Here’s to roundup number 2! Melissa is, to be honest, one of my favorite characters. I’ve found myself putting more of me into her than the others.
It’s interesting to watch that. Putting yourself, as the writer, into characters, makes them so much more real. You can sympathise, ask yourself questions, have your characters do things you always wanted to but never could. I know details about them that I might not have come up with otherwise. And whatever characteristic I put into them, I find myself more aware of in myself. Julia is impulsive. Brandon is reserved, yet friendly. Annemarie’s outgoing. And Melissa- well, it’s easier to say that I’ve tweaked a few things and left out a few more. It’s just enough, I think, that I’m not in the book, but I can put myself in her shoes and look at the world from her perspective.
Melissa and Brandon have known each other since birth. They played in nursery together- as the only two of their age, they were certain to be close. They were always at the same school, and neither really had friends aside from the other. Melissa was friends with Brandon’s older sister, and Brandon constantly heard stories about Melissa’s cousin Annemarie, but very few could join them in their friendship.
Melissa played viola for a little bit, and she was pretty darn good- just hated to perform. She hated being told what to do with it, much preferred playing whatever popped into her head, wearing whatever she wanted for the concerts. If she had to do something, she wanted control over it. Melissa loved the opportunity to dress up but hated the reasons for it. She’s quite the contradiction- which of course makes her fun to write.
Melissa’s got a dark side. She is bitter. When they were six years old, she and Brandon decided to pretend to get married, and tried convincing everyone that it was real. If first kisses could happen so young, then he was her first kiss. Brandon grew out of the idea, moved past it, but Melissa never forgot. By the time she was twelve, she had decided that she liked him, fourteen when she wondered if it was love. But of course by then, he had met Annemarie- and the couple never looked back. Melissa was left to watch her best friend and her cousin start a relationship, left to hear them both talk about the other. She was the one in whom they confided their first kiss, the one who got the full story of their dates. They never guessed that she liked him, and she preferred it that way. Melissa was glad to sacrifice her happiness for theirs. Her life became a lie, her emotions more and more conflicted, although it never showed through. On the outside, she’s a happy young woman with a passion for traveling, a passion for history and for ideas, but it doesn’t reflect who she truly is.
Man. Melissa never fails to make me cry.
Also, btw, what’s with the whitewashing on Pinterest? No, Mel is not white, she’s biracial- Venezuelan dad, American mom. SO STAHP, PINTEREST. These pics were the closest I could get.
(Update: and this one)
Definitely later on in the series, but also definitely Melissa! I think this one really nails her skin tone, although her face fits picture number three up there.