Fact of Life #31

FACT OF LIFE by Denise VegaColorado 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…




HEY YOU, ROCKIN’ READERS! Check out my Reader Rap YouTube Channel where I answer some of the questions you have about books, life, love, etc! I will always reply to comments you post here, but the channel is a fun way to connect as well. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss new videos!

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.

Take a peek at the book!

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!

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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

Check out my online Interview with the fabulous YA book reviewer and book champion, Little Willow! 
Coming Soon!

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.

Kat Flynn's Guide to Getting Over a Crush by Denise Vega

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.

Shh…Secret Stuff

Congratulations for getting down this far – either to read everything or share this page. Your efforts are rewarded with some extra stuff related to Fact of Life #31. Click here to check it out!



  1. I have read your Fact of Life #31 at our school library and started to recommend it to my friends. I just love how I can relate to it as a teenager. And how it was greeeaaat to know the Fact of Life #31. 🙂 I just hope I can read more of your books. I have read it twice already and want to read it again. 😀 God bless in all of your books.

    • Thank you SO much! FOL31 is such an important book for me – being yourself is SO hard and it shouldn’t be. Uniqueness should be celebrated. Blessings to you and everything that you do.


  2. I love your books; read all of them. Please send me whatever new news about your upcoming books. Thanks 😀

    • Thank you!!! If you subscribe to my blog or my text messages (see Blab-o-Denise page for subscribing to the blog or the text link at the bottom of any page), you will be one of the first to know about my books – thanks so much for wanting to know about them – you rock!

  3. I love this book the most! I hardly read books, but I cant stop reading yours. Right now Im reading Click Here . PLEASE WRITE MORE BOOKS!

    • I’m so glad! FACT OF LIFE #31 hasn’t gotten the readership I think it deserves so I’m so happy you liked it. If you feel you can, I’d appreciate you posting a positive review on Amazon, B&N, iBooks etc. or at least giving it a rating. And guess what? Right now I’m working on a longer short story about Kat, sort of a prequel to the book. I will be offering that for free in May when we hit the 5th anniversary of the publication of FOL, along with holding a book giveaway on GoodReads. Enjoy CLICK HERE and don’t forget about it’s sequel, ACCESS DENIED. And my latest – ROCK ON! I’m working on another teen book, too, but it will be awhile before it’s done and published. Thanks again!

  4. i liked it. MItch was so cool and nice to Kat in the story and he was so sweet and sensitive. i hope guy in real life can be that sweet and sensitive. so cool that KAt caught a baby.

    • There ARE boys like that out there – my husband was like that in high school, and my son and lots of his friends are funny, sweet, and cool so don’t give up on that!

      • i won’t! though it seems like all the good guys are gone….. or taken

  5. Hi! denise! the new site is awesomesauce. i read Fact of life #31 and i LOVE it. such a good story. please write more books! i am in high school now and there is a ton of homework. also, there is this guy T who went to my middle school. i had a crush on his best friend D but he went to the other high school. i look forward to seeing T everyday and i dont know if i LIKE like him or if i like him as my first ever BGF. sometimes the line between friendship and more-than-friendshhip gets a little hazy

    • i’m in middle school and i’m already packed with homework. I can wait for high school to start:D.

      • in my opinion, highschool gets way more homework and you have to study extra hard than you do in middleschool. My brother is in highschool and he goes to sleep very late! but dont worry the more organized you are and use time wisely, THE MORE YOU WILL SUCEED!!

      • Yepp HIgh school does get a lot of homework but freshmen year is pretty easy, get involved ! there are way more choices once in high school! it’s totally fun!

        • High school and middle school seem like the same ammount of work to me. Its just a matter of growing up and having. More responsibilities to take care of!!!

    • I’m SO happy you loved Fact of Life #31 because I love it so much and not too many people seem to know about it, which is a bummer. Do me a favor and go over to the Blab About Fact of Life #31 page and post a comment about how much you like it. That would be awesome!

      My daughter just started high school and is adjusting to all the homework too! I will be interested to see where you heart takes you with T. Indeed that line gets a bit hazy, but it will become clearer as time goes on. In the meantime, have fun!

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