The cast and crew vividly captured all the humor and heartache of Pineville High School. A special shout-out to Victoria Keith and Cole Greenberg whose nuanced performances stayed true to Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie we know and love while still making the characters their own.
This was an unforgettable world premiere that I hope is the first of many productions to come. If you’re involved in a teen theater program and are interested in bringing SLOPPY FIRSTS to your stage, please contact me via email@example.com.
Yes! It’s true. I adapted SLOPPY FIRSTS for a world premiere this March 16th-18th at Round House Theater, recently lauded by the Washington Post as one of the area’s best and most ambitious regional theaters. This is the 16th Sarah Metzger Memorial play to be produced and presented by RH’S Teen Performance Program, an incredible year-round intensive that puts high school students totally in charge of running every aspect of the show. (Well, with input from adult mentors Iike me.)
I spent my entire childhood and adolescence involved in local theater, so my young and dramatic self is SO JEALOUS. My grown up self is beyond thrilled for this creative, collaborative opportunity to bring life to Jessica Darling, Marcus Flutie and the world of Pineville High in a whole new way.
Tickets are available RIGHT NOW. I’ll be at every performance. For sure.
The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection
“Move over, Dork Diaries! Jessica Darling, star of Megan McCafferty’s bestselling Jessica Darling series for adults, is back in a hilarious new series perfect for tween (10 to 14) girls.”
I hadn’t even gotten to homeroom yet and I’d already discovered five hard truths about junior high:
1. My best friend had turned pretty. 2. She didn’t know it yet. 3. It wouldn’t be long before she did. 4. That knowledge would change everything between us. 5. And there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
It’s the first day of seventh grade. Is Jessica Darling doomed for dorkdom?
New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty’s hilarious series opener will have you laughing, cringing, and cheering for Jessica Darling as she learns that being herself beats being popular, pretty & perfect any day.
“Readers meeting Jessica for the first time will be charmed by this authentic and funny girl who makes well-tread territory feel as new as a pair of first-day-of-school sneakers.”—Publishers Weekly
“Jessica is a winning heroine, and as she stumbles and fumbles (and literally falls flat on her face), readers will laugh alongside her and, yes, cheer as she comes into her authentic self.”—Booklist
“Brief characterizations of teachers and students are often humorously spot-on, and rules, such as those for cutting lines, fully capture the junior high social scene in all its often distressing ignominy.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Told in the hilariously authentic voice of a preteen girl, this book will have readers laughing out loud at Jessica’s high jinks, especially her disastrous stint as the school’s mascot.”—School Library Journal
This is my third year volunteering for the NJ Trans Youth Forum sponsored by HiTOPS and GLSEN Central NJ. It’s the only conference in the state for trans-spectrum youth, allies and educators and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been a part of it from the very beginning. This year I’m beyond excited to announce an #ownvoices author panel featuring Tyler Ford (MTV contributor), Alex Gino (GEORGE), Meredith Russo (IF I WAS YOUR GIRL) and Pat Schmatz (LIZARD RADIO), moderated by youth librarian and reviewer Kyle Lukoff. This event is run on a microbudget, so please consider making a donation to sponsor trans youth who will otherwise be unable to attend.
I’m honored to follow Albert Einstein, Cornel West and Trey Anastasio as LiLLiPiES Bakery’s Princetonian Sandwich of the Month. Like, seriously honored because I seriously love sandwiches. When asked what I wanted my namesake sandwich to be, I answered without hesitation. It’s as if I’d been waiting my whole life to shout: OMG BLT WITH AVOCADO ON PRETZEL BREAD!!! The sandwich is on sale through February and 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to HiTOPS Adolescent Health Education and Advocacy Center in Princeton, NJ.
I love to sing even more than I love sandwiches. So to celebrate the best thing that’s happened to me in 2017 (by far), I’m performing two short acoustic sets with my band’s other band–the aptly named Syde Projekt–at LiLLiPIES Bakery in the Princeton Shopping Center on Sunday, February 26th between 1-3PM.
