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Hey, Do You Want A Free Signed Copy Of My New Book?

Okay, but first you have to read this short piece I wrote. Small price to pay, right?



A beautiful girl with a giant pimple in the middle of her nose.

That’s the first thing that popped into my head — no pun intended, I swear! — when I embarked on the story that became THE REAL US.

This was a few years ago, and up to that point, all the middle-grade novels I written – the Charlie Joe Jackson series and its spinoffs, the Crimebiters! series – had a broadly comic bent to them. So naturally, as I dove in to this new story, I assumed that I would go down a similarly humorous path. But interestingly, I soon enough found myself writing a (slightly) more serious book about friendship, self-identity and the limits and labels we put on ourselves, and others, throughout our middle school years.

These are issues that I’ve always been fascinated by: it traces back to when I was a kid myself, trying to straddle the worlds between music (I was a pianist and percussionist) and sports (I played soccer). It wasn’t easy, because each of those pursuits was so self-contained, and all-consuming. And then I saw it in my three boys, Charlie, Joe and Jack, who each found a world to belong to in school, and then found it difficult when they were interested in exploring beyond the boundaries of that world.

Add the extra complication of looks into it – how the “attractive” kids are expected to act a certain way and hang around with a certain kind of person (namely, each other), and how the “less attractive” kids are supposed to stay in their lane and know their place – and you’ve suddenly got the makings of a story that could go in a lot of different directions. And I was interesting in following those directions and seeing where they took me.

I loved creating Calista, Damian and Laura – the heroes of THE REAL US. My goal was to make them funny, confused, complicated and real, or at least as real as fictional people can be.

But don’t worry. Calista – the beautiful one – still gets the giant pimple in the middle of her nose.

You didn’t think I was gonna let that one go, did you?


OKAY NOW… To enter to win one of FOUR FREE SIGNED COPIES of THE REAL US, please use the comments section to answer the following question:

In the essay above, I mention a sport. Which sport is it?

a) Equestrian

b) Soccer

c) Competitive Eating

Good luck!

Your pal,

Tommy G


  1. August 18th, 2017

    Catherine Strauss


  2. August 18th, 2017

    Lauren Greenwald

    B! Go Staples!!

    Hey, since I’m family I have no biz getting a free book so don’t worry, we will buy one! It sounds fantastic and I’m sure we will love reading it.

  3. August 18th, 2017

    Brenda Kahn

    B. Soccer! Loved the essay and can’t wait to read it!

  4. August 18th, 2017

    Pamela Gallo

    How are you? Can’t wait to read it.

  5. August 20th, 2017

    Cam Skene

    B. Soccer. You were right, I was able to find the book for free somewhere!

  6. August 20th, 2017


    B. Soccer. Hope I win!

  7. August 20th, 2017

    Kristen Picone

    The answer is B! Soccer!! All of your books are a hit in my 5th grade classroom! I can’t wait to read this new one!

  8. August 29th, 2017

    Ashley Vela

    B: Soccer. I cannot wait to get my hands I a copy of this book! I have two eleven year old boys who just started middle school. They both are into music and joined band and one is really into soccer as well. It sounds like you wrote it just for them, though that just shows how much all of us really make a similar journey to figure out life.

  9. September 4th, 2017

    Phyllis Robinson

    B: soccer

  10. September 10th, 2017

    Mel B

    d) Piano!

    but seriously, e) Percussion.


  11. September 18th, 2017

    Gail Gauthier


  12. September 18th, 2017

    Caragh O'Brien

    You spoke of soccer, but you failed to mention if you still own a pair of cleats.

  13. September 18th, 2017

    Josh Newhouse

    Socc er it tu me!

  14. September 18th, 2017

    Leora Tec

    B. Soccer

  15. September 18th, 2017

    Jamie Dutton

    B. Soccer, although it sounds like this story itself will have all the attributes of a sport: teamwork, laughs, hard workers, the ones that just expect, memories, and knowing there is always more to learn! Can’t wait!

  16. September 19th, 2017

    Maura Ripson


  17. September 26th, 2017


    B soccer 🙂

  18. September 28th, 2017


    B soccer 🙂

  19. October 5th, 2017

    Dan Kapral


  20. October 15th, 2017

    Henry H.

    B.Soccer …Your Pals Henry and Yariel ! Love the books we got in Chapp.

  21. October 15th, 2017

    Allison Picard


  22. November 1st, 2017

    faaiq kamaldeen


  23. November 28th, 2017

    Isabella Matarelli

    I know this is way late for a signed book? but the answer is B

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