Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An Open Letter to Krista and Becca Ritchie

As the era of the original Addicted series books being published comes to an end in a few days, this is the time a bunch of us from Fizzle Force, a fandom for Krista and Becca Ritchie and the brilliance that is their books, have decided to take it upon us to say our farewells to these books and characters. It has been a wonderful journey that has spun over the course of almost three years. You are all well aware of my undying love for this series, so naturally this post is a little more personal than what you may be used to on this blog, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. And if you haven't read these books yet, maybe I'll be able to convince you with my lengthy rambles and grateful, emotional tears.

*I added some of my favorite edits that I have made into this post to illustrate my points and/or make the post easier to read since we all know that long essays are hella boring to read even when they're written through tears like the following post was. All graphics are linked to my Tumblr, so you can easily go and see the graphic sets as whole if you're interested in seeing more of these characters/situations.

Dear Krista and Becca,

I know it sounds like a cliché that you can't quite believe, but your books have had a huge impact on my life. I can't imagine what my life would look like right now if I hadn't chosen to give a chance to a book written by my blogging friends. I was highly skeptical, I'm not going to lie. A book about a sex addict? What? You know this already, but I am 100% certain that I would not have read Addicted to You if I didn't already know you when I first heard of this book on your blog. I didn't know it yet, but that moment when I read this post on your book blog, as well as this one, changed my life. I guess sometimes we don't know how much small things shape our lives until years later.

What I remember from the early days is surprisingly quite vivid in my mind. I remember it clearly when I first read Addicted to you and what I felt at the time. I remember it being a rainy day and me crying my eyes out at the end of Addicted to You, but trying to be subtle and super chill about it in the back of my dad's car with my whole family there. I remember flailing over Connor and the promise of Coballoway. I remember not knowing yet that this book features my favorite fictional characters ever. I remember being proud of my blogging friends who had written such a poignant, interesting book that would surely get amazing reviews.

I remember being upset that this book that touched me so deeply was, in fact, not getting the kind of coverage I felt like it deserved. I remember having no one to talk to about these books except for you two, because no one I knew had read them. I remember pushing them on Nick and getting her to flail with me. I remember recommending these books everywhere, including on all the blogs I constantly visited, because I felt like they deserved better than those 100 something ratings on Goodreads, most of which were the girls I remembered from the ARC tour. I remember the day I started talking to Jenn when I had just received Hothouse Flower on my Kindle: I was taking a bus to work on that afternoon and telling her on Goodreads that she would flail about a certain stairwell scene after she had commented under my status update. I remember finding someone else to flail with. I remember when I saw someone named Diana Bishop with the username thefieryheart and a Lucy Fry icon being retweeted by you two. I remember being intimidated and not knowing if I should talk to her and her friends or not. I didn't at the time. I was too intimidated. Which, I guess, is ironic, because Jenn always says that she was intimidated to talk to me. Turns out we're all just a bunch of booknerds with massive fangirling tendencies.

I rememeber throwing the Lily Calloway birthday event and contacting Sue (who had previously turned out to be that Diana Bishop person), Nick, Jenn, Jullie and others for this. I rememeber the Thrive challenge, which Sue threw a few weeks later, for which I made my first graphics ever for and after which I started talking to Sue, Sil, Almera and Nazeefa regularly. I remember that Zee and I had been stalking each other's social media long before we started talking. I remember when I met Eri, Lisa, Katie (whose then url psychotarafinke, and the fact that I couldn't spell, it let alone pronounce it, still makes me laugh seeing as Tara Finke is now one of my favorite characters eve), Jae, Jessi, Laura, followed by Lanie, Amy, Paula, Anisha and so many others. At some point I lost count of all the people I befriended thanks to your books—books that I appreciated so much and which, thank Connor, had apparently moved others too; these people were just as passionate about your books as I was. They had as much love for these characters and their stories as I had. I began forming friendships with people from all over the world and some of them have sneaked their way so deep into my heart that I feel as though they're my second family. All because of your books.

I guess I should tell you "thank you", but it's such a broad term for all the things I want to thank you for. Your books, your characters and you have taught me so much about myself, showed me the world through different perspectives and helped me when I have needed it the most. I can't pinpoint all of those big and small moments, because there is a countless amount of them, but the following includes some things I would like to thank you for.

One of the most recent instances being when I went to see Deadpool (something Lily and Lo would most definitely appreciate!) with one of my best friends (girl) and her co-worker (guy). It came up I'm this close to getting my Master's degree and that I have an almost perfect GPA. I started to downplay the last one immediately, as I always do, by saying "Oh, well, it's mostly by luck and [list of other things]!" I tried to laugh off this achievement; to make it seem like it was nothing.

