13 Things Every Dad and Daughter Should Do Together

I am painfully aware that not every girl is lucky enough to have a dad in her life, but if you are, it’s a gift not to be squandered. And we all know that most dads are better at doing than saying. With those truths in mind, this List of Thirteen is in honor of Rage and Crystal, and all the dads and daughters who fight to form a relationship, no matter the obstacles.

Thirteen Things Every Dad and Daughter Should Do Together:

1. Ride roller coasters. What girl wouldn’t love seeing her dad scream like—well, a little girl? (Sadly, this is the only one on the list I can’t do with my dad. Just looking at roller coasters turns him a lovely shade of puke green, with an emphasis on the puke part.)

2. Go see a movie at the last minute. This is one of my favorite things my dad and I used to do when I was in high school. We’d be standing around the kitchen after dinner when he’d get a mischievous look in his eye and slowly lift one eyebrow—I already knew what was coming—and he’d say, “You wanna go to the movies?” We’d both tear upstairs to grab our shoes, then speed across town to the theater—five minutes late every time. (P.S. Random Helpful Hint for Dads that you’ll thank me for later: Spring for the tickets and the popcorn, every single time. If you’re a gentleman, your daughter will look for a gentleman in a boyfriend, too. See what I mean? You’re welcome.)

3. Be stupid together. Sure, ladies, it eventually gets embarrassing when your dad tries to be the cool dad who makes all your friends laugh, but deep down, you kind of like it. At least he’s trying (and that’s better than the alternative).

4. Cry together. I’m not saying you have to turn into a Hobbit or anything (Is it just me, or do the Hobbits cry a lot in The Return of the King?), but sometimes, it’s a good thing—the right thing. I still remember the day my beloved cat Puff died, and my dad sat on the bed and cried with me.

5. Dance together. One of my favorite scenes to write in The Thirteenth Summer was the one where rock star Rage, after a lifetime of being an absent, distant father, decides to finally be a dad to Crystal in one of the only ways he knows how: He teaches her to let loose and dance. It’s a bummer that he hasn’t passed on his rhythm to Crystal, but at least he can pass on some of his confidence.

6. Work out together. My dad always helped train me for cross country, and I’ll never forget the simple joy of pounding along the pavement, side by side, not saying a word—just running together, breathing the same air.

7. Have private jokes. There’s nothing like making your dad laugh across the table, and only the two of you know why.

8. Talk about religion. A girl wants to know what her dad really thinks about the big things in life.

9. Arm wrestle. Dad, you don’t even have to let her win, because a girl likes to know her dad’s a stud. When I was three, I told my dad, “Daddy, the Incredible Hulk is big like YOU are!” He has adored me ever since.

10. Do something nice for her mom together (even if Mom and Dad aren’t “together”). It’s good for a girl to see her dad treat her mother well.

11. Talk about books together. My dad and I don’t always read the same kind of books, but he taught me to love words. Clearly, the lesson stuck.

12. Go out to dinner, just the two of you. Definitely get dessert.

13. Be a little dangerous together. My dad took me out on his Harley once—he probably doesn’t realize this, but it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life (and yes, my own fear is reflected in Crystal’s terror when Rage tricks her into riding his bike), but I’m still glad I did it. The point is: There’s nothing like sharing an adventure with the first man in your life to teach you about being brave for the rest of your life.

Ways for dads and teenage daughters to bond

Me and my dad

13 Songs that Don’t Mean What They Sound Like They Mean

In honor of Rage Waters and the Fellas and their twenty-five fictional years of epic rock ballads . . .

1. “Hey Soul Sister” by Train—The most colossally disappointing song lyrics of all time. You hear the song, and it rocks. Everything in you wants to get up and dance (even if you are rhythmically challenged, like me), so you start listening closer—then you hear him talking about his untrimmed chest hair, and you start gagging. Violently.

3. “Baby It’s Cold Outside”—A Christmas classic masquerading as a sweet, innocent duet, but which is actually pretty shady. I mean, really, the girl needs to smack that boy! What a skank! But speaking of shady . . .

2. “Every Breath You Take” by the Police—Otherwise known as “the Theme Song for Stalkers.” Seriously creepy. Helpful hint: If your boyfriend or girlfriend ever sings this song to you, run to the nearest police station. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

4. “Mahna Mahna” by the Muppets—I know I don’t speak Muppet, but I’m pretty sure this song doesn’t mean what we think it means. I’m not sure it means what anyone thinks it means . . . even the Muppets.

5. “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins—Rumor has it that this song is about how Phil Collins, when he was a kid, witnessed another kid drowning, while an adult did nothing to save him. So years later, Phil tracked down the guy, invited him to a concert, and busted him by singing this song just for him. In some versions of the urban legend, the distraught man kills himself later. I’m sorry to report that the song is actually just about Phil Collins’ divorce—which must have been unusually nasty. Phil Collins and Taylor Swift definitely shouldn’t date and break up. The aftermath would be apocalyptic.

6. “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley—One of those songs that’s so deep and steeped in biblical references, it’s almost awesome, but ends up convoluted. But I could still listen to it all day long. Especially to the version by Amici, which has been known to make ecstatic listeners levitate off the ground. Who cares if some of the words don’t make sense? With soaring harmony like that . . . they could sing the telephone book and I’d sob with joy.

7. “MMMBop” by Hanson—Remember this one? Crazy fun song. Way back when, I read the lyrics and everything, and still I was confused . . . but once you accept that it was composed by long-haired, uber-talented preteen boys who made up a word just for kicks, you can sort of go with it, ’cause, just like Hanson’s fame, “in an mmmbop it’s gone . . .”

