Keep Me Posted!

Sign me up for the latest news from Penguin Teen, including new books, special offers, and promotions.



When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez is an unforgettable young adult debut novel-in-verse that redefines what it means to “make it,” touching on themes of mental illness, sexual assault, food insecurity and gentrification, in the Nuyorican literary tradition of Nicholasa Mohr and the work of contemporary writer Elizabeth Acevedo.

Scroll down to see the cover and read an excerpt!

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Artist: Fanesha Fabre

Cover/jacket design: Theresa Evangelista 



How I Got My Name Sarai 

Let’s start the story where abandon meets faith. Aight, so, boom. Check it.


I’m named after homegirl

in the Bible who couldn’t have kids.


Her man Abram was all like:

Yo, Sarai, God promised me I would be the Father of Nations.


Sarai was all like:

Nah B, you must be buggin’, you know I can’t have no babies.


Our pastor says faith is believing in something you can’t really see. According to Mami, we should never put our faith in men.


Mami was pregnant with me when Papi bounced

for some new chick & told Mami to have an abortion.


Abram got himself a new chick, too. Got her pregnant and all that.


I guess Mami identified with Sarai’s fear and doubt —

& so I was born out of Mami’s faith & hope.




Mami is a round woman.

A square by any other definition.


No-nonsense, Pentecostal

with no patience for her own children most days.


There are three of us in total.

Danny, Estrella & Me. I am the youngest.


My sister Estrella said Mami’s depressed. File this under “shit we don’t talk about”.


Pentecostals, we’re just supposed to pray the sadness away.


¡Fuera! The pastor demands on prayer night.

¡Fuera! I imagine sadness is a bad singer


being kicked off the show

by el Chacal on Sábado Gigante.


Apparently, Jesus & Don Francisco can save anything.

Once during church testimonio, Mami gave Jesus mad credit


for saving her from Papi’s fists. ¡Amén! ¡Aleluya! Now, Papi lives in the Bronx with his new wife.


Estrella uses the payphone to collect call him all the time. She says Papi is also Christian now & that God forgave him


for beating on Mami & so we should too.

But Mami’s eyes never close right during prayer service


& I wonder what kind of God you have to be

to receive praise from the hands responsible for that.


How We Got Our Names Estrella


Estrella was named after another woman Papi was cheating on Mami with.

Nobody says that out loud though. But I can tell


by the way my sister’s name jumps off of Mami’s tongue like one of those side chicks on The Ricki Lake Show.


On my father’s tongue, Estrella matters. Her name is a sloooow dance in Brooklyn.


Her name is a bullet that didn’t kill nobody.

Her name is the beeper alert that gets a call back.


Estrella is three years older than me. She is sixteen but her body is not.


She got that it’s not my fault, I thought you were older kind of body.

She is the kind of beautiful that dique puts men in danger


or that makes men want to be dangerous.

The kind of beautiful Mami always wanted to be.


When we walk down Knickerbocker Ave.,

the men hiss like they are deflating at the sight of us.


They call Mami suegra. Mami can’t stand it. Qué ridículo, she says. She ain’t old enough to be nobody’s mother-in-law.


She shifts her body in front of Estrella’s, to protect her


or maybe so she can be seen first.





Estrella races to the window

and pulls back the curtain, which is really just a fuzzy blanket


with a lion print that Mami ordered from Fingerhut,

a magazine that lets Mami own nice things and pay for them slowly.


Papi parks outside and makes his station wagon cry until it guilts Mami into letting us go downstairs.


I examine my father until he is human again. When he hugs me, I want no parts of his hands.


I become Mami the last time he hit her.

Leave me alone. Don’t touch me.


Estrella laughs at my fear & tells Papi Mami is brainwashing me into hating him.


Papi says he hopes I’m not becoming an angry bitch like Mami.

Men don’t like angry bitches. Men leave angry bitches.


All Mami was ever good for was kicking him out.

He can’t remember the last time her mouth made a home for him.


That’s why he left and didn’t come around for a few years.

