Books

The Crossroads / La encrucijada

After crossing Mexico into the United States, Jaime Rivera thinks the worst is over. Starting a new school can’t be that bad. Except it is, and not just because he can barely speak English. While his cousin Ángela fits in quickly, with new friends and after-school activities, Jaime struggles with even the idea of calling this strange place “home.” His real home is with his parents, abuela, and the rest of the family; not here where cacti and cattle outnumber people, where he can no longer be himself—a boy from Guatemala.

When bad news arrives from his parents back home, feelings of helplessness and guilt gnaw at Jaime. Gang violence in Guatemala means he can’t return home, but he’s not sure if he wants to stay either. The US is not the great place everyone said it would be, especially if you’re sin papeles—undocumented—like Jaime. When things look bleak, hope arrives from unexpected places: a quiet boy on the bus, a music teacher, an old ranch hand. With his sketchbook always close by, Jaime uses his drawings to show what it means to be a true citizen.

Powerful and moving, this touching sequel to The Only Road explores overcoming homesickness, finding ways to connect despite a language barrier, and discovering what it means to start over in a new place that alternates between being wonderful and completely unwelcoming.

Available for pre-order now!

 

Jaime Rivera pensó que después de cruzar México y entrar en Estados Unidos, lo peor había quedado atrás. No podía ser muy dificil comenzar en una escuela nueva. Pero lo es. Y no solamente porque casi no habla inglés. Mientras que su prima hermana Ángela se adaptó rapidamente e hizo nuevos amigos y se envolvió en actividades después de clases, Jaime siente que este lugar extraño no es su “hogar.” Su hogar de verdad es con sus padres, con abuela y con el resto de su familia y no en este lugar donde hay más cactus y ganado que personas y donde él siente que no puede ser él mismo—un muchacho de Guatemala.

Cuando llegan malas noticias de sus padres en Guatemala sentimientos de impotencia y culpa atormentan a Jaime. La violencia de las pandillas en Guatemala significa que no puede regresar. Pero tampoco está seguro de que se quiera quedar. Los Estados Unidos no son la maravilla que todos le habían dicho que era, especialmente si no tienes papeles, si estás indocumentado. Pero cuando las cosas lucen sombrias la esperanza llega de lugares inesperados: un muchacho callado en el autobús, una maestra de música, un viejo que trabaja en el rancho. Con su cuaderno de dibujar siempre en sus manos Jaime comienza a usar sus dibujos para demostrar lo que significa ser un ciudadano de verdad.

¡Disponible el 4 de diciembre!


Good Girls Don’t Lie

Josie Figueroa is the girl no one in la familia has to worry about. She’s smart, responsible, and reliable.

The good girl.

Except her life isn’t as perfect as everyone believes. Her older brothers are overprotective and clueless; her dream-boy leads her on, and dumps her.
And then there’s cousin Margarita who can’t deal with her own life, much less a deadbeat husband and two small children.

That’s okay because there’s always Josie-to-the-rescue, Josie who will take care of everything for everyone else. After all, it’s not like Josie doesn’t have problems of her own, it’s not like she’s fifteen, pregnant, and every choice she makes feels like the wrong one.

Available in print and as an eBook.

Click to view the book trailer.


The Only Road / El único destino

Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous and life-changing journey from his home in Guatemala to live with his older brother in the United States in this gripping and realistic middle grade novel.

Jaime is sitting on his bed drawing when he hears a scream. Instantly, he knows: Miguel, his cousin and best friend, is dead.

Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like Miguel. With Miguel gone, Jaime fears that he is next. There’s only one choice: accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico.

Inspired by true events, The Only Road is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life. It is a story of fear and bravery, love and loss, strangers becoming family, and one boy’s treacherous and life-changing journey.

Hardback, paperback, and eBook are available now online or from your local bookstore!

“Powerful and timely,” Booklist starred review

“An important, must-have addition to the growing body of literature with immigrant themes,” School Library Journal starred review

Click to view the book trailer or access the reader guide.

El único destino


En esta absorbente y emocionante novela juvenil, Jaime de doce años emprende el peligroso y traicionero viaje que le transforma su vida de su hogar en Guatemala a Estados Unidos para vivir con su hermano mayor.

Jaime está sentado en su cama dibujando cuando oye un grito. Sabe inmediatamente que su primo hermano y mejor amigo, Miguel, está muerto.

