Press Kit

General Bio (100 words)

Jenn Bishop is the author of five novels for young readers, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner Things You Can’t Say. Her books have been named Junior Library Guild selections and Bank Street College of Education best books and have been finalists for state book awards. She currently calls Cincinnati, Ohio, home. What team do you think she roots for? Visit her online at

Short Bio (50 words)

Jenn Bishop is a former youth services and teen librarian. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up

Competitive basketball takes center court in this fast-paced novel about two girls finding the truth about themselves—and their families—against the backdrop of middle school and college hoops.

Cincinnati, Ohio, lives and dies by college basketball, with two elite Division I rivals separated by a mere three miles. Rory’s dad just secured a new coaching gig at the University of Cincinnati, so it means yet another school and move for her, only this time to her dad’s hometown. Rory’s life revolves around basketball; she’s never had a close friend outside of it. Could this be a chance for a fresh start?

Abby has always lived in Cincinnati, where her dad grew up playing ball and now coaches at Xavier University. But Abby has recently retreated from basketball after a frustrating season that left her confidence in shambles. This year, she finds herself on the outside looking in when it comes to her former teammates, and she could seriously use a new friend.

The coaches’ daughters connect over their shared love of the game when Abby chaperones Rory on her first day of school. But when Abby’s dad practically forbids their friendship because of something that happened between him and Rory’s dad when they were younger, Abby and Rory have no choice but to move their budding friendship underground.

Can the two of them get to the bottom of what went down between their dads in the 1990s before history repeats itself?

Publisher: Chronicle Books
Cover illustration: Kristle Marshall
Genre: middle grade contemporary
Release date: October 24, 2023
Page count: 304
Age category: grades 5-9

978-1797215617 (trade hardcover)

Reviews, Blurbs, & Accolades

“Opposites Abby and Rory secretly solidify a friendship forged over Skyline chili, stats, and a love of the game as they investigate their fathers’ fouled friendship. Bishop (Things You Can’t Say, 2020) returns to athletic themes here, alternating two fully developed perspectives while modeling healthy, communicative relationships. Flashbacks contextualize the rift, and a (total baller) retired nun spanning story lines deserves her own spin-off. Game action is pervasive though notably engaging to nonplayers, and design elements, including numbered jerseys for chapter headers, honor the sport. With side themes of divorce, a first crush, and flawed parenting, this brisk and gracious upper-middle-grade selection is a top seed for collections and slam dunk for sports fans.” — Booklist

“Rich in tight bonds as well as savvy coaching on both game play and forgiveness.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Basketball-loving readers will adore this book, but it’s so much more than a basketball story. A beautifully crafted tale of friendship, family, and forgiveness, with characters so vivid and real you can’t help but root for them, on and off the court.” —Matt Tavares, New York Times–bestselling author-illustrator of Hoops

“An exploration of family, rivalries, and forgiveness, this book scores big with fastpaced basketball action and narration from multiple points of view. A sure winner for readers who love relatable characters and heartfelt friendship dynamics.” —Gillian McDunn, author of When Sea Becomes Sky and Caterpillar Summer

“Jenn Bishop’s ode to basketball, friendship, and the city of Cincinnati charmed me from the first page and made me want to eat Skyline chili and get tickets to a March Madness game. Basketball fans will love the fast-paced on-court action and the inside look at a college sports rivalry, but it’s the touching, thoughtful exploration of what it means to find—or lose—a best friend that makes this novel such a winner. I love Rory and Abby, and middle school readers will, too!” —Laurie Morrison, author of Up for Air and Coming Up Short

“Like all the best sports novels, Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up, is about so much more than winning and losing. Abby and Rory will capture readers’ hearts as they navigate family and friendship struggles and discover the power of forgiveness. A warm, funny, thought-provoking book that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.” —Barbara Carroll Roberts, author of Nikki on the Line

“Heartfelt and hilarious, Free Throws, Friendship & Other Things We Fouled Up oozes with charm from the very first page to the supremely satisfying ending. A slam dunk for sports lovers, chili-on-spaghetti skeptics, and anyone still trying to find their place in school, in friendship, or in life.” —Erin Yun, author of Pippa Park Raises Her Game

“Jenn Bishop scores another winner with Friendship, Free Throws, and Other Things We Fouled Up, weaving together a slam dunk of a story of relationships, rivalries, victories, and defeats as captivating as any buzzer-beater in hoops-crazy Cincinnati. A love letter to basketball and all of us – girls and boys, men and women – captivated by the game.” —Andrew Maraniss, Author of Inaugural Ballers: The True Story of the First US Women’s Olympic Basketball Team

“Abby and Rory’s story is a slam-dunk. Set against the backdrop of college basketball’s March Madness, Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up will have you rooting for these star-crossed friends on and off the court.” —Laura Shovan, author of Takedown and co-author of A Place at the Table

Where We Used to Roam

In this powerful middle grade novel from the acclaimed author of Things You Can’t Say, a young girl navigates the social growing pains of middle school and struggles to find her place while her older brother fights to overcome opioid addiction—perfect for fans of The Seventh Wish and Waiting for Normal.

