We’re very thrilled to be kicking off our tour for A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions by Sheena Boekweg, and we hope y’all are just as excited as we are to be celebrating the book’s release!
If you haven’t already, make sure to pick up a copy of the book for yourself and add it to your TBR. Don’t forget to follow all of our wonderful hosts, as well! Want to win a copy? Make sure to enter on the Instagram portion of this tour!
A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions
by Sheena Boekweg
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Releasing on June 1st, 2021
YOUNG ADULT Fiction–Historical
Representation: Plus-Size (Main Character), Anxiety, Asexual, Trans*
Behind every powerful man is a trained woman, and behind every trained woman is the Society. It started with tea parties and matchmaking, but is now a countrywide secret. Gossips pass messages in recipes, Spinsters train to fight, and women work together to grant safety to abused women and children. The Society is more than oaths—it is sisterhood and purpose.
In 1926, seventeen-year-old Elsie is dropped off in a new city with four other teenage girls. All of them have trained together since childhood to become the Wife of a powerful man. But when they learn that their next target is earmarked to become President, their mission becomes more than just an assignment; this is a chance at the most powerful position in the Society. All they have to do is make one man fall in love with them first.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions?
Hello! I’m Sheena Boekweg. I write big surprising stories about big surprising girls. I love large concept stories, and I love writing stories where the fat girl gets to be centered, empowered, and reminded that she is enough exactly the way she is. A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions is The Selection meets A Handmaids Tale, where a plus size girl and her friends compete to win the heart of an eighteen year old boy that a secret society of women will one day make into the President of the United States. It’s about the changing dichotomy of how we view a woman in power, and what happens when the main girl decides that SHE wants to be the person the society supports as a future president. She has to try to convince this society that gains power by standing in a man’s shadow to step out into the light.
What is one thing you wish you’d had the opportunity to do while in the publication process?
I published my debut Glitch Kingdom Feb 18 2020, and the pandemic ate all of my events, and all my chances to connect in person with readers. I really love talking to readers, and I can’t wait for things to start opening up more for some more in person events!
Was there a part of this book that captured your heart more than other parts?
My favorite scene in the book is when Elsie and her friends steal a car and take a joyride down a country road. There’s so much freedom and agency, and also screaming into the wind about their controlled life plan. It’s a rattling the cages scene and it makes me cry every time I read it. I also super love the poem about the line of grandmothers.
Can you give us some insight into what your writing process is like?
It’s different for every book. For A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions I wrote the first draft in verse. It came out in just a few weeks, like I bleed it out. Converting it to prose took longer, as did the several rounds of revisions where it got thicker and more detailed. With the story I’m working on right now, I have a thick plot outline and a world building Bible. Some stories come from my brain and some from my soul. Soul books are messier but more personal. This was definitely a soul book.
Is there a recurring theme that can be found in A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions?
That a girl’s dreams matter as much as her brother’s. That worth is intrinsic, and that we are powerful when we work together.
Is there anything you’re currently working on, and if so, can you give us any hints or details?
I’m working on a YA Fantasy Romance about creepy woods and an intrepid plus size girl with autism. It’s the first time I’ve explored my own neurodiversity (on purpose anyway) and the system of magic is really weird, I love it so much. I hope I can share it with more readers.
Lastly, what do you hope readers will learn/take away from A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions after reading?
That they are enough, that their voice and dreams matter, and that if we all worked together, we could make the world more inclusive and welcoming.
Sheena Boekweg grew up reading books with tree branches peeking over her shoulder. Her novels Glitch Kingdom and A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions, both with Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, feature fat positive girls with ambitions, love stories, and sometimes battle axes. She’s a contributor to Every Body Shines, a fat-positive anthology publishing May 2021 with Bloomsbury, and is an alumni of the 2015 Pitch Wars Program and was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2017, 2018, and currently in 2020. Sheena believes that beauty is intrinsic and worth is unquestionable, and thinks you can’t solve all problems with food, but it will always help.
She is well loved by a tall man with a great beard, her three kids, and the world’s most spoiled puppy. Visit her online at boekwegbooks.com, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SheenaBoekweg. She’s represented by Jessica Sinsheimer at Context Literary.