Joy Preble is the author of the popular and highly acclaimed Dreaming Anastasia series as well as THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, the prequel to THE A-WORD. A former English teacher, Joy grew up in Chicago and is a graduate of Northwestern University. She is now a full-time writer and lives with her family in Texas, where she has learned to say "y'all" without any hint of irony.
I’m always so thrilled that readers relate to Jenna Samuels, the main character and narrator of both THE SWEET DEAD LIFE and THE A-WORD. They like her sassiness and her lack of filter, and I think the device of having her narrate primarily through journal entries, allows her to tell it like it is. You see her angst, her humor and her bravery, too, since when you get down to it, her brother is dead (although still hanging around annoyingly as her guardian angel), her parents are generally oblivious and on the verge of splitting up, and for most of THE A-WORD, she can’t even tell her best friend Maggie what’s going on. In fact she’s kept it all a secret for almost a year now! But trying to balance a first boyfriend on top of all the A-Word land secrets tips things for Jenna and as you’ll see in this new book, things come out and more craziness ensues.
One of the other things that’s been fun with Jenna is that she very clearly does not identify with a particular set of faith beliefs. So it’s fascinating to write this character who finds herself thrust into a set of circumstances that very much require belief in things beyond what we can easily see. And unlike so many YA angel books, Jenna is not angel or even half or quarter angel. She’s fully human and seeing and experiencing things that no one else is aware of. I adore the juxtaposition of this. And her brother is probably one of the least likely-seeming candidates for angel. As Jenna observes: “Plus Casey still looks like Casey.” Meaning he’s wearing a stained Mountain Dew t-shirt, although he’s a lot more toned and chiseled and handsome these days. Which Jenna finds supremely unfair, of course.
But beyond the fun of setting all this up, I have found that Jenna’s lack of theological background makes her observations of the overall situation a lot keener and more thought-provoking, even to me, and I’m writing the books. Clearly my own writer’s sub-conscious is chewing on this situation a lot. Like when Jenna comments about Casey: “I liked this world, too. I liked Casey in it. Taking him away from me was no one’s reward.” It’s been a lot of fun writing this character and her story and discovering that there are some deeper philosophic musings underneath the fun and the mystery and the love story!
And don't forget to check out Joy Preble's
highly-acclaimed debut trilogy based on Anastasia Romanov!
Title: THE A-WORD
Author: Joy Preble
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Soho Teen
Jenna Samuels is about to turn fifteen. It's been almost a year since her stoner brother, Casey, bit the dust. Almost a year since he returned as her guardian angel, along with his "angel boss," Amber Velasco, the hot twenty-something former EMT. Almost a year since Casey and Amber used up their one-time-only angel power of flight to save Jenna from the evil Dr. Renfroe, swooping down to catch her as she tumbled off the balcony at the Houston Galleria. In short, a lot of A-word shenanigans and a mostly happy ending.
Except now Casey's begun to wonder why he's still hanging around—not that he minds protecting Jenna. She's a handful, but there's got to be a bigger picture, right? Something to distract him from his on again/off again, doomed relationship with cheerleader Lanie Phelps, who has no idea her boyfriend is, well, dead. After all, he can't use his angel wings anymore. Neither can Amber.
Enter Bo Shivers, Amber's "angel boss"—a mysterious A-word guy Jenna and Casey didn't even know existed. Whiskey-guzzling. Handsome in a grizzled way. Unpredictable. Okay, make that crazy. Bo lost his angel wings in an earthly flight a long, long, long time back—and he's been a thorn in Angel Management's side ever since. But Bo knows something is coming. Something big. Something that was worth forfeiting wings for Jenna... something that might just change everything for everyone.