The news is out!! If you haven’t heard already, I have two more YA contemporaries coming out with Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster—one in fall 2019, and one in fall 2020. I’m SO excited to once again be working with my incredible editor, Jennifer Ung, and the rest of the wonderful team at Simon Pulse. And all the love to my superhero agent, Penny Moore. I feel so lucky to call myself one of her clients. Also, CIRCUS CONTEMPORARY. I’ve basically been obsessed with everything circus since I first saw the Amazoness Quartet in Sailor Moon as a little kid (VesVes is the best). Starfish was the book of my heart, but this is the book of my dreams.

Can’t wait to share more with you soon!

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It’s here!! Check out the cover reveal for SUMMER BIRD BLUE below. And all the love to the incredibly talented Sarah Creech, who has once again designed a cover that gives me SO MANY FEELINGS. I hope you all love it as much as I do, and a huge thank you to Paste Magazine for hosting!

Click here to see the cover over at Paste!

 

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Congratulations to the winners of the STARFISH art contest! I loved seeing each and every entry that was submitted, and it was so difficult to narrow it down to five. Thank you to every single person who sent their artwork in. You made this contest feel so special, and I am truly grateful!

– Winning Entries –

Entry #4

“I paint a girl with white hair, blending into a forest of white trees, with stars exploding in the sky above them like shattering glass. If you don’t know where to look for her, you might not see her at all.”

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Entry #7

“I draw a thousand fairies circling around a girl so that she can finally fly away.”

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Entry #8

“I draw a girl shrinking into the grass until she’s hidden by a bed of flowers that are all so much prettier than she is.”

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Entry #11

“I draw a girl with arms that reach up to the clouds, but all the clouds avoid her because she’s made of night and not day.”

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Entry #13

“I draw a dragon breaking free from its grave and finally seeing what its wings and fire are for.”

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2017 was a difficult year for so many people. For me personally? It was beautiful and exhausting and stressful and wonderful all mixed together. On some days, I watched my dreams come true. On other days, it felt like my nightmares were taking over. Everything felt amplified and loud, for better or worse.

But 2017 also held the greatest career moments of my life so far. I have so much to be thankful for, and so many people to thank. Starfish is a real hold-in-your-hands book, and I am forever grateful to all the people behind the scenes who helped make my childhood dream a reality. Throughout 2017, I’ve watched this story morph and shape into the book it is today, and I’ve been so unbelievably lucky to have the support of the incredible team at Simon Pulse, my superhero agent, and the wonderful readers who’ve been cheering Kiko along from the start. Between the cover reveal, the arrival of ARCs, the two starred reviews, the Junior Library Guild Selection, and the announcement that Starfish is a 2018 YALSA’s Morris Award Finalist, it has been a year of high points in my writing career. Seeing the love and enthusiasm for this story has made it a high point in my personal life, too.

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A few weeks ago, the New York Public Library named STARFISH one of the Best Books for Teens of 2017. Yesterday, STARFISH was named a YALSA 2018 Morris Award Finalist.

Honored is an understatement. I can’t believe my quiet little book is in a category with authors and novels I’ve looked up to so much for the past year. And knowing this will help get STARFISH into the hands of teen readers who need it most is an overwhelming feeling.

A little over two years ago, I wrote an ownvoices story about a biracial teen living with social anxiety and trying to heal after years of abuse. I knew what a book like this would have meant to me as a teenager, and I wanted that so much for people going through similar experiences. And still, like many writers, I worried I’d never be published. I worried this story would be too quiet. I worried people wouldn’t get it, or that I would hear the same words I’ve heard so many times in my life: Your story shouldn’t be told. Your voice doesn’t matter.

Today, I am overflowing with gratitude, joy, and peace.

Thank you to everyone who believed in this book. Thank you to every reader who has connected with Kiko, and followed along on her journey. Thank you to those who saw the heart of this story, and knew what it would mean to readers who desperately need to see themselves represented.

And to every writer out there wondering if there’s room on the shelves for the book of your heart—your story is important. Your voice matters. And there are people who need your words.

Keep writing.

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