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I always knew I wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old and penned my first 50-page novella. But then…during my freshmen year at Stanford, a professor told me that I couldn’t write. So I stashed away my dream of being an author. Sad, but true how demoralizing and destructive one person’s opinion can be if you allow it.

After I had my kids, though, I realized that it was shameful to allow one person to derail my dream. What was I teaching my children? So I hauled myself off to a writing course at the University of Washington Extension Program. On my last day of class, I sold my first book, THE PATCH. My two novels—NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (AND A FEW WHITE LIES) and GIRL OVERBOARD—were sold soon after at a four-publisher auction.

Since then, I’ve published a total of 5 novels for young adults, a picture book, a survival guide…and counting. The lesson: We all have a story to share, whether we’re published or not. And whether critics love us or hate us. And our stories can help others.

That’s the message I carry whenever I go out on book tour, particularly with The Gratitude Project. Traveling for this project, my readergirlz co-founder and award-winning author, Lorie Ann Grover, and I talk about the trials and triumphs within our own lives and the lives of our characters. Our goal is to inspire teens and adults to cultivate an #attitudeofgratitude. We meet with teens in middle schools and high schools, young adults in college, incarcerated youth, and women’s groups all around the world.

North of Beautiful

Best Books of the Year List, Kirkus Reviews
Best Books of the Year List, Barnes & Noble
Walden Award finalist

The Art of Inspiration

“If you’re a leader in your field, get this book. If you aspire to be a leader in your field, get this book.” –Douglass Hatcher, Vice President, Executive Communications & Thought Leadership, MasterCard

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#ArtofInspiration Photos

A Blind Spot for Boys

Booklist Top Ten Books

Texas Library Association Lone Star Reading List

Return to Me

“An uplifting story of a teen whose sixth sense proves to be a blessing.” 
–Publishers Weekly

“Readers will feel the characters’ pain as they are carried along with the engaging plotline.” 
–School Library Journal

What Now

“Justina’s clear detailed advice will help any woman who has had a tragic event in her life.”

– Amazon review

Girl Overboard

Junior Library Guild Premier Selection

Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies)

Asian Pacific American Award for Literature

Recent Reviews

"Look out, Sarah Dessen. You may have met your match."

—- Kirkus Reviews