Now Papi comes by every weekend & gives us five dollars to split.


Estrella & me argue over how to spend it. Five dollars

can buy us mad chips, quarter juices, now and laters, devil dogs.


Or we can use it to share one ham & cheese hero and a two-liter.


When I look up at the window you can’t see Mami peeking but


the lion’s mouth is open

and roaring for me to come upstairs.


Pre-order your copy here




Looking for more amazing reads? Here are 11 high stakes thrillers we think you’d love!


COVER REVEAL: Edie in Between

Edie in Between by Laura Sibson is a modern-day Practical Magic about love, loss, and embracing the mystical. It’s been one year since Edie’s mother died—but her ghost has never left. And when her mother’s teenage journal tumbles into her life, her family’s mystical inheritance becomes once and for all too hard to ignore. As … Continued
See More

5 Reasons it’s time to hop on the House of Hollow hype train

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland is the talk of the (bookish) town, and here are just a few reasons we invite you to hop on the House of Hollow hype train!   1. THE PLOT TWIST via GIPHY No spoilers, but…you’re not ready.   2. The writing will give you chills. via GIPHY “She was a … Continued
See More

Cover Reveal: HELLO (FROM HERE)

Cover reveal time! Hello (From Here) is a witty and thought-provoking YA love story set during the COVID-19 quarantine, written by two NYT bestselling authors, with shades of Five Feet Apart and Anna and the French Kiss. Maxine and Jonah bump into each other in the canned goods aisle of the grocery store just as the state of California is going into lockdown, … Continued
See More

House of Hollow quotes that give us CHILLS

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland is filled to the brim with quotes that give us CHILLS. It was hard to narrow down, but here are our top 7 favorites!   About House of Hollow:  A dark, twisty modern fairytale where three sisters discover they are not exactly all that they seem and evil things really … Continued
See More

Cover Reveal: THE GIRLS ARE NEVER GONE by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Cover reveal time! The Conjuring meets Sadie in The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh when seventeen-year-old podcaster Dare takes an internship in a haunted house and finds herself in a life-or-death struggle against an evil spirit. Scroll down to see the cover and read an excerpt of this chilling read! Jacket design: Kristin Boyle Photographer: Marko Nadj   Once … Continued
See More

FLAMEFALL is coming, and you can start reading it now!

Dragons and romance and political intrigue, oh my! Revolutionary flames ignite around Annie, Lee, and a brand new character in the follow-up to Fireborne, Flamefall! Scroll down to start reading! Psst! Need to catch up on Fireborne first? Click here for more info! Chapter One: New Pythos GRIFF Julia’s missing, and I’m in a terrible mood. … Continued
See More

5 Things We Can’t Wait to See in the Shadow and Bone Netflix Series

Onward to Ravka, my dear Grisha. We couldn’t be more excited that the TV adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s unforgettable Shadow and Bone trilogy is magicking its way onto Netflix this Friday, April 23rd. It’s finally time to see Alina, Mal, Genya, Zoya, the Darkling, and many others of our favorite Grishaverse characters take their rightful … Continued
See More

Start reading HOUSE OF HOLLOW

One of 2021’s most anticipated reads is just around the corner! House of Hollow is a dark, twisty modern fairytale where three sisters discover they are not exactly all that they seem and evil things really do go bump in the night. Scroll down to start reading! PROLOGUE I was ten years old the first … Continued
See More

Unforgettable Siblings in YA for National Siblings Day!

There are a lot of siblings with protagonist brothers or sisters who have a knack for stealing the spotlight on account of being awesome, and we want to take a moment to appreciate them! So, here are 10 of our favorite siblings from YA in honor of National Sibling Day!   House of Hollow by … Continued
See More

See the cover of DARK AND SHALLOW LIES and read an excerpt!

We are so excited to show you the cover for Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain! A teen girl disappears from her small town deep in the bayou, where magic festers beneath the surface of the swamp like water rot, in this chilling debut supernatural thriller for fans of Natasha Preston, Karen McManus, and Rory Power. … Continued
See More