Queen of Likes
by Hillary Homzie
GENRE: middle grade/tween
Like everyone at Merton Middle School, Karma Cooper’s smartphone is almost another body part. She’s obsessed with her LIKES on Snappypic. When her parents shut down her social media account and take away her smartphone, Karma’s whole world crumbles. She has to figure out what she actually likes and how to live life fully unplugged. This book will jumpstart conversations about how social media is changing the ways tweens are growing up.
“So we’re come up with a new punishment,” says Dad. “Something that will get your attention.”
Dad looks at Mom and Mom looks at Dad and I can tell that they are a united front against me. “We’re going to close your Snappypic account,” states Dad.
“What?” My stomach dips as if I’ve just dropped from highest part of a roller coaster. I want to flop against the nearest car in the parking lot. “You can’t do that. It’s my account. It’s private. You can’t.” Every day, I get smiley faces and hearts and balloons and LIKES. All of the time. Waking up and not being able to se what my followers are up to? Being totally cut off like that? My parents might as well send me to Antarctica because I’m going to be frozen out of everything. “This must be some kind of hallucination,” I say. “The parents I know would never do this to me!”
“Karma, I’m sorry,” says Mom. “But I think you are over-reacting. You knew the rules.”
“Please.” I clasp my hands together. “Please, please. Please. I’ll do anything. I’ll babysit Toby as much as you want. I’ll clean the house every single day. I’ll make dinner I’ll—”
“It’s a final decision,” says Dad.
“But I’m like… a professional. I have more followers than some companies.”
“Exactly our point, Karma,” says Mom. “You’re not a company. You’re our daughter and still a kid. And I don’t really love this obsession of yours.”
The parking lot is practically spinning. “You just don’t want me to grow up!”
I fling up my arms. “Please,” I beg. “Don’t do this.”
Interview with the Author:
How long of you been writing?
That’s a really good question. I’ve been writing fiction for about 25 years. However, before I wrote fiction I was a journalist. I spent one year as a radio reporter, and then I held some publicist positions. One at the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia and one at the Institute at Pennsylvania Hospital. During that period, I was also doing some freelance writing. I wrote for some parenting publications, Dance Magazine as well as New York Newsday.
How long have you been a published author?
My first book was published in 2002, and it was a chapter book. I guess that means I’ve been officially published for 14 years.
What titles do you have available?
I have the first two titles in The Alien Clones from Outer Space (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin Books) chapter book series—Two Heads Are Better Than One and Who Let the Dogs Out? Those were written under the name H.B. Homzie. They are for children 5 to 8 years old. It’s a comedic series about twins who discover they have a alien clones from outer space and they get the clones to do their chores for them, resulting in mayhem.
In addition to my new book, the Queen of Likes, I have two more books written for girls ages 9 to 12. They are–Things Are Gonna Get Ugly, which is about a materialistic girl who magically is transformed someone bookish/nerdy and what she learns about herself in that state. And the other one is called the Hot List. It’s about the length that the 12 year-old Sophie goes to in order to win back her best friend who is drifting away from her.
What made you choose the subject of this book?
I chose to write about tweens and social media because I parent two teenagers and a tween, and I see how much kids are on social media. I thought it would be an interesting area to address. My publisher, Simon and Schuster, told me this is their first book about tweens and social media. The protagonist needs to learn what she likes versus what other people like. She learns to look inside herself versus outside of herself for validation.
Do you have any new titles coming soon?
I’m in the process right now of discussing some offers for a new children’s book series. I’ll be able to talk about that soon but it’s still early.
What is your favorite genre and why?
I love anything that is humorous and also touching at the same time. I spent some time in New York City as a sketch comedian. I always call upon that comedy muscle when I write.
What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
I might be a little odd, but my favorite thing is to receive feedback from other authors, my editor and my agent and incorporate their insights into my work in order to strengthen it. I love revising!
If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
I would choose Jane Austen because she is so clever and wise and attuned to every sort of social nuance. I’d love her eyes on contemporary 21st-century tween and kid culture.
Where can readers find you on the web?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Hillary is the author of the tween novel, THE HOT LIST (Simon & Schuster/M!X) which Booklist says “captures the angst of young teen friendships and fragile identities.” She’s also the author of the middle grade novel, THINGS ARE GONNA GET UGLY (Simon & Schuster/M!X), a Justice Book-of-the-Month, which was just optioned by Priority Pictures, and the forthcoming QUEEN OF LIKES (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X, April 2016), which is about social media, as well as the humorous chapter book series, ALIEN CLONES FROM OUTER SPACE (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin), a Children’s Book-of-the-Month Best Books for Children. Emmy-nominated Suppertime Entertainment developed the books to become an animated television series and it was sold to ABC Australia. Hillary’s young adult fiction has been published in TEEN MAGAZINE and anthologized (MUDDVILLE DIARIES, Avon Books). She has sold non-fiction and fiction projects to Klutz Press/Scholastic Books, The Learning Company and John Muir Books. With her frequent writing partner, Steven Arvanites, she has had film projects developed by Brooklyn Weaver’s Energy Entertainment. Hillary got her start performing and writing sketch comedy Off-Broadway, and was a Heideman Playwrighting Award Finalist. Hillary holds a master’s degree in education from Temple University and a master’s of arts degree from Hollins University in children’s literature and writing. Currently, she’s a visiting professor of children’s literature and writing at Hollins University. Visit her on the web at http://www.hillaryhomzie.com and follow her on
Twitter @HillaryHomzie and visit her on
Queen of Likes buy Links:
Hillary Homzie will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: