“Hammonds delivers a breathtaking exploration of vital issues wrapped up in a mystery, challenging readers to reexamine their own truths. A must-purchase for all libraries serving high school readers.” ― School Library Journal

Jas Hammonds (they/she) was raised in many cities and between the pages of many books. They have received support for their writing from the Highlights Foundation, Baldwin for the Arts and Lambda Literary. They are also a grateful recipient of the MacDowell James Baldwin Fellowship.

Their debut novel, We Deserve Monuments, won the 2023 Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award for New Talent, in addition to being a B&N YA Award finalist, an Indies Introduce and Indie Next Pick, and an indie bestseller. Jas loves writing for and about queer Black people. She lives in New Jersey with her partner and dog in an apartment full of plants and books.

We Deserve Monuments

Roaring Brook Press |
Young Adult

Family secrets, a swoon-worthy romance, and a slow-burn mystery collide in We Deserve Monuments, a YA debut from Jas Hammonds that explores how racial violence can ripple down through generations.

What’s more important: Knowing the truth or keeping the peace?

Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she’s uprooted from her life in DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery’s mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she’s turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.

While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family―whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.

As the three girls grow closer―Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into romance―the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery’s family in ways she can’t even imagine. With Mama Letty’s health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she’s built in Bardell―or if some things are better left buried.

We Deserve Abundance

Told through the lens of my debut novel, We Deserve Monuments, this talk would focus on the importance of diversity in YA Literature.

Let's Build Monuments

An empowering workshop for young adults that focuses on the concepts of monuments: Who deserves them and who gets to make that choice? What can a monument look like?

With people actively trying to erase our country’s often bloody and brutal history, it’s more important than ever to think about how important figures and events are memorialized and remembered.

Beyond Stigmas: Talking about mental health and alcohol addiction

This talk would tie in nicely with my forthcoming second novel which is about toxic drinking and party culture. I would talk about my journey with alcohol, getting sober, and deeply it was entwined with my mental health. The sobriety space is largely dominated by white people, and I think having a space for queer Black young people would be really beneficial for high schoolers and college crowds.

Jas’ Press Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

2023 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent Winner
2023 Barnes & Noble YA Award Finalist
Indie Bestseller
2023-2024 Green Mountain Book Award Nominee
2023-2024 Keystone to Reading Finalist
2024 Rhode Island Teen Book Award Nominee
2022 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Best of the Best Booklist Finalist
6 Starred Reviews (Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Bookpage, Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, Booklist)
#1 Indie Next Pick November/December 2022
Summer/Fall 2022 Indies Introduce Pick
2022 Baldwin for the Arts Fellow
2020 Macdowell James Baldwin Fellow
2018 Lambda Literary Fellow

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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