'Finally Fitz' - Queer Fake Dating

"Finally Fitz" by Marisa Kanter.

Marisa Kanter wanted to write about learning how to be kind to your imperfect self, so she wrote, "Finally Fitz."

What was your inspiration behind "Finally Fitz?"

In my second novel, "As If on Cue," Fitz is the best friend who is confident and self-assured, who exists for comic relief, who has it all together. As a reader, I’ve always been drawn to these characters and curious about their internal lives. So I wrote "Finally Fitz" as a sort of exploration and deconstruction of a fan favorite secondary character who is probably (definitely) not as put together as they come across through someone else’s eyes. "As If on Cue" ends with Fitz getting into a summer fashion program in New York and I was so thrilled when I got the go-ahead from my publisher to write Fitz’s story.

What does Reading Rainbow mean to you?

It means expanding our bookshelves to include the entire spectrum of LGBTQ experiences. Issues books. Joyful books. Genre books. I want to read about queer people in love, queer people in space, queer people existing. Reading Rainbow means using whatever platform I have to shout about these stories and get them in the hands of readers who have limited access to them.

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books?

Because a variety of people exist! I write YA to tell the stories that I wish I had as a teenager, the stories that would’ve made me feel seen.

Tell us a little more about "Finally Fitz" and why you decided to write it.

"Finally Fitz" is a queer romcom, but it’s also about learning how to be kind to your imperfect self. As a teen, I put so much pressure on myself. I didn’t understand the difference between being ambitious and having unreasonable expectations, and believed the worst thing I could do was fail. Unlearning perfectionism, reckoning with the truth that it is so often a symptom of anxiety, has been an ongoing process that I wish I’d started sooner. I wanted to write about a girl with similar perfectionist tendencies, but who had people around her to gently call those out and support her through her mental health journey. It’s the aspect of the book that I’m most proud of. Super tough to write, but ultimately so healing.

What can fans expect from "Finally Fitz?"

Queer fake dating! A soft plant boy! "Jewish enough" feelings! Sisters learning how to communicate with each other! And everything I love about New York City!

What's up next for you in the bookish world?

I am currently in the middle of drafting another queer and romantic story that I cannot wait to share more about!

Buy the book here.

Marisa Kanter is a young adult author, amateur baker, and reality television enthusiast. She is the author of "What I Like About You," and "As If On Cue." Born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, her obsession with books led her to New York City, where she worked in the publishing industry to help books find their perfect readers. She currently lives in Los Angeles, writing love stories by day and searching for the perfect slice of pizza by night.


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