I’m so excited to be a part of the book tour for Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties that is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I was really excited to also be able to interview the author for this book!
How would you describe Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties in one sentence?
A 12-year-old rural Iowa girl with a newly diagnosed anxiety disorder is forced to face her biggest fears while visiting Colorado to meet her dad’s girlfriend and the girlfriend’s daughter.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties?
I’d love to! My main character, Ava, is shy and quiet (especially with folks she hasn’t known all her life). She’s kind and truthful—until she gets to Colorado. She’s also brave, although at first she doesn’t realize it. I love what Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly said in her blurb: “Ava is the perfect character—sweet and smart, funny and flawed.”
Since her mom died shortly after Ava’s birth, it’s always been just Ava and her dad. He’s a loving father, but after suddenly losing his wife all those years ago, he’s overprotective. He also has a bad habit of keeping important information from Ava because he fears it will upset her. He works from home but travels occasionally for work. That’s how he met Jenn (aka The Girlfriend), who lives in Denver.
Jenn is a divorced, outdoors-loving, single mom with super-human patience. She tries to help everyone have a good vacation. (But, also, see question 4 below!) Her relationship with her daughter, Mackenzie—why can’t she remember to call her Z?—has been strained lately.
Just like Ava, Z is a funny, smart, book-loving 12-year-old. She’s also loud, exuberant, and constantly moving. Z, according to Kirkus, “seems to delight in triggering Ava’s fears.”
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
It’s impossible to choose one, but a favorite scene is when Ava calls Kylie, one of her best friends from home. Ava has had to face a lot of scary, difficult things in Colorado and has made some questionable choices to try to stay safe. She doesn’t own a phone (a key grievance against Dad) and the times she wants to borrow his, there’s no service. I like the scene because, when Ava finally gets to connect with Kylie, the conversation initially takes a funny detour. When it gets back on track, I love that Kylie reminds Ava who she really is. Here’s a bit of it:
“…You’re a good person, Ava.”
“Used to be,” Ava whispered.
“Nope. Stop. You’ve known Mrs. Mendez all your life too. Do you know what she told me and Emma? That you’ve got a good heart, and she’s right, Ava, you do. That doesn’t disappear because of one crummy week, a few fibs and some glitter.”
What is something readers will find in Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties that they may not realize based on the synopsis?
I want to avoid spoilers, so I’ll keep it vague: Jenn, Dad’s girlfriend, may or may not be hiding a really big secret.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties?
I hope they find an entertaining, relatable story that makes them laugh and touches their heart. If the story also helps them consider that there are different ways to be strong and brave, that would be amazing.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties?
What a great question! Flip Turns by Catherine Arguelles, Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier, and Roll for Initiative by Jaime Formato. They are funny, heartfelt contemporary middle grade novels in which girls learn the power of being true to themselves and speaking up. All three are from fellow 2022 debut authors!
ABOUT THE BOOK
TITLE: Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties
AUTHOR: Kellye Crocker
GENRE: Middle Grade Contemporary
RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2022
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound
Rep: Anxiety disorder and ADHD
Since Ava’s mom died, Ava has relied on her consistent routines, predictable schedules, and exhaustive risk assessment to keep herself safe from uncertainty. For the most part, her life in small-town Iowa has been stable. That is, until now.
As soon as sixth grade ends, Dad is whisking Ava away to meet his girlfriend and her daughter in terrifying Colorado, where even the ground squirrels can be deadly. Managing her anxiety, avoiding altitude sickness, and surviving the mountains might take all Ava’s strength.
Can she stay in control when everything around her is changing so quickly?
Content Warning: panic attack
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kellye Crocker is a journalist who has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, and Glamour. She holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial from the Missouri School of Journalism. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
One thought on “Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties | Author Interview | Book Tour”
Thank you so much for featuring Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties, Felicia!