New Kids On The Block 2018 with Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2018? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at Jen@PopGoesTheReader.com. I would love to collaborate with you!


About Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley

Raised by a school librarian, Austin’s always had a passion for books, especially books for young people. He met and fell in love with Emily in high school and went to Harvard University for undergrad. He studied English (focusing on Shakespeare) and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. Recently, Austin worked as a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter and was a UCLA law student; however there’s nothing he he loves like writing with Emily.

Emily, whose parents are screenwriters, has loved writing and story-telling since an age she hardly remembers. Since meeting Austin (she says it was middle school – accounts vary), Emily attended Princeton University for undergrad, studied psychology, and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. While at Princeton, she wrote the first novel in her self-published YA fantasy trilogy, The Last Oracle, which was featured in USA Today and was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

One of the foremost reasons we write YA is because we fell in love when we were, you know, YAs. Everything really began in Mrs. Shales-Clark’s honors chemistry class — that’s right, our relationship happened because we had chemistry. Hanging out with mutual friends and having Oscar-nominee marathons became hanging out one-on-one, became becoming best friends, became confirming our friends’ expectations and getting together near the beginning of 12th grade.

We hit every milestone, from prom to struggling through standardized tests and college decisions to watching The Office between hours and hours of homework. We’re engaged now, and our debut YA contemporary Always Never Yours was released on May 22. Quite completely, we couldn’t be happier we found each other when we were young.

But if reading and writing YA taught us one thing, it’s that there’s no right way to do high school. With this truth in mind, we decided to examine…

The Pros and Cons of High-School Romance

Pro: You’ve got a partner, whether for the fetal pig dissection in AP Bio or for prom. When you’re in AP testing and finals, having a reliable studying partner could be critical to quiz you on cell organelles or remind you of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles in the hours before the test. Or nine years following the test, when you’re taking a Buzzfeed quiz on whether you remember AP European history and not doing very well. And obviously, you’ll have a partner for kissing and everything. To be fair, excellent friends can accomplish all of the above, too, except (probably) the kissing.

Con: Drama. This is the big one for the central character of Always Never Yours. Megan Harper confidently pursues and dates every guy who catches her eye. The problem is, Megan’s constantly conscious of how quickly the romances could fizzle out, for her boyfriends inevitably become her exes and her exes inevitably end up in perfect relationships with other people. There’s plenty to concentrate on in high school, from friends to college. Whether your relationship’s working could become one unnecessarily complicated question.

Pro: Encouragement — and forced relaxation. There’s hardship in high school, from worrying over grades and college chances to family and financial questions. It’s helpful to hear encouragement and commiseration when you’re demoralized, and when you’re overworked, it’s important to have that voice of reason reminding you to watch Netflix every now and then. (We recommend The Office.)

Con: Decisions, decisions. We define ourselves in high school, determining fundamental pieces of our identity and priorities. Then there’s the question of post-graduation, of college and remaining close to home or moving out. (Our third novel, coming in 2020, follows two teens dealing with questions of geography, family, and personal identity while crossing paths on their respective college tours. Obviously we never write books from personal experience.) A relationship complicates both questions. Finding yourself could be complicated if you have different priorities from the person you’re dating. Breaking up before college is painful and hard, but going to college in a relationship could be constraining, particularly when it could not work out.

Pro: It could work out. It’s really, really wonderful when it does.

Title Always Never Yours
Author Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley
Pages 352 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Publication Date May 22nd 2018 by Speak
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

A contemporary Shakespeare-inspired YA from a fantastic new author couple! What’s it like to play the understudy in your own love story?

Megan Harper is the girl before…just like Rosaline from Romeo and Juliet. Every one of Megan’s relationships has ended the same way – her ex replaces her with someone perfect. But instead of crying over every breakup, Megan spends her time on her two passions: pursuing her next fling and directing theater. She hates the spotlight, and she’s hoping to fulfill her college program’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible. But then Megan’s theater teacher casts her to play none other than Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet – and she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright. In exchange for Megan’s help writing a play, Owen agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a hot hipster stagehand. Between rehearsing and contending with her dad’s plans to move with Megan’s pregnant stepmom to New York, Megan begins to realize Owen – thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes – might be the Romeo she never expected. Better yet, with him, she might finally be a Juliet.

Don’t forget to visit all the wonderful stops along Always Never Yours blog tour for a variety of guest posts, reviews, and much, much more!

Week One
May 07 – Lindsey Books
May 08 – Just Commonly
May 09 – BookCrushin
May 10 – Lacy Literacy
May 11 – Books and Blends

Week Two
May 14 – YA Books Central
May 15 – Finding Wonderland
May 16 – Bookish Things & More
May 17 – The Review Room
May 18 – Just Reading It

Week Three
May 21 – The Fandom
May 22 – Riddle’s Reviews
May 23 – Book Briefs
May 24 – Passionately Perusing
May 25 – Pop! Goes the Reader (You are here – Hi!)

Week Four
May 28 – Belle’s Archive
May 29 – Simply Kelina
May 30 – The Blonde Bookworm
May 31 – Snowandbooks

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