Spell checking is vital component in my life. I’m a terrible speller. I vaguely remember school spelling bees where I was never the worst but I never won either. Yet somehow the Scripps National Spelling Bee is something I’ve loved for years.

Watching adorably awkward kids spell insane words and trying to guess them is fun for some reason. Back in 2015, both the winners were from the same region I was born in, and the girl who won from Olathe, KS, is from the same area I grew up in, so that was neat. They were my favorites to win just because of where they were from, but I normally root for whoever is funny and/or painfully shy (because the shy ones need the support!).

In What Love Means, the two main characters are former spelling bee competitors who are now helping their siblings with the bee. It’s the backdrop for the action, but you don’t have to like or know anything about spelling bees to read the book.

I took the official prelim test for the past year and was not at all surprised that I didn’t make the cut. Out of a possible 30 points, a score of 27 was needed to advance. I got a 25, which is actually pretty good for me. I got the majority of spelling questions wrong and most of the vocab questions right. Then I got the round two word right because I’ve read Harry Potter. How did you do on the test?

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