Kirkus 2020 Editor's Choice Pick Interview with the Author

Book deals expertly with hard issues like boundaries with boys, underage drinking, and self-identity
By: Kirkus Magazine Chelsea Ennen
MELBOURNE, Fla. - July 17, 2020 - PRLog -- Fifteen-year-old Mahlorie Moore didn't even want to go to the party at the beginning of Metal Mouth, but she lets her best friend, Shai, drag her along. She isn't really a party girl anyway, and after getting her braces tightened, she's not remotely in the mood to be social. Overwhelmed, she takes a break in an empty guest room only to have a boy find her there and kiss her against her will. She gives him a good knee to the crotch and storms out of the party into, well, a thunderstorm.

Mahlorie is lucky to be alive after her brush with lightning, but she soon learns that the strike left her with a strange, psychic connection to a boy named Dyson. According to Kirkus Reviews, prolific author jaimie Engle's latest "presents troubled adolescence and romance through the eyes of a remarkable teen protagonist." It is currently under consideration for the Sunshine State Young Readers Awards Book List, an annual compilation by librarians in Florida.

Engle, like Mahlorie, lives in Melbourne, Florida, where she somehow finds time to run writers conferences, advocate for young and inexperienced authors trying to break into publishing, work against bullying in schools, and speak to kids about her stories while also writing acclaimed books for kids ranging from middle grade to YA. Many of Engle's books are fantasy thrillers because she "[doesn't] like real life as much as [she] likes pretend." Engle describes her writing as "entertaining fiction that questions reality" and where "everyday kids become heroes." All her books have some kind of educational component, and while psychic powers may be a bit of fictional fun, Engle's depiction of a lightning strike and how Mahlorie might get caught in one is all fact.

Whether you're looking for stories your kids or students will love, hoping to learn the secrets of storytelling from a professional, or searching for a little magic in your own reading life, Engle is here to help. She hosts a podcast for aspiring authors called Write a Book That Doesn't Suck, which corresponds to her book of the same title, and speaks at schools and writers conferences online and across the country. Her backlist of fantasy novels, including Metal Mouth, is available now.

To read the full interview visit

Jaimie Engle
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Location:Melbourne - Florida - United States
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