"It's been surreal and thrilling," shares Houstonian Jennifer Mathieu about her upcoming novel Moxie (Roaring Brook Press; September 2017) being picked up by Amy Poehler's production company, Paper Kite, last Friday.
The English teacher at Bellaire High School and author of three additional young adult books, including the award-winning The Truth About Alice, said that when the book was being shopped around to film companies late last year, Paper Kite expressed interest. The production company, which is behind the popular Hulu series Difficult People and Comedy Central series Broad City, wanted to speak with her, but she didn't expect Poehler to be on the call.
"She was lovely and shared that both of her parents are English teachers, too. She was so normal! I’ve always been a huge fan of Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, her book Yes Please, and her web series Amy Poehler's Smart Girls," says Mathieu. "She actually read my entire book and quoted passages from it. When she said she wanted to work with me, naturally, I said yes!"
Like most of Mathieu's books, Moxie is set in a small Texas town. It tells the story of a 16-year-old girl who is inspired by her single mother’s Riot Grrrl past and starts a feminist revolution against the toxic culture against girls—from hallway harassment to the inequality of dress code enforcement—at her high school.
When writing about young women, Mathieu's goal was to feature real girls on the pages. "I included all types of women—different races, ethnicities, sizes—so the book resonates with all readers," says Mathieu. "I want every girl to feel like a Moxie girl."