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Dear Jennifer Brown

Dear Jennifer Brown,

I just finished reading Perfect Escape, the third of a set of your books I brought home from my classroom.  I had already read Hate List over a year ago.

I want to thank you for writing books that take on challenging topics.

Do you write dystopian novels filled with plagues and zombies?

Nope.

Do you write stories filled with government conspiracies?

Nope.

You create characters with honest-to-goodness believable problems that each and every reader can relate to.

Your characters could be our friends, family members, or people on the news.

You’re not afraid to embroil your characters in real-world issues such as bullying, sexting, dating violence, cheating, and mental illness.

Your characters come to life in their raw musings, sometimes aloud but often in their heads.

They think what we think, and they aren’t afraid to think them.

They finally lose their cool and explode, saying out loud what we often don’t have the courage to say.

In doing so, this frees us up from the guilt of shame…shame for feeling the way we do…because someone else feels the same way.

Thank you for writing books that my high school students relate to.

I’ve seen them cry over your books and have, personally, cried over the books as well.

I’ve been told, by a student, that she got in trouble at home…for READING TOO MUCH.

I thank you for this, for she was reading one of the books pictured above.

Now, I’m not going to fault those who write about zombies and the apocalypse.  There’s an audience for those books.  I’m part of that audience, because I enjoy reading a variety of books so I can knowledgeably pair them up with my students’ interests.

But…

Your books hit home with my students…especially the female ones…in a way that other books do not.

Many do not have mamas at home they can confide in or, in true teenage fashion, do not feel comfortable talking to.

Your voice, through your characters, tells my students that it’s okay to feel angst and shame over what some might downplay as typical teenage stuff.

Thank you for not trivializing the issues.

You’ve played a large role in helping me create engage readers…hopefully life-long readers.

Your friend and fangirl,

Nathalie

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