From the author:
Whenever I write a novel, I write with an ideal girl in mind. For When You Feel Beautiful, the girl that I hope will love this story doesn’t love herself. She may not love how she looks or love who she is. This girl will probably suffer from depression and wants the pain to end. This girl will be a bully victim. This is the girl I’m trying to reach with this story. Votes would greatly increase my novel’s chances of winning a Watty award. I want to win for me, but I mostly want to win for the girls I’m trying to reach. Winning a Watty would put my novel in a position where it has the best chance of reaching as many girls as possible. I’d appreciate any and all votes.
Fifteen-year-old Jenny Ballena isn’t new to Valley, California, but she’ll soon be new to Valley High. When Jenny’s rebellious neighbor and soon-to-be fellow high school peer, Melissa Martinez, invites her to an unsupervised pool party, Jenny quickly rejects the invite. Her first love is swimming, but is swimming really worth revealing her darkest secret?
To avoid being laughed at, Jenny decides not to go to the party.
Besides, Nina Ballena, Jenny’s mother would never allow her to attend a party without any adults. Or so Jenny thought. Melissa pressures Jenny into going along with her plan: Jenny must lie to her own mother. Her gut instinct screams a warning: perpetuating this lie will only make things worse.
Things only become worse when Jenny runs afoul of Samara Cherriton, the redheaded unspoken leader of a vicious gang of boys.
Life for Jenny takes an even more disastrous turn when a girl she wishes were beautiful reveals her secret on the first day of school.
The girl in her mirror.
Jenny eventually meets her mysterious and charming neighbor, Miguel. For his sake, Jenny must learn to love herself. Will Jenny ever gaze into the mirror and love what she sees? Winning Valley High’s annual Karina Lopez Brain Bee may be her only shot at loving the girl in the mirror.
But winning won’t be easy.
Two-time Brain Bee Champion, Sunshine Wiggins, is rumored to be a genius among her peers. Not only that, but in the Brain Bee’s twenty-three year history, NO SOPHOMORE has ever raised the trophy. Some say it’s the Sophomore Curse.
Before Jenny decides to beat Sunshine Wiggins, she decides to join her. The reason?
— Denmark Harris (@DenmarkHarris) October 20, 2014