Normally, we like to give our honorees a luminous, sometimes lengthy introduction. The words of Dream Jordan are so substantial, however, I don’t want to stand in their way. Please share this post with the teens in your life. I’ll be sharing it with those in mine. Brooklyn native, NYU magna cum laude graduate, YA author–Dream Jordan.
“I really want to write a book, hopefully tomorrow…” begins a poem I wrote in fifth grade for my class’s gazette. Little did I know, publishing a book is no small feat, and it would take years of hard work, and dedication to actually fulfill my dream. During my elementary school years, I was a focused, straight-A student with ambitions of authorship. But once I made it to junior high, I lost interest in all things academic along with my aspiration to become a professional writer. Cutting class and dressing fashionably took precedence in my life. Ironically, however, it was my scholastic downfall that eventually led me down the yellow brick road to publication.
I had allowed peer pressure to destroy my potential as a teen, and I wanted to write a story revolving around this idea of wasted possibilities. I had never written a book for young adults before, so I took plenty of trips to my local library and studied my favorite writing magazine, “Writer’s Digest.” I also wanted to ensure that I had the right “voice” for teens, so I trolled the internet, searching for the latest slang, careful not to overdo it though. I observed and consulted with the teens around me to make sure my work was authentic and up-to-date – because, my, oh my, how the times have changed! And finally, I attended panel discussions and writing workshops to strengthen my knowledge of the publishing world in general. As a result, when the rejection letters for my first young adult book, “Hot Girl,” came pouring in, I was fully armed. Furthermore, I had landed an awesome editor and literary agent; and they acted as the voices of reason during times of self-doubt.
I’ve recently decided not to name specific books or people who have inspired me throughout my writing career. It’s heartbreaking when I forget to name key people, and my reading taste is quite eclectic, dating back to the nineteenth century. I am a big fan of “voice,” so the genre doesn’t matter. As long as I feel the narrator’s flow; I’m more than willing to embark on a literary journey with an author whose voice I trust.
HOT GIRL is the award-winning story of Kate, an at-risk teen in foster care who has turned her life around, only to be sidetracked by a fast girl who leads her down a path of self-destruction. I decided to give my protagonist a background in foster care to show young people that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or who you’re from, it’s where you’re “at” on the inside. There are so many gems who grow up in the so-called hood, and it’s important for me to demonstrate through my fiction that their possibilities are endless. And during my school visits, I emphasize this point, “repping” my hood of Brownsville, Brooklyn, proud to have gone from nearly dropping out of high school to graduating magna cum laude from New York University. My novel demonstrates that all things are possible with the right attitude and influences in your life.
BAD BOY is the award-winning sequel to HOT GIRL. Kate, known for her spunk, suddenly finds herself in an abusive relationship. Dating Violence was not my first choice of topics for my sophomore effort. But in recent news it had become apparent to me that abuse was on the rise, particularly for young girls. Growing up, I’ve thankfully never been abused by a boyfriend, and I didn’t have friends who’ve experienced being physically harmed either. Sadly, at present, when I ask a group of young girls if they’ve ever been exposed to dating violence, twelve year olds raise their hands high, completely unfazed, like, hey, just another day in a teen’s life. Therefore, the reason I felt that Kate was the best character to portray an abuse victim is because she is such a strong young lady; and it’s important for young girls to know that anyone can fall prey to domestic violence.
In short, I refer to the books I write as, “edu-tainment.” I want to entertain, as well as educate, our young people. This is my purpose. This is my passion.
HOT GIRL – AWARDS
•2010 ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
•2009 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
•2009 New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age List
“Teen readers will relate to the smart, strong-willed protagonist, Kate….This novel has the makings of a YA classic, and every YA collection should have a copy.” – Vanessa J. Irvin Morris, Drexel Univ., Philadelphia – Library Journal
“Dream Jordan’s Hot Girl is a fantastic first novel…the content reflects the struggles and choices facing a young girl wanting to belong with her peers and also within a family. My students have showered accolades on Hot Girl.” – Amy Cheney – School Library Journal
“Librarians will be pleased with an urban fiction offering that does not drag its characters through melodramatic depravity but instead shows teens how it is possible to consciously choose the direction of one’s life.” – Reviewer: Diane Colson – Voya
“Characterizations are strong, and voices realistic….Jordan sends a message about doing the right thing.”- Emily Anne Valente, New York Public Library – School Library Journal
“With authentic dialogue and honest situations, [Hot Girl] will resonate with teens…Many readers will unconsciously absorb some of Kate’s grit, determination, and hope by the end of this realistic novel.” – Frances Bradburn – Booklist Online
BAD BOY – AWARDS
•2013 YALSA’s 2013 Best Fiction For Young Adults
•2013 YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
“Kate’s pitch-perfect voice raises the book above the level of a simple problem novel; once again, she is strong, vulnerable, witty and expressive in the face of misfortune and hostility. An engaging follow-up with a worthy message.” Kirkus Reviews
“There are certainly some good lessons to be learned from “Bad Boy” and it’s a book I definitely recommend…Dream Jordan is definitely a talent I’m looking forward to reading more from.” Portrait Reviews
“A compelling, believable story. Readers will be glued to the pages as Percy’s sweet words and deeds are followed by insults and controlling behavior…Jordan’s book can be an excellent resource to women young and old about what to look out for.” Leslie Frohberg, RT Book Reviews
“Bad Boy is an amazing book…The author does an amazing job of telling the story through Kate’s witty and funny words. The story is very believable and so are the characters. I recommend this book for lovers of realistic fiction. This is a book every teen should read.” Flamingnet Reviews
Learn more about Dream Jordan and her books here at Macmillan Publishers.