Friday, September 7, 2012, started out as a strange day for me. My commuter bus jacknifed and had to be evacuated, and then my replacement bus (filled with two buses worth of passengers) had to pull over for several minutes to be serviced. Even with all of this nonsense, I was only twenty minutes late for work. What an adventure!
Liesa said, "We got your Kirkus review. And it's a starred review!"
And then we made excited "Yay!"s and such at each other. She read me parts of the review and we chatted about how wonderful it was that the reviewer totally got what we were trying to do with this book. Liesa let me know she was forwarding the review to me and congratulated me repeatedly before we got off the phone.
I called my husband and my mom to let them know about the star. I tried to explain what it meant, but I honestly didn't entirely know. (I do have a slightly better idea now, having learned that Kirkus touts themselves as "The World's Toughest Book Critics" and that the Kirkus star is "awarded to books of remarkable merit.")
After the phone calls, the emails started coming. And the texts and the tweets. People who work for my publisher. People at my agent's office. Other writers and readers and friends. It was so exciting and overwhelming that I had to go into the bathroom to cry a couple of times.
The best part for me was thinking about the reactions that everyone told me about. Like Liesa and Alyson at Simon & Schuster hugging and jumping up and down right before Liesa called me. And Jim and Lauren at Dystel & Goderich reading the review on Jim's phone, and trying and failing at a high-five. And everyone at Pulse getting an email that announced the review.
All of these people in New York--some of whom I've met and many of whom I haven't--were all excited and happy for me. But it wasn't just for me. I wrote the book, but I am not the only person who made it what it is, who has a stake in it, who wants good things for it.
We did this. We made this book together. And someone likes it! How cool is that?
★ "What makes this more than another 'problem' novel is the author's steadfast refusal to deal in stereotypes and easy answers. [ . . . ] Required reading for anyone who's ever wondered 'why didn't they just tell someone?'" ~ Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
You can read the full Kirkus review here.