Write Your Young Adult Novel Already

So you wanna write YA.

You love reading YA. You love the high stakes, the fever-pitch emotions. You think you could write it. You even have a book idea (or two) hiding inside of you.

You keep not writing it.

That's cool! No shade! Let's fix that!

In this six-week course, you'll study some contemporary and classic Young Adult novels and get to work on your own book. For the first four weeks, we'll read a book all together and discuss it in class, and you'll write 5-10 pages of your own novel; in the final two weeks, we'll just be looking at your work. I'll also answer questions about the business side of publishing and YA.

The books we'll be studying are:

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

We'll meet on Sundays from 1-4pm EST, starting July 14, via Zoom video chat. Join us from anywhere in the world!



Sunday, July 14, 1-4pm EST

Sunday, July 21, 1-4pm EST

Sunday, July 18, 1-4pm EST

Sunday, August 4, 1-4pm EST

Sunday, August 11, 1-4pm EST

Sunday, August 18, 1-4pm EST

Every week you'll ​be expected to read that week's book, write 5-10 pages of your own book, and read your classmates' pages. Please make sure you have the availability to take on this time commitment.

From past writing students:

"You gently but firmly encouraged me to be brave. That I am what I want to be, if I let myself just BE IT. You are the mentor that everyone should have, and I really, truly, honestly hope you will remain mine. TBH I am not fully convinced you aren't some Dionysian creature put on this earth to give your students (and everyone else) the gift of trust/inspiration/gritty theatrical madness."

"I liked the freedom to just bring in whatever crazy experiment of a scene(s) that I wanted each week. I felt really comfortable bringing in work that felt personal and vulnerable. Everyone was really supportive of each other and also challenged each other."

"This class is the best thing in my life right now."

"With Mariah, I learned that It Is Possible. Without this class, and Mariah's encouragement and love, and the incredibly warm, positive, and helpful feedback my classmates gave me, this project would just be a Post-It note that I scribbled on in the middle of the night."

"I am SO glad I decided to take this class. This helped kickstart my writing. I am grateful for the structure, for the goal of creating work each week, for the group of super talented artists, for the new ideas, for the encouragement. Thank you for teaching this class!!"

About me, your instructor:


Mariah MacCarthy's debut novel, Squadwas published in March 2019 with FSG. It was a Barnes & Noble Teen Blog's Most Anticipated LGBTQAP YA Book of 2019, a Washington Blade Springs Arts 2019 Book List Pick, and Amazon's #1 New Release in Teen and Young Adult Dance Fiction. Booklist called it "An openhearted debut that, like [the protagonist] Jenna herself, has wonderfully surprising depth"; NPR said, "Squad is a short, highly concentrated blast of a book that revels in all the best and worst feelings of high school and offers the reader a charismatic and imperfect character to fall in love with. Jenna certainly won me over, and so did Squad." It has also received positive coverage from Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Horn Book, Lithium Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, New Now Next, and others.


MacCarthy's Amazon Original piece, My Boy, Their Son, has been Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Adoption since its release in May, and is also the #1 Best Seller in 45-Minute Humor & Entertainment Short Reads. They are an award-winning writer, a performer, and a birth mother. They've written for BuzzFeed, Refinery29, Yes! magazine, LOOK magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and others. Their plays have been performed all over the world, and the New York Times called their immersive party play Mrs. Mayfield's Fifth-Grade Class of '93 20-Year Reunion "a lot of fun." They live in Astoria with their cat, Sophie.


I do everything on a sliding scale, taking into account not only your income, but also your expenses such as medical costs, student loans or tuition, childcare, transitioning costs, and more. Tuition for this course is $447-599.

Here's how you determine your rate:

1) Fill out my sliding scale worksheet, based on Third Root Community Health Center’s sliding scale deductions. 

2) Once you’ve determined your post-deduction income, find your rate below. If you prefer, and if you are paying in full, you can submit payment via Venmo or Square Cash. If you are doing a payment plan, however, it must be via the PayPal button below; if you have technical difficulties with PayPal, let me know.

3) I unfortunately cannot offer refunds, so please reread everything before you submit payment. Should you be unable to take the class after submitting payment, we can discuss the possibility of crediting your payment toward my other services.

4) If you sign up by 11:59pm EST on Monday, June 24, you'll also receive a free, one-hour, one-on-one writing consultation with me, to be redeemed at any point before, during, or after our class.

5) Class is capped at 10 students. Registration ends July 7. Cost of reading materials is not included in tuition; you can always hit up your local library or find a cheap used copy online.