Friday, May 26, 2017

Star-Crossed Blog Tour + Giveaway

Thank you Liza Wiemer for this wonderful opportunity to participate in the Star-Crossed Blog Tour! Star-Crossed is unique and explores identity aimed toward young readers but will captivate readers of all ages. Barbara Dee's upcoming book, Halfway Normal, will be published in September 2017.

Title: Star-Crossed
Author: Barbara Dee
Pub. Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 256
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound
Synopsis (from

Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play in this Romeo and Juliet inspired novel from the author of Truth or Dare.

Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.


"A sweet story of young love amid middle school theatrics. Mattie’s genuine inflections and stream-of-consciousness narrative resonate well with the early-adolescent experience. Readers cannot help but root for Mattie as she discovers bravery she never gave herself credit for, both onstage and in life."Kirkus Reviews 
"A sweet coming-out story for jr. high readers. The clever Shakespeare content is a bonus…VERDICT: A fine choice for middle school libraries in need of accessible LGBTQ stories and a great option for students reading or performing Romeo and Juliet."School Library Journal
"A star student falls for the lead actress of her school play in this welcome addition to the middle grade LGBTQ bookshelf…Dee thoughtfully dramatizes the intricate social performance of middle school, with its secret crushes and fierce rivalries. The book benefits from a memorable cast…Mattie’s narration is intimate and believable, and readers will be pleased to watch her grow from spectator to star."Publishers Weekly
"A sweet look at unexpected first love. Recommended."School Library Connection
School Library Journal “Popular Pick” for March, 2017!


What was the most challenging part of writing this novel?

My biggest challenge was getting Mattie's swirling emotions right, not telegraphing or overstating feelings which she hasn't acknowledged to herself. When the novel begins, it's never occurred to her that she might have a crush on a girl--in fact, she's just recovering from a hopeless crush on a boy. I had to keep one step in front of her as she figures it out--and I always had to keep in mind that she's a kid, with a kid's vocabulary and a kid's way of processing things. When you're writing middle grade, particularly in the first person, you have to get inside your protagonist's head and stay there, or the book doesn't work. You have to let your character breathe. Part of me wanted Mattie to come out and declare herself--but I knew that if I wrote her that way, I would be superimposing myself on my character, and that wouldn't be fair.

What has been the most rewarding about writing this novel?

Hearing how deeply it's touched readers. People are writing to me to say how much STAR-CROSSED means to them, sharing personal stories and gorgeous fanart. My books have never had this sort of reader response before, and I'm just overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude.

What has surprised you the most since the publication of this novel?

The fact that STAR-CROSSED, which is a middle grade novel, is being read by so many teens and adults. I honestly didn't see that coming!


Barbara Dee is the author of seven middle grade novels all published by Simon & Schuster, including TRUTH OR DARE (Sept. 2016) and STAR-CROSSED (March 2017). Her next middle grade novel, HALFWAY NORMAL, will publish September 5, 2017. Barbara is one of the founders and directors of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York.
Website | Twitter | Facebook 


1 winner will receive a signed copy of Star-Crossed.

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1 comment:

  1. Lovely interview! I absolutely adored this book and can see what Barbara means about Mattie's emotions and vocabulary. That was one of my favorite parts, seeing her process everything and having it feel so realistic!