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Professor Erin Entrada Kelly Makes Headlines with New YA Book

Rosemont, PA — Rosemont College Creative Writing Professor Erin Entrada Kelly has once again made headlines for her work in children’s literature.

As of June 10th, Kelly’s new middle-grade novel, You Go First, sits at number ten on the New York Times Bestsellers List for Children’s Middle Grade Hardcover. Meanwhile, her other novel, Hello, Universe sits six places above at number four.  

Having one book on the best seller list is a tremendous achievement, a dream come true for most writers. But having two? And at the same time? Most writers would never dream of such a thing.

You Go First is an engaging exploration of family, bullying, spelling, art, and the ever-complicated world of middle school friendships. The story centers on two characters, 12-year-old Charlotte Lockard and 11-year-old Ben Boxer.

“Home and school are the two central fronts in these kids’ lives; but their little corner of the virtual world expands to include phone calls and texts, providing a third front, and a refuge. There is much less actual Scrabble playing in this book than the reader might infer from looking at the book’s cover, with its oversize letter tiles floating on water like life rafts,” journalist Meg Wolitzer wrote in an article for the New York Times.

“No drama centers on a particularly thrilling move or victory. Instead of creating a classic game-play competition tale, Kelly aims for something subtle: letting us see two young people who start to realize, based on only the mildest information and clues, that they share a sensibility.”

Erin Kelly’s name first made headlines this past winter when her novel Hello, Universe was awarded the John Newbery Medal for the outstanding children’s book of 2017 by the American Library Association. Kelly’s novel is now mentioned among past winners such as Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia.

Kelly, who earned her MFA in creative writing from Rosemont College, credits her Rosemont education as having played a major role in her success. “As with anything in life, you get back what you give,” she said.

“One of the best things about my time at Rosemont is that I was forced to read and write outside of my comfort zone, and that makes for better work. I also appreciate the close-knit atmosphere of Rosemont's MFA program, its acceptance of many different writing styles and visions, and its active reading series.”

Kelly currently teaches Contemporary Issues in Children's Literature at Rosemont College. She also teaches courses in the Rosemont Writer's Studio.