Colorado Book Award * Colorado Authors League Award “… Told in Kat’s passionate voice, this coming-of-age novel, with its romantic subplot, snappy dialogue and strong secondary characters, will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen.” — KIRKUS REVIEWS…
Fact of Life #129: Some people put you where they want you to be, not where you actually are.16-year-old Kat Flynn believes in going with the flow. She practices yoga, works with her mom at Abra’s Midwifery, and watches the Perfect Couple in the hall at school. But when she finds herself in the middle of the Perfect Couple’s drama and some drama of her own (including an unexpected romance), Kat has to decide whether going with the flow is really the best way to come back to herself.
Is Kat like you at all? The only thing that is similar about Kat and me is that we both had to learn how to speak our minds to adults in a firm and respectful way. We both do yoga and I did train and compete in the Danksin mini-tri here in Denver around 2003 or so, but other than that, she’s a lot more talented than me and handled herself better than I would at that age if I had been in her situations.
How long did it take you to write Fact of Life #31? About two years! This seems to be my timing, though my next book is going faster. It took about 18 months to be published and we had lots and lots of revisions, even up to the last minute!
Where did you get the idea for the story? I had hoped to have my children born at home with a home birth midwife but the idea kind of freaked out my husband so we compromised–I used nurse midwives and gave birth in the hospital. I loved the process and the approach that midwives have to childbirth–that it’s natural and not a medical condition, which is how a lot of people see it.
I wanted to write about it but wanted to write it for teens. That’s when I came up with Kat, a smart, caring girl who works at her mother’s midwifery (pronounced with a short “i” as in “whiffle”). But as I wrote, the midwifery part became the backdrop to the story, and the real story emerged, which is how Kat comes to realize her strengths and figures out how she can be her own person with a “practically perfect” mother. And of course I have to thrown in some romance!
Awards & Accolades
- Winner! Colorado Top Hand Award, Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction
- Winner! Colorado Book Award, YA Lit
- Nominee, 2008 Cybils (the children’s & YA bloggers’ literary awards)
- A Top Pick of 2008 – Bookworm4Life blog
“I LOVE your new book!!! It’s a touching, funny story [with] wonderful, tender characters… a really unique and fascinating premise…a beautiful book!” – Laura Resau, author of Red Glass (winner of the Américas Award, the International Reading Association Young Adult Fiction Award, and many other accolades) and What the Moon Saw (Best Book for Young Adults, Colorado Book Award winner, and more).
“Your new book is so realistic. It’s awesome… ” – Julia DeVillers, author of How My (Personal, Private) Journal Became a Bestseller (made into the Disney TV movie, Read it and Weep)
“…The novel is well-written and well-paced. All the characters are likable even as they fail to communicate with each other in moments of comedy juxtaposed with real pain.”* – Kliatt, (*asterisk highlights exceptional books.)
“Denise Vega writes with a touch of quirky humor and has built a world of characters that readers will find engaging, complex, and admirable, even when they are not the people we want or expect them to be. …Vega’s light touch blends it all seamlessly, making Fact of Life #31 a smooth and satisfying read for any age.” – Curled up with a good kid’s book
“…Told in Kat’s passionate voice, this coming-of-age novel, with its romantic subplot, snappy dialogue and strong secondary characters, will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Vega is a master at putting her characters in difficult situations and allowing them to grow and work through things, and this book is no exception…A beautiful exploration of life, love, and family; definitely a must-read!” – Jolene Gutierez, Librarian
“…it’s enjoyable, and I’ll be recommending it to my avid realistic fiction readers.” – Bookshelves of Doom
“…athletic, artsy, oddball Kat is an unusual protagonist who doesn’t easily fit into type, and many readers will welcome her strong individuality and believable growth.” – Booklist
“…In her second novel, Denise Vega delivers a thoughtful, realistic story about friendships, families, firsts, and fresh starts.” – Little Willow on Amazon.com
“Readers looking for an amusing yet meaningful story should definitely check out Kat’s story in Fact of Life #31.” – the Book Muncher
“I love, love, love it…In a way, this one reminds me of Dairy Queen and The Off Season though I’m not sure why my brain has made this leap. I suppose it is because of the depth of the characters–it’s rare to fully explore family dynamics with such heart and soul and authenticity.” – Becky’s Book Reviews
“OK, I cannot say enough good things about this book! I totally loved it!! It is so cliche to say that it made me laugh, cry, etc and that I didn’t want to put it down, but seriously that is exactly how I felt!…A must read for any chick-lit or realistic fiction reader!” – Kristin, Librarian
“What I loved about this book was the way that Denise Vega told the whole story. In places where other authors would have stopped (the adorable crush finally asks pining girl out, jerky boyfriend is roundly dumped for being, y’know, a jerk, daughter finally tells her mother what she thinks), Vega went on, taking us through overlapping series of character and relationship arcs that wind up telling a much more complete story.” – Confessions of a Bibliovore
“#31 continues a trend of books about capable, out-of-the-mainstream teens that have just the right amount of quirk, wit, and teen-society apathy to give a glimpse into a wonderful character.” – What to Read What to Read
“I like Denise Vega’s writing. She uses all of the senses, and has a nice flow to the text. … I really liked this book. I recommend it for romance fans, high school age and older.” – Jen Robinson’s Book Page
“I really enjoyed this title… once I hit page 2, I was hooked. Denise Vega has a talent for channeling a teen girl in her most vulnerable state, but still infuses strength and heart into the character. Loved it.” – A Patchwork of Books
Whether you’re a student writing a book report, reading the book for a book club, or using it in an educational setting, we have the resources for you!
Readers Get more info for your book report.
Book Clubs Get discussion questions.
Educators Get unit plans for the classroom.
I wrote and published “Kat Flynn’s Guide to Getting Over a Crush” in 2013 to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Fact of Life #31. It works a little bit like a prequel to the novel, though not precisely (if I’d known I was going to write this story five years ago, I would have written the novel a little differently…ah well). For example, there are two characters in “Kat Flynn’s Guide”–Mira and JT–who are not in the book.
In this story, we get a more in-depth look at her crush on Manny Cruz and her attempts to deal with it. Download the format that works for you and enjoy!Amazon Kindle Nook Book iPhone & iPad Sony Reader Kobo PDF for a device
Note that the PDF is formatted specifically to be read on a device. You can read it on your computer, but it’s a little funky :).
If the format for your device isn’t listed here, let the moderator know and we’ll hook you up! And let us know if any of them give you trouble.
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