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Old 09-22-2008, 11:05 AM
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Beacon Hills High


From The New York Times Bestselling Author, Actress, and Comedienne Mo’Nique Jackson comes the first in a series of young adult novels: BEACON HILLS HIGH (Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers; On-sale September 23, 2008; ISBN: 9780061121067; $9.95; Trade Paperback Original). In fact, it is quite unique as it is aimed strongly at young African American women aged 10-13. This girl is “every girl” experiencing pre-teen angst in all it’s glory, but with the new challenges of our 21st century existence . . .. with kids being overweight, having even more body issues than normal, trying to fit in when you’re a “new kid on the block,” adjusting to a new neighborhood .. . Mo’Nique can talk about all of these issues and more. This is a charming coming-of–age story that is sure to resonate not only with Mo’Nique’s young fans, but with teenage girls everywhere.

In BEACON HILLS HIGH we learn: Getting into Millwood High, the “tightest” high school in Baltimore has been all consuming for thirteen year old, F.A.T (Fabulous And Thick, that is) Eboni Michelle Imes. When she’s accepted, all she can think about are four years of fun with her best friends, Michelle, Yolanda and Charisse: The T.C.C. (Which stands for the Too Tight Crew). But life has other plans for Eboni. When her father finally lands his dream job, everyone is excited, except for Eboni, because her Dad’s new business venture means uprooting the family to Los Angeles, away from her friends, her crush Vincent and everything Eboni has ever known.

BEACON HILLS HIGH also examines common adolescent issues such as body image, being the “new girl” in school and adjusting to a new neighborhood. Mo’Nique’s popular theme—love yourself; no matter your size—is prominent as well. A discussion guide is printed at the back of the book.

Mo’Nique’s film career includes roles in the 2008 comedy Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins” with Martin Lawrence and “Garfield: The Movie,” for which she voiced a CGI character. Her reality show Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance, is America’s first full-figure model search and the highest-rated original program in the Oxygen network’s history. She also recently hosted Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School”—a spin-off the popular VH1 series “Flavor of Love,” and has appeared regularly on the ABC-TV’s hit “Ugly Betty.”
Previously, Mo’Nique gained visibility and immense popularity with performances on variety of shows including: “Showtime at the Apollo,” and HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.” Mo’Nique’s SKINNY WOMEN ARE EVIL became a New York Times Best-seller following its publication in 2004, as did her book SKINNY COOKS CAN’T BE TRUSTED in 2006. BEACON HILLS HIGH is co-authored by Sherri McGee—a producer at Oxygen television.

By Mo’Nique, with Sherri McGee
Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 0061121061
ISBN 13: 9780061121067
$9.95, Trade Paperback; $10.95/Can./208 pages
*On-sale date: September 23, 2008

Comedienne Mo’Nique Explains Her Decision to Jump into the World of Teen Fiction with
the Release of Beacon Hills High

Growing up in Baltimore, my crew was a lot like the girls in Beacon Hills High. Like the main character, Eboni, I was the heaviest of my friends, but that didn’t stop me from becoming one of the most popular students on campus or from being voted my High School’s “Best Dressed.”

It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do whatever I set my mind to. Sure, people teased me, or had something smart to say. But I didn’t let them rain on my parade. It was in tough times that I drew on inner strength and remembered what my father taught me. “Honey,” he often said, “you are the prettiest girl in the world.” After hearing that message for so long, I began to believe it.

Though I didn’t arrive in Los Angeles until I was grown, just like Eboni, I encountered people who told me I’d never be successful. I was too Fat. Too Black. Too Loud. Too Much. But I refused to believe the haters. Instead, I made them my motivators and worked hard to succeed – on my own terms. I even revolutionized the negative connotation of the word FAT and turned it into a positive movement with the creation of Mo’Nique’s F.A.T Chance (to me, FAT means Fabulous and Thick), a beauty pageant for full-figured women. It became the highest-rated show in the history of the Oxygen network.

I still remember Judy Blume’s classic, “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret.” I fell in love with that book. I related to Margaret’s struggles. High school can be a difficult, challenging, exciting time. It’s also a time of fun and self-discovery. As the mother of a teen, I’ve heard the stories of trying to fit in. I’ve also travel throughout the world, and so many times encountered beautiful young girls who have come up to me crying because they aren’t comfortable with their growing bodies. They don’t have any books with positive characters that look like them.

When the opportunity arose to enter the fiction world, I wanted to write a book that speaks to teens no matter if they’re Black, Latin, White, rich, poor, straight or gay. That’s how Eboni was born. It was also important to introduce the idea of embracing a Higher Power. Through her talks with God, Eboni grows as a person and gains a clearer understanding of her life. Beacon Hills High offers young people (and their parents) an opportunity to talk about real issues like sex, self-esteem, class struggles, racism and to – hopefully - talk about them.

Co-Author Sherri McGee-McCovey and I are proud to introduce Beacon Hills High to the literary market. Eboni is real. She’s honest. She’s a lot like me.

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