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Jessica Verdi | Young Adult Author

Advanced Reader Copies of ‘The Summer I Wasn’t Me’ Are In!

Ahhhhhhhhhh!!! They are BEAUTIFUL! I can’t wait till the book hits stores in April!

The Summer I Wasn't Me ARCThe Summer I Wasn't Me ARC back cover


Guest Post on Tackling Tough Topics in YA Over at Writers Digest!

Super fun news today! I’m guest blogging over at Writers Digest today on the subject of Tackling Tough Topics in YA. (Writers Digest has over 413,000 Twitter followers, so, you know, I’m pretty excited. Maybe even more than when Lake Bell retweeted me last night!) 😉

Writers Digest tweetHere’s a little sample of the piece:

My number one piece of advice to anyone seeking to tackle difficult themes in YA: don’t forget the character while writing about the issue. If there’s a subject you are passionate about and want to write about, go for it, no matter how tricky the issue may be—teenagers can handle and understand a lot more than we sometimes give them credit for. But readers of any age also want to connect with the characters they’re reading about. If you are able to find that balance, you’ll have a successful story.

Click here to check out the entire post and enter to WIN A SIGNED COPY of My Life After Now!

Lake Bell retweet

COVER REVEAL for ‘The Summer I Wasn’t Me’!!!

I’m so excited to finally be able to share the book cover for The Summer I Wasn’t Me, which will be out in bookstores this April! I love the main character of this book so much, and I can’t wait for her story to be out there in the world.

Here’s a tiny plot description from the Sourcebooks sales catalog:

You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way.

The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for sixteen-year-old Lexi. Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, her broken family has been pulled even further apart. But Lexi swears she can change. 

Denying her feelings is harder than Lexi thinks. And when she falls heads over heels for one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.

So, without further ado… Read more…

Why I’m Thanking Lady Gaga in the Acknowledgements for ‘The Summer I Wasn’t Me’

I handed in my final revision for The Summer I Wasn’t Me to my editor today. It’s such an exciting, nerve wracking thing, letting go of THE version of the manuscript, the one that readers will actually get to see (after copy edits and proofreading, of course). It’s easy to go through about a million and a half emotions during that split second where you hit “send.” I love this book. I hate this book. What if it’s not good? What if readers don’t identify with it? What if readers love it and I’ll never be able to write anything to live up to it again?

So, instead of driving myself insane (It’s DONE. It’s getting published. It’s out of my hands.), I decided to listen (a few dozen times) to Lady Gaga’s acoustic version of her amazing song “Hair,” as she performed it on the Howard Stern Show. I can say with 100% certainty that if this song didn’t exist, I never would have written Summer.

“Hair” was so incredibly inspiring to me — after listening closely to its lyrics, I knew I wanted to write this book. “I just want to be myself and I want you to love me for who I am … I just want to be free, I just want to be me, and I want lots of friends that invite me to their parties. Don’t want to change, I don’t want to be ashamed.” I wanted to write about that girl. I wanted to write for that girl.

And that’s why Gaga is getting a giant shout out in my acknowledgements. I would kiss her if I could.

‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’ by The Smiths

Felt like sharing this, simply because it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded. Enjoy!

Kindle Edition of ‘My Life After Now’ on Sale at Amazon!

My Life After Now Kindle editionEven though we KNOW we’re not supposed to do it, that it just causes more strife and stress (there’s even a Twitter account called “Don’t Go To Goodreads,” which tweets out reminders to authors that nothing good can come of reading less-than-favorable reviews of our books), we authors just can’t help ourselves: eeeevery once in a while, we check out Goodreads and Amazon to see what people are saying about our book. And monitor that pesky Amazon ranking, of course. So yesterday, as I was taking a little break from revising The Summer I Wasn’t Me, I did just that. And it actually proved beneficial — I discovered My Life After Now is part of Amazon’s Summer Sale! The Kindle edition, for a limited time, is selling for $2.99.

The spot on the sale page means more exposure, and the lower price means more sales, so I couldn’t be more excited. Just this morning the book was ranked #14 in its sales category. That’s awesome — because it means the book is suddenly reaching readers it wouldn’t have otherwise.Screen shot of Amazon sales ranking

So thanks, Amazon and Sourcebooks Fire, for including My Life After Now in the Summer Sale! And for those of you who haven’t gotten a chance to read the book yet, be sure to get it before the price goes back up! 🙂

BookExpo America 2013!

Sourcebooks booth

The Sourcebooks booth was incredibly beautiful!

Last week I was lucky enough to attend my very first BookExpo America. Though I’ve been a book blogger for a few years now (shout out to Teen Writers Bloc, started and run by The New School Writing for Children MFA class of 2012!) and though I live in NYC, I’ve never had the opportunity, for one reason or another, to go to BEA. But this year I did, and it was in THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE, because I got to attend as an AUTHOR!

For anyone who’s attended BEA, whether as an author or publisher or blogger or fan, you know that indescribable feeling of walking into the Javits Center and instantly being enveloped into book heaven. Billboards and banners advertising the hottest new books, booths set up by every publishing company you can think of, readings and panels and interviews and signings galore, everyone walking around with badges around their necks and giant, dopey grins on their faces, and more free books than you could ever possibly carry. It’s flippin’ RAD. Read more…

AIDS Walk New York 2013: A Smashing Success!

AIDS Walk 2013 My Life After and EBG teamThis past Sunday, 30,000 New Yorkers braved the unseasonably chilly temperatures and relentless rain and came together to walk for a great cause: the fight against HIV/AIDS and the support of GMHC and more than 40 other New York area AIDS service organizations. As a whole, we raised $5.5M!!! Amazing, right?

And I’m personally so proud and grateful because the My Life After Now and EBG team contributed $2,885! We exceeded our goal by $385 so I’d like to send out a super special thank you to everyone who donated and walked with us. We had such a great group — including a baby and a dog!

Until HIV/AIDS is a thing of the past, it’s so important for us all to keep fighting, educating, and supporting volunteer and health organizations — both with our time and money.

If Lucy Moore, the HIV+ heroine of My Life After Now, were a real person, I’d like to think we did her proud this weekend.


Help Support the ‘My Life After Now’ AIDS Walk New York Team!

AIDS Walk New YorkEvery year I walk in AIDS Walk New York. It’s ten kilometers of amazingly fun, uplifting awesomeness for a great cause — there are celebrities, drag queens, cheerleaders, dogs in t-shirts, and tens of thousands of people from all walks of life coming together to support GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis) and over 40 other tri-state area AIDS organizations. GMHC is the nation’s oldest and most comprehensive AIDS service organization, serving approximately 15,000 people living with HIV and AIDS each year, as well as countless more through its prevention and advocacy work locally and nationally.

And this year is going to be the best year ever because I’ll be walking with the My Life After Now team! That’s right — in honor of Lucy Moore, the HIV+ heroine of my debut novel, readers and friends will be coming together to raise funds to help combat HIV/AIDS.

If you’re in the New York City area and free on Sunday, May 19, I’d love it if you would come walk with us! And bonus — my husband’s company EBG is teaming up with us and donating $50 for every person who walks with our team. So come join in on the fun! The more the merrier! You can join the team here. If you’re not able to walk but would still like to contribute to the cause, donations are welcome and greatly appreciated. Go here to donate!

Thanks, everyone! Hope to see you May 19th!

‘Parks and Recreation’ for President

Here’s my bold yet true statement: Parks and Recreation is the best comedy on television.

I mean, seriously, what other show is so funny, well-written, well-acted, quirky, political, adorable, and insightful?

Why I love this show, in a nutshell:

‘Nough said.


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