Friday, January 26, 2007

Author Interview: Lauren Myracle on ttyl and ttfn

Lauren Myracle is the author of six novels for tweens and teens with many more in the works. Her breakout success came with the publication of ttyl (Abrams, 2004), the first-ever novel written entirely in instant messages. Both ttyl and its sequel, ttfn (Amulet, 2006), are New York Times Best-Sellers, and readers eagerly await the third instant messaging book, l8r, g8r, which is due out in March 07.

Lauren holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College, and her work has been described by teens as "awesome," "the best ever," and "sooo funny." She was perhaps most pleased, however, by the reader who said of her work, "I can’t believe it was written by a (cough, cough) grown-up."

What about the writing life first called to you? Were you quick to answer or did time pass by?

Oh, baby. I've loved books since the day I first learned to read, which for the record was October 15th of my first grade year. (Just kidding! It might have been October 16th. It was definitely when I was in the first grade, though.)

Anyway, I started writing my own stuff around that same time, and I have journals on top of journals of my stories and blatherings and lists of unachieved New Year's resolutions.

I started writing for real (and by "for real," I mean with the intent of actually reaching the end of a honest-to-God book) when I was twenty-three. +sighs and looks back nostalgically at young self+ Ah, what a long road it's been.

What made you decide to write for teens?

I didn't decide. I just did. I love teenagers; I love books for teenagers; I love my whole teenage psyche, which is quite alive and well, thanks very much. For me, this was one of those "it's just part of my constitution" things. And to that I say...yay!

What were you like as a teenager?

Er...awkward. Skinny. Bookish, but only when it came to stuff I picked out to read on my own. In terms of school, I was an underachiever, although I did enough to float by.

And finally, I have come to realize in my dotage that as a teenager, I was cuter than I realized at the time, which I say because if you're a teenager and by chance you're reading this, you are also cuter than you realize. And smarter and funnier and cooler all around. Give yourself some credit, girl! Or boy!

For those new to your work, could you briefly summarize your back list, highlighting as you see fit?

Okey-doke! +takes deep breath and recites in order+ Kissing Kate, Eleven, ttyl, Rhymes with Witches, The Fashion Disaster that Changed My Life, ttfn. There! Did it! And they're all lovely, and you should read them all. If you want dark and troubled, try Rhymes with Witches. If you want sweet and clean, try Eleven. If you're an IM freak (don't be ashamed!), read ttyl and ttfn. And then just go on and read Kissing Kate and Fashion Disaster for the heck of it.

Congratulations on the success of ttyl and ttfn! What was your initial inspiration for writing these books?

Merci, merci! You are a sweetie. The credit for inspiration all goes to my fabulous and adorable and brilliant-beyond-words editor, the great Susan Van Metre.

One day, she and I were having a talk about how different things are for girls now than when we were teenagers, and we circled around to the whole IM thing. You know, how when we were in school, we'd come home and phone our buds and go over the day (who wore what, who said what, etc.), but now, girls come home and IM their buds to do their post-op.

And Susan said, "Someone should write a book all told in IMs."

And, being no dummy, I said, "Okay!" And so I did.

What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, logistical) in bringing these stories to life?

Thank you for asking that, because I would just like to say here and now that they were frickin' hard to write!!!! No tools of conventional fiction--well, okay, few tools of conventional fiction--were at my disposal, and that made it tricky.

The research part wasn't hard; it was the logistics of telling a story without using blatant exposition or straightforward narrative or even just "moving the story along" techniques like, "And then, the next day, a big monster came down and swallowed the city whole."

It turned out to be rather like writing a play, I guess, but different even than that, because my characters weren't on the stage interacting together. They were all sitting at their computers, typing. And do you know how potentially boring that is?

I mean, okay, I should shut up now, but sometimes I feel like people (critics) pooh-pooh my books because they're written in (gasp!) IMs, and they look easy-peasy and quick. But to them I say: you try it, and then we'll talk! :)

Did you intend for there to be more than one of these novels? How did that evolve?

Well, I hoped there'd be more than one, but when I suggested to Susan that we do a sequel, she politely and sweetly said, "Sorry, Charlie." But nicer. And she used my actual name. And then when ttyl did well, she came back and said, "Erm, any chance you'd like to do a sequel?" And I beamed and got to work.

What advice do you have for beginning novelists?

Read, read, read and write, write, write.

How about those building a career?

Same.

What do you do when you're not writing?

I hang out with my three little kittens, who are really human children. I just call them "kittens." And I do laundry. And take food out of its packaging, plonk it on a plate, and pretend I cooked it. Basically, I do all the mundane activities of life, all the while fantasizing about a week long vacay where I can lie in the sun and just read!

What can your fans look forward to next?