8. “Little Bo Peep Has Lost Her Sheep”—If you listen closely to the words to this song, it’s not a nice children’s song. It’s gruesome, actually. I mean, all those poor sheep, missing their tails? And in some versions of the song, they never do find their tails, so those sad little sheep go baah-ing through life, tailless and forlorn, presumably being mocked by all the other sheep for the rest of their sad little lamb lives. Heartbreaking, really. I refuse to sing it to my children.

9. “Rock-a-bye Baby”—While we’re on the topic of sadistic nursery rhymes, listen to the words to this song: “When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall/And down will come baby, cradle and all.” Seriously? A baby falling out of a tree in its cradle? Who wrote this evil ditty? And who hangs baby cradles in trees to begin with? I’m thinking this was a song written by the world’s first serial killer, and young mothers, fooled by its innocent melody, have traumatized their babies with it for generations. Well, the torment stops here.

10. “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson—Killer beat, awesome video with the light-up sidewalk . . . weird, kind of uncomfortable topic.

11. “If I Had a Hammer,” by Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes—Crystal mentions that her mom loves this song in The Thirteenth Summer, and I agree with Crystal’s assessment: Great melody, but what in the heck is this song about? Do the singers long to work for Habitat for Humanity, or do they just love HGTV? I’m all for hippie peace and love and idealism, but I just can’t figure out what a hammer has to do with social justice, unless you are seeking violent revenge on an ex-boyfriend. Which isn’t very flower child-like.

12. “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie” by Don McLean—Awesome riffs, and I’m with the lyrics for two verses, but by the time you hit the third verse, it’s like, double huh? Although you gotta love the line, “And I knew if I got the chance/That I could make those people dance/And maybe they’d be happy for a while.” I think every writer feels this way.

13. “The Hotel California” by the Eagles—But really, I’m not so sure even the Eagles know what their song means. Which is why (as Stoner and Rage could tell you) you shouldn’t write songs while under the influence. Or about being under the influence.

13 Killer Beach Reads

I’ve moved twice in the past ten months, and I’m afraid that in the chaos, blogging had to go on the backburner. Actually, blogging wasn’t really on the stove at all—it was in storage, along with half my stuff. But the boxes are (sort of) unpacked now, and I’m gradually rediscovering my brain and rekindling my creativity. And so I thought it would be fun to refocus the Lizzylit Blog for the next few months. In honor of The Thirteenth Summer, I’m going to start posting Lists of Thirteen Things. What kinds of things, you ask? Well . . . a lot of them will have to do with books (as in, Thirteen Book Villains You Never Want to Meet in a Dark Alley, that kind of thing); some will have to do with Rage and Crystal and their Thirteenth Summer world; and some will be ridiculously random (as in, Thirteen Songs That I Would Dance to, if Only I Knew How to Dance), just for kicks.

And now to introduce the first list: Thirteen Killer Beach Reads.

We’re going on our summer vacation soon, and I always want to have, not just A book to read, but a KILLER book to read—one that transforms me into a horribly neglectful wife and mother, incapable of speaking in more than grunts and monosyllables as I give myself paper cuts from feverishly flipping the pages. (I know, I know—I really should jump on the digital bandwagon.) I always crave a good mystery on vacation, something to set my scalp to tingling. And I don’t particularly like to cry my eyes out on vacation, so I usually don’t go for depressing books about mothers dying of cancer and such—although I don’t mind a meaningful story, or a dark, Gothic yarn.

So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite beach reads—it’s an eclectic list that spans many genres and age ranges, but they’re all fun books in their own way. (Disclaimer: Some of these books may not be appropriate for younger readers.)

Thirteen Killer Beach Reads

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—Hands down, my favorite Sherlock Holmes tale. Ghost stories don’t get any better than this. Or is it a ghost story?

2. A Great and Terrible Beauty (first in the Gemma Doyle trilogy), by Libba Bray—A spine-tingling, Gothic thriller that’s also beautifully written.

3. Delirium, by Lauren Oliver—Lose yourself in gorgeous poetry, a loveless dystopian society, and a romance that makes you ache.

4. Clockwork Angel (first in the Infernal Devices series), by Cassandra Clare—A mind-bending mystery, complete with demon-slayers and vampires and the like (not usually my thing, but I guess they work better for me in an old-fashioned setting), and the start of a fascinating love triangle.

5. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner—A shout-out to guy readers here . . . Fast-paced, fascinating scenario set in an awesome labyrinth with some truly disgusting monsters. (I actually convinced my husband, aka Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome, to read the sequel to this novel—The Scorch Trials—and he is loving it.)

6. The City of Ember (first in the Books of Ember series), by Jeanne DuPrau—This one’s for younger readers. I loved the way the mystery unfolded and I felt like I got to analyze the clues along with the characters.

7. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan—Another one for younger readers. This one made me laugh out loud many, many times. I recommend reading it privately, so you don’t embarrass yourself.

8. Juliet, by Anne Fortier—This one’s an adult novel (I hardly ever read Big Girl books, but this is one that the young at heart like me can connect to). It’s a dual twist on the story of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers: One storyline is set in 1340, and one is interpreted in a sassy, modern framework, with a compelling mystery tying both together.

9. Holes, by Louis Sachar—This is one of those amazing books where everything means something, and all the pieces and storylines eventually tie together in one of those tingly moments where you sit back and just go, “Now THAT was cool.”

10. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte—The most epic of epic novels. Be prepared not to sleep at all until you’re done.

11. Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier—This is a classic novel I missed out on until recently. It’s dark and brooding, but—wow. Haunting.

12. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares—On friendship, boys, mothers, and the best pair of jeans ever. It will make you laugh and cry, sometimes both at the same time.

13. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins—If you’re the last holdout in America who hasn’t read this book, it really is the ultimate adrenaline read.