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    Lerner Publishing Group > Author-Illustrator-Details
    About our Author
    Ashley Pérez
    Ashley Hope Pérez is the author of the YA novels Out of Darkness (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), The Knife and the Butterfly (Carolrhoda Lab, 2012), and What Can't Wait (Carolrhoda Lab, 2011). Her debut novel What Can't Wait won a spot on the 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for YA list, and The Knife and the Butterfly was included in the 2015 YALSA Popular Paperbacks list. Ashley grew up in Texas and taught high school in Houston before pursuing a PhD in comparative literature. She is now a visiting assistant professor of comparative studies at The Ohio State University and spends most of her time reading, writing, and teaching on topics from global youth narratives to Latin American and Latina/o fiction. She lives in Ohio with her husband, Arnulfo, and their son, Liam Miguel. Visit her online at
    Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award
    School Library Journal Top Books for Youth in Detention
    SSLI Book Award
    Tayshas Reading List
    YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
    ACL Distinguished Book
    Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award
    Booklist’s 50 Best YA Books of All Time
    Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
    Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices
    Garden State Teen Book Award
    Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year
    Lincoln Award: Illinois Teen Readers' Choice
    Michael L. Printz Award
    School Library Journal Best Book
    Tayshas Reading List
    Tomás Rivera Book Award
    Virginia Readers' Choice Award
    Writers' League of Texas
    YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
    Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award
    Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers
    Kentucky Bluegrass Award
    Rhode Island Teen Book Award
    South Carolina Book Award
    SSLI Book Award
    The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Guide Book to Gift Books
    YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
    5 questions for Ashley Hope Pérez
    What was your favorite book when you were a child?
    I think it would have been The Boxcar Children. It probably seems incredibly old-fashioned now, but I remember being fascinated by the idea of children living on their own and making do with the things they found. As a teenager, I think I learned about half of my "grown-up" vocabulary from Margaret Atwood novels, especially The Handmaid's Tale.
    What’s your favorite line from a book?
    This one, from Annie Dillard's wonderful Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which has the very best metaphors for intense happiness: "I feel as though I stand at the foot of an infinitely high staircase, down which some exuberant spirit is flinging tennis ball after tennis ball, and the one thing I want in the world is a tennis ball."
    Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
    In the world of YA fiction, I'm finding new favorites all the time. A couple of the books I've loved recently are Jenny Downham's Before I Die, Matt de la Peña's Ball Don't Lie, and Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.
    Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
    I've been writing stories and poems since my teens, but I only began to seriously consider writing a novel when I was teaching high-school English in Houston. I believe that everyone likes to read, but a lot of people don't know it yet. I spent a lot of time helping students find books that were right for them, and that led to many conversations about what they hoped to find in a book. All it takes is figuring out what it is that a person will enjoy and giving them the book that will open the door. The two novels I have written so far are actually quite different from one another, but each one aspires to be the "gateway" book for a certain kind of reader.
    Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
    Don't be afraid to write (just) for fun. In college, I almost took a job as a baker for a trendy organic grocery store. At the last minute, I realized that if I baked for money, making cookies would probably never again be something that I could do just for fun with family and friends. I think writing can and should be a part of everyone's life, but it doesn't necessarily need to be a profession. You can write for yourself or write to share with friends and family. Writing professionally—while also very exciting—is a different experience and requires radical commitment.