Mid-Pacific Junior publishes two novels this school year


Junior Jackie Nafarrete with her first published book titled, “Pick Up the Pieces.” She has published two books that are currently available on Amazon. Photo contributed by Scot Allen, Associate Director of Communications for Mid-Pacific

Siena Usui, Staff Writer

Nestled within one of the library’s bookshelves lies a book titled “Pick Up the Pieces.” What most people may not know though, is that sixteen-year-old junior Jackie Nafarrete has written it.

Nafarrete wrote her first novel within two months before doing another month’s work of editing, and she then published it on Amazon. In total, she spent a span of three months working on it.

Her second novel only took a month and a half to write, before being able to publish it within three months as well.
“After getting my first book published, it was a little surreal. I had been working on it for a few months, sharing it with maybe two people, and all of a sudden people were buying it and reading it and I was terrified. I was proud of what I had written but also nervous that others wouldn’t like it, or that it wouldn’t be up to their standard,” said Nafarrete.

At first, Nafarrete said she had originally planned not to publish any of her stories.

“It ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be to publish a book and it was kind of just a throwaway comment that someone said that I ended up taking seriously,” said Nafarrete.

Her resolve to swiftly achieve whatever she puts her mind to has led to many of her successful accomplishments, such as learning sign language on her own and creating a Sign Language club early on this year. She has also taught herself how to play the guitar and continues to learn Russian.

“When I commit to things, I tend to do them really really fast,” said Nafarrete.

Her mom, Jennifer Nafarrete, said she believes that same determination is what enabled her to publish her works.

“As a student, what really struck me about Jackie was her genuine interest and love for literature. She really cares about characters, she gets invested in them. That really fuels her interest in literature, and it’s not surprising to me that she’s writing on her own.”

— Kerri Meade

“It is that stubborn type of determination where it’s like, I just got to get this done. I’m going to get this done,” said Jennifer Nafarrete.

Her first novel, “Pick Up the Pieces,” is centered around two main characters named Adrian and Cas. Although Adrian is the captain of the football team he isn’t the stereotypical popular jock, and Cas is not the conventionally quiet nerd. As the story progresses they grow closer to one another, while Adrian struggles with his identity and many other issues.

The second novel is titled “The State of Broken Things,” and continues the story of Adrian and Cas. Now in their senior year, they run into multiple roadblocks as well as lots of drama.
“My books cover some heavy topics that I myself haven’t yet experienced. As an example, my main character is dealing with the loss of his mother. I had to do a lot of work to try my best to understand how he would be feeling, what he would be thinking, and it’s always hard to do that,” said Nafarrete.

Set in high school, the main characters deal with a variety of topics ranging from mental health, societal expectations and figuring out one’s sexuality.
“In terms of inspiration for the stories that I write, my biggest inspiration is actually myself, which sounds a little conceited, but I think that is something that a lot of people can get out of writing. Writing it down makes it so much easier for you to understand what you’re thinking and feeling,” said Nafarrete.

Kerri Meade has taught as Nafarrete’s English teacher ever since her sophomore year and has seen her academic growth throughout the years.

Jackie Nafarrete’s Pick Up The Pieces, first book. Click to view

“As a student, what really struck me about Jackie was her genuine interest and love for literature. She really cares about characters, she gets invested in them. That really fuels her interest in literature, and it’s not surprising to me that she’s writing on her own,” said Meade.

Since February, dance teacher Zoe Abrigo has been Nafarrete’s homeroom teacher. Abrigo said that her first impression of her was of how determined she was to accomplish her goals.

“You don’t hear often of 11th graders publishing books, let alone two books. I was definitely very surprised and honored to have a girl like her in my homeroom,” said Abrigo.

Jennifer Nafarrete said that when she had first heard of her daughter’s published book, she had told her, “Hey mom, look at what I did,” and it was on Amazon.

“I was super surprised and really proud, but also not surprised because she’s like that. She’s driven to just do whatever it is she wants,” said Jennifer Nafarette.

Throughout her writing process, Nafarrete would face challenges when working.

Jackie Nafarrete’s The State of Broken Things, second book. Click to view

“I had many creative blocks. Luckily I have a very busy mind, and it never took too long for more to happen,” said Nafarrete.

Nafarrete didn’t let anything get in the way of her writing and persevered.

“She definitely has a growth mindset, in terms of she thinks that she’s capable of doing whatever she needs to do, as long as she puts in the effort and tries , she knows she can get there,” said Meade.

Nafarrete said that she is always reading, listening, and she loves being able to share all of the stories that she comes up with in her head.
“I don’t believe that this is something that I will make into my career. I think that as of right now, even though I’m publishing it and sharing it with the world, my writing is still for me. And having to do it for a living would take away that aspect of it. It would become an obligation, and things that I love are never obligations to me,” said Nafarrete.