I remember so clearly my early days of exploring the internet, and what it meant to me as a kid. Having grown up in religious schooling and summer camps, what I knew of the world was limited to people who were basically just like me. But when I went online, I learned what a wide world it was out there, and now that I’m *mumble mumble* years old…I’m still learning, and still meeting people who are among the most important in my life. I’m of the last generation that had at least a partial pre-internet childhood, but teens now and forever will never know that life, and yet so few YAs address its importance in forging meaningful, lasting relationships. So while I haven’t yet read this contemp by Push Girl coauthor Jessica Love, I am already in love with it simply for existing. I can’t wait to experience this incredibly relevant and thoroughly modern story, and am delighted to present the author herself to talk a little more about it.
I’m not one of those writers who has a glut of book ideas—notebooks full of story beginnings and plot threads. Instead, my ideas usually come slowly, one at a time, and they always start with characters. For In Real Life, I saw something on TV and heard a song, and the characters of Nick and Hannah slowly wormed their way into my head. Two best friends who knew everything about each other but had never met and were probably a little bit (or a lot) in love with each other.
I didn’t know what to do with them, though, so I started filling in their story with some of my very favorite things: music, the internet, Las Vegas, road trips, awesome girls, awkward boys, best friends, complicated sibling relationships, and, of course, some romance. Once I threw all of that into the mix, this book really turned in to something different from what I expected when I started out with just Nick and Hannah chatting online. Just as I sent Hannah on a crazy adventure, her story sent me on an adventure, too, and I loved every minute of it.
When it came time to get a cover for this book, I really had no expectations. All I knew is that I completely trusted the team at St. Martin’s to come up with something awesome, because they have just been killing it with their covers lately. I love the trend of graphic covers, and all I really hoped for was a fun, bright color scheme, a really cool font, and some special element of the book captured in an eye-catching way.
I got the email with this cover while I was in the middle of teaching my 5th period AP Lit class, and I actually squealed. Loudly. Music plays a huge role in Hannah and Nick’s story—it brings them together and it pushes them apart—and it is what inspired me to write about them in the first place, so seeing those big headphones featured so prominently fills me with joy and really takes the whole book, from idea to execution to publication, full circle. And the heart? Perfection.
I absolutely love this cover, and I’m so thrilled to share it, along with Nick and Hannah, who have been so dear to me for years now, with all of you.
In Real Life is available for pre-order.