Announcing My New Middle Grade Series!

The first book I ever wrote featured a sixth grader desperately trying to navigate the newness of middle school life, while trying to hang onto her best friend. To make her BFF happy, she joined a clique of girls called The Charm Girls, recognizable by the charm bracelets they wore. It was a good first effort, but not publishable, and so to this day the story languishes on a retired hard drive in my closet. But I never lost my interest in writing a story featuring a charm bracelet. With that in mind I’m happy to announce that the following blurb appeared today in Publisher’s Marketplace:

Jenny Lundquist’s THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE, the first in a series, about an 11-year-old misfit whose parents enroll her in a unique at-home charm school that sets her off on a series of adventures, to Alyson Heller at Aladdin, in a two-book deal, by Kerry Sparks at Levine Greenberg Rostan (World).

jenny lundquist author - image purchased from 123rf and used with permission

The first book is set to release in the Fall of 2016, and for those of you looking for a few more details, I’ve listed a couple paragraphs from my synopsis:

Izzy Malone isn’t your typical sixth grader. She’s the class outcast, and wears camouflage combat boots and tie dye skirts; the Big Dipper and Orion are her two best friends; and she’d rather climb trees or shoot hoops than talk about boys and makeup; and after only a month of middle school she’s set the record for the most trips to the Principal’s office.

When Izzy’s antics land her in some hot water, her parents enroll her in Mrs. Whippie’s Earn Your Charm School. Izzy thinks it sounds stupid, but when Mrs. Whippie’s first letter arrives it’s way different from what she was expecting. Tucked inside the letter is a shiny  bracelet and instructions telling her she will “earn her charm” by completing a series of tasks. For each task completed, she’ll receive a tiny charm to put on her bracelet. It’s not long before Izzy is adding charms to her bracelet and dealing with middle school bullies, her first crush, and finding out that she’s not nearly as odd—or alone—as she thought.

I am thrilled to be working with Aladdin/Simon & Schuster again, and I’m  thrilled to be working on this story in particular. I’ve long been interested in charm bracelets (I have one of my own), and how we sometimes use them to tell the story of our life. I’m looking forward to developing Izzy’s character and helping her build her story, experience by experience, charm by charm, and becoming a little more confident in who she is.

Do you own a charm bracelet? If so, what charms do you have on it?

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11 Responses to Announcing My New Middle Grade Series!

  1. Heidi says:

    That is sooooo exciting! Congratulations!

  2. Debbie Carriker says:

    It sounds delightful and charming. I am looking forward to reading these new adventures you will take us on.

  3. I put this on Twitter but I’m SO excited to hear this. The story sounds awesome! I can’t wait to read it.

  4. Laurie J says:

    Your new series sounds awesome, Jenny! I was an AVID reader as a child, probably most especially as a middle schooler, and I know how much I appreciated authors that wrote for people my age. You just may be the new Beverly Cleary of your generation! (ps- I mean that as the highest compliment!) 🙂

    • I was an avid reader too, and it made middle school so much more bearable for me. I know that’s why middle grade literature is where my heart is. I feel like I want to give back to a body of literature that gave so much to me as a child. And I LOVE Beverly Cleary!

  5. Dee says:

    YAY! This sounds so fun. Can’t wait to read it!

  6. Ryan L says:

    This is a huge accomplishment. Congratulations! I can’t wait to read the series.

  7. Stefanie Wass says:

    Congrats, Jenny!
    Can’t wait to read both of these books! 🙂