Highlights of my year (in chronological order):

  • Getting a higher SAT score than pretty much everyone at school, according to my guidance counselor, even though I was barely in the top 20% of my class
  • Wrangling SWEETEST DOWNFALL into a queryable state
  • Querying
  • Querying going well
  • Getting accepted to the state university of New Jersey
  • Getting accepted to the state university of New Jersey’s selective honors college
  • Graduating high school, getting a scholarship (it was small, but still), going to my high school’s annual after-graduation party, where friends and acquaintances did a ’90s rap lip-sync battle thing which made my life complete
  • Gay marriage being legalized nationwide
  • Going to NYC, staying with my critique partner Amy Zhang, meeting John Hansen and Cam Garrett and Becky Albertalli and Dahlia Adler and Adam Silvera and there were probably other people there because it was a public event but honestly who cares because I met these ones
  • Seeing my sister, who lives a couple thousand miles away, for a week
  • Landing an editorial internship with Entangled Publishing
  • Being selected for Pitch Wars
  • First day of college (this was on the same day)
  • Doing all the things while anxious because no mental illness IN ALL OF OZ, no chemical imbalance that there is or was, is ever gonna bring me down
  • Getting a vague email from a publishing person asking to speak on the phone
  • Stumbling over every word that came out of my face when my agent, Heather Flaherty, told me “I’m offering you representation”
  • Signing The Bent Agency’s author agreement
  • Working on my seventh manuscript (the one after SWEETEST DOWNFALL)

Just like, some random cool stuff that happened this year that I liked, I guess:

  • Improving ALL THE CRAFT, thanks to experience, critique, and instruction
  • Getting way better at editing so now I can feel like a competent critique partner
  • Driving around town with my BFF and singing and almost dying because a car was approaching us quickly at an intersection and I was scared shitless so naturally I just kind of murmured “There’s a car coming at us” and she was like SHIIIIIIIT and anyway we didn’t die but it was funny I guess you had to be there man
  • Habitually giving my high school the finger every time my friends and I drove past it
  • Putting my SMALL DOG in a HOODIE

Favorite book read in 2015:

I am so mad I read Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli last year. Not really, but that book meant so much to me personally. At the same time, I’m super glad because if I’d read Simon and Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not in the same year I would have become a smooth, fist-sized river rock because they are both SO GOOD and I spent twenty minutes choosing between them for my vote in the Goodreads Best Books of the Year thing. You think I’m exaggerating about the twenty minutes. You are incorrect!

Favorite songs listened to in 2015:

  • “Colors” by Halsey
  • “The Writer” by Ellie Goulding
  • “Headlights” by Tor Miller
  • “St Jude” by Florence + The Machine
  • “Sober” by Kelly Clarkson

Favorite albums released in 2015:

  • Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Lin-Manuel Miranda and other machine-people who are literally cyborgs because no humans from Earth sing and act that well
  • American Candy by The Maine
  • Coming Up for Air by Kodaline
  • Badlands by Halsey
  • How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence + The Machine
  • Wilder Mind by Mumford & Sons

Publishing fun:

  • A bunch of internship stuff I can’t talk about, but what I can say is I fell in love with a manuscript or two this year
  • I GOT TO READ SLUSH. I don’t deal directly with authors—my job is to write reader reports on the manuscripts, since Entangled uses Submittable and requires the full manuscript with the query—and I don’t go through all the slush, just the mss assigned to me, but oh my god, dream come true
  • I learned MOST (PROBABLY ALL) OF THE THINGS about the acquisitions process from my boss, Kate Brauning, and I feel all educated
  • Jenny Bent, a rockstar agent and the head of Heather’s agency, also signed my agency agreement and I was like “This is fine. This is normal! I am fine. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE IS FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW.
  • A while back I beta-read Fox Benwell’s gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous debut The Last Leaves Falling, which was published this year and also happens to have my name in the acknowledgments, and my preorder went to my Kindle and the acknowledgments were in the beginning so it basically started with my name SO THAT’S A NORMAL THING. (Second book I’ve been in the acknowledgments for in my life! First was Amy Zhang’s Falling into Place. I cried both times. I am a crier.)

Pictures ‘n’ stuff:

My dog is the prettiest and she takes A+ selfies
I wrote an autobiographical mystery called THE PURLOINED FUCK
Super do not think this needs an explanation
I found this picture of myself from my baby-modeling years and oh my god the caption
My favorite conversation of the year for so many reasons was three text messages (date: June 26)
My senior yearbook quote was kidlit (Roald Dahl) because…have you met me?
This meant a lot to me

People I am especially grateful for this year:

Ari Susu-Mago, Serial Killer. Heather Flaherty, the coolest, most capable agent ever (and she sent me the cutest holiday card OH MY GOD STILL NOT OVER IT). Kate Brauning and Bethany Robison, who are like your bosses except better in absolutely every way. Helene Dunbar, who’s so amazing and helpful and generous and—— Not John Hansen because no one cares. Katherine Locke, whose books you have bought or bye. Paula Garner, for CHECKING. All my Twitter friends, since I know I left many of you out, but whether we’ve interacted or not: I appreciate you. Thank you. All the love.

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