PSB: Boston Edition and GrubStreet are delighted to present the latest installment of the Grubbie Debut series featuring Karen Wilfrid, author of Just Lizzie! This event will take place on Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm at PSB: Boston Edition (50 Liberty Dr. Boston, Ma 02210).
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In this beautifully written contemporary middle grade debut, an eighth grader's study of asexuality in science class leads her to understand her own asexual identity as she embarks on a journey toward self-discovery and self-advocacy. For readers of Alex Gino and Ashley Herring Blake.
There’s the part of me that doesn’t understand kissing or cuteness or attraction, and then there’s the part of me that feels so lonely. How do I make sense of those two parts? Maybe I’ll never make sense of them.
What do you do when there's a question inside you that feels so big, you don't know how to put words to it? How do you even begin to ask it?
Fourteen-year-old Lizzie is experiencing a lot of change: her family had to move after the incident with their neighbor, leaving behind not only her beloved apple tree, but what feels like her childhood along with it. Lizzie's brother is too busy for her in his first semester of college and her friends are more interested in dating than dolls. It’s hard not to feel left behind, especially as she tries to explain the fact that she still has zero interest in boys, girls, or the baffling behavior known as “flirting.”
But just as Lizzie’s world feels like its closing in, a class lesson on asexual reproduction in plants piques her curiosity, leading her to look up whether people can be asexual too—and suddenly, her world opens up. Lizzie finally finds an identity, a word for all her messy, unnamable feelings that feels like it fits, although she quickly realizes that a label isn’t enough if no one believes it’s real.
Accessible, moving, and compassionate, Just Lizzie effortlessly braids a nuanced individual journey of identity with the bittersweet angst of growing up, growing apart, and learning there are many ways to live and love.
Karen Wilfrid is a writer, seventh-grade English teacher, and farmers' market enthusiast. After receiving her B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Oberlin College, she taught for two years on a Fulbright teaching fellowship in Cantabria, Spain. She is a graduate of GrubStreet's 2020-2021 Novel Incubator Program, and she now lives in Massachusetts with her husband, son, and highly photogenic cats. Just Lizzie is her first novel.
Michelle Hoover is co-founder and current leader of the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University, a fellow at MacDowell, Bread Loaf, and Sewanee Writers Conferences, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Her debut, The Quickening, was a 2010 Massachusetts Book Award "Must Read," a finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, and one of Susan Straight's 1001 "Library of America" Novels featured in the L.A. Times. Her second novel, Bottomland, was the 2017 All Iowa Reads selection and a 2016 Mass Book "Must Read."
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