After two successful books, the Long Beach resident has established herself as a well-known YA author. This week, her third novel, set in the city she calls her home, is released.
“Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling” comes out Tuesday through HarperCollins. It’s set in the same shared universe as her first two films, 2021’s “Happily Ever Afters” and her 2022’s “One True Loves.”
Like her previous books, “Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling” centers around a diverse cast of Long Beach teenagers. And like its predecessor, the book has a good chance of success: It was named a Target YA Book Club pick for February and will be featured in stores nationwide. It also received the coveted star review on Publishers Weekly.
Bryant, who lives in Long Beach with her husband and two young daughters, already feels integrated into the city’s artistic fabric. It’s hard for her to believe that her NAACP image her award-nominated debut was released just two years before her.
“It’s faster. It’s definitely faster,” she said in a recent interview. I wrote the second book in that little bubble, so it was actually the first book I wrote after it came out, so I could only hear my own voice, and now there are more voices in it, so this book was really challenging for me.
Bryant’s third book is the strongest of the three. The main character is Reggie, a Black Dungeons & Dragons gamer who struggles with how to fit into society. Delilah is a biracial singer who has helped propel her young rock band to viral stardom, but she’s uncomfortable with how she’s perceived by others. white audience.
“Being biracial, having people tell you you’re not ‘real’ black, that’s what I dealt with as a kid,” Bryant said. Then, now in my 30s, I still get hateful and racist messages online. morning am i good And that’s part of what I wanted to do with the Delilah character, an exploration of your own identity and how other people see you. ”
The love story between two teens is told from both perspectives as they fall in love over a year marked by different holidays. Bryant’s book has been acclaimed and well-received as a credible love story about black teens, but this book is especially true of the back-and-forth tensions between its main characters.
This mostly comes from the way Bryant’s characters think through their identities, the way real teenagers do, sometimes messy and contradictory ideas. There is nothing.
“Having all those voices in my head, listening to them, trying to write this book was a battle,” Bryant said. I had to go back to where I was: What do I like? It allowed me to write something that was real to me.
Readers of Long Beach will enjoy looking for local landmarks in this book, such as parks, dessert shops and neighborhoods, just as they did in Bryant’s first two books. Like those books, it’s a major national release, but she launches it locally, at Bel Canto Books on Fourth Avenue.
The store will be hosting a ticketed release party at 6pm with Bryant and fellow YA star Christina Hammons Reid (you can get a few tickets here).
“This is my home and where all my books reside, so I’m really excited to celebrate in Long Beach,” she said. I love to.”
Long Beach writer Elise Bryant is preparing for major literary debut