More and more and more! Twelve comes out in March, as does l8r, g8r. And I'm having an absolute blast working on a novel called How to Be Bad with two fabulous authors, Sarah Mlynowski and E. Lockhart (author interview). Ooo boy, is that fun. And it looks like I'll be starting a middle grade IM-ish series called Love Ya Bunches which I'm tres excited about. I love my job! I love my job! I love my job!!!

Cynsational Links

In Their Own Words: Interviews with Children's and YA Authors and Illustrators from my web site. See also YA Literature Reading Links and Young Adult Books Bibliography.

Thank you, St. Francis School

Thank you to everyone at St. Francis School in Austin for a wonderful visit!

Keep reading! Keep writing! Keep those goldfish flying!

Cynsational Notes

After presenting information on my own writing life and published books, it was my great pleasure to work with the students on a writing exercise that was a spin-off of my character-building process for Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002). I was so impressed with their enthusiasm, creativity, and willingness to share their work.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

Look for Story of a Girl by debut YA novelist Sara Zarr (Little Brown, 2007). This is another fabulous book for which I had the honor of offering a blurb.

I also met Sara in person this past fall at NCTE/ALAN, and she's not only a talented author, but also the kind of newcomer we all really want to cheer--smart, sweet, funny, and a book person through and through.

Sara says: "As I got older, I never lost my love for YA, and every story that emerged from my own mind featured characters in that strange place that adolescence is. Someone (I can't remember who) has said that childhood is like living in occupied territory. Adolescence is when you start to grope and grasp for your own piece of land outside of that, and the issues of identity that surround that are just ripe for stories." Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

Read also a more recent interview with Sara from Debbi Michiko Florence at One Writer's Journey.

More News & Links

Are you an author or illustrator published by a Children's Book Council member publisher? If so, you may request a link on the CBC website.

"Don't Get Slighted" by Jan Fields from the Institute of Children's Literature. "Learn how conflict and theme work together to help you avoid 'slight' writing."

Congratulations to Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of Tattoo (Delacorte, 2007); Alma Fullerton, author of Walking on Glass (HarperCollins, 2007); Brent Hartinger, author of Split Screen: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Zombies/Bride of the Soul Sucking Zombies (HarperCollins, 2007) (author interview) on their January releases.

Beauty Shop For Rent by Laura Bowers

Of late, I had the honor of offering a blurb for Beauty Shop for Rent by debut author Laura Bowers (Harcourt, 2007)(excerpt). My take?

“Beauty Shop for Rent is a down-home, whole-heart story. It’s about a strong girl bolstered by love, shaking off lies, and finding the courage to take chances. It’s about the wrong dream, the right guy, righteous gossip, and the power of a good spa treatment. Funny, aching, and authentic, Laura Bowers’ debut is one of the finest, most entertaining I’ve ever read.”

Put mildly, I loved it, and so I surfed over to the author's website to learn more about her. I especially enjoyed A History of Hair Lessons Learned. Take a Beauty Shop for Rent Quiz. Visit Laura's LJ. Visit Laura's MySpace.

Nebraska-Based Series of Novel-Writing Retreats

Fremont, Neb.--Nebraska children's author N. L. Sharp is hosting a series of writing retreats entitled "Novel Secrets: A Novel Retreat in 3 Acts" at the St. Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, Nebraska.

Unique in the world of writing retreats, the intent of this series of three retreats it to help writers move from the first inklings of an idea toward a publishable novel in twelve intensive months.

Presenters for the series of retreats are published authors Elaine Marie Alphin and Darcy Pattison, Simon & Schuster editor Alexandra Penfold, and Writers House literary agent Rebecca Sherman. The retreats are designed for maximum participation and advance preparation for each retreat is required. Brief lectures are followed by time to work on individual projects, then reinforced by group discussions.

The first retreat, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25 to Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007, will be led by Elaine Marie Alphin and will focus on brainstorming techniques to get the writer started with the plotting, character development, and pacing of the novel.

The second retreat, scheduled for Friday, April 4 to Sunday, April 6, 2008, will be led by Darcy Pattison. The goal of this retreat is that every writer leave with strategies and tools for revising and strengthening the novel.

The final retreat is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 24 to Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008, and will be led by Alexandra Penfold, an editor at Simon & Schuster, and Rebecca Sherman, a senior agent at Writers House Literary Agency.

The focus for this retreat will be marketing strategies and submission secrets, and each participant will have a one-on-one critique session with either the editor or the agent. Time will also be spent discussing the process of letting go of this novel and starting again with a new project.

