Friday, January 24, 2020

Jennifer Longo

Jennifer Longo's new young adult novel is What I Carry.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: You note that your daughter, who had spent time in the foster care system before you met her, encouraged you to write this book. Can you say more about that, and about how you created your character Muiriel?

A: My daughter is a big reader, and like every reader, she sometimes likes stories she can recognize herself in. My husband and I were her fourth and last foster placement, and she was only a little over a year old when we brought her home.

She has no memories of her first placements, and her experience with the foster families she’s grown up with (our cousins and family friends) were different than how foster families are portrayed in many of the fiction books she read that involved foster care.

She understands, like anyone involved in the foster care system, that every child’s experience in foster care is unique.

What she was looking for was not a false, idealized narrative of how great and happy foster care is, but by the same token, not every birth family or foster placement is dark and violent.

She said she just wanted a story involving a kid living in foster care that was maybe “a little less…molest-y? Less yell-y and with like, not as much arson?”

Obviously, those events and themes are (sadly) are true, and thankfully there are many excellent middle grade and YA books involving foster care that explore those brutal realities.

The thing is, there is room in the canon for as many explorations of the facets of human experience as there are readers, and What I Carry is just one more.

My daughter likes internal conflict, and quiet, contemporary stories involving daily life and descriptions of food and weather. (Same) She likes a hopeful ending.

The character of Muir grew from...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Jennifer Longo's website.

The Page 69 Test: Six Feet Over It.

My Book, The Movie: Six Feet Over It.

The Page 69 Test: Up to This Pointe.

Writers Read: Jennifer Longo (February 2016).

--Marshal Zeringue