New Kids On The Block 2018 with Jen Petro-Roy

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 I would love to collaborate with you!

About Jen Petro-Roy

Jen Petro-Roy was born, raised, and still lives in Massachusetts, even though she rejects the idea that snow and cold are ever a good thing. She started writing in third grade, when her classroom performed a play she had written. It was about a witch and a kidnapped girl and a brave crew of adventurers who set out to save the day. As a kid, numerous pictures of Jen often featured Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins books clutched in her hand, so it was just a matter of time until she started writing her own books for children.

In the past, Jen has worked as a teacher and a teen and children’s librarian. She loves running, board games, trivia, and swimming, and has a mild obsession with the television show Jeopardy! P.S. I Miss You is her debut novel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Using The Five Senses To Reach My Reader

With each stage of the publishing process, I had to read my book over again. First for big picture edits, then smaller changes. Then there were copyedits, those nitpicky grammar and continuity fixes. Each time, I noticed something different about my writing. How I repeated a certain word a lot in an early draft. How, at first, my characters shrug and nod a lot. (Don’t their shoulders get tired? Do they get headaches?) On one of the most recent read-throughs, I noticed that my characters really like desserts.

(Or maybe I just like writing about them.)

I mention candy hearts in P.S. I Miss You. One of my favorite scenes to write involved Skittles. And in letters to her older sister Cilla, Evie reminisces about Cilla’s favorite brownies.

(My stomach is grumbling already.)

One of things I had to focus on while writing P.S. I Miss You was making sure that I brought all of my readers’ senses to life. Since the book is told in letters, through Evie’s voice and through the filter of her thoughts, emotions, and recollections, there’s not as much direct dialogue as there would be in a typical prose novel.

Because of this, I wanted to make sure that I grounded the reader in Evie’s world, in her shifts between past memories and present feelings. I wanted the reader to see the stationery Evie writes on and the bright pink streak in June’s hair. I wanted the reader to smell the coconut lotion and feel the dripping teardrops.

I wanted these sensations to ground you in my book, just like they ground you in your real life.

And often, taste can be the strongest of those sensations. Taste can bring you back to a special meal with a family. It can evoke an experience with a loved one or make you relive the anticipation before a birthday.

(Sometimes taste can even get me through a hard writing day, when I know there’s a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup waiting for me at the end…)

Title P.S. I Miss You
Author Jen Petro-Roy
Pages 320 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Contemporary, Epistolary, F/F Romance
Publication Date March 6th 2018 by Feiwel and Friends
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersBarnes & NobleIndieboundThe Book Depository

Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister, Cilla, away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. Forbidden from speaking to Cilla, Evie secretly sends her letters.

Evie writes about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend.

Evie could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn’t writing back, and it’s time for Evie to take matters into her own hands.

P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy is a heartfelt middle grade novel dealing with faith, identity, and finding your way in difficult times.

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