Author Guest Post: You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno


You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno is genre-bending story following antihero Magpie Lewis as she copes with the aftermath of family betrayal and sexual assault by disappearing into an alternate world of her own creation that's more sinister than it first appears. It comes out on April 23, 2019. Katrina Leno is switching up genres so here's a guest post on why she wrote You Must Not Miss. Plus, take a look at her amazing cover!

Katrina Leno

Magpie Lewis spends a lot of time floating on a pizza pool float in her backyard swimming pool. And that’s exactly where I first got the idea for this book—floating on a pizza pool float. I had my sunhat over my face (just like Magpie!) and I wasn’t thinking of anything in particular when this character just popped into my head. A girl—a little angry, a little lonely, a little sad. What was her story?

Over the next year, I tried and failed a bunch of times to get this idea down on paper. Magpie’s story was a slippery one, and Magpie herself is an elusive creature. But I finally got it right, and I’m so lucky it found a home with Pam Gruber at Little, Brown for Young Readers. 

If you’ve read any of my previous books, you already know I like to feature strong, real female characters who overcome some sort of obstacle, all while struggling and living life and just doing their best. But… you’ll quickly realize that Magpie isn’t really doing her best at all. She’s sort of doing her worst. And that was really fun to write, too!

There is a definite genre switch in my work with this book. I’ve thought a lot about why that is, and I think it’s because each book I write has a purpose, something to teach me. The ups and downs of my own life are mirrored in the things I choose to write about. With You Must Not Miss, I had an incredibly cathartic experience going creepier and darker than I ever have before. I think I had to, to work out some of my own emotions. And as everyone knows, emotions aren’t neat and tidy… so neither is Magpie’s journey.

I couldn’t be happier with how the cover turned out, and I’m so glad I get to share it with you all today. I can’t wait for you to meet Magpie Lewis… I think you’re going to love her a little, hate her a little, and love to hate her a lot.

Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day she walked in on her father having sex with her aunt on her parents' bed. That was the night her mom started down a spiral of self-destruction. That was the night Eryn, Magpie's sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. That was the night of Brandon Phipp's party. 

Now, Magpie is called a slut whenever she walks down the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won't speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who've all been socially exiled like she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a place called Near.

Near is perfect--somewhere where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie's own life never derailed so suddenly. She writes Near so completely, so fully, that she dreams it into existence, right in her own backyard. It's a place where she can have anything she wants...even revenge.

Acclaimed author Katrina Leno spins a twisted and suspenseful tale of friendship, revenge, and the monsters that live inside us all.