OVERRIDE

Janet McDonald

Janet McDonald Copyright Gwen Wock

I was born after midnight during a thunderstorm. The taxi speeding my mother to the hospital broke down on a Brooklyn street, and another had to be hailed. Meanwhile, I tried to kick my way out of the dark, dank crawl space of her stomach, undoubtedly in a prenatal panic. As if that weren’t bad enough, once I get here I find that I’ve been given a humiliatingly weird middle name -- Arneda -- and that I am going to grow up not in the spacious, airy home I dreamed about in the womb but in a small apartment in the projects that I will eventually share with four brothers, two sisters, and two parents. Can we say, Bummed Out at an Early Age?! So I’m like, “Fine, whatever.” I figure it this way: there’s clearly been a mistake, but it will be corrected. No way was I supposed to have the mean older sister who left greasy clumps of nappy hair in my brush, the stern, grumpy father whose thundering voice frightened me out of asking for allowance, the scary neighbors who did scary things to each other, and the jealous classmates who hated me because I was nerdy enough to get A’s in everything, even conduct (that didn’t last, but I’ll spare you the grim details). There had been no mistake -- this was going to be my life. My initial reaction was, “You have to be kidding!” Indeed, I bet somebody probably was kidding when he stuck me in that mess and was somewhere laughing his divine little head off. “Ha ha ha, here come

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  • Janet McDonald reads from her book Harlem Hustle

    Listen to Janet McDonald introduce her young adult novel Harlem Hustle and then read an excerpt from the book. Hustle's personal Harlem was sorely in need of a renaissance. For him, it was the place where a scared kid named Eric Samson had been ditched by druggy parents and dismissed by frustrated teachers.

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BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR

Off-Color

Janet McDonald

Spunky and headstrong, Cameron blasts music, challenges adults, and cuts class when she feels like it. She lives with her single mom in Brooklyn and hangs out with best friends Amanda, P,...

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Brother Hood

Janet McDonald

Nate Whitely's life at a prestigious prep school in upstate New York takes him far from his Harlem home but not so far as to sever the strong bond he has to his neighborhood. Like his prep school...

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Spellbound

Janet McDonald

A fresh new voice on the YA scene.Raven's life has been derailed. She never expected she'd be a mother at sixteen like her best friend, Aisha, and she's afraid she's going to be...

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Harlem Hustle

Janet McDonald

Hustle's personal Harlem was sorely in need of a renaissance. For him, it was the place where a scared kid named Eric Samson had been ditched by druggy parents and dismissed...

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