We are a covers-only band and do not take ourselves too seriously. Please come, listen and and stuff your face to support a fantastic organization.
Thanks to the generosity of *authors, editors, agents and publishers, we received nearly 300 LGBTQ books for the HiTOPS/GLSEN NJGSA Forum.
Here’s an overview of how these books were given to queer youth in need.
Roughly 100 books were added to the HiTOPS Adolescent Health Education Center’s LGBTQ Lit Library. This permanent collection will be available for all young people who take advantage of programming at the drop-in community center in Princeton, New Jersey. HiTOPS hosts weekly LGBTQ support groups that draw youth from all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Many aren’t out to their family and peers, which makes it challenging for them to buy or check out LGBTQ books from their school or public libraries. HiTOPS provides a safe space for them to enjoy stories that speak to them.
All NJ GSA Forum attendees got a free raffle ticket and 50 books went out as prizes for superexcited winners of the drawings. Approximately 75 books were surprise takeaways for the youth, allies and educators who attended my LGBTQ Lit Story Time workshop. Another 25 were a special thank you for the passionate, hard-working members of the Perth Amboy High School GSA who volunteered many hours in preparing to host the forum. The remaining books were set aside for future forums, including the 3rd Annual NJ Trans Youth Form to be held in early Spring 2017.
The election was a heartbreaking blow to the LGBTQ community. A shadow loomed over the room on Saturday, a palpable heaviness that I hadn’t felt in past forums. These kids are scared about the impact the incoming administration will have on their rights to live and love like everyone else.
And yet, I was also a witness to such beautiful optimism. I lost count of the number of teens who rushed over to my table, brightening at the sight of LGBTQ books on display. They gushed about their favorites, snapped pics for their TBR lists, made confessions about the “secret” novels they’re already writing. When my story hour was over, many told me it was the highlight of the forum. I know they could have spent the whole day losing and finding themselves in new words and worlds.
I’m a writer because I’m a reader. Books have always helped me better understand myself and others. I truly believe LGBTQ literature can change—and save—lives. Thank to everyone out there trying to make a positive difference in the world. Your work matters now more than ever before, so please keep doing what you do.
*Thank you: Dahlia Adler, Jessica Anderson (MacMillan), Becky Abertalli, Meredith Barnes (Soho Press), Jaye Robin Brown, Rachel Cohn, Danielle Dreger, Kate Evangelista, Jeff Garvin, Donna Gephart, Brittani Hilles (St. Martin’s Press), Shaun David Hutchinson, C.B. Lee, David Levithan (Scholastic), E. Lockhart, Carolyn Mackler, Ann-Marie McLemore, Alison McDonald (The Rights Factory), Patricia Ready (Barry Goldblatt Literary), Caleb Roehrig, Riley Redgate, Meredith Russo, Kristin Seim (Candlewick), Robin Talley, Lindsay Smith, John Corey Whaley and if there’s anyone I accidentally omitted PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
LGBTQ literature saves lives! The 13th Annual NJ GSA Forum needs fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, memoirs and poetry. New or used, paperbacks, hardcovers and ARCs—if it’s a positive representation of the LGBTQ experience, we want it!
The NJ GSA Forum is an annual conference sponsored by GLSEN Central Jersey and HiTOPS health education center. This year’s event will be held at Perth Amboy High School on November 19th and is expected to draw hundreds of LGBTQ youth, educators and allies from all over the state. I’ve volunteered at the forum for several years now and I’m so proud to play even just a small role in putting together such an empowering day.
Young readers love discovering characters and stories that reflect their own experiences. We want every teen to go home with a book. Can you help us achieve our goal? We’re expecting a high number of bilingual attendees, so books in Spanish are especially in need.
Please send to:
HiTOPS GSA Book Donations
21 Wiggins Street
Princeton, NJ 08540
Thanks to all authors, publishers, agents, librarians and booksellers for your support!