Fun fact: Joss Kendrick could have been an unreleased Contemporary Character.
Explanation of said fun fact: Sharon Pajka, an expert in deaf representation in children's literature, noted on the blog that she was asked to consult on the series in 2016- nearly four years before Joss released. In 2017, American Girl trademarked the names 'Emory Van Zant' and 'Murph'. In 2018, 2 books written by Erin Falligant, who wrote Joss's books, were listed for a June 2018 release. The books were eventually pulled, and in July 2018, the Contemporary Character line was announced to be retiring.
So... what happened?
American Girl has worked on Joss since 2016, which was proven with the 'Murph' trademark in 2017 and Sharon Pajka's blog. Normally, they would have thought of Joss in 2018. Instead of doing that, they decided to rename Emory Van Zant to Joss Kendrick and save her to be the Girl of the Year in 2020, since the Contemporary Character line wasn't doing well. Unfortunately for American Girl, they decided to revive the line this summer for a Fall 2021 release, so if they just thought of that earlier, they wouldn't have to make Joss the Girl of the Year after all.
Fortunately for us, Joss is an amazing Girl of the Year. So thank you, American Girl, for shelving Joss until this year.