Here is my favorite twelve word review of my book:
This was the caption for a picture of FANS on Instagram, and I thank Instagram user @myroarts for perfectly capturing something I've been thinking a lot about recently.
I did my first school visit at the very awesome Berkeley Carroll School in Park Slope, Brooklyn a few weeks ago, and my favorite part was the questions that the students asked. One girl asked me what made me choose to write about queer characters, and I said that I am interested in telling queer stories and the stories of often marginalized people because these are my people, these are my stories, and these are the stories that I am interested in. So in a way it's pretty selfish on my part. I'm writing the stories that I want to read. And I feel very lucky that the world of publishing (and of young adult lit) is ready to embrace these kinds of stories, but I am simply writing about what is important to me.
A few questions later a soft spoken African American boy raised his hand, and, in front of his entire high school, asked me, "Do you think you'll keep writing about marginalized characters?"
Kittens, I almost started bawling in front of that poor boy. My cold little heart first melted, then grew three sizes, then melted some more, then bought all the Whos in Whoville Christmas presents.
"Yes," I said. "I do."
I was thinking about this idea of writing about often marginalized characters in mind when I was working on writing an author note for an international galley of the book. Author notes are tough, because you want to try and just sum up everything, the whole reason you wrote your book and what you hope people will get out of it, in just a few paragraphs.
So I started writing my marginalized people rant, when I realized that what FANS is also about is marginalized emotions - the feelings that are too weird or embarrassing or unclassifiable to talk about. The ones that seem shameful or complicated or difficult to explain. The places we pretend don't exist.
It's important to remember that no emotion is "wrong," especially important to remember this around the holidays. We put a lot of expectations on the ways that we "should" feel around holidays, around our families, and about this time of year. Which is why depression tends to run high. Because it's not "supposed" to be here.
There is power in speaking that which goes unspoken. There is power in telling the stories that don't get told. Marginalized means something is literally in the margins. It's not the text. It's not the body. It's been pushed to the side.
Time to claim the center.