Isn’t that a crazy thing? Three whole MONTHS since my lil book baby was born (/published. I did not give birth). It has been a magical three months, in all honesty. Here is a recap, especially for u.


The best part so far FOR DAMN SURE has been finding copies of The Nicest Girl out in the wild. If you haven’t heard, Waterstones has been reeeeeeally struggling with stock issues this year, which has meant that many books haven’t actually made their way onto shelves. But in September we took a road trip to Oxford and found three copies in Blackwell’s! They were outward-facing! I cried! I signed them with my special pen!! Just an all-round lovely day.

This is me, cheesin:

After that, I found another copy in Waterstones Solihull, which is the Waterstones I spent all my time in as a big-fringed youth – like, I had DREAMS of writing a book that would end up in there. The wonders of the internet told me The Nicest Girl also existed in Waterstones Picadilly, Liverpool and York. They’ve now been sold, and that blows my mind a bit. Who bought you, little books? Which corners of the country have you traversed to??

The Irish Times review

Another hefty highlight was definitely seeing my book reviewed in the Irish Times. Writer and author Claire Hennessy had THIS to say about Anna Campbell and her antics:

“…realistically messy and difficult. Jo captures the small dramas of everyday teenage life beautifully.”

Isn’t that the coolest thing?? It is for me. Thank you, Claire.

Off the Shelf

A few weeks later, in September, I was invited to write a piece for Big Issue North’s ‘Off the Shelf’ series – I got to talk all about my favourite children’s and YA books that focus on niceness and the idea of ‘pushing back’. I wrote about Mia Thermopolis, from Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, which was (and will forever remain) an absolute favourite of mine, largely because Mia was the first character I read as a pre-teen that just FELT LIKE ME. Also chatted about Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper, Holly Bourne’s The Yearbook, Sara Barnard’s Beautiful Broken Things and fellow UCLan author Natasha Devon’s Toxic. If you haven’t read Toxic, give it a go – it’s a very clever deep-dive into the world of unhealthy friendships, without being preachy or one-sided.

What’s next

WELL. I’m now head-down writing book two, as well as arranging schools visits so I can go and talk to actual real-life teens about book one! If you are a teenager reading this, PLEASE BE NICE TO ME IF I COME TO YOUR PLACE OF LEARNING.

I’m a Coventry-based author, so I’m speaking with lots of lovely librarians and English teachers from my neck of the woods to work out how we can support each other in 2023. Other than that, I will probably continue a) my wobbly foray into TikTok, and b) shouting as loudly as I can about The Nicest Girl. All in all, v exciting stuff.

P.S. If you’d like your own copy of The Nicest Girl, you can buy it from many a decent bookshop. Here are my links, or Google/ask an indie directly. Thank you! ❤


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