Debuting January 2, 2018 with You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, YA author Rachel Lynn Solomon generously spared time to answer some serious (and not-so-serious) questions regarding her book, celebrations, and YA.
Read to the end for a preorder giveaway!
"My book offers the perspective on female sexuality I needed to read as a young teen."
Did you celebrate your book deal? If yes, how?
When my agent called to tell us we had an offer, I was about to go on a work conference call. So I hung up, quickly called my boyfriend, and then dialed in to the conference call (I work from home). I IM'd my coworker that we had an offer on my book, and she demanded I leave the call and go celebrate, haha. The first celebration was at an Indian buffet, followed by tacos at my favorite Mexican hole-in-the-wall, and then pasta and so much bread at an Italian restaurant. I capped off the celebration by buying a Kate Spade bag for myself! There's so much waiting and so much disappointment in this business that I highly recommend celebrating every milestone. Multiple times.
What's one thing about your book that you're excited for readers to experience?
I'm most excited for Jewish readers to (hopefully) see a piece of themselves in this book. I grew up thinking the only books for/about Jewish people were Holocaust narratives because that was all I read in school and saw in libraries and bookstores. There's absolutely a void when it comes to contemporary stories featuring Jewish characters, particularly in children's literature. Oddly, You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, which was my fifth completed manuscript, was the first with Jewish protagonists. All my future projects will feature Jewish protagonists: because there are still too few, and because on a personal level, I want to continue to explore my relationship with Judaism. (Side note: I'm very excited to be contributing a short story to this YA anthology, out in 2019 from Knopf!)
What do you want your readers to take away from your book? What themes or points of view?
Be fiercely ambitious, especially girls. Go after what you want, and don't be shy to want too many things.
What does your book offer that you wish more YA books did?
I talk about this a lot—you're probably laughing, Kelsey, because you know exactly what I'm about to say—but the YA novels I read as a teen barely acknowledged female desire. The guy wanted sex and the girl did not, and often, it seemed, wasn't supposed to. It was so, so harmful, and something that continued to affect me even as I left my teen years behind. I truly believed girls weren't supposed to feel desire. I am not the only author doing this, of course—there are a lot of awesome, sex-positive writers in YA right now like Miranda Kenneally, Jenn Bennett, and Huntley Fitzpatrick—but I believe my book offers the perspective on female sexuality I needed to read as a young teen. The two protagonists explore desire and sexuality in different ways, and I'm really happy with the reactions to this I've seen so far!
Which season is your favorite and why?
Autumn: scarves, hot chocolate, gloomy weather. It's the season that most inspires me to create.
What does your go-to outfit include?
A casual dress, black tights, black wedge booties, and a gigantic scarf. And always a swipe of red lipstick.
You can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what is it?
If you had to read one book for the rest of your life, which book would you pick? You can pick a series.
The Princess Diaries. Meg Cabot was my absolute favorite writer growing up, and these books are what got me into writing! They're so much fun, and I just adored the characters. I have the fondest memories of going to Borders (RIP), picking up the next book in the series, and spending the entire weekend engrossed in it. These books feel like a warm blanket and mug of cocoa to me. I mean...Michael Moscovitz. What more is there to say?
Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.
But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.
When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.
These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?
From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters. (Goodreads)