Thursday, May 21, 2009

Teenaged Fish Out of Water

I´m thinking about what to write next, and a YA novel keeps coming to mind. My 12-year old, Sean has become a voracious reader after galloping through the Twilight series. When I take her to San Miguel´s library, I see her pick up and put down book after book. A boy and his dog. No. A kid who escaped evil parents and has to live underground or be found. No. A girl befriends a welfare mom when she babysits her kids. No. So what does she like?

Sean´s recent favorite is I´d Tell You I Love You, But Then I´d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter. It´s about a fancy prep school for girls that´s actually a spy school. These girls can speak twelve languages and dismantle bombs, but still fret about regular adolescent stuff. Sean likes the voice, which is a little bit sassy but not dumb. She doesn´t like overly bitchy voices or characters. In sixth grade, she loved Beverly Donofrio´s Thank You, Lucky Stars because the conflict about what to do when your best friend dumps you was so true-to-life.

I asked what she likes in a book and Sean said, "Funny. Or has a funny friend."

"Do you like fantasy, or super hero girls?"

"No. Just regular kids."

Suddenly I thought of myself at 15, having to move from Philadelphia and all things comfortable - aunts, uncles, cousins, summer picnics, two best friends in high school called Annette and Cheryl, and another one, Meg, from grade school. We moved to a Milwaukee suburb called Whitefish Bay. For the first day of school I polished up my Sly Stone platform shoes and pulled on my wide jeans, ready to conquer the halls of Whitefish Bay High School. But I walked into a school where the kids had walked right out of the Preppy Handbook. They went to cotillions. I didn´t even know what a cotillion was!

So I´m playing with this idea. The teenaged fish out of water. I think I´m going to get an outline together and then, later, have Sean read my first chapter.

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