Later, as I was driving home, I thought about it. Why did I even feel the need to say those things and make it seem like it wasn't a huge deal? Because it is a huge deal! I have worked my hardest to get good grades that would allow me to get stipends. I have worked my hardest to get a good education, so I can have a great foundation to build the rest of my life upon. It's something I should take pride in, not let it slide like it means nothing; and for what? For the sake of not looking smart or capable in the eyes of some cute guy who said school was never for him? For the sake of not having people think "oh, she's an overachiever"? No, this is not how it goes, and this is something your books have taught me: always take pride in your accomplishments; small or bigyou have earned them. Thank you for helping me see that it's important to be proud of yourself.

This above is just one example out of a million, so if I started telling you all of these small instances, I'd be here for a good few years, still listing examples. I'd much rather go ahead and list a few things I'd like to thank you for.

Thank you for impacting my life so much with your books. I can't imagine what my life would look like right now if I hadn't chosen to give a chance to a book written by my blogging friends. I was highly skeptical, I'm not going to lie. A book about a sex addict and an alcoholic? What? I am 100% certain that I would not have read Addicted to You if I didn't already know you when I first heard of this book. But as I stated above, this reading experience is one I recall vividly and one that I haven't been able to let go of since.

Thank you for writing a book where sisterhood, brotherhood and friendships aren't devalued or pushed to the sidelines for the sake of romance. Thank you for writing heartfelt, layered relationships and not settling for an easy way out. Thank you for making us fall in love with these dynamics that are unique yet relatable. Thank you for all the moments you have made us cry and laugh with the banter between your characters and their support and love for each other.

I will never forget the moment when Lily finally condifed in Rose, all the while scared and thinking her own sister would disown her for being something that our society shames and/or pretends they don't exist: a female sex addict. Instead of shaming her or not believing in her struggles, Rose made everything in her power to help her little sister and made sure Lily knew that she would not go anywhere. That she wasn't alone in this.

Every time I re-visit this scene, the tears just push through and there is no hiding the ocean that's about to be unleashed. To me these books, while romantic, and with a good reason marketed as romance novels, are essentially about family; these four sisters who would drop anything and everything in a nanosecond if one of them needs the others. They may have been estranged at first, but as the series progressed, their bonds got stronger; even during the most painful moments, their support for each other never wavered. There are so many layers to all of them individually as well as to their relationship dynamics that it's simply an honor and a joy to witness them all unravel in front of our eyes. The Calloway sisters will forever be my favorite siblings in any fictional world and I will never grow tired of re-exploring their stories over and over again.

Thank you for never romanticizing addictions. Thank you for not sugarcoating the hardships that come with addictions. It takes strong, skilled writers to showcase the raw details of something you have never experienced and put it into words so effortlessly while not glossing over the raw, painful hurt, while managing to showcase the highs equally as well. Thank you for stories where love doesn't magically fix people. Thank you for writing realistic, beautiful, emotional beginnings, endings and everything inbetween. Thank you for creating these marvelous (pun intended), layered characters whom we all love and adore so much. Thank you for breaking stereotypes. It's so important to show that we don't all fit into these boxes that the society pushes upon us, and you have done it time and time again.

Speaking of characters and breaking stereotypes, thank you for creating Lily Calloway who is truly such a gift in to us all. My smol, adorable fairy princess. Thank you for creating a character who's a sex addict, but who isn't portrayed as a vixen. You know, like the world would like us to think about every female who enjoys and/or initiates sex. Instead, Lily is not confident in her skin at all, yet she's a sex addict. Imagine that; what a concept, right? [To all the readers: I hope your're aware that the last sentence is dipped deep in sarcasm.] Thank you for never taking her story lightly and putting all the care into her story that isn't often easy nor pretty. Thank you for this shy, awkward girl who is obsessed with comics and pop culture; a girl who is loving and kind; a girl who loves her wampa hat like no other and is resilient in learning French via an app just so she can understand and ship her favorite Nerd Stars even more when they talk dirty in French. Which, my fluttering heart should know well, they do! Well, given, she also wanted to know what Rose and Connor were talking about the rest of the ot6, but still. Thank you for creating a character who is constantly in the state of fangirling and who will make it her mission for the world to only see good in everyone, especially her loved ones. Thank you for the beautiful, challenging character growth towards self-love and self-acceptance—something that a lot of people, for one reason or another, are struggling with, myself included.

Thank you for writing Loren Hale aka the king of sarcasm. Thank you for writing one of the most beautiful character growths there ever was: from a person who is self-loathing and hates the world around him, to a person who will fight for others when they feel like they don't have the strength or will to fight for themselves. Thank you for all the sarcastic comments that have made me laugh, gasp and roll on the floor. Sometimes all three at once, yes. Thank you for the beautiful realization Lo goes through that your defeats do not define who you are; you're defined by how you overcome and learn from those defeats. Thank you for creating a guy whose love for comics and all things Marvel is insurmountable, and is only beaten by his love for his friends and family. In the words of Lily Calloway, you're easily lovable, Loren Hale. And, it's incredible that so many people have become more invested in comics and the history of the characters we all love because of these two comic geeks such as yourselves! Thank you for that comics bug you have infected us with.

