Utilizing Senstivity Readers: A Conversation with Becky Albertalli
Contributed by Becky Albertalli, Author
Tell us about your upcoming (and hotly anticipated!)
My second novel, The
Upside of Unrequited (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, April 2017), is a
loose companion to my debut, Simon vs. the
Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s about a chubby, anxious, seventeen-year-old
Jewish girl named Molly, who’s falling in love after a long line of unrequited
Although this is an Own Voices book, you worked with twelve sensitivity readers on the
manuscript. Can you share a bit about that experience?
Upside is very much an Own Voices book (a term derived from a
hashtag created by author Corinne Duyvis to denote when an author belongs to
the same marginalized community/ies as their character). Like Molly, I’m Jewish
and chubby/fat, and I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. So much of Molly’s
story was inspired by my own teen experience.
Tell us about your most recent book and how you came to
debut novel, The Truth of Right Now, was just published last week by
Simon Pulse and I’m seriously excited that it’s finally out in the world! It’s
a story I had wanted to write for several years before I actually did it. I’m a
playwright and 2013 turned out to be a pretty slow year for me professionally,
so I thought it might be a good time to write the novel and it worked out
perfectly. I wrote it as a response to some incredibly disturbing trends in the
national news (if you read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about). I
wanted to address some of the ugly issues that teens face from their
perspectives and without the distance of a news headline.
Do you think of yourself as a diverse author/illustrator?