Highlighting the best independent publications in fiction and non-fiction. Your new favorite author is right here.

Rachelle Jones Smith

Rachelle never got her fill of high school, so she goes back daily to teach creative writing, English composition, and journalism. After class, she’s usually found writing, photographing, or pursuing adventures. She fancies fiction with strong young adult characters often on the fringe of mainstream culture. She aims to write YA work to inspire, to comfort, and to relate to people on all walks of life.

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Tru Untrue (YA realistic fiction, Coming of age, LGBTQ)

Tru is anything but. A midyear transfer, he’s the mysterious new ‘hood guy who has quickly become the class clown and discovered all his teacher’s peeves. And Nell, the reticent isolationist sits nearby, ignoring the daily spectacle of Tru’s antics as she writes and sketches in a moleskin and relishes in her seeming-invisibility. They share no connection and have never said a word to one another. Then Ms. announces a collaborative senior presentation. Nell looks mortified when she hears she must pair up with a classmate. Tru sees her weary look and, lingering after class, asks Ms. Yashar to pair him up with her to save her the awkward “who doesn’t have a partner yet?” moment in class. He’s used to saving those who need it. But will Ms. Yashar allow this delinquent to redeem himself with this good deed when the last landed him in jail?

This is a story of two teens on the fringe – one with a criminal past and overwhelming reparations and one whose family structure is fractured by rejection and death – who find peace in a classroom partnership. Several lives are intertwined as these young adults navigate through life-defining decisions involving preconceptions, sexuality, family pressure, and criminality.