I want to tell you guys a story.
A few years ago, I came out to my mom the morning after my senior prom. She was surprised, then quiet, then asked what my real orientation was. I said, “I have no idea, but I like this one girl.” She was a little confused, but she kissed me and said, “As long as she makes you happy.” For the next few weeks, she asked a lot of questions: when did I realize? What was my new girlfriend’s orientation? What was the word for this or that? I WAS happy, right?
Fast forward about two years. My mom sits me down and tells me that she needs my help with her next book. She’s been writing middle-grade girls’ books (like, 9-14 range) since I was eight, and she says she has an idea that she really, really wants to get right. It follows the plot of Romeo and Juliet, she says, and the main character is a twelve-year-old girl realizing she has a crush on another girl when they put on the play for English class.
Fast forward another year to now. STAR-CROSSED is about to come out, and it is absolutely amazing.
My mom has poured her heart and soul into making sure this is a positive thing for kids to read.
I’ve been reading and editing and helping with this book since its first draft and I’ve been, metaphorically and sometimes literally bouncing up and down on my heels, waiting to be able to tell people about it. It’s beyond sweet, and there’s a ton of Shakespeare and humor and goofy preteen drama and twelve-year-old girls flirting and Star Wars jokes and a glossary of Shakespearean insults in the back (yes, really), and it’s just so fun and positive and smart and I want to show it to every kid I know.
This book is for LGBT kids, written by a mom who has asked questions and done her research and tried as hard as she possibly could to make her own queer kid feel safe and loved and valid, and it REALLY shows. Mattie (the cutie on the left) and Gemma (the cutie on the right) are given space to learn about themselves, and ultimately they don’t have to figure themselves out right away or come out to everyone at once or choose a label. They’re kids. It’s okay to still be figuring things out. It’s okay.
- My mom said from the beginning she wanted both girls on the cover to make it clear what the book was about; then when they got the final artwork and Mattie’s hair was short, my mom wrote back and asked the artist to do the hair over to make it as obvious as possible that Mattie is a girl.
- When a few people started buzzing about Mattie being the youngest bisexual protagonist they’ve seen, she went back and changed passages to confirm that Mattie likes boys and girls.
- When I asked for a happier and less ambiguous ending scene, she set Mattie and Gemma up on a frigging date.
It comes out on March 14, 2017. Please join me in GETTING HYPE FOR STAR-CROSSED ❤
Not IBD-related, but something I feel need boosting; we need more books like this available to kids so they know it’s normal and ok for boys to like boys and girls to like girls.