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Between Two Lockers With Jennie

FYA’s cocktail guru Jennie chats about why YA is important, reveals her love of cheese and L.J. Smith novels, and divulges a former law-tastic day job.

Between Two Lockers With Jennie

In case you missed the announcement, over the next few months, we’ll be running a Between Two Lockers special series featuring your fave FYA writers and contributors.


What’s your name?


Where are you from/located?

San Francisco, CA

What do you do when you’re not writing for FYA?

Up until recently, I was a criminal defense attorney! Now I am working on my own historical YA novel, I grade an upper-division undergrad American Theatre course, and run my own Etsy shop and am part of the SF Etsy Team leadership.

What do you look like?

Where can you be found on social media?

Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads


How long have you been writing for FYA, and how did you start writing for the site?

Nearly two and a half years now: I knew about FYA from basically its inception, thanks to a Jezebel open thread, and started writing in September of 2013, after some of our favorite writers left. On a whim (POSSIBLY influenced by booze and the foolhardy confidence it brings), I decided to email and ask if FYA needed any new contributors. I started out with a Vampire Diaries TV!Elena vs. Book!Elena deathmatch, recapped The Originals, and was asked to come on full-time in early 2014.

So, thank you, booze, for introducing me to some beloved friends and a ton of book conferences!

How did you come to read YA as an adult?

I read YA religiously as an actual young adult, and then I worried that I wasn't pretentious enough in my selections. I was a Serious Intellectual! (Just add turtleneck and beret.)

By the time I made it to law school, I was so tired of pretentiousness, study martyrs, and case law that I thought I would give the Twilight series a try. I was fairly sure no law was involved, and I needed something light and fluffy. It was … entertaining. Then Goodreads recommended Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series and Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series to me, and thus my great love affair with modern YA was born.

Why do you think YA is an important genre, for both actual Ys and those of us who are more A?

First of all, it's female-dominated, creative, and diverse, which means (assuming you're not a straight white dude, but hey, welcome to the rest of the literary canon) you're much more likely to have your story told. I don't think I need to extol the virtues of having your experiences normalized!

Second, I love YA because the coming-of-age story is so rife with conflict and poignancy, whether it's a contemporary romance or, say, Code Name Verity. You change so much as a young adult, because you're finding your own identity and launching yourself out into the world. Whether you're doing it against the backdrop of WWII, high school, or a dystopian universe, you come out the other side irrevocably changed. I think we all can point to that moment (or moments) in our lives where Shit Got Real, and as a result, how we ended up a completely different person. When an author can harness the electricity and immediacy of those moments, it speaks to all of us.

What are five of your favorite YA books?

Series count as just one, right?

The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
The Secret Circle trilogy by L.J. Smith
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Do you have a favorite YA character or couple? If so, who are they, and why are they The Best?

Gansey and Blue. Gansey reminds me so much of someone I once dated (and adored): smart, privileged, and politically connected, with hidden depths and a penchant for terrible polo shirts. I love the way he teases her and how she doesn't really know what to do with it, and I REALLY love the slow burn of their relationship.


If your real life adolescence was a YA book ... What would you, the main character, be like?

The homeschooled, semi-gothy girl who was ridiculed for listening to metal and reading books about vampires, witches, and sexy Norse gods trapped in board games, in a very religious environment.

Who is your secret crush?

Anyone with leather pants, long hair, and a guitar.

What is your number #1 source of angst?

Finding my best friends on the internet, through an L.J. Smith book club—and not being old or independent enough to travel to meet them! (Also, the constant teasing about having friends on the internet back then. Apparently, we were all middle-aged men.)

At what point would the reader pump his/her fist in victory?

When I finally got out of town and moved to San Francisco!

And who would play you in the film adaptation?

A lovely, talented, and kind unknown who will always be grateful to me for the fact that my origin story launched her to fame and making out with hot co-stars. (So grateful that she'll send me cases of Veuve and caviar and introduce me to Bono and Adam Brody.)


What is your #1 favorite food?

CHEESE. Soft, gooey, bloomy-rind cheese.

Tell me about your area of expertise.

I whip up fancy cocktails with punny names and compulsively organize book-club-related outings.

If you could assemble your own Ocean's 11 of fictional characters, who would you pick?

1. Eugenides, for the wit.
2. Cassie Blake, for the power (and fancy magical tiara).
3. Julian from The Forbidden Game, for the tight pants, super powers, and eye candy.
4. Richard Gansey III, for the political connections, money, and single-minded pursuit of a goal.
5. Evie O'Neill for the psychic powers and someone to help carry the flasks.
6. Merricat Blackwood, to help me with the cooking.
7 & 8. Verity and Maddie, to fly the plane.
9. Death (from The Sandman comics) for the levity.
10. Thursday Next, for the literary discussion.
11. Kestrel, for the brute force.

What is your best karaoke song?

I wouldn't say I have a "best" one any more than you think a crow squawking has a best squawk, but I do find myself singing "I Want It That Way" a lot around my book club people.

Tell me something scandalous!

Vinyl pants DO NOT BELONG in a mosh pit. Trust me on this one. Learn from my mistakes.

What is your favorite adult beverage?

Anything with bourbon!

What is the most crucial snack food and/or movie/or anything you'd bring to an FYA slumber party?

The deviled eggs from our book club hangout, Two Sisters. They are made with cream, thyme, lemon, truffle oil, and are topped with fried capers. They are HEAVENLY.

What book have you read the most number of times?

Definitely The Secret Circle trilogy.

YA authors are so cool. Who would you give a BFF charm to?

It's hard to pick because I've met so many wonderful authors, but I'd be lying if I said having cocktails with Libba Bray isn’t at the top of my life goals list.

Out of all of the characters you’ve read, which one do you most wish you could be?

I think Kestrel from The Winner's Trilogy is pretty badass, although apparently INCAPABLE OF COMMUNICATING (no spoilers!).


Jennie made three picks for each category, and I added a fourth. The magic number (chosen by a random number generator) was 6.



Neville Longbottom
Seth Cohen
Eric Northman


Bar-le-Duc, France
District 13

New Orleans
The OC


Zero, hire ten henchmen instead


YA author
YA book blogger


Paid in wishes
Enough to get by
Enough to get by ... ON A UNICORN


San Francisco
Colby, North Carolina
Portland, OR
An eerie bucolic village where strange things keep happening and I am totally not responsible


Smiling pile of poop
Phoenix (can you imagine the cleanup involved? Ugh)
A magical talking cat

An inferior, normal cat with no special abilities


Alcide Herveaux (what?)
Penny farthing (sadly, there's someone in town who actually does ride one on his commute)
The Pig from The Raven Cycle

Do you have additional questions for Jennie? Or maybe just want to comment on something particularly awesome that she said? Head to the comments!

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.