A new young adult novel by a Bay Ridge Prep teacher has been published by Simon & Schuster. "The Victoria in My Head", written by Lower School teacher Janelle Milanes, was released on September 19. A launch party at local Bay Ridge bookstore The Bookmark Shoppe was held that night to celebrate the book's release. Along with Janelle's friends and family, many Bay Ridge Prep families and staff members attended and to hear Janelle talk about the process that led to her writing "The Victoria in My Head".
The main character of the book, Victoria Cruz, inhabits two worlds. In one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy teenager with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at the prestigious Evanston Academy.
Reading young adult fiction is what turned Janelle’s love of books into an obsession.
"The young adult genre covers a variety of genres and appeals to a wide audience for a reason: so many of the issues teens face are relatable to adults," she said. "The anxiety, the insecurity, the need for belonging - these feelings never completely go away, even as you enter adulthood. Part of what drew me into writing young adult fiction is the authenticity of it. There is an honesty to young adult literature that is rarely equaled in any other type of book."
Janelle says while she dabbled in writing as a child, then later in high school and college, it was only later in life that she buckled down to finish a book.
"When I became a teacher, one of my major goals was to instill a passion for writing in my students," she said. "I've been so excited to share my experiences with them. They have gone along on this journey with me - from writing the book itself, to editing, to securing an agent and receiving an offer, and now to seeing the book in stores."
"The Victoria in My Head" is now available from Simon & Schuster and most major book retailers.
Founded in 1998, Bay Ridge Prep is an independent, K-12 college preparatory school offering exceptional courses and intimate class sizes in a socially-mature and positive environment.