Here, have some resources!
This book is a departure for me, and one I'm incredibly proud of, in equal parts because of the ways it pushed me out of my writing comfort zone and because of exploration it contains of what defines a life well lived.
Arrival is the story of eighteen
year-old roller derby dynamo
Amelia (Lia), who is hard-charging and full of verve until arare medical condition she hasn't had to contend with since
infancy makes a surprise
reappearance. Faced with an uncertain future, Lia is forced to confront the difference between the bravado she has always displayed and the vulnerability that true bravery demands.
My "author brand," at least as I've defined it to myself, has always been: light escapes for heavy times. While the "serious art community" may not bestow awards and acclaim on popcorn films or fluffy rom-com books, I've always believed in the power and necessity of these stories and been proud add
mine to the mix.
Which is why I sat on this idea for so long, unsure of how to approach it in a way that felt authentic to my author voice, yet also did the subject matter justice. While not a travel romance in the vein of Wanderlost or Changes In Latitude, I hope I was able to retain enough breezy banter and humor to keep it reading as a "Jen Malone book." And though there's a side plot romance for Lia in the form of a swoony boy-next-door from her past, the true love story in Arrival is the (non-romantic)
relationship between Lia and her best friend Sibby. I'm also beyond
excited that my editor encouraged me to add more (and more and more) scenes with Lia's parents. Mom and Dad so often are relegated to the sidelines in YA fiction, and I love that they stay front and center in this book.
The Arrival of Someday was inspired by the true story of a teen in my town who did everything possible to enhance her chances of receiving an organ donation, but passed away on the very day one was finally procured for her. At the time, I was struck by the cruel irony of this but my research into organ donation showed me just how common this heartbreaking scenario is. I hope I found a non-preachy
way to bring awareness to an urgent health crisis that is 100% solvable right now, without the need for any breakthrough cures or cutting edge vaccines, but rather through our collective empathetic actions. I find it a very apt analogy for the answer to quite a few of the "what is the meaning of life" questions Lia contemplates in Arrival.
In that spirit, I'm including a link to DonateLife below, where you can register as an organ donor with a few simple mouse clicks, should you be so inclined.
I can't wait for you to meet Lia, and I hope you fall in love with her the way I have!
Activities for Budding Activists Guide:
The Art of the Swap Educator's Guide, Common Core Aligned for Grades 4-7 (includes activities for Women's History Month)
site copyright Jen Malone 2019, illustrations by Amy Heitman