“Most Anticipated Young Adult Books 2023” LGBTQ Reads

“Most Anticipated LBGTQIA+ Young Adult Literature” —Lambda Literary

“Must-Have 2023 Queer Book Releases” —The Nerd Daily

“A colorful story full of hope and wonder, immersing the reader in the near-dystopian dreamscape of the music industry in 1990s Los Angeles–and I know because I lived it.” ―Eva Gardner, bassist for P!NK, Cher, Tegan & Sarah

“A riveting debut . . . vivid and wise.” Jill McCorkle, New York Times Bestselling Author 

Acclaimed musician Jessamyn Violet’s debut LGBTQA+ novel sizzles with a coming-of-age story set in an industry of ambition, secrets, lies, and utter joy.

Eighteen-year-old Kyla Bell dreams of one day being a professional musician… but gets little to no support from her parents. Still, she practices every day and performs locally, harboring her own secret hopes. One night, her dreams are answered in the form of sultry rocker Ruby Sky, the magnetic frontwoman of her favorite band, Glitter Tears. Ruby hears Kyla perform and asks her to join the band on keys for their upcoming tour.

In order to accept, Kyla must drop out of her Western Massachusetts high school and move to Los Angeles immediately to live with a renowned yet highly volatile producer who has agreed to put her through “rock star boot camp” in a matter of weeks. Blindsided by her emerging feelings for Ruby Sky, Kyla tumbles through the lights and shadows of the 90s music scene in Los Angeles.

ISBN: 978-1953103291; Trade Paper Original; 288 pages; $14; April 18, 2023



“Most Anticipated Young Adult Books 2023”—LGBTQ Reads

“Most Anticipated LBGTQIA+ Young Adult Literature” —Lambda Literary

“Recommended LGBTQ+ YA Releasing in Spring 2023” —Reads Rainbow

“Must-Have 2023 Queer Book Releases”—The Nerd Daily

“Violet persuasively develops a vivid setting that epitomizes Kyla’s dreams and aspirations . . . Complexly rendered relationships ground this wish-fulfilling love letter to rock music and the whirlwind of fame.” —Publishers Weekly

“An evocative ’90s vignette.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This YA debut by celebrated musician Jessamyn Violet makes good use of her expertise by telling the story of an eighteen-year-old, Kyla, who dreams of becoming a rock star.” —Autostraddle

“Violet spotlights art, music and queer identity through the eyes of Kyla Bell, a quirky teenage keyboardist immersed in the 90’s Los Angeles rock scene in her debut book.” —Los Angeles Daily News

“This striking debut about an up-and-coming young musician feels reminiscent of the captivating fictional celebrity of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling Daisy Jones And The Six with its own lighthearted, YA sense of fun and wonder.” —The National Scotland

Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar breaks open the experience of being a new-to-the-scene musician to reveal the glittery tangle of excitement, inspiration, and danger that comes with sudden success. Jessamyn Violet’s queer protagonist, Kyla Bell, might be green, but she is the only person we can trust to teach us the rules to surviving—and maybe even thriving—in the 1990s Hollywood music industry. An impressive, introspective debut!” —Kelly Ann Jacobson, author, Tink and Wendy and Robin and Her Misfits

“Jessamyn Violet presents readers with the sights, sounds, smells, and, above all, the tumultuous thoughts and feelings of a young life in music. This story rings true from its overture to its coda.“ —Susan Rogers, Director of Berklee Music Perception & Cognition Lab; Author, This Is What It Sounds Like: What The Music You Love Says About You

Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar is a magical story that reminds me of when we were first getting started with Skating Polly. I could not put this book down and definitely cried at parts. I’m proud to support such a cool, fun and feminist tale. It’s the book I dreamed of reading as a teenager!!” —Peyton Bighorse of Skating Polly 

“Jessamyn Violet is a real rocker and a real writer. You will love her as much as I do.” —Alice Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Practical Magi

“Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar is a colorful story full of hope and wonder, immersing the reader in the near-dystopian dreamscape of the music industry in 1990s Los Angeles—and I know because I lived it.” —Eva Gardner, bassist for P!NK, Cher, Tegan & Sarah

“Jessamyn Violet’s riveting debut novel, Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar, gives us Kyla Bell, an endearing character who strives to balance the life of a rockstar with that of the honest and loyal daughter and friend she has always been. For this, Kyla needs a complicated set of rules, and the journey that follows—vivid and wise—is both poignant and exhilarating.” —Jill McCorkle, New York Times Bestselling Author 

About the Author

Jessamyn Violet. Photo by (c) Erin Naifeh

Jessamyn Violet is a writer and musician, born and raised in Massachusetts. She received her BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College, and her MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco’s California College of the Arts. In Los Angeles, she has written for entertainment magazines, interviewing celebrities including John Green and Matt Groening, and worked in film production. Her poetry collection, Organ Thieves (Gauss PDF), was published in 2017. Her full-length screenplay “Exit Strategies” was a quarterfinalist in Scriptapalooza in 2018. Her short stories have been published in Ploughshares (forthcoming, Spring 2023), 805 Art + Lit MagazineAdelaide, Little Break, and 3 Elements. Jessamyn plays drums for the band Movie Club. Secret Rules to being a Rockstar is her debut novel. She currently lives in Venice Beach, California.