Drum Roll Please ….. Introducing the Game Face girls!
It has been over a year (well, a lifetime, actually) in the making, and I cannot be more excited to introduce you to my first Kid Lit characters – Alana, Maya, Rana and Louie.
Whether a softball tournament or hockey tryout, dance routine or broadcasting deadline, Alana, Maya, Rana and Louie charge the fields before them with grit and girl power. Throughout the series, my Game Face girls confront the pressure of sports and the ups and downs of friendship. But with focus, perseverance and teamwork, these middle schoolers won’t just win the big game, they’ll win over readers!
Let me help you get to know them a bit better!
Alana O’Brien is the smallest girl in eighth grade. No matter what she eats (and, boy, can she eat!), it seems her tiny frame is fully grown. Alana likes to spend her time in the MakerSpace working on STEAM inventions, so her small stature is never an issue—until now! Alana is finally old enough to try out for the ice hockey team. She comes from a long line of skaters who expect her to carry on the family’s frozen legacy, so she needs to think quickly before getting beat up on the boards. Skate stilts? Push-up pads? Alana is willing to try every zany invention she can think of to give her an advantage on the ice. Will she find the solution in time for tryouts, or will Alana realize that maybe she’s already got everything she needs to succeed on her skates?
Maya Esposito loves sports—but she’s not an athlete, she’s a reporter! After winning an essay competition, Maya becomes the youngest intern for the local newspaper, The Cape Chronicle. Even better? She gets to write for the sports desk, covering games throughout the entire town! Everyone is supportive of Maya, including Bobby, her lifelong crush. But when Maya takes her talent to the next level, sentiments start to shift. Turns out, not everyone in town believes a girl can really have sports authority. Can Maya stay true to her passion and prove that she’s got what it takes, no matter what her critics say?
Rana Parisi just helped her softball team, the Dodgers, clinch the first place spot in Summer League. As the Dodgers prepare for playoffs, Rana continues to be a star in the field, but struggles at the plate. To make matters worse, Rana’s brilliant idea of planning a surprise thirteenth birthday party for Maya quickly backfires and their friendship is on the rocks. With the whole town watching, can Rana step up to the plate or will she strike-out under the pressure? More importantly, can she save her friendship with Maya in time for the post-game report?
Louie Lin loves to dance. But we’re not talking ballet. No, Louie prefers the rough and tumble sport of rhythmic gymnastics. A fierce competitor, Louie has her sights set on winning the state championship. After lots of begging, her parents finally agree to hire a choreographer, but there’s a catch. To get the training, Louie must also take Korean tea ceremony lessons from her grandmother and participate in the annual Spring Blossom Festival, an important milestone in her family’s heritage. She reluctantly agrees, even though tea parties are way too girly for her tomboy tastes. But when the festival is cancelled, Louie realizes that some things are more important than winning. Can she find a way to still honor her family, or will she disappoint everyone, including herself?
Seeing my Game Face girls come to life has been surreal. Tim Heitz, illustrator extraordinaire, perfectly captured their energy with his beautiful illustrations* (stay tuned for additional sneak peeks!) and I could not be more proud to have his work grace the pages of my debut series.
Now, let the countdown begin to January 1 when Game Face officially hits the shelves! Books will be available for purchase on my website, and I’ve got loads of events planned to ring in the occasion. I’ve been waiting a long time to celebrate this milestone, so check back for dates and get your Game Face on!
*Art from the books Game Face – published by Magic Wagon, a division of ABDO