When Emma starts sixth grade, things finally begin to change. She may still be in the shadow of her older brother, Austin, the popular high school quarterback, but she’s made artsy new friends who get her way more than her bookish best friend, Becca.

But things are changing for Austin, too. After undergoing surgery for a football injury, Austin has become addicted to opioid painkillers. By the end of the school year, everything blows up with Austin—and Becca. When their parents decide to send Austin to rehab and Emma to stay with family friends in Wyoming for the summer, Emma seizes the chance to get away.

Wyoming turns out to be a perfect fresh start, especially after Emma makes friends with Tyler, a kindred spirit who doesn’t judge her—then again, he doesn’t know what she did to Becca. Still, Emma can’t hide forever…or go back to the way things were with Austin or with Becca. But can she find a way to confront the truth and move forward?

Publisher: Aladdin / Simon & Schuster
Cover illustration: Ji Hyuk-Kim
Genre: middle grade contemporary
Release date: March 23, 2021
Page count: 352
Age category: grades 3-7

978-1534457294 (trade hardcover)

Reviews, Blurbs, & Accolades

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

A 2023-2024 Iowa Children’s Choice Award Nominee

“A sensitively told and heartfelt story of Emma’s experience with her brother’s opioid addiction. Where We Used to Roam will help open up many difficult, but important conversations.” – Jasmine Warga, Newbery Honor-winning author of Other Words for Home

“This sensitive portrayal of drug addiction’s effect on family members also pays significant attention to broader issues such as the growing pains of forming identities and forging new friendships in middle school; should appeal to a wide audience.” – School Library Journal [full review]

“In this transparent examination of how addiction can affect families, Bishop (Things You Can’t Say) effectively showcases Emma’s realistic struggle to forgive her friends, her family, and herself; her turbulent emotions make her a relatable, authentic character.” – Publishers Weekly [full review]

“Emma O’Malley experiences the all too common trials and rewards of progressing to middle school, such as strain with best friend Becca and a sharpened focus on developing her artistic talent. Older brother Austin’s shoulder injury, which requires major surgery and hobbles his football dreams, is little more than background noise early in Em’s social transition, but as her usually supportive brother withdraws into his own misery, Em is left without a sounding board when she makes an ill-considered remark that leads to Becca’s humiliation. Austin is actually in the deepest trouble, addicted to his painkillers and in dire need of rehab, so the O’Malleys send Em off to stay with family friends in Wyoming, leaving her to manage her worries and guilt far from home. Em is gracious enough to make the best of it, though, and she gains valuable perspective on her family’s challenges through a new friendship with Tyler, whose own mother is in prison on a drug-related conviction. Bison sightings and Em’s well-managed encounter with a bison calf that had strayed from the herd also help Em make a positive reconnection with Austin. The two distinct halves of Bishop’s novel are securely harnessed, and the abrupt segue underscores the tailspin into which Em’s life has been thrown. The O’Malleys stay strong, though, and even though the book wisely eschews an unequivocal happy ending, there’s definitely light on their horizon. ” – Recommended, BCCB

“Bishop combines a coming-of-age story with an issue story, creating a novel that teaches lessons without being preachy and honestly depicts the confusion, fear, and anger that arise when a sibling struggles with substance abuse . . . Though the story ends on a positive note, there is no unrealistically neat happy ending . . . An enjoyable book that is a starting point for young readers to understand the opioid crisis.” – Kirkus [full review]

“A searingly poignant story of adaptation, resilience, and the kind of love that can guide us through our most difficult paths. Jenn Bishop beautifully balances heavy topics, like addiction, with more ordinary trials, like friends growing apart, weaving in threads of artistry and hope that carry the reader through the hardships Emma faces.” – Cindy Baldwin, author of Beginners Welcome

Where We Used to Roam is a sensitive and thought-provoking story about one girl’s efforts to navigate changing friendships, a brother’s addiction, and the ripple effect it has on the whole family. An important platform for difficult discussions that will leave a lasting imprint on your heart.” – Elly Swartz, author of Give and Take

Things You Can't Say

Perfect for fans of See You in the Cosmos and Where the Watermelons Grow, author Jenn Bishop’s latest novel tells the moving story of a boy determined to uncover the truth.

