Six Feet Over It

Horn Book Review of SIX FEET OVER IT

A beautiful review from The Horn Book Review has come in for SIX FEET OVER IT. I'm so grateful to Cynthia K. Ritter and Horn Book Review for reading, and for such kind praise.The Horn Book Review, founded in Boston in 1924, is a bimonthly periodical about literature for children and young adults and is the oldest magazine in the United States dedicated to reviewing children's literature. In each bi-monthly issue The Horn Book Magazine includes reviews of new books and paperback reprints for children. Articles are written by the staff and guest reviewers, including librarians, teachers, historians and booksellers. What a wonderful review from an amazing champion of young people's literature. Such an honor! Here's the review:

SIX FEET OVER ITHorn Book By Jennifer Longo Four months ago Leigh’s father unexpectedly bought a graveyard and moved his family from their California beach town to live on the graveyard’s grounds. While he loves his new business (maybe a little too much), Leigh’s not thrilled about having to manage the cemetery office when she’s not at her new school—a place where she remains a “friendless parasite in [an] unfamiliar labyrinth.” Leigh’s older sister is in remission from cancer and obsessed with running and with a new love interest; their artist mother escapes to the beach whenever she can. On top of all that, Leigh is secretly mourning the death of her only friend, Emily, from back home who, as it turns out, is buried in their cemetery. Leigh thinks that making new friends or having fun will be a betrayal of her friendship with Emily and believes that anyone who gets close to her will disappear, too, so she keeps people at bay. Fortunately the new young Mexican groundskeeper Dario and free-spirited flower-shop girl Elanor are persistent in their support and friendship, and they slowly help Leigh rediscover herself. Longo’s debut stands out for its unusual setting and also the sarcasm and caustic humor of its protagonist (“Creepy death/birth? Check. Living in a graveyard? Check…born on the Day of the Dead? The Day of the Freaking Dead?…Check!”). It is heartbreaking to see this likable character suffer, but all the more rewarding to see her transformation unfold. -Cynthia K. Ritter

Book Tour! Readings! Signings! Cupcakes!

You guys! I'm coming to all points West Coast for some Six Feet Over It readings and signings! If you've ever wanted to hear stories about my dad mowing a graveyard lawn while wearing Japanese flag running shorts, or eat cupcakes in a book store, or enjoy a quiz about death for prizes, or meet me in person to ask me intimate questions about my writing process (Hint: Many bowls of Rice Krispies and tons of frustration) then please do join me at one of these wonderful events. I would love to meet you and sign a book for you and chat it up! Seattle, Sacramento, San Francisco - I'll be all over the West Coast. Well. The Northern part. And a little inland. Everyone welcome, this book is for ages 12 & up, though it has elements of cussing and death in it so you know...know your kid I guess. But kids are nuts theses days, they can handle it! I can't wait to see you! photo-139

*Wednesday, October 8th @ 7pm Reading with Suzy Vitello (Celebrating the launch of her new book, The Empress Chronicles ) Powells’ Books Cedar Hills Crosssing, Portland, Oregon.

*Thursday, October 9th @ 6:30 pm with Suzy again for the YA Club at Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle, Washington.

*Sunday, October 12th @ 5pm Book Shop West Portal in San Francisco, California (Reading, Signing, Prizes, Best Mexican Food In The World Next Door at El Toreador)Six Feet Over It

*Monday, October 13th @ 8pm I'm telling a story at Porchlight SF as part of Lit Quake San Francisco at the Verdi Club in San Francisco, California. (Tickets at the door, or at

*Thursday, October 23rd Reading as part of Seattle’s Lit Crawl (Exact location and time TBD)

I hope to see you there! There will be a ton of York Peppermint Patties tossed out at the audience like Mardi Gras! How could you even consider not joining the fun with the promise of chocolate, mint, and Kirkus Starred story telling? Oh, you'll be there. You will. See you soon!



Best Moments In Life In Photographs.

Most Memorable Life Events In Photographs. 1. Met this J-Hole in 3rd grade.

Yoda Ridiculous


2. Met best friend in 5th grade.



3. Won first writing award.



4. First lead role in a musical.



5. Graduated from college and grad school.



6. First play produced.


7. Married J-Hole.


8. Met and adopted most wonderful person in the world.


9. Wrote first novel, people at NaNoWriMo loved it.


10. Signed with Agent Of The World, Melissa Sarver-White.


11. Long story long...



Booklist Reviews SIX FEET OVER IT

Booklist has given Six Feet Over It an amazing review! And it contains a line that makes my YA writer heart sing: "What looks to be positioned as a romance between Leigh and Dario develops into a surprising—and quite refreshing—story about the sometimes painful give-and-take of friendship."photo-139

Here is the review, in all it's "Quite Refreshing" glory:

Six Feet Over It. Longo, Jennifer (Author) Aug 26, 2014. 352 p. Random, hardcover, $17.99 The one thing 14-year-old Leigh didn’t need after the death of her friend Emily was for her dad to move the whole family, including her cancer-recovering sister, inland to work at the cemetery he suddenly decided to purchase. Now Leigh’s days are filled with dealing with the “Pre-Need” (those buying plots for the future) and the “At Need” (those who need graves right now). Death, it seems, surrounds her, though the 19-year-old Mexican gravedigger, Dario, suggests that being “the patron saint of death” is rather beautiful. What looks to be positioned as a romance between Leigh and Dario develops into a surprising—and quite refreshing—story about the sometimes painful give-and-take of friendship, as Dario, over two years, helps Leigh to realize that accepting new relationships does not equal forgetting Emily. It may sound morose, but Longo gives it quite a bounce, with Leigh’s wry sense of humor wreaking havoc on the day-to-day cemetery operations and her boisterous father bringing the laughs with his every sputtering shout of disbelief. A unique book for unique teens.