Complete descriptions of all retreats can be found at www.NLSharp.com, along with registration details. For additional information or questions, contact Nancy Sharp Wagner.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cynsational News & Links

APL (Austin Public Library) Teens is sponsoring a giveaway of ARCs of my upcoming gothic fantasy novel, Tantalize (Candlewick, Feb. 13, 2007). The word is: "A few of us have read it and we can say with confidence that if vampire novels are your thing, THIS is one book you must read."

Thanks to Jo Whittemore for mentioning me among such distinguished company at "Authors Who Bring Good Luck." Here's crossing fingers for your agent submission. Read a Cynsations interview with Jo.

Thanks to Gail Gauthier at Original Content for recommending my recent interview with author David Levithan and to Patrica Altner at Patricia's Vampire Notes for recommending my interview with Deborah Wilson Overstreet, author of Not Your Mother's Vampire: Vampires in Young Adult Fiction (Scarecrow).

Spooky Sneak Peaks: preview of spring-summer 2007 from Spookycyn.

More News & Links

The 10th Carnival of Children's Literature at Big A little a.

In the Coop with Kevin O'Malley: a silly interview from Three Silly Chicks.

"Fable Becomes the Moral Center of Striped Pajamas:" an exclusive Authorlink interview with John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (David Fickling Books/Random House)(excerpt) by Ellen Birkett Morris.

The Longstockings' Flappie Award goes to... See for yourself!

"More Than Words:" Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord's charming and eloquent post on a life-changing day. Her award book Rules (Scholastic, 2006) also was my pick for best middle grade novel. Read a Cynsations interview with Cynthia.

"Rising Star - Sean Qualls" by Deborah Stevenson, editor, from The Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books. Learn more about Sean Qualls. Note that he offers prints online for sale.

The San Gabriel Writers' League, a nonprofit organization in Georgetown, Texas, sponsors an annual writing contest. Categories include: Children's Long and Short; Novel; Poetry; Short Fiction; and Short Nonfiction. The deadline is Feb. 14. Entries will receive critiques from at least two judges. Entry fee is $15. Nominal prize money is offered. See rules and information.

Wordy Girls: Thoughts on writing for children - the good, the bad, and the utterly ridiculous: a new LJ from Bonny Becker, Susan Taylor Brown, Susan Heyboer O'Keefe, and Laura Purdie Salas. See also Laura's new website.

ALA Notable Children's Books

Highlights of the ALA Notable Children's Books include...

younger readers

Cork & Fuzz: Short and Tall by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue (Viking)(author interview); Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by James E. Ransome (Random/Schwartz and Wade)(author interview); Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways by Laura McGee Kvasnosky (Candlewick, 2006)(author-illustrator interview); Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Henry Holt)(author-illustrator interviews); Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt (Kids Can)(author-illustrator interview); Mammoths on the Move by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Harcourt)(author interview).

middle readers

Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown (Tricycle Press)(author interview); The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin (Little Brown)(author interview); Rules by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic)(author interview); The Cat with the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin by Susan Goldman Rubin with Ela Weissberger (Holiday House)(author interview); Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges (Cinco Puntos)(recommendation); Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Hyperion)(illustrator interview); Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky (Random/Schwartz & Wade).

older readers

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm (Random House)(recommendation); All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall (Little Brown)(author interview); Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter by Susan Goldman Rubin (Abrams)(author interview); House of the Red Fish by Graham Salisbury (Random House/Wendy Lamb)(author interview).

Cynsational Notes

See the complete list.

Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers

Highlights of the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers include: Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures That May Or May Not Exist by Roxyanne Young (author interview on the title), Kelly Milner Halls (author interview on a previous title) and illustrator Rick Spears (Darby Creek); Tyrell by Coe Booth (Scholastic); Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (Knopf)(author interview); What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles (Little Brown)(author interview)(recommendation); New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Little Brown)(author interview); Good Girls by Laura Ruby (HarperCollins)(author interview); A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone (Random House)(author interview); The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin (Dial)(author interview); The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld (Razorbill)(author interview); and Witch Ball by Linda Joy Singleton (Llewellyn). See the complete list.

Best Books for Young Adults

Highlights of the top ten BBYAs include: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson (Candlewick); The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (HarperCollins)(excerpt); and The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin (Dial). Read a recommendation of The King of Attolia and an interview with Nancy on The Rules of Survival.

Moving on to the rest of the list, highlights included: Tyrell by Coe Booth (Scholastic); Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos (Simon & Schuster)(author interview); Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (Knopf)(author interview); Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (Viking)(author interview); What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles (Little Brown)(author interview)(recommendation); St. Iggy by K.L. Going (Harcourt)(author interview); An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Dutton)(author interview); Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss (Deborah Brodie/Roaring Brook)(author interview); Wait for Me by An Na (Putnam)(author interview)(recommendation); Blind Faith by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster)(author interview); Up Before Daybreak: Cotten and People in America by Deborah Hopkinson (Scholastic); and One Kingdom: Our Lives with Animals by Deborah Noyes (Houghton Mifflin)(author interview). See the complete list.

