These are my books or books in which I’ve had work included.

jensen-here-we-are-1Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World (January 24, 2017, Algonquin Young Readers)

Let’s get the feminist party started!

Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist. It’s packed with essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia, politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular YA authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. Altogether, the book features more than forty-four pieces, with an eight-page insert of full-color illustrations.

Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.

A progressive antidote to the ancient teen health textbooks that mull over the dry basics of teen identity. Jensen here assembles a stellar collection of writings—prose, illustrated pieces, and poetry—that showcase contemporary expressions of feminism: what it is, what it isn’t, and what it can be, as defined by each writer. Representing a diverse demographic, contributing authors include Roxane Gay, Anne Thériault, Malinda Lo, Daniel José Older, Ashley Hope Pérez, and Alida Nugent. Prominent authors and performers share space with bloggers and young people, and voices span a range of gender expressions. Characteristic of the quality on offer is a priceless, heartfelt comic by Wendy Xu that explores the bumpy road of a teen romance that ultimately moves her to affirm her Asian identity. The mix of approaches and the brevity of the pieces make this a book that can easily act as a text for any high school class wanting to engage with the topic of feminism. The collection deconstructs stereotypical notions of feminism, teaching readers that feminism is more than just transcending gender norms. Through the multiplicity of stories, readers learn that feminism is a personal statement that expresses itself differently for each individual. With its thoughtful, scrapbooklike design and variety of socio-economic and cultural perspectives, the book invites young readers to engage in this roundtable discussion. An embarrassment of riches.” — Kirkus, Starred Review


“Blogger and editor Jensen compiles a scrapbook-style collection of diverse reflections on feminism’s past and present from more than 40 authors, poets, and artists. Each of the book’s seven sections (“Body and Mind,” “Gender, Sex, and Sexuality,” etc.) features thoughtful and challenging essays that consider the intersection of feminism with body image, disability, mental illness, privilege, appropriation, sexuality, gender identity, and creativity. Brief “FAQs About Feminism,” lists, reading suggestions, and artwork intersperse with longer pieces; most are original to this anthology, though well-chosen excerpts of published work from the likes of Roxane Gay and Mindy Kaling are also included. Laurie Halse Anderson and Courtney Summers discuss rape culture in life and their literature; Sarah McCarry, Kayla Whaley, and Erika T. Wurth offer compassionate appeals to their younger selves; and comics artists and poets are also represented (“We were taught that just because something happens/ doesn’t mean you are to talk about it,” writes Zariya Allen). Sophisticated yet entirely accessible, the collection is valuable both for the breadth of thought and perspective it represents and for the support it directs toward readers.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review



Preorder it at your favorite retailer (links here!). Want to order it from my local indie? Read Between The Lynes has got you covered!



the vwordThe V-Word: True Stories About First-Time Sex, edited by Amber Keyser

An honest and poignant collection of essays by women about losing their virginity in their teens. The V-Word captures the complexity of this important life-decision and reflects diverse real-world experiences. Includes helpful resources for parents and teens.

Keyser (The Way Back from Broken) compiles powerfully candid and intimate essays from 17 women, many of whom are YA authors, about their first times having sex, the pressure to do so, guilt, desire, and the concept of virginity (“Life is an endless roller coaster of first times, of lost virginities,” writes Kiersi Burkhart). […] Also included are a Q&A with blogger Kelly Jensen about representations of sex in media, and supplementary resources for both parents and teens. Frank, encouraging, and explicit, these stories never cut away from the physical or emotional realities of sex, and the collection is stronger and more valuable for it.

— Starred Review, Publishers Weekly


Appended is an interview between Keyser and contributor, former librarian, and editor Kelly Jensen, who offers many examples of YA novels with rich depictions of female sexuality. Although there’s a wealth of thought-provoking content here, Keyser is never preachy, and teens will come away feeling as though they’ve spent time in the company of a smart and self-assured but gentle and reassuring older sister or friend. VERDICT A strong addition to sex ed shelves and a much-needed perspective on teenage sexuality.

— School Library Journal


[R]eaders will be able to see their own parallels and differences in each of these varied experiences from writers who fall along a wide range of sexual orientations. A conversation between Keyser and a teen librarian concludes the collection, along with a solid list of online and print resources for teens and their parents. Most valuable here is the explicit, intimate, and informative nature of each writer’s words. 
— Kirkus Review
it happens

It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader

It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader is a comprehensive guide to matching a teen reader with the right book.

A comprehensive look at contemporary YA fiction. The book is divided into three parts: “Real Tools,” “Real Reads,” and “Real Talk.” In “Real Tools,” Jensen walks readers through the multiple layers of contemporary YA fiction and explains the importance of the genre. She shows readers how to seek out contemporary YA titles by relying on nontraditional review sources and award and selection lists. She also explains how to evaluate books for eight critical elements such as appeal, voice, and pacing. Readers’ advisory is highlighted through a thorough look at what it is and how to best conduct it. In “Real Reads,” 150 titles are annotated covering 10 topics. Each annotation includes read-alikes and reasons the book is appealing. The 10 topical lists include additional titles relevant to that category. “Real Talk” presents five chapters of “conversation starters” for discussing books and their common themes. The conversation starters include a few books on the topic and cover areas such as bullying, sex and sexual abuse, and unlikable female characters. Rounding out this section are additional ideas and tips for how to advocate for contemporary YA fiction. This title includes an appendix of books and blogs to continue one’s study, as well as author, title, and topical indexes. The volume’s strengths lie in its book lists, where Jensen chose to focus on selections that “are less likely to be found in other resources outside of this book.”

— School Library Journal Review