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August 23, 2017

Badass Ladies You Should Know: Rebecca Barrow

Kate Hart
Rebecca Barrow's upcoming YA debut, You Don't Know Me But I Know You, releases next week. The fact that it takes on abortion and adoption is enough to qualify Rebecca as a badass, but if you follow her anywhere online, you know that's just the tip of the badass iceberg. Read on to learn how she became a writer, her take on feminism, who she names as fellow badass ladies -- and don't forget to enter her giveaway at the end, open internationally!


cover of You Don't Know Me But I Know You
Kate: Describe your career(s) and/or current projects. What path(s) and passions led you there?

Rebecca: I’m a YA author and my first book is coming out VERY SOON! It wasn’t really a complicated path to get here: I’ve always written stories (terrible ones) and when I was sixteen I decided that my former career dreams of fashion buyer/screenwriter/nurse were out and author was in. I actually decided not to go to university, even though I already had a place and everything, because I just really wanted to write and didn’t want to get into debt taking lectures I wasn’t interested in that would be no guarantee of me getting published. It was a big risk and I don’t necessarily recommend it for everyone! But it’s starting to pay off. Sometimes I think the only thing that got me from that sixteen-year-old to published author was sheer stubbornness. (I am every inch the Scorpio.) I had decided to do this and therefore I had to make it work. Obviously I got the other two parts of the equation, luck and timing, but even now when I’m being hard on myself and thinking you’ll never be successful, this other part of me is like Oh yeah? Fucking watch me.

cross-stitch of the word "bitch" surrounded by flowers
Kate: Do you have any (other) creative outlets? How do they influence/affect your main work (if at all)?

Rebecca: I play the piano; I started like so many people, when I was six or so, and did all my grades, briefly considered getting a diploma in music, and then quickly realized it was not for me. I still play but not as often, and only for myself. I’m not good at composing, so I only play pieces written by other people, and I actually find that a relief. Writing is so much creating things from nothing, but playing music is just a matter of taking what’s already there and making it come alive. I also go through phases of needle-based crafts—last was knitting, now it’s cross stitch. Again, I just follow patterns—it’s this feeling of satisfaction knowing that all I have to do is follow the instructions and I’ll end up with a pretty thing. Sadly there are no instructions for writing books and what I end up with is rarely pretty, at least not before I take six months to a year to make it that way. So it’s nice to have other outlets where the creation is beyond my control.

Rebecca playing piano
Kate: What's your biggest challenge?

Rebecca: Worrying about what other people think of me. Constantly. And what they think of my work, and should I change this or that to appease their imaginary opinions of me, and will that make them like me/my work or take me more seriously…am I cool author, do readers like me, should I be more like X or Y to be successful? It’s EXHAUSTING.

Kate: Tell us something that makes you proud.

Rebecca: I’m proud that I’ve gotten this far in my writing career. It’s hard sometimes to remember how impossible this all seemed—I think that’s a trap many creative people fall into. Failing to stop and appreciate how far you’ve come, and instead focusing on how far you have to go until the next goal. A few years ago all I wanted was to get a literary agent. A few years before that, it was to write a book-length thing. Now I have written more manuscripts that I’d like to remember, gotten an agent, sold a book that’s very important to me, and that book is coming out into the world. Ten-years-ago me would be astounded, and I think present-me should remember that.

Also I do love when people say my book made them cry. Sorry not sorry for playing with your emotions!

Kate: Did you have any defining moments that galvanized your understanding of and/or commitment to feminism? How does it inform/inspire your work? 

Rebecca: I don’t think I’ve had any BAM moments—it’s been more a slow opening of my eyes. I think I’ve always considered myself a feminist, and I was definitely raised to think of myself as a feminist, but as I get older and read and learn more, my definition and understanding of that word expands. I think all of my work is feminist, even in ways I don’t explicitly intend. I write about teenage girls, mostly mixed race/black, dealing with reproductive health issues, mental health, relationships, sexuality—even if I wasn’t doing it intentionally, these things are viewed through such a lens of Politics anyway. But I am doing it purposefully and with intention, and I hope that always comes through.

Lightning round: Tell us what you’re…    

reading: Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr
watching: Pretty Little Liars, always
listening to: Christina Aguilera’s third album Back to Basics. Where is the next album???
eating: Skittles
doing: thinking about the next book
wearing: Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in Blackest Black
wishing for: Miu Miu jeweled acetate sunglasses in blue
wanting: stability, sunshine
loving: my pets

Kate: Who are some other badass ladies we need to know & why? 

