Monthly Archives: December 2008

YA Chippies Unite!

I just read this very thought-provoking article about YA novels from Caitlin Flanagan. I like Caitlin Flanagan. I like how everything she writes pokes at you with a sharp stick. She’s annoying, interesting, controversial, and writes with verve. People are up in arms because of what she’s written in the piece, like “I hate YA novels. They bore me.” HA! And, my favorite, about Gossip Girl, “These chippies could make a crack whore look like Clara Barton” or this one about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: “It’s about female empowerment as it’s currently defined by the kind of jaded, 40-something divorcées who wash ashore at day spas with their grizzled girlfriends and pollute the Quiet Room with their ceaseless cackling about the uselessness of men.” HILARIOUS! She’s so mean I love it.

And yeah, even though I’m a YA chippie myself, I can smile. Writers like Flanagan are interesting because they’re so vociferous in their opinions. They don’t hold back, and when they skewer they do it with STYLE. And c’mon, she totally nailed it: Ever been to a Quiet Room lately? She’s so right on: all those swaddled rich ex-wives complaining in shrill tones about men and how life is about being there for their “girlfriends”. Ya, right. (My girls: I love you, but let’s never become those women, ok? Ok.)

I don’t take her essay as an insult, I take it in the spirit in which it is intended. To cause people to think, to react. YA problem novels bore me too. But some people enjoy them—and that’s fine. There’s an audience for that, and there’s an audience for my books (chippies meet Twilight?).

I also thought her essay was very interesting in figuring out why Twilight has so much appeal. I’ve never read the books, and I was excited to see the movie. (I heard the books are way better. The acting, I’m afraid, was atrocious. It got better in the end. But in that first scene when Edward sniffs Bella? He looked constipated.) I thought what Flanagan said about young girls, and how they read, was so right on. When you’re young, you have a such a rich inner life, and books are awesome because they draw you away. Real life is mostly boring and routine and uneventful. (Unless you’re a smug socialite who tells the NY Times you have no idea why anyone would own a DVD player or watch TV.) Books are exciting and thrilling and wonderful. When you’re a kid, it’s so much nicer to escape to a fantasy world because, if you were like me as a teenager, the real world pretty much sucked. But it’s not only girls: sensitive boys (“sensis” as on Scrubs) also have this experience. 🙂

And even in your 30s, it’s STILL nice to escape. I get so many emails now from 20-30-40-50-something readers, who say they discovered my books (mostly at Target! Yay!) and can’t stop reading them. That is soooo coool. I write my books for me, I don’t really think of it as “writing to a reader”. (Who does that?) Age is just a number anyway.

My favorite word is INAPPROPRIATE. Did you guys ever watch that Conan sketch when they had that aging British rocker say “INAPUH-ROPE-PRIATE!” Anyway. The other day Mattie pushed me because she watches Spiderman cartoons and Spiderman “pushes” people. I tried to explain to Mattie that pushing was not good and Spiderman only pushes by pointing his fingers at people. It was then that I realized, hey, maybe watching Spiderman at two years old is…



Harry, My History

I found myself WITHOUT A BOOK on the flight back from D.C. Which is insane, because I have three shelves of unread books in my home, most of which I have been DYING to read and just haven’t had the time to do so.  But, what can you do. With mombrain and the fact that I pack for everyone in my family, it was bound to happen. (How I would love to be my husband, who merely has to stroll into an airplane with his ticket without worrying about whether he packed dental floss. Because that is my job. But also: I’m such a control freak I like everyone to look nice. Whenever Mike packs he thinks that one pair of everything is okay for a whole week, which is just, so gross, but then that is what guys are like.)

Anyway, no books for me since I forgot. So I bought Harry, A History, a history of Harry Potter fandom by the webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron, the biggest Harry Potter fansite. It was a very interesting read, half of the time I was facepalm in horror and the other half I was really enjoying it. You know, part of you wants to go Shatner on SNL and yell “Get a Life!” and the other part is kind of happy that all these people found friendship and happiness through a book. You know? The best parts by far are when J.K. Rowling makes her rare appearances. Did you know that she wonders about Albus Severus Potter??? How cool is that!!! And hello: we would all buy a new Albus Potter book, right? I mean, totally.

The interesting part also for me was to find out that J.K. still holds a grudge against the New York Times Bestseller list since they split the list into two—Adult and Children’s after her books took up the first FOUR places on it. And the list has now been split into a myriad categories since then even. I forgot that there used to be just one Children’s List, now there are four kinds of Children’s Lists. (When you have three books in a series you get calculated in the series list, which is where Blue Bloods was counted). But not many people know that this has happened to the list. Most people still think of the New York Times list as, well, one list.

Like my dad for instance.

Here’s what happened when I hit the list.





A few hours later, via emails, my dad found out that I had hit the New York Times CHILDRENS list.

“What is this Children’s List? Is that still the New York Times list?”

“Yes Pop. This is where JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer’s books are counted.” (One of the disadvantages of writing about vampires is that ever since Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books have hit so big, now instead of my dad asking me why I’m not on the level of Danielle Steele, now he asks why I’m not like Stephenie Meyer. Sometimes my dad just says to me, out of the blue: STEPHENIE MEYER!!! And you know what he means: If she can, why can’t you? I’m lucky I know my dad is just joking. That is how we show love in my family. By endless teasing. A’s are never enough when A pluses are being handed out.)

“What? I don’t get it! What is this Children’s List? Where can I see it? I need proof.”

“It’ll be on the website and on the paper on Sunday.”

“Okay. I need proof.”

Note the LACK of Oh-my-gods and CAPS once my dad found out I’d hit the “Children’s List”. Sigh. On the one hand: it would be nice if the New York Times list was still ONE “The New York Times List” on the other hand, the children’s list IS STILL the New York Times list. And it’s really freaking hard to get on it. LOL.

But yeah. I’m with you J.K. I’m with you.


Twenty-Four and Not the One with Kiefer Sutherland

Only Twenty-Four more shopping days!!!

I’m not ready!!!

I’m never ready. Ever. Because I always have a book due. (And this time I have two. Fun. Lucky me. But really: lucky me.)

Shopping is always a last-minute run through the mall, madly grabbing anything that looks like someone in my family might like it. BUT NOT THIS YEAR. This year I will plan! I will online shop! I will NOT be at the UPS store on the hour-long line sending all my gifts overnight delivery and wasting hundreds on postage because I was late, late, late.


See you at the UPS line on December 24!


PS – Revelations is on its fourth week on the USA Today Best Seller List!!! I heart you USA Today!!!