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Alyssa Zaczek Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Martin McLean, Middle School Queen (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Alyssa Zaczek is an American published author. In addition to being an author of fiction, she is also a journalist and a playwright. Her plays have been put on at various locations in the Midwest.

Zaczek was born in Chicago, Illinois. She has always been into books and a voracious reader. She also hoards books for herself to read. Her love of drama and story telling started early as she identified as a theater kid.

She also loves to cook meals at home and has a passion for vintage things. She loves writing because it gives her the chance to put down her thoughts and words into print form and share them with the world and her readers!

Alyssa also likes to participate in some physical activities too. She goes running and even gets some calories burned thanks to her two dogs. She is constantly chasing them around and it is a good workout! She also has two cats that she describes as being ‘deeply obnoxious’.

Zaczek was from the Windy City originally. However, she has since moved and is working in the field of marketing and living in Minnesota in Saint Cloud.

The author was also employed as a journalist. She was a features reporter for one of USA Today’s newspapers. Readers can also likely find some of her short stories and fiction published in places such as The Dionysian, Jet Fuel Review, and Midwestern Gothic.

She has one full length stand alone novel published. The 2020 book is a light and fun read from Sterling Children’s. Published in 2020, this is a novel that is aimed at young adults and middle school readers in particular. The book is titled Martin McLean, Middle School Queen. Reviewers praised this book for its diversity, with the novel earning a starred review from Kirkus that called the story amusing. Desmond is Amazing notes that the book is not only ‘fierce’ and ‘amazing’ but inspiring too when it comes to empowering children to express themselves. E! the Dragnificent praises the book as a ‘beautiful’ story that focuses on self realization as well as coming of age.

Martin McLean, Middle School Queen features the main character of none other than Martin McLean. This is the story of a young boy in middle school that is trying to find his true inner voice as well as diva. All of this is being done as he also takes on the basics of his life at that point– from crushes to family and friends. With a bunch of glitter thrown in, naturally.

Main character Martin is enrolled in the seventh grade, a challenging time in any middle school student’s life. This is the time where students are expressing themselves more with fashion and trying to define an identity for themselves. Martin is trying to do just this and find a way to express himself and who he is.

While it may be tough for him, he has a wide cast of people around him who seem to have no problem being creative and expressing who they are. His mother is also the creative type and as an artist, expressing herself is nearly second nature. Then there’s his uncle, Tio Billy. Billy works in the world of theater and is as colorful as a rainbow.

To top that off, he has two really good friends named Pickle and Carmen. They are themselves almost too easily, and part of their outgoing personalities are due to the fact that they don’t really care at all if anyone judges them. They are themselves and they’re not concerned with what other people are thinking.

Martin isn’t nearly the same and it seems that he’s just lacking that outlet for self expression that comes so readily to everyone else in his life. He’s more comfortable with his role as part of the Mathletes, where it’s all too simple to just participate in math and speak freely. But when his uncle introduces him to something novel he’s never experienced before, it’s like a whole new world has opened up for him.

His uncle’s introduction to the drag world is truly a whole unique and fabulous world that Martin has never experienced before– but is really excited about. He is inspired with stilettos and sequins to come up with his own drag identity for himself. In just a moment, Lottie Leon, his fantastic alter ego and drag queen persona, is born.

Martin is finding that when he is dressed up as Lottie, he is actually more brave than he would be in his own skin. But when it comes to being himself, he has reservations about being able to confide in people that he has a drag alter ego. Only his family knows and he hasn’t been able to summon the strength to tell anyone else.

Perhaps his caution is warranted or perhaps he is just scared. But Pickle and Carmen are the two closest friends that he has, and even they don’t know about it. That’s saying something, to be sure. Not even the people on his Mathletes team know about it– he’s keeping this one close to his vest. He’s definitely not going to tell the kid in the grade above him anything about it. He has a huge crush on Chris but there is no way he is blurting this out to the eighth-grader when not even his best friends know.

Martin is thrilled to be lined up to participate in his very first drag show. But his elation turns to panic when he finds out that it is planned on the exact same night that his math tournament will be. He can go to one or he can go to the other, but Martin really wants to attend both. When he starts doing the calculations, he knows that the only way to be able to go to both the show and the tournament is to embrace both worlds.

Will Martin’s choice be the right one? Can his friends support him, and will he get to the tournament and the show both? Or is this plan destined to backfire spectacularly? You’ll have to read this fun book to find out!

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