Contrary to popular belief, it is not debut books that launch an author’s career but their sophomore novels. An opportunity to surpass readers’ expectations, this next foray into the simultaneously exciting and painful process of writing and publishing allows authors to establish their names. With the recent release of Growing in the Gray, Christian Cook has managed to do just that and more.
Originally hailing from the suburbs of Detroit, Christian Sandra-Elise Cook is a Columbia College Chicago graduate with a decade of experience in the marketing and business sectors. Considering her previous career and Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, it could have been a surprise for some that she dipped her toes into the world of young adult literature. However, such a move makes sense in light of her deep-seated love for writing. The Growing in the Gray author initially discovered her depth as a writer by taking various creative writing courses and using the city of Chicago as her campus. But it would not be until she got accepted into a writing program in Paris that the spark she had for writing would ignite. Her first time outside of the United States, Paris opened Christian’s eyes to new experiences and a slower pace with which to embrace life, making her question life as she understood it. Eventually, writing became an avenue for this world traveler to explore the answers.
Christian’s journey so far is reflected in what she writes. Her sophomore novel, in particular, perfectly demonstrates how she pulls on her past to propel her characters forward. A book that centers around Krista Clark and her upper-middle-class family, Growing in the Gray is an exceptional read that invites readers to hear the heroine’s most intimate thoughts as she navigates a tumultuous period in her life and ponders on choices that may irrevocably change her future.
With her family facing the threat of economic downfall being the last thing she needs on her plate, Krista has to deal with the struggles of calling a new city her home, work on ditching her lame high school label, and try to figure out what she wants from a guy who can’t seem to give a clear signal to save his life. But, just when she thinks she has her i’s and t’s dotted and crossed by moving to Chicago, she learns that not everything goes as planned.
A coming-of-age novel, Growing in the Gray hits close to home and bears a story that resonates with the lived experiences of people across the world. It looks into the rough road everyone embarks on while growing into adulthood. With its relatability, it is nothing short of deserving that the novel debuted in the top 20 of all books on Amazon in the YA Fiction category the week following its release.Christian’s Growing in the Gray will not be the last of the page-turners from this promising author. In the future, readers and industry peers alike can expect more standout novels from the passion-fueled personality.