Grit by Gillian French

3 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, July 14, 2017!

“His presence beside me is like heat, like weight, something I’ve carried around on my back too long.”

Raw and moving, this contemporary realistic debut novel will leave readers of E. Lockhart and Gayle Forman breathless as it unflinchingly unfolds the tragic secrets being kept in a small, deceptively idyllic Maine town.

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss has long held the title of “town slut.” She knows how to have a good time, sure, but she isn’t doing anything all the guys haven’t done. But when you’re a girl with a reputation, every little thing that happens seems to keep people whispering—especially when your ex-best friend goes missing.

But if anyone were to look closer at Darcy, they’d realize there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Staying out late, hooking up, and telling lies is what Darcy does to forget. Forget about the mysterious disappearance of her friend. Forget about the dark secret she and her cousin Nell share. Forget about that hazy Fourth of July night. So when someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel act only someone with a score to settle would make—all of the things that Darcy wants to keep hidden threaten to erupt in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.

Exclusive interview with the author:

1) Be honest, how many drafts did you have to write for this book?

This was a quick one! Many of my early attempts at a novel ended up going through seven or eight drafts, but GRIT only took three before I felt confident showing it to an agent. I think that’s because it came from a heartfelt, honest place, and the process of putting words to paper felt very organic.

2) How long does it take you to write a book?

Generally, nine or ten months, but my next book, THE DOOR TO JANUARY, evolved over almost two decades. I wrote the first version when I was a freshman in high school!

3) GRIT is a great title! Who came up with it? Was it the original title or did it change along the way?

Originally, this book was titled KISSING JAMES DEAN AT THE TOP OF THE FERRIS WHEEL, but everyone who read it, including my agent, thought it was way too long and didn’t really fit the darker tones of the story. My friend, author Ellen Potter, who read the manuscript early on, suggested GRIT, and it just fit so beautifully.

4) If you weren’t a writer, what job would you love to try out?

The only thing I ever wanted to be other than a YA author was a soap opera actress. I used to love my stories! Unfortunately, my fave soap, One Life to Live, was cancelled when the major networks axed most of their daytime dramas a few years ago, so it’s a good thing I didn’t go that route. 😉

5) As an author, how did your career take off?

I spent seventeen years writing books for teens that never took off, and short horror fiction that did pretty well in the contest/small circ literary review market. GRIT is my YA debut; it caught the attention of Alice Tasman of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, and she promptly took me on, and took GRIT to auction. I’m so pleased it ended up with HarperTeen!

About the author:

Gillian French is the author of three novels for teens: GRIT (HarperTeen), THE DOOR TO JANUARY (Islandport Press, 9/5/2017), and THE SUMMER BOYS (HarperTeen, 5/2/2018).She lives in her native state of Maine with her husband and sons, where she’s perpetually at work on her next novel. Visit Gillian online at

Giveaway info:

Title: GRIT
Author: Gillian French
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Author website:

3 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, July 14, 2017.

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