Get to Know a YA Author: Camryn Garrett

Welcome to our newest feature on B&N Teen Blog, Get to Know a YA Author, in which we pose the same questions to different YA authors so readers can get to learn a little more about them, what they write, what they read, and what they love! Today we’re getting to know Camryn Garrett, whose debut, Full Disclosure, about a bisexual Black girl with HIV+ finding love for the first time, just released this week. So come get to know Camryn, her book, her faves, and more!

Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. When she was thirteen, she was selected as a TIME for Kids reporter, and interviewed celebrities like Warren Buffett and Kristen Bell. Her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, MTV, and Rookie Magazine. In 2015, she was named as one of MTV’s 8 Inspiring Teens Using Social Media to Change the World and in 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. Camryn is also interested in film and is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a proud advocate of diverse stories and writers. You can find her on Twitter @dancingofpens, tweeting from a laptop named Stevie.

Describe your new release in 5 words.

Sex-positive, funny, musical, love-filled.

This is a YA book blog, so tell us 3 YAs you recommend!

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills: One of my all-time favorites. I have two different copies of this and re-read it all the time.

Things I love about this book:

  • I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling since I started reading.
  • I want to hang out with all of the characters.
  • It’s actually hilarious. I cackled so much.
  • I’ve never read a book that focuses on friendship as much as this one does. It’s about different types of love – between brothers and sisters, friends, girlfriends… the FRIENDSHIPS IN THIS BOOK, THOUGH. I’M IN LOVE WITH THEM. Claudia friendship with Zoe is so different from her friendship with Iris and that’s what makes it so cool! Noah and Gideon’s friendship also makes me want to cry. Like, I had to close the book.
  • And her relationships with her siblings!!! I love it! I love the love! I love the Shakespeare! And how is it so funny??? Guys, this is my most favoritest book. (Okay, it joins the list, but it’s totally near the top!!)
  • Shakespeare!!
  • Gideon. My favorite book boy in existence. He takes the crown. Now I have to name a future son after him. It’s law.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland: I tend not to like fantasy or sci-fi because it’s just not my thing, but I loved this so much and couldn’t put it down. THIS IS SO FREAKING GOOD. SERIOUSLY. I don’t even like zombies, but this was impossible to put down. The action scenes were great and Jane is so badass that you just want to keep hearing about her fight. There are love interests and lots of surprises and twists and turns. I love the relationship between Kate and Jane a TON, but also all of the themes that this explored. There were awesome characters and a great story and basically I need everyone to read it. I want it to be a movie.

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura.

OKAY, WOW. Let me list everything I love about this book:

  • The family set up. I really liked the fact that CJ was raised by a single mom, wondered about her dad, but didn’t go on a search for him. Her aunt lived with them and helped raise her and she called her aunt by her first name. She says her aunt feels more like a sister. This reminds me a lot of my own relationship with some of my aunts, and that was so cool to see here.
  • Owen was bisexual. I kind of love seeing male love interests who are bisexual. And CJ wasn’t turned off by it or wonder if he’d like boys more than her or anything. I love that.
  • It deals with history and how history impacts you even if other people think you should get over it. It impacts families and livelihoods and it isn’t just something you can get rid of. Sugiura is analyzing things like renaming buildings that were named for problematic people and trying to make history right, which was honestly so cool and I’m super into.
  • I hated the mom for most of the book, but you honestly really understand where she’s coming from as things go along, even if I didn’t agree with her or how she went about doing things. And you know she loves CJ.
  • There’s an abortion that’s just so casual that I love.
  • There was discussion and background on what the model minority myth is and why it’s problematic for Asian people and also Black people and puts distance between the communities. I think this is maybe the first book I’ve seen it laid out so clearly, from how it started to how it lingers, and it addressed the fact that some Asian people still think they work harder or are better than Black people.
  • CJ is flawed, but it’s super understandable and I didn’t hate her for it, even when she was being kind of annoying.
  • There was discussion about white saviors and how being queer doesn’t mean that your white privilege is cancelled out, which I was kind of eternally grateful for.
  • I love that the author touched upon so many different things and it didn’t feel like a very special episode or like a big deal or anything. It was just sort of a natural part of being in high school and things that come up.
  • CJ is disappointed with her mother’s views and does something to go against them, like she’s actually a little activist and I loved seeing that in a context that didn’t have to do with people dying (ie police brutality.)
  • I actually really loved Brynn.
  • Discussion about owning up to the mistakes you’ve made.
  • The cover is perfect!!!
  • CJ’s voice and the little interludes between the chapters

I just really, really liked this book and I sort of was captured from the first chapter. I read it in a day while walking around and running errands and just really, really enjoy it a lot. Goodness.

What do you do when you’re not reading or writing?

Sleep. Or schoolwork.

What’s your dream book tour city/stop?

I really want to go to Seattle, since I know a lot of people there, and I love rain and gloom.

If you got to retell any story as a YA novel, what would it be and why? Um, I’m not great at re-tellings, so not sure how I’d do this. But I really like the idea of retelling history and adding magic or other different aspects to it. So I’d love to write something set in the 70s or 60s and the Civil Rights Movements and Black Power Movements and add my own spin to it.

What’s your favorite way to reward yourself for publishing a book?

I haven’t done this yet! I just keep buying more books, ha.

What are you working on now?

Editing my second book! And writing a screenplay that I really love — it isn’t based on any of my books, which is a little nerve-racking, but also super freeing.

Full Disclosure is available now.

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