Star-CrossedPraise for

“A sweet story of young love amid middle school theatrics…Readers cannot help but root for Mattie as she discovers bravery she nevergave herself credit for, both onstage and in life.”—Kirkus Reviews“A sweet coming-out story for jr. high readers. The clever Shakespeare content is a bonus….VERDICT: A fine choice for middle school libraries in need of accessible LGBTQ stories…””—School Library Journal

“A star student falls for the lead actress of her school play in this welcome addition to the middle grade LGBTQ bookshelf…Dee thoughtfully dramatizes the intricate social performance of middle school, with its secret crushes and fierce rivalries.”—Publishers Weekly

“An especially great novel for intermediate and middle-school readers who themselves might just be starting to explore how they feel.”—Horn Book

  • 2018 ALA Rainbow List Top Ten
  • Goodreads Choice Finalist
  • CCBC Choices 2018 (Fiction)
  • CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2018
  • School Library Journal “Popular Pick” for March, 2017
  • Chicago Public Library Best Books of the Year, 2017
  • King County Library Best Books of the Year, 2017
  • Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library Best Chapter Books of 2017


ALA 2018 author panel.

ALA 2018 author panel. Left to right: Neal Shusterman, Barbara Dee, Sharon Draper, Simon & Schuster host Alison McGhee, Deb Caletti, Samantha Clark, and Andrew Smith



Tally is a refreshing middle grade character who is never defined unilaterally. Her efforts to navigate the complexities of adolescent friendships and ever-evolving social circles will resonate with readers. Ava’s struggle with anorexia is portrayed with care and makes an important subject accessible for a younger audience… (The) author succeeds in weaving together threads of self-acceptance, individuality, what it means to be a friend, and even responsible Internet use. A strong addition to library collections.”—School Library Journal

“(Tally’s) passionate impulse to protect her friends is immediately sympathetic, as is her growing understanding of both herself and her classmates. A poignant and hilarious slice of middle grade life.”—Kirkus Reviews

"Tally’s transformations and insights in her first-person narrative ring true, as does the rest of the novel: she’s surrounded with complex, interesting characters in a realistic plot that nicely captures middle-school experiences and friendships."—Booklist

"Dee (Star-Crossed) sensitively portrays Tally’s fears about being left behind as friends change, as well as the signs and impact of the anorexia Ava is hiding. Readers will root for big-hearted Tally, whose willingness to speak her truth makes for honest and engaging narration."—Publishers Weekly

A Junior Library Guild selection

ALA 2018

Signing Everything I Know About You
at ALA 2018

Halfway Normal by Barbara DeePraise for

A Junior Library Guild selection

CBC Notable Social Studies
Trade Books for Young People, 2018

Vermont State Dorothy Canfield Fisher list

2018 ILA Young Adults Choices Reading List

“A powerful story not only about illness, but about accepting yourself for who you are—no matter the experiences that shaped you.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Readers who appreciate well-wrought portrayals of transformative middle school experiences…will find a story in a similar spirit here.”—Booklist

“A powerful story about surviving and thriving after serious illness.”—School Library Journal, starred review

2018-2019 PA Keystone to Reading Secondary Book Award, Middle School

2019-2020 preliminary nominee for the Missouri Association of School Librarians Mark Twain Reader Award

Best New Books for Tweens and Preteens“—TheChildrensBookReview.com

SLJ: 16 Novels with Tween Appeal

Booklist: Surviving Middle School