What happens when a girl, homeschooled by her counterculture mother, decides to spend her senior year in public school? First friendship, first love—and first encounters with the complexities of authority and responsibility.

Evie is different. Not just her upbringing-though that's certainly been unusual-but also her mindset. She's smart, independent, confident, opinionated, and ready to take on a new challenge: The Institution of School.

It doesn't take this homeschooled kid long to discover that high school is a whole new world, and not in the way she expected. It's also a social minefield, and Evie finds herself confronting new problems at every turn, failing to follow or even understand the rules, and proposing solutions that aren't welcome or accepted.

Not one to sit idly by, Evie sets out to make changes. Big changes. The movement she starts takes off, but before she realizes what's happening, her plan spirals out of control, forcing her to come to terms with a world she is only just beginning to comprehend.

JJ Johnson's powerful debut novel will enthrall readers as it challenges assumptions about friendship, rules, boundaries, and power.


Author Photo

J.J. Johnson graduated from Binghamton University and worked an internship coordinator for programs such as The Learning Web and Youth Advocacy. She earned a Master of Education from Harvard University, with a concentration in Adolescent Risk and Prevention. Johnson lives in North Carolina.

You can visit J.J. Johnson’s website here.



“...Readers will never look at high school - or life - the same.” ―Kirkus

“...smart first novel...Johnson reveals a broad spectrum of perspectives through her characters' differing sentiments, motivations, and opinions...” ―Publishers Weekly

“...Johnson's fun, activist-minded debut has a close cousin in Jamila Stevenson's The Latte Rebellion (2010). Evie is a strong yet vulnerable heroine whose intellectual bent and sense of self will remind readers that, as historian Laurel Thatcher Urlich said, 'Well-behaved women rarely make history.'” ―Booklist

“...At once you'll want to be Evie's champion, and readers may even absorb some literary tidbits worth hanging on to along the way. JJ Johnson is an author whose writing is both fresh and worth taking notice of...” ―Baker and Taylor, the CATS meow newsletter

“...Both confident and temperate, [JJ Johnson's] writing never moves too far into any one extreme and manages simplicity without tediousness...refreshing...” ―Florida Times-Union

“...the objections Evie raises and the relationship hits she takes because of them will resonate with the target audience; these are the age-old problems with schools and other institutions in a democratic society, and this exploration of the means of redress, while pat and purposive, will surely inspire discussion.” ―Children's Book Council

“...Books about high school tend either to be about peer politics and romance or about the injustice of oppressive adult systems. This book combines both plot types, intelligently and humorously...” ―Parents' Choice

“...one of the greatest teen novels I've read...” ―A Writer's Thoughts blog

“...This is a great resource for home-schooled and non-home-schooled kids alike, raising awareness about the issues of acceptance, alternatives and opportunities.” ―JUNO magazine

“The author does a great job at creating likeable characters that face major dilemmas.” ―Novel Nutritious


Parents' Choice Silver Honor ―Parents' Choice Foundation 2011

North Carolina Author Awards (nominee, AAUW Award for Juvenile Literature) ―North Carolina Literary and Historical Association 2011

Amelia Bloomer Project ―Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association 2012

Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers (nominee) ―Georgia Library Media Association, Georgia Library Association, and the Georgia Public Library Service 2012-2013

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (starred, senior high) ―Kansas National Education Association 2012

Keystone to Reading Book Award (high school nominee) ―Keystone State Reading Association 2012

Best Children's Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education 2012

UMW Reading Program ―United Methodist Women 2015