The Art of Being Ugly Series

The Art of Being Ugly follows shy, bullied teen artist Nic Summers on an incredible journey of self-discovery that lets out the brave and bold person they had inside the whole time

Ugly, #1

“the compelling story will resonate with young adults going on their own difficult journeys and should help them feel less alone.” –Kirkus Reviews

Ugly book cover

Ugly was an Honor book for the 2022 SCBWI Spark Award in the Older Readers category and a semifinalist in the 2019 BookLife Prize Children's and Young Adult category

Ugly was previously published on Kindle Vella as a serial, in fall 2021/winter 2022.

released June 7, 2022

Sophomore Nic Summers tries to ignore the taunts of “ugly lesbian.”

Because she’s not sure they’re entirely wrong. But she also has bigger concerns for now, including prepping for the school’s art contest. And while she isn't certain of her sexuality, she does know her life is on the verge of falling apart when her best and only friend, Sam, drops the bomb that her family’s moving to Scotland. Together, to soften the blow and distract themselves from the inevitable, they start Operation Social Interaction for Nic—or OSIN for short—to try to find her some new friends.

But it’s an uphill battle for the introverted teen artist.

As Sam’s last day nears, Nic's self-confidence wavers even more, and she starts questioning everything. If lesbian doesn’t feel quite right, maybe she’s transgender? It isn’t until she stumbles across the label “gender nonconforming” that things start to make a little more sense, and fall into place. But finding the right label doesn’t really tell her what to do next, and before she knows it, Sam is gone.

Mustering all her resources, Nic realizes she needs to find her own path and live her own truth.

Uglier, #2

“A powerfully moving YA novel that will hopefully enlighten as much as it entertains” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

released August 1, 2023

A new school. An opportunity to fuel her passion. A mean girl waiting in the wings to burn it all down.

Oklahoma City. Nic Summers is ready for a fresh start. Entering her first semester at a boarding school far from her narrow-minded hometown, the talented teen artist hopes to continue exploring her gender identity in a safer environment. And after meeting a boy she likes, connecting with another student, and discovering a supportive teacher, she’s relieved things are looking up… until once again she faces a cruel bully.

Trying to stay positive, the shy creative focuses on nurturing her fledgling friendships and honing her skills under the guidance of a kind mentor. But after Nic’s crush is vengefully outed as trans, she blurts out something awful and fears she’s ruined everything.

Can she mend shattered trusts and reclaim her authentic self?

Ugliest, #3

cover coming soon

Purchase Links

Links will be added as they are available

  • Bookshop paperback (support indies!)
  • Kindle
  • Amazon paperback
  • Nook
  • Barnes and Noble paperback
  • Apple
  • Kobo
  • Google Play
  • Other retailers

release date August 13, 2024

Life, academics, and activism. Facing hate and bigotry, can this agender teen make a difference in LGBTQ+ rights?

Oklahoma City. Nic Summers is equal parts excited and nervous. Determined to excel, the seventeen-year-old strives to find time to survive physics, build confidence, and enter a competitive art mentorship. But the principled teen’s stress skyrockets when a protest video results in them and a trans friend being forced by the school to move to the female dorms.

Burning with a strong sense of justice, the normally shy teenager summons the courage to speak out against damaging state legislation. But when the vision goes viral, they’re shocked when the authorities hand down an ultimatum: stop or be expelled.

Can Nic dig deep and prevail against institutional bullies ready to erase their identity?