Mosquito Bites.
The contemporary coming-of-age book tells the story of geeky Selma Pavelchuk, whose best friend is the prettiest girl in class, the girl all the guys want to date and the only one who wears a bikini on swim days.
Hyde, a 38-year-old Ancaster mother of two young girls, said Mosquito Bites takes a humourous look at the sometimes tumultuous teenage years
“It focuses on the lighter side of day-to-day teenage life — the embarrassing situations that will some day seem funny, even if they are mortifying in the moment,” said Hyde.
Mosquito Bites is based on a script Hyde wrote in high school. Impressed by the teenager’s tale, one of Hyde’s teachers entered the work into a National Arts Centre Young Playwright competition, where it won first prize. Mosquito Bites also earned top prize in a Carleton University contest and was performed on stage.
“It’s a story that I always had within me and I wanted to re-envision it as a work of fiction,” said Hyde, who assumes the tone and voice of a 14-year-old in Mosquito Bites. “I think I have written something very relatable, not preachy, and funny, and it seems to resonate with teens who have read it.”
Along with trying to shed a little laughter and light on young adulthood, Hyde said Mosquito Bites is about the marvels of picture perfect summer days. The novel is set in a fictional town similar to a Northern Ontario locale Hyde and her family visited while she was growing up.
“There is nothing more quintessentially Canadian than going to the cottage,” said Hyde. “The smell of marinas, the sound of pavilion dances and the taste of greasy chip wagon fries.”
Hyde is a professional editor who will be writing for a teen parenting magazine this fall. Also on her agenda is publishing a work of fiction based on her grandmother’s memoirs of living in Latvia during the Second World War.
Mosquito Bites is available Amazon and Chapters/Indigo online.