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Jennifer Longo Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Six Feet Over It (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Up to This Pointe (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
What I Carry (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jennifer Longo is a young adult novelist from San Francisco. She was born and raised in San Francisco California and spent much of her early life in the city. She attended San Francisco State University from where she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Acting before she went to the Humboldt State University from where she got her MFA in Writing for Theatre. Once she was done with her studies, she proceeded to write plays and even produced some in universities and small theatres and did an internship at the San Francisco Magic Theatre. However, she was never satisfied and always desired to expand and stretch the plays she had written into novels. Once her daughter was three and started kindergarten she suddenly had a few hours to herself and decided to rewrite her first play into a novel. Her debut novel ‘Six Feet Under’ was thus conversion of a play into a young adult novel. The novel went on to receive starred reviews from The Bulletin and Kirkus and made the shortlist for the Washington State Book Awards in 2015. The California native now lives in Seattle in Washington with her husband and daughter. When she is not writing she loves to spend her time walking her dogs, running, reading and taking her kid to ballet class.

Longo has had quite the journey of experience to publishing and thinks she was incredibly lucky to have been engaged in so many things. She used to be a ballerina from age 8-18 and acted in plays since she was a third-grader. However, while she is now a renowned young adult novel author, she loves reading play scripts rather than novels growing up. She never thought of becoming a young adult author and always wanted to become a playwright. Her debut novel ‘Six Feet Over It’ was first written as literary fiction but the voice and age of her protagonist did not lend itself to the genre. When she presented it to the editor, she believes that the novel should be sold as young adult. She had never read much fiction since the 1980s and now had to read current young adult works to figure out how to write young adult. Some of the novels she loves included the likes of Lois Lowery, Judy Blume and Katherine Patterson who formed the inspiration for her subsequent YA. She had also read a lot of Stephen King and John Saul as a child and as an adult she loved reading nonfiction and memories and so it was quite a slog getting up to speed. Once she was signed up to her agent, she recommended that she read the likes of E. Lockhart and Laura Ingalls Wilder, which gave her the perspective she needed to become the YA author she is today.

Jennifer Longo was inspired to write her novel “Six Feet Over It” from something that happened when she was a child. When she was a sixth-grader her father bought the town cemetery and while they did not live at the graveyard, they spent a lot of time working there. She spent a lot of time picking up rocks to protect the mower blades from getting damaged, planting bulbs and flowers, and enjoying the fresh air and the smell of the grass. As they got older, she graduated to digging graves and selling grave plots and she thought it would make a good story. Longo’s “Up to This Pointe” is a novel that showcases her love for place with San Francisco and Antarctica taking center stage. In 1998, she was studying her playwriting MFA when she stumbled upon Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his photographer Frank Hurley, and Roald Amnudsen who were writers of the “Age of Exploration.” Obsessed with the unbelievable diversity and the terrible beauty of Antarctica, she saw it as a challenge and monument to endurance and human resilience. Since she believes that the ice on Antarctica is just as unforgiving as life, she wrote a story that combined the exploration of Antarctica, the struggles and endurance in ballet and the beauty of the city of San Francisco. “What I Carry” is a story of Muir a seventeen-year-old girl and her journey through the foster system in a quest for love and understanding. She is a seventeen-year-old with a love for nature that finally has the chance to unpack and find love and a home.

Longo’s “Six Feet Over It” is the story of a teenage girl that lives in a world full of death. Leigh is not thrilled when her parents move the family from their Mendocino coastal home to an inland California community that she finds boring. The parents have moved to Hangtown since they just purchased a graveyard business. While Kai her older sister is adjusting to small-town living, Leigh spends much of her time in the cemetery office afraid of forming any friendships. Leigh has sacrificed a lot just like her parents to ensure that Kai recovers from Leukemia. But she is not bitter that her sister is adjusting better as she loves her a lot. Nonetheless, since she does not want to lose or hurt anyone again she shuts off any emotion and avoids forming relationships. When a new groundskeeper starts working at the cemetery and she has to deal with the local florist’s daughter she finds it hard to keep them at arm’s length. But as lets her guard down, she comes to the realization that loss is a part of life. She needs to let the past remain in the past and live her life to the full. Longo combines a cast of exceptional characters with Leigh’s dry wit to make for a fine blend of humor and poignancy in her debut.

“Up to This Pointe is a story full of heart and laugh out loud moments. The lead is Harper Scott who alongside Kate her best friend are desiring to become professional ballerinas. Unlike Kate that is naturally talented, Harper needs to fight to attain her dream especially now that it is make or break time. Their dreams will be over if they fail their auditions, which is something Harper will not let happen. She is not going to let anyone or anything including the man that they are both interested in interfere with her dreams. While Harper does not have a natural talent, she is related to Robert Falcon Scott and just like her ancestor who dared by exploring the deadly unexplored south pole, she is going to give it her all. As such, when something unexpected happens she lies her way through it and is soon on her way to Antarctica, to the McMurdo Station. It is an extreme step but she finds it fitting as she believes that she has been dancing on ice and not giving her all. She gets to learn a lot of things about herself that no one including her best friend, family or the boy that wormed his way into her heart ever had the courage to tell her.

Jennifer Longo’s “What I Carry” is a novel about Muiriel, a woman who grew up in foster care and hence knows all about packing. She has been through more than 20 foster homes and her folding skills have been perfected to almost a science. She is 17 and within a year she will be free to get out of the foster system and have more control over her life. Muir has become a master at being helpful, keeping people at arm’s length, performing well in school and staying out of trouble. However, she has never been good at talking about her emotions, trusting people or making friends. But her new foster home which is in Seattle a ferry ride away could mean that she has to adopt new ways. She gets a kind and smart foster mother, meets a boy she really likes, makes a good friend and finds a job she could only have dreamt of. She had been used to being light physically and emotionally and may have to make changes to accommodate the people and circumstances she is beginning to grow really fond of.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jennifer Longo

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