The most exciting part of 2019, writing wise, was the sale of two new middle grade books (one written, one not yet) to Alexandra Cooper at Harper Collins. It really doesn’t get more exciting than that! The book I’ve already written is called Sardines and it follows 11-year-old Lucas and a group of four other kids from disparate social and economic circles as they are forced together each afternoon by the middle school’s aftercare program. As the group bonds, they create a game in which the group works together to grant each kid a wish. That’s the blurb from the publishers weekly rights report. But the book is about a lot more than that. Here are a few things I hope kids and grown ups will take away from the book.
- Everyone is carrying around hard things in their emotional backpacks.
- Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.
- You are stronger than you think.
- It’s okay if you’re not.
- Mental health is as real and important as other kinds of health.
Speaking of mental health, one of the best books I read this year was The Year We Fell From Space by A.S. King. I’m an A.S. King fan from way back. She is hands down one of my favorite writers for young people and for all people. The Year We Fell From Space takes everything I love about her YA books and puts it in a format for middle grade readers. When I was a kid my mom used to say to me, “Everyone has crazy thoughts; that doesn’t make you crazy.” This book follows 7th grader Liberty Johansen as she navigates her family’s divorce and her father’s struggle with depression. Liberty is afraid if her father has depression she might have it too. She’s also dealing with unkindness from peers and the part of growing up where you learn that your parents aren’t perfect and neither are you. What I love about A.S. King is that she does things in middle grade fiction that are usually reserved for YA. She lets the characters’ freak flags fly and doesn’t need to explain everything. She puts faith in younger readers to understand that life is weird and complicated and sometimes defies simple explanations.
Totally normal things authors think when their agents take more than 24 hours to return an email.*
*My agent is a wunderkind who never takes more than 6 hours to get back to me. But, if say an email were to get lost in the shuffle…..
- She hates me
- She hates what I wrote
- She is in the middle of negotiating a really important deal for someone else
- I will never get important deals because I suck and shouldn’t ever have gotten her as an agent anyway.
- Everyone has better deals than me
- She thinks I’m too needy
- Am I too needy?
- I bet her other clients aren’t this needy
- Was my question dumb?
- Maybe I can google the answer
- Maybe I should add dolphins or an amusement park to the ending of my book
- I bet her other clients write about dolphin-themed amusement parks
- There is probably a huge dolphin-themed amusement park book about to be HUGE any second now.
- Shit, we’re going to miss it.
- *Hits refresh*
It’s been an insane 6 weeks since the book launch party and I’m very sorry not to write this sooner. Between crocheting my kids Halloween costumes and cleaning the baseboards it’s been rough. Okay really just regular life stuff but it’s nowhere near as good as the image of me crocheting anything.
Here is my favorite picture from the book launch party at Mechanics Hall Library.
I’m really hoping none of these children read my book before they’re in high school or at least that they have very permissive (preferably Unitarian or reform Jew) parents.
It was a blast. I’m so grateful to everyone who came out and made it fun and special. So thanks! I know I have more pictures somewhere but I can’t find them so here is a random pic from high school.
By the way, I so knew this picture was being taken. This is just me being cute and pretending to be surprised. Also, these white v-neck t-shirts were a major wardrobe staple for longer than I’d care to admit.
If you’re in the Boston area and you have a lot of anxiety the night before the election please come join me and 3 other amazing YA author friends to talk books at Porter Square Books in Cambridge November 7th at 7pm. Love to see you there.