Booklist reviewer, please join me in my home for I shall make you tacos for dinner and we'll have frozen yogurt for dessert with York mints and I can tell you in person how much I appreciate, and yes, love you. Yesterday also saw the arrival of the first hardcover copy of Six Feet Over It, which the Fed Ex guy totally flung out onto the driveway and I stood and shook my fists at the sky and cried, "How dare you, sir? That is my baby!" But the baby is perfectly intact, publishing date August 26th is just around the river bend, and I am so grateful to Booklist, Chelsea Eberly, Melissa Sarver White, and sure, even the Fed Ex guy. Because it's hot out and who wants to climb stairs. I feel you, man. Have a wonderful weekend readers, writers, reviewers and delivery people!



Fellow Writers, published or almost: SCBWI & Mockingbird Books show us the fun part!

One month today until Six Feet Over It publishes! August 26th 2014 People! In celebration, let's harken back to Ye Olde Month Of April at the beautiful Mockingbird Books in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood. photo 1      Mockingbird hosts SCBWI's annual Inside Story event wherein authors of recently published and forthcoming books share a little about how the book came to be, followed by a bunch of really amazing brownies and lemonade and there was some great hummus, too I think...oh, and a book signing! I only had an ARC, just one - so I signed it for my new friend Mel who works at University Books and directs the great Novels Notes News Northwest where PNW authors promote their books and jazz.

photo 1-2

I met some wonderful Seattle area authors who were so kind and supportive and gave great advice about signing (always bring water and a crap ton of Sharpies)



I got all jittery when I spoke and it was awesome! Mockingbird Books has this beautiful performance space above the store where the event was held, then we went downstairs for the signing where I scored a whole mess of fabulous books for myself and got them signed by those wonderful authors! This is the fun part, Writers. This is the part, after months and years of so much work to make your book good enough for readers, this is when people come up and say things like, "Your book sounds perfect for my daughter/son/niece!" or "I loved this story so much...I LOVED it!" and you think, "Ohhhhh right....this is why I wrote this thing."

On Sunday, September 14th Island Books on Mercer Island, Washington will host the launch party for my debut novel Six Feet Over It. I'll have a bunch of sharpies and my water bottle at the ready and I'll be super nervous and I'll wish it could last forever. So listen, feel free to join me next time I'm hunkered down doing line edits and I haven't showered in days and my kid is all, "You don't love me, you only love your book!"


OR...join me instead on Sunday September 14th for five dozen cupcakes in gorgeous Island Books and hear a delightful brief reading and get your book signed and enjoy a plastic flute of sparkly champagne! Come for the fun part! And get ready for your fun part. Because it will be here soon, the harder you write. The more you read and write and write and edit and revise and write submit and revise and write and write, it will happen. Readers will love your story, it will make the world more beautiful and you'll need your water and sharpies. I'm so excited for you. I can't wait to read your book and have you sign my copy which I will buy at the Indie bookshop hosting your launch. Order your cupcakes and write on, Authors.


Kirkus Starred Review for SIX FEET OVER IT. For real.


Six Feet Over It has a really beautiful starred review from Kirkus! What an amazing honor, what a joy to know that all the reasons I wanted to tell this story have somehow translated to so many readers. And yes, reviews are just one person's thoughts and are not the be-all-end-all of life or books whether good, bad or indifferent. But the thing is this: If even one person feels a little less lonely, or happier, or just falls away into a story for a few hours - that is the best thing in the world, the greatest and entire reward for a storyteller or illustrator, for an agent and editor who create the story with the writers and artists. That is magic. People, is there anything better than a great book to get lost in? Certainly not! And the kindness of readers who have shared how they've been happily lost in Six Feet Over It make me so grateful and thrilled as a writer - and  as a reader - that I could totally cry. Which I generally tend to do a lot anyway, but which I am especially doing a ton these days as August 26th comes nearer. So. Excited. Thank you all so much, Dear Readers, and thank you Dear Writers who write the amazing books I cannot stop reading. Even when I should be writing. Which is now. So I'll get back to it. But here's the unbelievably wonderful Kirkus (Starred! What the hell? Seriously?!) review for you to read. Which I read a few times a day while clutching a wad of Kleenex because it makes me weepy because I am so grateful and So Happy!



A teenage girl must choose to live in a world filled with death.

Fourteen-year-old Leigh is anything but thrilled when her parents move the family from their coastal home in Mendocino to run a “memorial park” (aka graveyard) in the boring inland California community of Hangtown. While her older sister, Kai, relaxes into small-town living, finally a normal high school girl after a long battle with leukemia, Leigh hides herself in the cemetery’s office and tries to avoid forming relationships. Like her parents, Leigh sacrificed a lot for Kai’s recovery, but she isn’t bitter. She adores her sister. Instead, she has closed herself off from feeling, hoping to avoid hurting or losing anyone again. When the local florists’ daughter and the new groundskeeper enter her life, she struggles to keep them at arm’s length. As she begins to let her guard down, she realizes that loss is a part of life and must decide if she is ready to let go of some painful events in her past to start really living again. In her debut, Longo deftly combines Leigh’s wry wit with an exceptional cast of well-developed characters to create a novel that is equal parts poignant and humorous. Readers will find themselves rooting for Leigh as she returns to the world around her.

Superb. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 2014 ISBN: 978-0-449-81871-8 Page count: 352pp Publisher: Random House Review Posted Online: June 4th, 2014 Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2014