Todos en el pequeño pueblo de Guatemala donde Jaime vive conocen a alguien que ha sido asesinado por los Alfas, una pandilla poderosa que es conocida por su violencia y por el tráfico de drogas. Aquellos que rehúsan trabajar para ellos son atacados o asesinados como Miguel. Jaime y su prima Ángela, la hermana de Miguel, temen que ellos van a ser los próximos. Solamente hay un camino para ambos. Deben de salir huyendo de su hogar en Guatemala para irse a vivir con el hermano mayor de Jaime en Nuevo México.

Inspirada en hechos actuales, En busca de una esperanza es la historia de un niño que siente que abandonar su hogar y emprender esta travesía es su única oportunidad para tener mejor calidad de vida. Es una historia de pánico y de valentía, de amor y de pérdida, donde personas extrañoas se convierten en familia en el viaje peligroso que le cambia la vida a un niño.

¡Se puede ordenar por internet o por su librería local!
 Aquí está el guia para lectura en grupos.

**These two books were written on commission (under the name Megan Sparks), which in this case means, it was someone else’s idea and I was hired to write them.

Falling Hard (Roller Girls)

Falling Hard UK

Falling Hard US“When Annie moves from London to a small American town in the Mid-West, she struggles to fit in. She gets off to a bad start when she makes an enemy of her school’s queen bee, Kelsey. But she discovers a new passion the exciting sport of roller derby and makes friends with the cool and quirky girls on her team, the Liberty Belles. She also meets Jesse, the friendly boy who works at the roller rink, and Tyler, a cute all-American sports star.”

In a Jam (Roller Girls)

In A Jam UKIn A Jam US edition“Annie and Tyler are going out! OK, he can be a bit controlling sometimes, but Annie’s never had a boyfriend before so she assumes that’s what they’re like. Her roller derby team, the Liberty Belles, are in top position in the league but are they getting over-confident? Annie misses a few practice sessions so she can spend time with Tyler. As punishment, she gets left on the bench at a big bout. The whole team needs to refocus especially Annie.”

 

 

Reviews for Falling Hard
“This book is extremely well written. Annie is an engaging heroine with amazing athletic abilities, and she has one of the best dads in YA fiction I’ve encountered. It’s terrific to see their warm, loving relationship. The descriptions of Annie’s cheerleader and roller derby experiences are both authentically and excitingly written. All in all, this is an excellent example of the girl-power, athletic-competition type of YA book.” Kate McMurry TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE

“[The author] does a really good job getting into Annie’s world and showing all the trials and doubts she goes through while trying to find herself. The story flows along at a nice clip and keeps the pages turning as problems and setbacks show up with startling regularity.” Mel Odom TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE

“This was a great YA novel with a strong and likable female character.” Rebecca

 


Of All the Stupid Things

An ALA Rainbow List Book
Below you will find the book description, reviews, additional scenes, and a readers’ guide. Enjoy!

On sale now!
When a rumor starts circulating that Tara’s boyfriend has been with one of the guy cheerleaders, the innuendo doesn’t just hurt Tara. It marks the beginning of the end for three lifelong friends.

Tara’s training for a marathon, but also running from her fear of abandonment from her father.

Whitney Blaire seems to have everything, but an empty mansion and absentee parents leave her looking for her own value in the wrong places.

And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mama she’s never stopped missing.

Then the new girl arrives in school and Tara starts to feel things she’s never felt for before for a girl. Can the girls’ friendship survive when all the rules have changed?

Available in Hardback and Paperback. (Please contact me if you wish to acquire a hard copy)

Listed as one of 10 Great Books for LGBTQ Teens (published in the last five years).

Reviews If you have a favorable review, please let me know and I’m happy to add it to the site. Thanks!

“Great read!” Carrie’s YA Bookshelf

“It’s not smooth, it’s not always pretty, but it is realistic.” Amy Reads

“A fascinating journey through a young woman’s self discovery.” A Book-Lovers’ Review

“Fluid sexuality in YA – I love it.” Daisy Porter, Queer YA

“This first novel nicely captures the way friends assume and challenge their roles in a group while sensitively addressing a range of topics, including same-sex attraction and coming out.” Heather Booth, Booklist

“Diaz tenderly and respectfully allows the reader to experience all of the “firsts” that come with any new love […] Highly recommend it to adolescent girls.” Reflective Renewal

“Alexandra’s debut novel Of All the Stupid Things is enticingly fierce. Her writing is subtle yet powerful. The suspense hooked me from the first page until the end.” La Femme Readers

“All three girls had well developed storylines that intersected nicely at the end.” For What It’s Worth

“Honest and very realistic […] All teenagers should read this.” The Book Scout

Additional Scenes
Mama’s Last Halloween as remembered by Pinkie D. Ricci

The Day of the Race

Guest Post
My Book, The Movie

Readers’ Guide
Reader Guide Of All the Stupid Things