Nothing is going right this summer for Drew. And after losing his dad unexpectedly three years ago, Drew knows a lot about things not going right. First it’s the new girl Audrey taking over everything at the library, Drew’s sacred space. Then it’s his best friend, Filipe, pulling away from him. But most upsetting has to be the mysterious man who is suddenly staying with Drew’s family. An old friend of Mom’s? Drew isn’t buying that.

With an unlikely ally in Audrey, he’s determined to get to the bottom of who this man really is. The thing is, there are some fears—like what if the person you thought was your dad actually wasn’t—that you can’t speak out loud, not to anyone. At least that’s what Drew thinks.

But then again, first impressions can be deceiving.

Publisher: Aladdin / Simon & Schuster
Cover illustration: Julie McLaughlin
Genre: middle grade contemporary
Release date: March 3, 2020
Page count: 336
Age category: grades 3-7

978-1-534-44097-5 (trade hardcover)
978-1-534-4409-9 (ebook)

Reviews, Blurbs, & Accolades

A Junior Library Guild Selection

A 2021-2022 South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominee

Parents’ Choice Gold Award

“…The real drama in Drew’s life takes place in his own mind and heart, as he reflects on the meaning of his father’s death and its impact on his own life and identity. In the character of Drew, novelist Jenn Bishop has created a remarkably realistic and sympathetic protagonist, who slowly but surely finds a way to reconcile his private thoughts and his public behavior. For young readers who are prepared to be engaged by its difficult subject matter, Things You Can’t Say is a deeply moving and insightful story.” – Parents’ Choice Foundation [full review]

“In a story about the aftermath of parental suicide, former children’s librarian Bishop tells a touching and believable story about the ways worries feed on each other, the difference that honesty makes to kids, and how much emotional growth a child Drew’s age can experience in just a few weeks.” – Publishers Weekly

“Bishop imbues Drew, his loving mother, and Audrey with just enough insight to make their efforts to support each other fully believable. Drew’s emerging anger with his father is both poignant and tragically appropriate. Drew’s present-tense narration is candid and vulnerable, offering readers both mirrors for and windows to this particular, very difficult experience . . . A thoughtful examination of the slow, uneven recovery that follows a devastating loss.” – Kirkus [full review]

“With a deft, sympathetic hand, Bishop relates Drew’s struggles to define his own identity while coming to terms with the man his father was.” – Recommended, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Bishop’s emotional novel may provide a way for readers whose lives have been impacted by suicide to navigate a complex topic and will appeal to those who appreciate tales of trauma and healing.” – School Library Journal

“While many kids won’t feel quite as isolated or as stuck as Drew, whose father tragically committed suicide three years ago, the inability to talk about deep emotional grief is a topic that will resonate and is deftly handled here.” – School Library Connection, Recommended

“This thoughtfully written story shows how difficult it can be for a sensitive boy to open up to others about what’s troubling him. In her third middle-grade novel, Bishop realistically depicts Drew’s anger and hurt over his father’s death. A sensitive exploration of suicide, forgiveness, and the difficulty of navigating friendships.” – Booklist

“As Things You Can’t Say shows the gaping fissures that loss and grief can cause in a kiddo’s life, so too does it show how those same fissures may begin to heal and close. That we are rooting so hard for their closing in Andrew’s life is a measure of how wonderfully real and honest this story is, and of how deep our need is for just the right words.” —Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award Finalist

“With grit and authenticity, Bishop takes us inside the head and heart of a young boy. Be prepared to laugh, cry, cheer, and turn the last page with a satisfying sigh.” —Barbara O’Connor, author of Wonderland

“This touching, authentic novel will open readers’ eyes and hearts about mental health issues in loving, ‘normal’ families. Jenn Bishop explores a challenging subject with sensitivity and grace.” —Barbara Dee, author of Maybe He Just Likes You

“People who go away forever. People who come out of nowhere. People who drift away and then drift back. Three years after the death of his father, young Drew finds a way to make peace with all these sorts of people. An emotional tale of a boy who finds it takes equal measures of courage to move forward and to look back.” —Paul Mosier, author of Echo’s Sister

14 Hollow Road

A warm coming-of-age novel about a community banding together in the wake of a tornado, perfect for fans of reader favorites like Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff.

