Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for NEIGHBORHOOD GIRLS by Jessie Ann Foley, releasing September 12, 2017 from Harper Teen. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Jessie:
“All you need to get through high school is one real friend.”
A couple years ago, a senior in my Creative Writing class wrote these words as part of a journal I’d assigned. The topic: advice you’d give to your freshman self. It was a lesson she’d clearly learned the hard way, a lesson I wish I’d figured out back when I was a freshman myself. Her words struck me as so wise, so true, that I never forgot them, and they continued to stay with me throughout the writing of Neighborhood Girls.
Neighborhood Girls is a book about faith and forgiveness; about first loss and first love. But at its core I think it’s a book about female friendship—real female friendship—and the costs that come with thinking you can get through high school without it.
~Jessie Ann Foley (NEIGHBORHOOD GIRLS, Harper Teen)
Ready to see?
Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!
Here it is!
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Printz Honor winner Jessie Ann Foley, whose debut novel, The Carnival at Bray, was also a Morris Award finalist, is back with a candid coming-of-age about a girl whose encounters with loss, broken friendships, and new-found faith leave her forever changed.
When Wendy Boychuck’s father, a Chicago cop, was escorted from their property in handcuffs for his shady criminal practices, she knew her life would never be the same. Her father gets a years-long jail sentence, her family falls on hard times, and the whispers around town are impossible to ignore. If that wasn’t bad enough, she gets jumped walking home from a party one night. Wendy quickly realizes that in order to survive her father’s reputation, she’ll have to make one for herself. Then Wendy meets Kenzie Quintana—a foul-mouthed, Catholic uniform-skirt-hiking alpha— and she knows immediately that she’s met her savior. Kenzie can provide Wendy with the kind of armor a girl needs when she’s trying to outrun her father’s past. Add two more mean girls to the mix—Sapphire and Emily—and Wendy has found herself in Academy of the Sacred Heart’s most feared and revered clique. Makeover complete.
But complete is far from what Wendy feels. Instead, she faces the highs and lows of a vapid, toxic friendship, the exhaustion that comes with keeping up appearances, and the only loss that could hurt more than losing herself.
Excerpt from Chapter 2
Not to sound like a total princess, but every time I get ready to go out in our tiny, moldy apartment bathroom, with its vertical coffin of a shower, all I can think about is my old house. I know that thinking about that kind of stuff is both pointless and dangerous, but I can’t help it. I’ve gotten used to nearly everything about our new life, but God, it would just be so nice to have a shower with good water pressure and a bathtub where you could spread around some scented bath salts and just hang out for a while. And maybe a hallway that doesn’t always smell like cat piss. And hey, if we’re dreaming big here, how about some air-conditioning and a front room carpet that doesn’t have a gigantic mysterious black stain in the shape of Australia? Not that I ever appreciated this kind of stuff when we actually had a house. I grew up thinking that big houses with dishwashers and bathtubs and a big oak tree in the backyard were, like, constitutional rights. It’s only now that we’ve lost everything that I realize how lucky I was.
After my shower, I pulled a towel around myself and cracked the window to release the fog of steam. In the parking lot below, my downstairs neighbor, Sonny, was chivalrously opening the door to his Jeep for a bleached blonde in one of those bandage dresses generally worn by women half her age. If their date went well, chances are I would hear about it later that night, when pornographic sounds began emanating from his bedroom, which was situated, tragically, directly under mine. Gagging at the possibility, I put on shorts, a tank top, and my espadrille wedges. As I globbed my eyelashes with mascara, I could hear the music drifting from the open windows of Emily’s Ford Focus before it had even pulled around the corner. I slicked my tongue over my teeth and smiled fiercely in the mirror. I stuck my phone in my pocket, called good-bye to my mom and Aunt Col, and headed down the stairs and out into the purpling night. Before I climbed into Emily’s car, I took a deep breath, steeling myself for the onslaught of deafening club music and peach body splash that awaited me.
When I opened the car door, Kenzie immediately whipped around in her seat to give me that big, glittering smile that had already paralyzed the hearts of so many Saint Mike’s boys.
“You look hot,” she said approvingly, arching a penciled eyebrow. “I have a feeling about tonight. A good one.”
“Your hair looks adorable,” Sapphire said with a pout, shoving over to make room for me. “Mine looks disgusting. I wish I had your hair.”
“No,” I said, reciting my lines. “My hair looks disgusting. Your hair is gorgeous.”
She began teasing the crown of her hair with her fingers, using the mirror on the back of her iPhone case to make adjustments. Sapphire’s beautiful, thick curls were her greatest vanity, so in the strange, inverted world of popularity, it meant that she had to spend as much time as possible ridiculing them.
“I love your top,” Emily shouted over the music as she eyed me from the rearview mirror.
“This?” I snapped the shoulder strap dismissively. “This stupid thing was like three bucks.” Which, of course, was a lie. The top was from the Young Contemporary section at Bloomingdale’s, a gift from my rich aunt Kathy, and it was my favorite piece of clothing.
But this is the ritual of my friends: we pick each other over like preening monkeys, exchanging compliments and insulting ourselves with machine-gun quickness. I’m not sure why we do it, exactly, but I suspect it’s a combination of envy and insecurity. Whatever the reason, the nice things my friends say to me have long since ceased to mean anything. I remember once, at the end of sophomore year, when Ms. Lee handed back my Grapes of Wrath research paper, she told me that I had a fresh way of looking at things, and that I was one of the best writers she’d come across in eight years of teaching. To this day, I still smile to myself whenever I remember that compliment, because I could tell that Ms. Lee had actually meant it, and because it wasn’t about my outfit.
Excerpted from Neighborhood Girls © Copyright 2017 by Jessie Ann Foley. Reprinted with permission by the author. All rights reserved.