Thank you to Kelly Jensen at Book Riot for her gorgeous essay about what the Jessica Darling series meant to her growing up. This was so much more meaningful than the standard cut-and-paste-the-press-release book announcement. I cannot be happier that the 20th anniversary of the publication of SLOPPY FIRSTS will be commemorated with reprints of the entire Jessica Darling series by the wonderfully talented team at Wednesday Books.
The new edition of SLOPPY FIRSTS goes on sale May 4, 2021. SECOND HELPINGS launches on July 6th, 2021. The rest of the books will follow over the rest of the 20th Anniversary year. The whole series has been updated to reflect 2020 sensibilities, but the essence of what makes Jessica Darling special is unchanged. Oh! And there’s a beautiful forward written by blockbuster author, producer and the not-so-secret Mrs. Marcus Flutie, Rebecca Serle.
This reprint wouldn’t have happened without the enthusiastic support of my readers all these years. I cannot wait to introduce Jessica Darling, Marcus Flutie and the world of Pineville, New Jersey to a whole new audience.
Twelve-year-old Ella has everything she needs to take seventh grade by storm, from the perfect outfit to the perfect new best friend. She’s still not 100% sure why cool, confident Morgan has chosen Ella to be her newest sidekick, but Ella is flattered by the attention, even if it means giving up some of the things she’s always loved, like fantasy novels . . . and her former best friend, Sophie. Ella feels a little guilty about ditching Sophie, but middle school is no laughing matter, and Ella knows that it’ll be safer in popular Morgan’s shadow than by Sophie’s side.
But life as Morgan’s best friend is trickier than Ella imagined. Everything has to be perfect, from their “on brand” selfies to the videos they record of them singing. And the more demanding Morgan becomes, the more Ella starts to wonder if she made the right choice. But Sophie already has a new best friend, leaving Ella feeling more alone and out of place than ever.
So when Ella discovers a new activity that she’s really good at — a hopelessly dorky sport that Morgan has forbidden her from pursuing, Ella has to ask herself what matters more: popularity . . . or staying true to herself? But does she even know who she really is without loyal Sophie by her side?
“This current and relatable novel will resonate with middle school readers, especially those who have felt the pressure to create a perfect social media presence. A fine purchase for middle school collections needing more contemporary fiction around complicated friendships.”–School Library Journal
This announcement has been a very long time coming. Many, many thanks to Rebecca Serle and Dan Farah for your passion, creativity and tenacity. And to all the die-hard readers who’ve assembled dream casts for nearly 20 years: I hope we find the perfectly imperfect Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie too.
Introducing TRUE TO YOUR SELFIE, my new middle grade novel with Scholastic.
I love these timeless characters asking a very of-the-moment question: “Friends for life? Or friends for LIKES?” So excited to share this story with tweens and tweens at heart. On sale February 4, 2020 but pre-order any time!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.