An own-voices LGBTQ novel from the acclaimed author ofHurricane Season, about eighth-grader Brie, who learns how to be true to herself and to her relationships with family, friends, and faith.
In The Role of Brie Hutchens.. by Nicole Melleby is a story about
the lengths to which people go to avoid the discomfort of change.
Synopsis: Introducing Brie Hutchens: soap opera super fan, aspiring actor, and so-so student at her small Catholic school. Brie has big plans for eighth grade. She’s going to be the star of the school play and convince her parents to let her go to the performing arts high school. But when Brie’s mom walks in on her accidentally looking at some possibly inappropriate photos of her favorite actress, Brie panics and blurts out that she’s been chosen to crown the Mary statue during her school’s May Crowning ceremony. Brie’s mom is distracted with pride—but Brie’s in big trouble: she has not been chosen. No one has, yet. Worse, Brie has almost no chance to get the job, which always goes to a top student.
Desperate to make her lie become truth, Brie turns to Kennedy, the girl everyone expects to crown Mary. But sometimes just looking at Kennedy gives Brie butterflies. Juggling her confusing feelings with the rapidly approaching May Crowning, not to mention her hilarious non-star turn in the school play, Brie navigates truth and lies, expectations and identity, and how to—finally—make her mother really see her as she is.
Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
“A nuanced exploration of how to reconcile faith and identity. Melleby's clear, honest voice expertly captures the frustration, awkwardness, and fear of being vulnerable—as well as the potential rewards…This funny, tender, and heart-wrenching story will have readers calling for an encore.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Melleby (Hurricane Season) paints Brie as a recognizable teen: authentic in her self-centeredness and sympathetic in her attempts to embrace her identity. Brie’s anxiety over her faith, as well as how to come out to her loved ones, is wrenching and genuine in this accomplished, leisurely paced read.”
—Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
"Her struggles and those of her family seem authentic, their interactions realistic, and Brie’s desire to be really seen and loved for who she is will ring true with many, middle school readers." —School Library Journal
About The Author
Nicole Melleby is a born-and-bred Jersey girl with a passion for storytelling. She has an MFA in creative writing and currently teaches children's and young adult literature courses at Kean University. Her debut novel, HURRICANE SEASON was a Lambda Literary Finalist and was awarded the Skipping Stones Honor Award for exceptional contribution to multicultural and ecological awareness in children's literature. Her second novel, IN THE ROLE OF BRIE HUTCHENS... will be released June 2020. When she’s not writing, Nicole can be found browsing the shelves at her local comic shop or watching soap operas with a cup of tea.