My Senior Year of Awesome by Jennifer DiGiovanni
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance
A girl desperately tries to avoid the boy she was voted most likely to marry by her senior classmates. To prove senior superlative votes are meaningless, she and her best friend create their own list of awesome high school achievements to be completed by graduation.
Jennifer lives in a small town near Philadelphia, PA with her husband and three children. In college, she double majored in English and business, and later went back to school for her MBA. She currently works as a freelance writer and owns a small business. She also spends time cheering at her kids’ soccer games, re-learning algebra to help with homework assignments, and cooking up healthy dinners that nobody eats. When she’s not doing any of those things, you can find her reading, working on home design projects, or running (though she’s much better at walking). At night, when her house is finally quiet, she brings her YA characters to life. My Senior Year of Awesome is her first novel.
“What did you win?” I whisper to Jana. “I don’t see your picture.”
Jana bites on her lower lip and points to the very top of the board. “Um, Sadie, I didn’t win. You did.”
Smack in the center of the top row of Senior Superlatives, I spy my junior year photo, blown up to 8 x 10 size, set inside of a glittery heart. Also inside the heart is an 8 x 10 photo of Andy Kosolowski. The caption above the heart reads, “Most Likely to Get Married.”
I want to die. No, I want to puke. I want to puke and then die. Andy, the biggest nerd in all of seniordom? The boy who wore the same Darth Vader T-shirt every day of eighth grade? The guy who passed out at middle school graduation and was trampled on by the rest of our class?
“Is this a joke?” Waves of laughter circulate around me like a bubbling, too-hot Jacuzzi. “I don’t even like Andy,” I say, maybe a bit too loudly. “Not at all.” Eyes narrowed, I whirl around. “Who did this?”
And then Andy’s tall head appears above everyone else. He scans the board and finds his picture. His mouth falls open. His eyes meet mine. A swell of laughter reignites as we stare at each other. When he cracks a small smile, I elbow my way through what feels like most of the student body to confront him.
“You fixed the vote,” I say, poking him in the center of his extra-long torso.
“What? Why would I do that?” Andy looks completely confused.
“Did you think this would be funny? Like, ha-ha, let’s make fun of Sadie who hasn’t been on a date in … a long time.” Exactly how long is personal information.
He shakes his head, acting stunned. “Maybe they mixed up my picture with someone else’s.”
Simultaneously, we redirect our eyes to the Most Likely to Succeed award, posted above a photo of Sophie Min. She’s ranked second in the class, albeit way behind Andy. I guess it takes more than brains to succeed.
“Listen up, people!” I shout, cupping my hands around my mouth like a megaphone. “I am so not marrying Andy Kosolowski. So ha-ha, joke’s on me. Hilarious.” I shoot one final look of disgust at my classmates and stomp off in the direction of homeroom.
Interview with Jennifer DiGiovanni
Can you tell us about your book?
My book started off as a story about two girls who realize senior year is coming to an end and they haven’t done anything spectacular. When one of the girls, Sadie, is paired up as Most Likely to Marry a boy she’s never dated or even liked in “that way”, the girls decide to create their own awesome achievement list to prove the Senior Superlative votes are meaningless.
What are you currently writing?
I’m currently working on Book 3 in the School Dayz Series, My Junior Year of Loathing, which is from the POV of Melinda. In My Senior Year of Awesome, Melinda tries to uncover the truth behind the Senior Superlative vote, and annoys Sadie in the process. But I wanted readers to know that Melinda isn’t exactly the person Sadie thinks she is.
If you could give any piece of advice to unpublished writers what would it be?
Be brave enough to ask for advice and feedback on your work. If you want to get published, you need to learn from other writers about what works and what doesn’t. Chances are you’re really good at something, like dialogue, but may need help with action scenes. Asking for advice and listening to feedback is always hard, but my book changed so much from the first draft thanks to my fantastic critique partners.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like to read in a wide variety of genres and I have so many authors that I like. If I want to laugh, I’ll read a Janet Evanovich book. My friend, Theresa Hernandez, writes The Union series, which I love. And all of my friends my Sixteen to Read debut group are so amazingly talented as well.
What are some of your favorite books to read again and again?
I read books over and over when I was younger, but now I don’t have as much time. Recently, I reread parts of The Hunger Games, because I think Suzanne Collins is an excellent writer. I also loved We Were Liars. Little Women is probably the book I read the most when I was young. I remember my 5th grade teacher looking horrified when I told her I’d read it at least 10 times. She found me something new to read!