The night of the sixth-grade dance is supposed to be perfect for Maddie; she’ll wear her beautiful new dress, she’ll hit the dance floor with her friends, and her crush, Avery, will ask her to dance. Most importantly, she’ll finally leave her tiny elementary school behind for junior high. But as the first slow song starts to play, her plans crumble. Avery asks someone else to dance instead–and then the power goes out. Huddled in the gym, Maddie and her friends are stunned to hear that a tornado has ripped through the other side of town, destroying both Maddie’s and Avery’s homes.

Kind neighbors open up their home to Maddie’s and Avery’s families, which both excites and horrifies Maddie. Sharing the same house . . . with Avery? For the entire summer? While it buys her some time to prove that Avery made the wrong choice at the dance, it also means he’ll be there to witness her morning breath and her annoying little brother. Meanwhile, she must search for her beloved dog, who went missing during the tornado. At the dance, all she wanted was to be more grown-up. Now that she has no choice, is she ready for it?

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf / Random House
Cover illustration: Erin McGuire
Genre: middle grade contemporary
Release date: June 13, 2017
Page count: 288
Age category: grades 4-7

978-1- 101-93875-1 (trade hardcover)
978-1-101-93876-8 (library binding)
978-1-101-93877-5 (ebook)

Reviews, Blurbs, & Accolades

A 2018 Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Title

“Bishop (The Distance to Home, 2016) nails the tween voice: Maddie is a realistic heroine who deals with typical middle-grade problems amidst disaster, and she navigates upheavals with occasional grace and more frequent missteps. Tornado or not, growing up is a tempestuous business.”  – Booklist [full review]

“Maddie remains sympathetic and likable even when her actions aren’t, and Kiersten, Gabby, and Avery are well-rounded characters with challenges of their own. Readers going through the messy transition into adolescence will find hope in the newly strengthened friendships with which Maddie enters seventh grade.” –  Recommended, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books [full review]

“Maddie’s awkward avoidance tactics are authentic and relatable . . . The hopeful tone and conversational writing style make this an accessible read.” – School Library Journal

“This gorgeous summer tale emphasizes girlhood bonds, growth in discomfort and the inevitable heartache that goes with youthful dreams meeting hard reality. This will hit the spot with fans of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall , Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker, Water Balloon by Audrey Vernick and Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley.”     -Erin E. Moulton, author of Chasing the Milky Way

“I know so many young readers who will see themselves in this book and fall into the pages.” – Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook [full review]


Last summer, Quinnen was the star pitcher of her baseball team, the Panthers. They were headed for the championship, and her loudest supporter at every game was her best friend and older sister, Haley.

This summer, everything is different. Haley’s death, at the end of last summer, has left Quinnen and her parents reeling. Without Haley in the stands, Quinnen doesn’t want to play baseball. It seems like nothing can fill the Haley-sized hole in her world. The one glimmer of happiness comes from the Bandits, the local minor-league baseball team. For the first time, Quinnen and her family are hosting one of the players for the season. Without Haley, Quinnen’s not sure it will be any fun, but soon she befriends a few players. With their help, can she make peace with the past and return to the pitcher’s mound?

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf / Random House
Cover illustration: Erin McGuire
Genre: middle grade contemporary
Release date: June 28, 2016
Page count: 240
Age category: grades 3-7

978-1-101-93871-3 (trade hardcover)
978-1-101-93872-0 (library binding)
978-1-101-93873-7 (ebook)
978-1-101-93874-4 (paperback)

Reviews, Blurbs, & Accolades

A Junior Library Guild Selection

A Bank Street College Best Book (2017)

A 2018-2019 Iowa Children’s Choice Award Finalist

”  . . . Readers will find themselves moved by the protagonist’s journey toward “home.” Recommend this poignant novel to fans of Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park and The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin”. – School Library Journal [full review]

“In a piercing first novel, Bishop introduces a family grappling with devastating loss . . . Bishop insightfully examines the tested relationships among grieving family members and friends in a story of resilience, forgiveness, and hope.” – Publishers Weekly [full review]

“Quinnen’s emotions are raw and convincing, and her rapport with friends and parents is realistically muddled by half-processed grief that she tries too hard to handle on her own. The supporting cast is credible, with parents who have limitless love for their remaining daughter, and Quinnen’s sixth-grade guy buddy who is sensitive to her heartache but is still a sixth-grade guy buddy. Even Brandon is a better man than Quinnen was first willing to believe. With appeal to both sports- and drama-minded girls, this will make a good book club selection and pass-it-among-your-friends read.” – Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books

“Jenn Bishop rips the seams off this grand slammer of connections and revelations. At last, the sports story is back!” – Rita Williams-Garcia, author of Newbery Honor winner One Crazy Summer


These hi-res photos are free to download.

Photo credit: Kate L Photography