Saturday, May 16, 2020

Plot Twist Behind You’re Brilliant by Julie Arduini

When it was time to write the final book in the Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ series for young teen girls and women, my daughter and I knew overall the plot of the book. The series came about when Hannah completed middle school amidst extra challenges. She wanted to encourage others and told me a story. When I asked her to keep going, she plotted what became a three-book series.

You’re Brilliant’s overall plot was to encourage girls that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, God loves you and thinks you have amazing value. We knew the lead characters would be like the other books, a girl from the Linked ministry, and a woman mentor from the same organization. 

You’re Brilliant was going to feature Bethany Tuttle and her move to a new suburb away from her friends, and Cheri Wayson, a pastor’s wife with an additional job to help pay for her adopted daughter’s wedding.

When we started more specific plotting, we realized Bethany would be alone in a new school as a high school freshman, and would need an ally. Enter KJ Curry, a sophomore who is well-liked and very involved in the school. KJ helps make Bethany feel comfortable and not so alone.

What we didn’t plan was KJ’s storyline. Although confident and popular, she also has a problem that’s quickly spiraling out of control, and Bethany sees it immediately. Bethany gets herself into trouble and she struggles with feeling like she failed, but overall, it’s KJ’s storyline that for us really cemented the brilliant theme. Bethany helps KJ realize what happened wasn’t her fault and no one should treat anyone the way KJ was.

It was a plot twist for sure, but our plan has always been we write what God tells us and when. We clearly felt what KJ endured was something that needed to be written, if only one reader would be transformed by it. Too many females---girls and women---walk around feeling less than and they deserve the circumstances they are in. That’s stinkin’ thinkin’, and our prayer is that readers find hope in You’re Brilliant, and surrender the lies they might believe.

Amazing things happen when a group of high school students and women discover they are more than competent.

Bethany’s not excited to start high school in a new community where she doesn’t know anyone. She quickly befriends KJ, a popular sophomore, and it looks like the transition will go well until Bethany discovers KJ’s boyfriend is a bully. With a strong sense of justice, Bethany challenges Brent Sullivan, and he’s determined to make her suffer.

Cheri takes on an additional job in a school to help pay for Sabrina’s wedding. It’s a different atmosphere than at the church where she feels more comfortable as the pastor’s wife and mentor with the Linked ministry. After several mishaps, Cheri feels like she’s found an assignment where she can make a difference until a teacher belittles her work.

Can Bethany and Cheri resist the lies about their competency and hold on to the fact they’re brilliant?
The final book in the Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ series for tweens, teens, and women of all ages by mother and daughter authors Julie Arduini and Hannah Arduini.

Print version coming soon.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the contemporary romance series SURRENDERING TIME, (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged,) as well as the stand-alone novellas, MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. Her other latest release, YOU’RE BRILLIANT,is for girls ages 10-100, written with her teenaged daughter, Hannah, and is book 3 in their SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ series. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, as well as monthly with Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at, where she invites readers to opt in to her content full of resources and giveaway opportunities.


Laura Hodges Poole said...

Amazing how God interjects his storyline into books sometimes. Sounds like a great story, and I'm sure it was a good project for Hannah. Thanks for sharing it.

Julie Arduini said...

Thank you, Laura H., for letting me share Hannah's story.

Laura P., I find in every book I set out to write, the surrender theme tends to hit me/my family hard during that time. God definitely walks us through the fire as we obey Him. Thanks for reading!

Marilyn R. said...

You're Brilliant will connect readers to their own issues and to be surrendered. Best to you both.

Marie Bast said...

Thanks for sharing, Julie. A Brilliant title and story. So encouraging.

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