book cover of Just Happy to Be Here

Just Happy to Be Here

A novel by

In this YA standalone perfect for fans of Tobly McSmith and Meredith Russo, the first out trans girl at an all-girls school must choose between keeping her head down or blazing a trail.

Tara just wants to be treated like any other girl at Ainsley Academy.

That is, judged on her merits—not on her transness. But there’s no road map for being the first trans girl at an all-girls school. And when she tries to join the Sibyls, an old-fashioned Ainsley sisterhood complete with code names and special privileges, she’s thrust into the center of a larger argument about what girlhood means and whether the club should exist at all.

Being the figurehead of a movement isn’t something Tara’s interested in. She’d rather read old speeches and hang out with the Sibyls who are on her side—especially Felicity, a new friend she thinks could turn into something more. Then the club’s sponsor, a famous alumna, attacks her in the media and turns the selection process into a spectacle.

Tara’s always found comfort in the power of other peoples’ words. But when it comes time to fight for herself, will she be able to find her own voice?

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Praise for this book

"Kanakia's razor-sharp candor, insight, and nuance make her one of YA's most fascinating and relevant authors. Just Happy to Be Here is an absolute and necessary game-changer." - Dahlia Adler

"Timely, bold, and engrossing, Just Happy to Be Here balances sharp social commentary, giddy romance, and a truthful coming of age story for all readers. Naomi Kanakia says exactly what so many of us need to hear." - Camryn Garrett

"Critical in the erudite sense, brave beyond lip service, and devoted to undoing the distortions of those who, even well-meaningly, erase or obscure our abundant reality - the future is with Kanakia, and what she stands for here." - Lio Min

"A perfect book for anyone learning that there is not always a beating heart in government, schools, or awards, but there can be in the friendships of teenage girls resisting social pressure to perform, assimilate, and make concessions to power." - Hal Schrieve

"Tara is an unforgettable heroine -- sweetly vulnerable, heartbreakingly hopeful, smarter than she thinks, stronger than she knows -- and Kanakia tells her story with a sharp, unsentimental intelligence that's rare and refreshing." - James Frankie Thomas

"A staggering achievement. Naomi Kanakia sweeps aside decades of cliche and sanctimony to weave a compelling, suspenseful, and sweetly romantic coming-of-age tale." - Peyton Thomas

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