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I Wrote a Book for Teens Because I Miss Reading Like One

Girl Crushed

Katie Heaney Author Essay

Before I started writing YA, I was resistant to the idea. I’m in my thirties and didn’t know if I could convincingly channel a seventeen-year-old’s concerns and sensibilities. But since I started writing books, which was eight years ago now, I’ve been told that my voice is “girlish” and “young”—sometimes a compliment, sometimes not. Probably all writers want to be taken seriously, and being told you should think about writing for teenagers is bound to agitate. There are serious and beautifully written YA books, but they’re not considered literary, usually. None of the four books I’ve written for adults are considered literary, either, but at least I could say they were read by people my age—as if age confers taste, or seriousness.

Then, after my fourth book came out, I felt disillusioned and uninspired by the idea of proceeding as usual. I was bored with all the latest, most-acclaimed novels I was reading, and struggling to find ones I liked enough to finish. I missed reading like a kid, when I spent the summers checking out six books at a time from the library, reading in bed for hours every morning and night. I tracked my summer reading on printouts from the library, filling in the illustrated clocks with Magic Markers and drawing extra, lopsided clocks on the sides when I ran out.

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Featured Resource

The World Needs More Purple People Poster & Activities

Actress, producer, and parent Kristen Bell (The Good Place, Veronica Mars, Frozen) and creative director and parent Benjamin Hart have a new challenge for you and your kids: become a purple person! These activities and projects will help young readers on their journey to speaking up, asking questions, and becoming a purple person.

Video of the Month

Book of the Month

Girl Crushed

Girl Crushed By Katie Heaney

Leah on the Offbeat meets We Are Okay in this pitch-perfect queer romance about falling in love and never quite falling out of it--heartbreak, unexpected new crushes, and all.

Before Quinn Ryan was in love with Jamie Rudawski, she loved Jamie Rudawski, who was her best friend. But when Jamie dumps Quinn a month before their senior year, Quinn is suddenly girlfriend-less and best friend-less.

Enter a new ...

Author Spotlight

Gennifer Choldenko

Gennifer Choldenko was the youngest in a family of four kids, where her nickname was “Snot-Nose.” Her quirky sense of humor made its debut at the dinner table when Gennifer was a very little kid. She is the author of seven children’s books, including Notes from a Liar and Her Dog, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period; and Al Capone Shines My Shoes.