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The First Thing About You book cover

Hardcover design: Matt Roeser

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When fifteen-year-old Harris moves with his family from California (home of beautiful-but-inaccessible beaches) to New Jersey (home of some much-hyped pizza and bagels), he's determined to be known as more than just the kid in the powered wheelchair. Armed with his favorite getting-to-know-you question ("What's your favorite color?"), he'll weed out the incompatible people--the greens and the purples, people who are too close to his own blue to make for good friends--and surround himself with outgoing yellows, adventurous oranges, and even thrilling reds. But first things first: he needs to find a new nurse, stat, so that his mom doesn't have to keep accompanying him to school.

Enter Miranda, a young nursing student who graduated from Harris's new high school. Beautiful, confident, and the perfect blend of orange and red, Miranda sees Harris for who he really is--funny, smart, and totally worthy of the affections of Nory Fischer, the cute girl who's in most of his classes. With Miranda at his side, Harris soon befriends geeky Zander (yellow) and even makes headway with Nory (who stubbornly refuses to reveal her favorite color). But Miranda is fighting her own demons, and Harris starts to wonder if she truly has his best interests at heart.


A witty, candid take on love, friendship, belonging, and disability.

Kirkus Reviews

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Debut author Chaz Hayden delivers an engaging coming-of-age tale. . . [this novel is] real and gripping, allowing the reader to experience a no-holds-barred look into the life of a teenager with a life-altering condition.

School Library Connection (starred review)

Debut novelist Chaz Hayden offers a fresh perspective on a teen protagonist who longs to feel normal in this humorous, unflinching book.

Debut author Hayden, who, like Harris, has SMA, writes with humor and compassion that instructs without lecturing. His funny, sarcastic, and smart narrator easily reminds the reader that people with disabilities have amazing abilities and, most important, are people first.


Recommended for first purchase. Readers will root for Harris as he navigates the highs and lows of high school, family life, and friendships

School Library Journal

The First Thing About You is a stellar debut about what does—and doesn’t—define us. It’s about being seen, and truly seeing; an entertaining and moving love note to the search for one’s place in the world. On top of all that, Chaz Hayden writes with the humor and heart of a seasoned storyteller. An instant favorite.

John Corey Whaley (green), author of National Book Award Finalist Noggin and Michael L. Printz Award winner Where Things Come Back

A cross-country move means a fresh chance in this endearing novel about busting stereotypes.

PEOPLE Magazine

Clear-eyed and bighearted and laugh-out-loud funny.

Katie Cotugno (purple), New York Times best-selling author of 99 Days

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