Thank you for crafting my favorite fictional character ever: Rose Calloway aka my sun, my stars, my moon; my queen of everything. Thank you for writing an intelligent, confident, sharp, competitive woman who lives and breathes fashion, make-up, diamonds and French; for creating a girl whose insecurities are physical (and emotional) closeness and motherhood. Thank you for creating a girl who is so complex that most people would rather run than try to get to know her. Thank you for writing about a character who is still a virgin at 23 and not ashamed of never having had sex. Thank you for writing a girl who will always have her sisters' backs and who will stand up for them when they can't, but who will support them to be better, stronger and push them to always reach for their dreams. Thank you for crafting someone whose passion, competitiveness and thrive burn inside my very soul. Thank you for giving me someone to identify with. I won't rehash this here in great detail, because it's truly, truly personal, but you know what I mean.

Thank you for creating my ultimate fictional love, my second favorite fictional character ever: Richard Connor Cobalt. My love for him is immeasurable. I literally cannot describe to you how much he and Rose mean to me, but you probably already know this yourselves since you have had to hear my fangirling for three years by now. Thank you for writing the most complex character I have ever met in any fictional world to date. Thank you for creating a character who is just as intelligent, thriven and competitive as his other half. Thank you for writing a character who is truly non-judgemental and so factual that it literally hurts sometimes, but in a good way. Thank you for all the amazing combacks and commentary, because his factual, rational self just can't help but make the best commentary ever. Thank you for handling his sexuality, views and character growth with so much care, wisdom and remarkable beauty that should not be possible to write this with just 25 years of life experience (and even less so, seeing as his characterization started years before).

Thank you for not chopping Connor off, but adding him as a main character and chopping off Rose's fiancé instead; we never met him, but good riddance, I tell you! This action gave way to my ultimate OTP ever: Coballoway. Thank you for this complex, unique, heartfelt, passionate and exquisite couple who has brought so much light into my life via their canon stories and countless headcanons that continuously pop up in my head when I expect it the least. Thank you for portraying a relationship where both parties are equals outside bedroom, constantly testing each other's knowledge and strength, always battling via discussions on all topics imaginable, but inside bedroom one is willing to submit to the other. Thank you for showing that women can still be powerful, fierce, strong and independent in relationships even when they are submissive in bedroom.

Thank you for creating le sunshine that is Daisy Calloway. My favorite mermaid princess. Thank you for writing a character who doesn't know what or who she wants to be when she "grows up". Thank you for a poignant voice of someone who is still confused as to what her purpose in this world should be. You have no idea how much I identify with her in this aspect and I am confident most people do. Thank you for a character who will have to learn that her voice and opinion matter. Thank you for creating a character who will have to learn how to be selfish; whose struggle with depression and PTSD is never handled with anything less than utmost care and respect. Thank you for gracing us with someone whose kindness is so endearing that it genuinely feels like her beautiful soul is embracing the reader through the book. Thank you for all the puns, because Daisy Petunia Calloway is, without a doubt, the queen of puns—a girl after my own heart!

Thank you for crafting Ryke Meadows aka probably one of the most feminist guys ever in fiction. A character who is loyal to a default and, while a big softy inside, portrays himself as a hardass, but only because he cares too much. Thank you for writing a guy who isn't respectful only towards his love interest and closest female friends, but someone who treats all women equally well and preaches this around everywhere he goes. Thank you for writing about a guy who uses the word "fuck" more times a day than there are minutes in an hour, but who is intelligent, loving and kind, even though most people would dismiss him as an unintelligent brute when they first meet him. Thank you for creating a character who, at first, let no one in; who considers himself a lone wolf and tried to protect himself against everyone, but who, as time passed, found friends and family in five other people, and would do everything in his power for them to achieve the happiness they rightfully deserve.

All of the friendships you have written feature complex dynamics with heart and soul. Thank you for them all. Further, thank you for all the amazing romantic ships that showcase what healthy, respectful and loving relationships should be like. Meaning that they are the kind where both parties encourage the other to reach for their dreams, never settle for less, and who breathe confidence, solace and love into one another not just when they need it the most, but every. single. day. Thank you for showing how important trust is in all relationships, romantic and otherwise. Thank you for showing us what kind of significant others are worth waiting for, what true friendships and great family relationships look like.

