Honors & awards
Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love
Knopf Books for Young Readers: June 8, 2021
The future is anything but certain in this alternately funny and heartbreaking contemporary story about food trucks, festivals, and first loves.
It's easy to look at high school senior Oscar Olsson and think: lost. He hates school, struggles to read, and wants nothing to do with college. But Oscar is anything but lost--he knows exactly what he wants and exactly how to get it. Oscar and Farfar, the Swedish grandfather who's raised him, run a food truck together selling rullekebab and munkar, and Oscar wants to finish school so he can focus on the food truck full-time.
It's easy to look at Mary Louise (Lou for short) Messinger and think: driven. AP everything, valedictorian in her sights, and Ivy league college aspirations.
When Lou hijacks Oscar's carefully crafted schedule of independent studies and blocks of time in the Culinary Lab, Oscar is roped into helping Lou complete her over-ambitious, resume-building service project--reducing food waste in Central Adams High School. While Lou stands to gain her Girl Scout Gold Award, Oscar will be faced with a mountain of uneaten school apples and countless hours with a girl he can't stand.
With the finish line in sight, a relationship he never expected, and festival season about to begin (for good), the unthinkable happens, and Oscar's future is anything but certain.
Delightful, with deep, delicious layers and a savory-sweet ending. I gobbled it up.
~Wendelin Van Draanen, award-winning author of Flipped and The Running Dream
It's been a long time since a book's final sentence filled my heart to bursting, but this one did it. Disarmingly poignant and full of warmth, DONUTS AND OTHER PROCLAMATIONS OF LOVE is a compelling story of found family, delicious food, and all the ways we carry our ever-evolving dreams with us.
~Nina Moreno, author of Don't Date Rosa Santos
This book is a literal warm hug for your soul. Reck’s storytelling is an immersive sensory experience and his characters burrow into your heart. Not only will this book make you hungry, it will fill you with joy and leave you wishing to revisit Hej Hej, Oscar and his Farfar time and again.
~Erin Hahn, author of You’d Be Mine and More Than Maybe
A big-hearted look at the way food, love, and family are inextricably linked. This book is a bittersweet tale of following your passion, finding deep connections in unlikely places, and learning you can do more than you even imagined. It is as warm and satisfying as a donut straight from the fryer!
~Peter Bognanni, author of Things I'm Seeing Without You
A Short History of the Girl Next Door
Knopf Books for Young Readers: Sept. 26, 2017
Seriously, how can you see a person nearly every day of your life and never think a thing of it, then all of a sudden, one day, it's different? You see that goofy grin a thousand times and just laugh. But goofy grin #1,001 nearly stops your heart?
Right. This sounds like a bad movie already.
Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can't tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her. He implodes on the basketball court, even though no one cares about the JV team. And the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis's English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about cantankerous candy-cane lumberjacks.
If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt's madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain.
But that's not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse.
After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, spiraling out of control and in danger of losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.
honors & awards
A powerful novel about first love, the intimacy of childhood friendships, and moving forward from loss, after unexpected tragedy strikes. Reck’s novel is sure to provoke reflection about finding meaning amid life’s unforeseeable tragedies.
This story broke my heart and made me laugh and gave me hope—and really, what more can you ask of a book than that? I loved it, and I have a feeling you will too.
~Jennifer E. Smith, author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
In the blink of an eye, A Short History of the Girl Next Door goes from hilarious to haunting to harrowing to heartbreaking to hopeful and back. You'll never be sure exactly what kind of tears you're crying. The riotously funny and achingly authentic voice of this gorgeous coming-of-age story will break your heart, but have no fear: it will piece it back together with the glue of love, hope, and humor, and it will be stronger than before.
~Jeff Zentner, award-winning author of The Serpent King and The Goodbye Days
A Short History of the Girl Next Door is a study in paradoxes. It's laced with both sarcasm and yearning; it's spit-out-your-drink funny and empty-the-tissue-box sad. Sharp, smart, and unforgettable, this book will make you want to drive down the court, basketball thudding from your hand, both glad and heartbroken to be alive.
~Kate Hattemer, critically acclaimed author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy and The Land of the 10,000 Madonnas
Cue the ugly crying. I was unprepared for the onslaught of tears as I made my way through Jared Reck’s debut novel A Short History of the Girl Next Door. Reck is a mega-talent: he had me going from crying to laughing within seconds, and it felt like the most natural progression in the world.
~Katie O'Connor, Audible Editor
A Short History of the Girl Next Door made me laugh and cry and laugh again, and it also made me think about what it means to be brave enough to say what you're really feeling--or to be brave enough not to. There's a lot to unpack about missed opportunities and the 'what-ifs' that plague us, especially in high school when every decision feels so heavy, and that has stayed with me since I finished the book. It's a book I'll come back to again and again. And it also made me crave Nerds. And as someone whose entire candy ranking system contains nothing but chocolate, that's really saying something about Jared Reck's writing.
~Kelly Delaney, Associate Editor - Knopf Books for Young Readers