  • Nicolette Mason—fashion writer and blogger talking about body positivity, fat fashion, queer issues. site | twitter
  • Ruby Tandoh—food writer talking about body positivity, the politics of food and the diet industry, mental health, queer issues. twitter | her books
  • Alice Fanchiang—poet, ray of sunshine, Hamilton superfan, geek fashion queen. IG | her poem Skin

first pass pages for You Don't Know Me But I Know You
Kate: What are the best ways to support other women?

Rebecca: Listening and amplifying other voices. Support their work—buy their books, music, creations; share their stories, in their own words. Ask what is needed of you and then do it.

Kate: What is your advice to aspiring badasses?

Rebecca: Find people who get you and understand what you want to do. You won’t feel so alone.


A finished copy of You Don't Know Me But I Know You + a print of its characters
open internationally!


Rebecca Barrow writes stories about girls and all the wonders they can be. A lipstick obsessive with the ability to quote the entirety of Mean Girls, she lives in England, where it rains a considerable amount more than in the fictional worlds of her characters. She collects tattoos, cats, and more books than she could ever possibly read. YOU DON'T KNOW ME BUT I KNOW YOU is her first novel.  //  twitter  //  instagram
goodreads  //  amazon  //  bn


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August 17, 2017

Available ARCs ~ August 2017

Kate Hart
Man, what a damn mess we have in the US right now. My social media feeds are 85% horror at the news, 5% memes, and 10% fellow authors wondering how the hell they're supposed to promote their books and make a living in this climate.

For the record, I think we've reached the point where it's 100% okay to tweet promo and politics at the same time (if you didn't, you'd be waiting until 2045 to get a word in edgewise, and that's an optimistic prediction). However, I'm also keenly aware that it's awkward to promote yourself even in the best of circumstances -- and I know book bloggers and readers are having a hard time finding new titles through all the news.

So! Here is one small assist. I cruised through NetGalley and Edelweiss and made a list of ARCs available for request, organized by genre. This list does not even attempt to be exhaustive (and please don't hate me if I missed your book. There are a lot.) I have not read any of these, so my selection criteria includes but is not limited to:
  • POC/NDN/LGBTQ/disability/other marginalized rep (success of which may be up for debate)
  • author is notable, notorious, and/or an award-winner
  • description sounds unique and/or interesting
  • cover looked cool
  • because I felt like it.

If you are wondering "what the hell are NetGalley and Edelweiss," no worries: The Book BratzLili's Reflections, and Stacked have the help you need. And if you find this list helpful, please let me know -- I'd be happy to do similar posts in the future if they're useful (maybe monthly, so the post isn't quite so long?).

Sharing is always appreciated!



Behind the Song edited by K. M. Walton; Buzz Books 2017 Fall/WinterFeral Youth edited by Shaun Hutchinson (NG, EW); Meet Cute by various authors; Three Sides of a Heart edited by Natalie Parker




Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer; The Closest I've Come by Fred Aceves; The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (NG, EW)

dating and sex


Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell (NG, EW); Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann; This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell; You Don't Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

American Panda by Gloria Chao; Calling My Name by Liara Tamani; Far From the Tree by Robin Benwell; Frankie by Shivaun Plozza
Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga; Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (NG US, NG Canada, EW); Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (NG, EW); Right Where You Left Me by Calla Devlin (NG, EW); You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon



Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills; Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley

mental health


Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp; Madness by Zac Brewer; Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (NG, EW)


A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo; The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (NG, EW); Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta; On the Free by Coert Voorhees; This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis



Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (NG, EW); Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story by Sonia Patel; Prince In Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm



Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor; An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson; Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi; Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows; Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao; One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

graphic novel

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings
("The Hate You Give + The Lovely Bones" -- whoa)



Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz; The Girl With the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke; The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe; No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear



The Devils You Know by M. C. Atwood; Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill

magical realism


All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry (NG, EW); The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace; The November Girl by Lydia Kang


The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater; Not Your Princess by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

sci fi


All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis; Landscape With Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson; Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster (NGEW); Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell;  Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi; Zero Repeat Forever by G. S. Prendergast (NG UK, NG Canada, NG US, EW)


Want your e-ARC in a future roundup? Email katehartbooks at gmail dot com with a link + "ARC roundup" in the subject line. 

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