I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the Out of the Blue by Jason June Blog Tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours.
Check out my interview post below!
About the Book
Title: Out of the Blue
Author: Jason June
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing date: May 31st, 2022
Rep: Gay, Queer, Nonbinary, Fat
Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the monthlong sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder–or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with: after all, humans are disgusting. They’ve pollluted the planet so much that there’s a floating island of trash that’s literally the size of a country.
In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together and Crest’s pespective on humans begins to change, they’ll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings…
This sophomore novel from Jason June dives into the many definitions of the world home and shows how love can help us find the truest versions of ourselves.
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound
What has been your experience writing both Children’s books and YA? Do you enjoy writing one more than the other?
What I’ve really loved is seeing how different the formats can be word count and style-wise, but that the stories are no less impactful. With picture books, I find that you’re focusing on getting your readers to experience a specific feeling, like you’re concentrating on a sensation or emotion or part of the human experience, and really honing that into 500 words or less. With YA, you get to talk about multiple emotions, sensations, experiences, and go deep into how all those connect and make the messiness and beauty that is being human. But in any format, that’s what it all comes down to: our humanity, and how stories highlight that humanity. I don’t know that I necessarily have a favorite, but I have been focusing more on novels lately, although I’m hoping that inspiration strikes for a new picture book soon!
What was your inspiration for the merfolk in Out of the Blue?
First and foremost, it was my obsession with merpeople that started ever since I saw The Little Mermaid in the theater. I was just so enchanted by the idea of living underwater. But more importantly as I grew up and came to discover myself as a gay and genderqueer person, I realized that merpeople have this unique ability to not be so hung up on gender and could build this whole society where people’s hearts are focused on more than their parts. And I’m definitely not the first to think this either! So it was nice to just go from there and start to envision what a more genderfluid society could look like.
I’m all about the fake dating trope, what drew you to writing this into this story?
I am so enchanted by the idea of two people pretending to be in love and thinking there’s no way they could actually fall in love. Like, of course you’re going to fall in love when you put your whole body and soul behind the ruse. And they just go along all oblivious to actually falling for each other until, bam! They’ve fallen. I love it! And I thought that would be magical to include a merperson in this, where the stakes will be very high because that merperson can’t stay on land forever. What do you do once you realize the feelings are real and have to choose between those feelings or your home?
How was your writing process different when it came to writing a contemporary and now a fantasy?
Actually not all that different with this book. While there are fantasy elements, it’s mostly contemporary as like 97% of this story takes place on land. There are bits of background into mer culture and traditions here and there, but the whole point of Crest’s time on land is to experience just what it’s like to be human, so most of the action is very contemporary. There are fun observations from Crest, though, about how weird certain human customs are, as well as fin shenanigans when Crest’s fin makes appearances when it shouldn’t!
What are your favorite book recs for those who love Out of the Blue & want more?
IN DEEPER WATERS by F.T. Lukens! We’ve got merpeople in both, and both of our books have a focus on queer joy!
THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER by Jen Wang! We both explore gender and the arbitrary rules society says we need to act within to “correctly” display our identities.
KISS & TELL by Adib Khorram! If you’re into the movie references Sean gives a lot of in OOTB and want more pop culture, read K&T for a lot of music behind-the-scenes action! I loved how Adib so perfectly weaved together pop culture and how we discuss queerness and queer artists!
If you’re able to tell us, what are you working on now?
I’m currently working on my next YA with Harper, a contemporary stand-alone called RILEY WEAVER NEEDS A DATE TO THE GAYBUTANTE BALL. I’m in love with this story so much and its explorations of what it’s like to be femme in the gay world that can often link your worth to your ability to present as “traditionally” masculine. It’s still light-hearted and fun, especially as we focus on just how gay and chaotic the Gaybutante Society is, but I’m hoping it helps a lot of folks feel seen.
I’m also working hard on a donation drive with a few indies for OUT OF THE BLUE! With how many efforts there’ve been lately to pull queer books from libraries and schools, I wanted to find a way where I could get copies of OUT OF THE BLUE directly to readers where they couldn’t be taken away, so queer teen readers can have a fun beach read with characters like them in it. So I’ve teamed up with Auntie’s Bookstore, Brain Lair Books, and Brazos Bookstore where people can order a copy of OUT OF THE BLUE to go to one of almost thirty LGBTQ+ teen centers or groups, where the book will get delivered directly to a queer reader. It’s helping an author, it’s helping indies, and most importantly, it’s helping readers! Any donations or word spreading is greatly appreciated!
You’ve come here wondering, “What is the meaning of life?” Er, I mean, Jason June’s life. Jason June (it’s a two-name first name, like Mary-Kate without the hyphen or the Olsen twin) is a genderqueer writer mermaid who loves to create picture books that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark, and young adult contemporary rom-coms full of love and lust and hijinks.
When not writing, JJ zips about Austin, Texas. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns, Pomeranians, and anything magical that takes you to a different world or time. JJ is a tried and true Laura Dern stan, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend.
His picture books include WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, illustrated by Jess Pauwels, and PORCUPINE CUPID, a queer-inclusive Valentine’s Day story, illustrated by Lori Richmond, both from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster. For under-the-sea whimsical adventures, check out the MERMICORN ISLAND chapter book series from Scholastic! And get ready for JAY’S GAY AGENDA, Jason June’s debut YA, queer rom-com, coming June 1, 2021 from HarperTeen!
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
Blog Tour Schedule
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post
Althea Is Reading – Review
Melancholic Blithe – Interview
Books and Ladders – Review
Book Corner – Review & Favorite Quotes
Lemmi Bookmark That! – Review & Favorite Quotes
Lu is lost in books – Review
Artfully Bookish – Review & Mood Board
The Book Dutchesses – Promotional Post
One More Chapter – Review
Sadie’s Spotlight – Promotional Post
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review
Kait Plus Books – Interview
Phannie the ginger bookworm – 15 Reactions While Reading Out of the Blue
Nine Bookish Lives – Promotional Post
Kappa Reads Books – Promotional Post
Unconventional quirky Bibliophile – Review & Mood Board
confessions of a reading addict – Review & Playlist
The Clever Reader – Interview
Read in the Clouds – Review
heylittlesiren – Review
Kerasalwaysreading – Review
findangoh – Book Look & Top 5 Reasons to Read Out of the Blue
writingrosereads – Promotional Post
fangirlpixiebooks – Promotional Post
booksandladders – Blogger’s Choice
delightful.reading – Blogger’s Choice
feliciareads11 – Promotional Post
stillreadingat4am – Book Look
natashaleigton_ – Blogger’s Choice
luna_reads_ – Journal Spread
_leahreads – Blogger’s Choice
sadiesspotlight – Blogger’s Choice
popthebutterfly – Blogger’s Choice
augustisreading -Top 5 Reasons to Read Out of the Blue
tinybooknest – Top 5 Reasons to Read Out of the Blue & Favorite Quotes
ninebookishlives – Blogger’s Choice
acourtofrunesandroses – Review
sxnvi.b – Promotional Post,
quirkybibliophile – Blogger’s Choice
tbrandbeyond – Promotional Post
thecleverreader – Blogger’s Choice
heylittlesiren – Blogger’s Choice
kerasalwaysreading – Blogger’s Choice