Thank you for all the OMFG moments that have left me gasping for air as well as in laugh cramps. Thank you for all the sleepless nights that I have spent reading and re-reading your books. Thank you for all the tears that have helped me cleanse my emotional part with massive crying fests (because truly, there have been instances where I have had to take water breaks and tissue breaks, because tears were blurring my vision so much that it turned out to be impossible to continue reading). 

Thank you for showing how harmful media (and society in general) can be, especially towards women and, in the case of your books, minorities whom majority of people would rather show agression and disapproval towards than try to understand, because they don't think or feel the way they're expected to. Thank you for showing that strength doesn't come in one shape, size or form; that a quiet, shy person can be just as strong as someone who isn't afraid to express their thoughts; that smiling through dark times is called fighting back; that strength isn't only in physical attributes, but also lies in intelligence, resilience and love.

Thank you for writing books that look down on slutshaming and make it a point that women exploring their sexuality is just as okay as men exploring their sexuality. Thank you for stories that explore female sexuality and show that no matter if you’re sexually experienced or inexperienced—it should not matter in the eyes of the society and it does not make you lesser or more in any way. Thank you for giving a voice to quiet girls, loud girls, girls who like to have sex and girls who dont, girls in high heels, girls in sneakers and jeans, girls who are afraid and girls who want to conquer and everyone inbetween.

Thank you for being the perfect example that New Adult is not just a fun or angsty sexy gap between YA and Adult books, but that it can be so much more than that; that books in the New Adult genre can have thorough, important discussions as books meant for any other age group.

Thank you for all the friendships I have made directly or indirectly through to you, especially Jenn and the Fizzle Reads girls. If it wasn't for your books, I wouldn't be such great friends with some of the coolest people I know, people I can proudly call my second family. This fandom in general is so loving, kind, amazing and it directly reflects upon you, because you are loving, kind and amazing. Thank you for always gracing us with bonus scenes and extra content. Thank you for always going along with ideas to surprise the Fizzle Force with Addicted series related things when Jae, Jenn, Lanie and I ask if you'd be up for this, this and this—whatever those ideas may be. You always find time for us and I am truly grateful for that.

Last, but certainly not least, I just wanted to say that I am so, so, so very proud of you. I hope you never stop writing; I hope you will continue to grace us with characters who are fully fleshed out—who we can all identify with one way or another, who will broaden our minds and make us think; I hope you never stop trying to be the best versions of yourselves and will continue to inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves; I hope you never give up on your dreams. Thank you for showing us that it's ok to take chances and follow your dreams. Thank you for inspiring us every single day. 

Even though it feels like it, I know it's not the end of the road. It's truly not. This series will live and breathe inside me until the end of times. I will carry it with me in the deepest parts of my soul and re-live it during good, bad and extraordinary times in my life for years and years to come. I will forever treasure these books and characters and all that they have given me. Connor and Rose, the two great loves of my life, said it best:

His lips rise. “Ca vous a pris pas mal de temps.” It took you long enough.
“How long do we have left?” I ask him softly, his body beginning to blur.
He strokes my hair. “Pour toujours.” Forever.

Thank you for this incredible journey. 

With all my heart,

If you, my friend, reading this post, want to know more about the books, you should, without a doubt, pick up the first book of the Addicted series. The final book, a full-length epilogue novel Some Kind of Perfect releases this Friday, May 20th. However, since you should probably start with the first book, I suggest you grab the first book Addicted to You right away since it's free on Amazon, Barnes & NobleKobo and iBooks

*If you don't know how to read the series, because the order can be confusing, check out these posts here and here where Krista and Becca outline multiple ways you can read these books.
**If you own the Kindle version and you love audiobooks, you can get the first one for just 1.99$ on Audible and listen to the brilliant Erin Mallon bring Lily Calloway and the Addicted universe to life in magical ways. 

Thank you to everyone who made it to the end of this post. I can't believe you managed to read through this mess of a post and not close the window. I hope that if you are not caught up with this brilliant, beautiful and well-crefted series, you will do so asap, and if you are all caught up, I hope we can both survive the goodbye to our beloved characters whom we love more than words can describe. ♥


  1. THIS. WOW, Siiri. As always you take my breath away with your words! I think you've probably expressed everything we're all feeling about this series and then some! Seriously, how do you even have time to write this with your thesis and all? You are a superwoman! Everything EVERYTHING in this letter makes me cry and break into fits of giggles at the same time. 3 years feels like a lifetime with everything that this series has put us through. I loved reading the history from your eyes because you've known Krista & Becca for so long. It's truly been an amazing whirlwind of a journey and like you, I too have become friends with a whole mess of people through these books. I don't know what my life would be like if I had never read Addicted to You. I think it's only proper that we express our thanks to the girls who made this all possible.

  2. as always, your post and everything you've said makes me emotional! so happy i met you siiri!! hugs!! - lanie