Category Archives: News

WATCH JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST!

So. My book was made into a movie. You can watch it via Amazon, iTunes, DirecTV, Dish and pretty much any way you can rent/buy movies from your couch except Netflix (but it will eventually be on Netflix so I am told). I went to the one-and-only in theater showing in Los Angeles. I hung out with producer Debby Ryan on the red carpet and saw my name on the big screen.

I took this picture from my seat in the theater because I have no chill.
I took this picture from my seat in the theater because I have no chill.

It was all very surreal. I’ve seen this movie five times now in the company of tweens and I can honestly tell you that viewers 8-13 can totally relate to Jessica Darling’s middle school misadventures. They laughed, they cringed, and yes, more than one even cried.

Casting was crucial and the performances don’t disappoint. Chloe East (soon to be seen on the final season of Liv & Maddie) gives such a beautifully nuanced portrayal of pre-teen awkwardness. She’s such a natural and embodies the insider/outsider spirit of Jessica Darling in every way. I love her chemistry with Jacob Melton, who is charmingly off-kilter as Aleck/Marcus. Emma Rayne Lyle (I Don’t Know How She Does It) perfectly captures Bridget’s struggle to be loyal to her best friend but true to herself. As Hope, Jane Widdop (The Kicks) gives a performance that is really sly, low-key and with just the right dash of sarcastic contrast to Emma’s bubbly sunshine. Ashley Liao (Fuller House) and Eva Bella (Frozen) are laugh-out-loud funny, but not too over-the-top in their meanness as Manda and Sara. Anday Tural, Niko Alexander and Kyla-Drew round out the stellar cast as Burke, Scotty and Dori and make the most of their key moments in the story. I want a sequel for many reasons but mostly because I’d love to see all these talented actors working together again! 

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Director Ali Scher, Chloe East and me at the LA premiere of JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST.

2 Events in 2 Days: Barnes & Noble Book Fest


Black.BottomSaturday, June 11 at 1PM

Barnes & Noble

300 Neshaminy Mall

Bensalem, PA 19020

Panel discussion & signing with Claire Legrand and Leanna Hieber. They write fantastically creepy stories. I write realistic stories about middle school that are terrifying in a totally different way.

Jessica_Darling_EBook1[3]Sunday, June 12th 12-2PM

Barnes & Noble

Monmouth Mall

180 Route 35

Eatontown, NJ 07724

I’ll tell you everything you want to know about the JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST movie and more. BONUS: I will also sing any song upon request.

JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST MOVIE DEBUTS JUNE 21st!

My book was made into a movie!
My book was made into a movie!

MOVIE NEWS! MOVIE NEWS! MOVIE NEWS!

Watch the official trailer for JESSICA DARLING’S IT LIST here!

This fun, coming-of-age comedy based on the first book in the series comes out on JUNE 21st! It will be available Digital HD and On Demand at the following platforms:
· Broadband – Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Sling/Blockbuster, Vimeo, Vudu, Xfinity
· Satellite/Cable – AT&T, Charter, DirecTV, Dish, iNDEMAND (Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable) Verizon, Vubiquity

I’ve seen it and I love it! And I’m honestly not saying that because I have to. A focus group of my favorite 9-to-13-year-olds (and their moms) also gave it their one hundred percent approval. Chloe East is totally winning as 12-year-old Jessica Darling and I cannot wait for you to see her embody everything you’ve always loved about the character.

 

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.