Category Archives: News

NJ TRANS YOUTH FORUM

IMG_0803 (1)I only blog when it’s important. In this case, I want to give a shout-out to everyone who contributed books to 2nd NJ Trans Youth Forum: Cris Beam, Francesca Lia Block, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Amy Fabrikant, Donna Gephart, Alex Gino, Rachel Gold, Susan Kuklin, David Levithan, Jennifer Laughran, Everett Maroon, R.I. Merey, Ami Polonsky, Pat Schmatz, Ellen Wittlinger and Jennie Wood. Their generous contributions are the foundation of the HiTOPS Trans Lit Library.

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The 2nd NJ Trans Youth Fourm maxed out on 200 pre-registrants a week before the event and had many, many more walk-ins. Overall, we more than doubled the number of attendees from last year. The whole day was a smashing success and I’m proud to say that the Trans Lit Storytime workshop was a particular favorite. When we broke for quiet reading periods,  I swear there wasn’t a sound but the tick-tock of the clock. Not a lit up screen in the entire room. Just open books and mesmerized readers.FullSizeRender 3

So many emotional moments for me, but a few highlights:

The high school senior asking, “Where has this book been all my life?” after I read the opening chapter of PARROTFISH.

The friends gleefully clutching free copies of A BOY LIKE ME, I AM J and BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN to their chests and promising to swap them when they were done. 

The educator declaring BEYOND MAGENTA should be required reading for anyone working with youth. 

The GSA advisor breaking out into a jig over FLUTTER and a + e 4ever because they are perfect for the graphic novel lovers in her group. 

The fan of “the weird stuff” geeking out over LIZARD RADIO and LOVE IN A TIME OF GLOBAL WARMING.

The mother wishing she had WHEN KAYLA WAS KYLE at the time of her daughter’s coming out.

The 10-year-old with a trans sister running off to tell his parents about GEORGE, GRACEFULLY GRAYSON and LILY & DUNKIN.

The genderqueer teen greeting me with a huge hug of gratitude because I’d given them a copy of JUST GIRLS at the GSA* Forum last fall.

The student looking so crushed when I told them BUMBLING INTO BODY HAIR wasn’t one of the give-away books…that I *had* to give it to them anyway! Then expressing what I think so many kids were thinking:

“Oh my god! This author is ME. I’ve never read a story like this before. I never knew books like this existed.” 

As Katie Rain Hill, trans activist and author of RETHINKING NORMAL, said in her powerful keynote address, “Everyone knows the feeling of otherness.” Readers of all ages can find comfort in characters and stories that reflect or represent their own experiences. That’s why I volunteer my time–to share these vitally important books with the trans youth so desperately in need of validation and support.  

JESSICA DARLING & MARCUS FLUTIE ON SCREEN IN 2016

I can finally reveal my BIG SECRET! Via The Wrap: DISNEY STAR DEBBY RYAN TO EXECUTIVE PRODUCE JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST. The film was shot last summer and I love the cast (especially Chloe East as Jessica Darling–she is IMPERFECT PERFECTION) and everyone on the Mar Vista Entertainment production crew and ahhhhhhhhhhhhh I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Until then, behold this photo of the cast, Debby Ryan and director Ali Scher crushing a Disney XD premiere. IT LIST RULE #6: If you see a red carpet, WERK IT.
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NJ GSA* Forum LGBTQIA* Starter Library

When I’m not writing YA and MG books, I’m a volunteer with HiTOPS, an adolescent health education and advocacy center in Princeton, NJ. Right now I’m on the planning committee for the 12th Annual NJ GSA Forum, a conference for LGBTQIA* youth, advisors and allies co-sponsored by HiTOPS and GLSEN Central Jersey to be held on November 14th at Ocean Township High School. The conference offers workshops and panels on everything from coming out to your parents, to being leaders in the community, to being queer students of color. It’s an empowering event that attracts more than 400 attendees from all over the state. Many say they look forward to the conference all year. It’s not too late to register! And no youth will be turned away due to inability to pay.  Continue reading NJ GSA* Forum LGBTQIA* Starter Library

JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST 3: On sale now!

McCafferty_jessdarling3_HCCrazy teachers; best friends turning pretty overnight; “The Unbreakable Laws of Cafeteria Line Cutting”…. Junior high is rough, and Jessica Darling needs help! Enter older sister Bethany and her “It List,” meant to help Jessica uphold “The Darling Domination of Popularity.”
In Jessica Darling’s It List 3, Jessica faces the potentially mortifying outcome of the Top Secret Pineville Junior High Crushability Test. Plus, she’s kind of stuck in the middle, as smarties and skaters unite to collect signatures on a petition to bring back the school’s annual dance. Will the dramarama of seventh grade be Jessica’s downfall? Not if she can help it.

STARRED REVIEW FOR JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST 2

“This latest installment in the perils of Pineville Junior High can be described in just the same way as describing its title character: hilarious, sweet, and smart. This is a fun but not fluffy book; instead it provides some insightful truths about the heartbreaks of growing up, while maintaining a wicked sense of humor.” VOYA (starred review)

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JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST 2: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Friends, Foes & Faux Friends

“This latest installment in the perils of Pineville Junior High can be described in just the same way as describing its title character: hilarious, sweet, and smart. This is a fun but not fluffy book; instead it provides some insightful truths about the heartbreaks of growing up, while maintaining a wicked sense of humor.” –VOYA (starred review)

On sale now!

On sale now!

Is it impossible for old elementary-school friends and new junior-high friends to all get along as just, you know, friends? Good or bad, that’s what I’m about to find out.

Jessica Darling is finally getting the hang of seventh grade! Hosting an epic slumber party might even help to make Jessica popular…but is that what she really wants? New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty’s It List series introduces readers to Jessica Darling, an unabashedly brainy seventh grader who tries to stay true to herself, even if it means being (totally not) cool.

“McCafferty knows her way around this age group; her depictions are pitch-perfect and will loudly resonate with girls facing their own friends and foes.”–Kirkus

“Jessica Darling is starting seventh grade, trying her best to navigate changing friendships and the mysteries of boys–with cringe-worthy embarrassments at every turn. A good series for tweens who have made their way through Dork Diaries but are not quite ready for Gossip Girl.” –School Library Journal

“Razor-sharp writing, witty dialogue, and the genuineness of Jessica’s struggles make this a sure bet for tween readers.”–Booklist