Cynsational Notes

Two authors were interviewed about previous titles--Deborah Hopkinson was interviewed about Fannie in the Kitchen (Atheneum, 2001) and M.T. Anderson was interviewed about Whales on Stilts (Harcourt, 2005).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Author Feature: David Levithan

When he's not writing his own books, David Levithan is a Scholastic editor in New York City. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

How would you describe yourself as a teenager?

The kid who listened to Carly Simon and was about to discover the Smiths.

Could you tell us about your path to publication--any sprints or stumbles along the way?

No, I got lucky. I accidentally wrote my first novel.

I'd like to focus on your new releases, but first let's highlight your backlist. Your books include: Boy Meets Boy (Knopf, 2003); The Realm of Possibility (Knopf, 2004); Are We There Yet? (Knopf, 2005); and Marley's Ghost (Dial, 2005). Could you briefly tell us what each is about and what drew you to those stories?

Boy Meets Boy is a dippy happy gay romantic comedy, meant to counterbalance all the grim, sad, gloomy gay teen books of the past.

Realm of Possibility is the story of twenty kids who go to the same high school, and how their lives intersect.

Are We There Yet? is about two brothers who can't stand each other whose parents trick them into taking a trip to Italy together.

And Marly's Ghost is a remix of Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

One of your new titles, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (Knopf, 2006) is co-authored by Rachel Cohn. How did this working relationship evolve? What are the particular challenges and benefits to working with a co-author?

It was Rachel's idea to write a back-and-forth novel...and I'm glad she had it. We started with two names and a few facts, and then wrote the novel by exchanging chapters, without talking about it along the way.

We really wrote it for each other, and it's been really amazing that other people have liked it, too. If our storytelling hadn't clicked, the book would've never happened; so once it did, it was pretty smooth sailing.

Congratulations, too, on Wide Awake (Knopf, 2006)! What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

The election results of 2004 inspired me to write it--I wanted to write a novelist's version of a protest song. I wanted to talk about what's going on in America today, and how it could get better.

What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, logistical) in bringing it to life?

It's very strange to set a novel in a place you've never visited, but luckily I had friends to tell me about Kansas. More importantly, I wanted to make sure that it was clear that "religious" is not synonymous with "conservative" or "anti-gay" or "anti-Jewish"--instead, most religious people believe in kindness and love and tolerance.

You've also edited a number of anthologies, most recently The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities, co-edited by Billy Merrell (Knopf, 2006). How did you find your authors? What questions did you weigh in balancing the collection?

We set up a website (www.queerthology.com) and spread the word via email and the Internet. We were amazed by the responses--we didn't have the room to include all the essays we liked. We wanted it to be as representative a collection as possible, and were happy that we got such a wide range of responses.

In particular, the number of transgender essays really impressed us, and I think they give the collection its heart, because it shows how our culture is still evolving in terms of gender and sexuality.

Other than your own, what would you say are the three must-read YA novels of the year and why?

It's hard to narrow it down! I'll just say that Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (Knopf, 2006) was the book that astonished and inspired me the most this year.

What do you love about your writing life and why?

I love seeing how the stories unfold. It's as simple as that.

What advice do you have for beginning YA novelists?

Write what you want to.

What can your fans look forward to next?

My next book with Rachel, Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List (Knopf), comes out in August. And I have two anthologies out this spring -- This is PUSH (www.thisispush.com) and 21 Proms, which I co-edited with Daniel Ehrenhaft. It's a whole lot of fun.

Cynsational Notes

Author Profile: David Levithan from teenreads.com.

Spring-Summer Sneak Peeks

Highlights of...

the Henry Holt spring 2007 (April-August) catalog include: Hush, Little Puppy by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Susan Winter and Skinny Brown Dog by Kimberly Willis Holt, illustrated by Donald Saaf. Read interviews with April and Kimberly.

the HarperCollins summer 2007 catalog include: Birthday at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson, illustrated by Doug Cushman; Follow Me, Mittens by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung; The Chaos King by Laura Ruby; Bearwalker by Joseph Bruchac. Read interviews with Stephanie, Lola, Laura, and Joe.

the Candlewick spring 2007 catalog include: Beige by Cecil Castellucci and The Restless Dead, edited by Deborah Noyes. Read interviews with Cecil and Deborah.

the Random House spring 2007 catalog include: Babymouse: Heartbreaker by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm. Read an interview with Matthew.

Monday, January 22, 2007

ALA Awards

The American Library Association has named its 2007 award winners. See a complete list of the titles on the ALA site. I've highlighted titles and/or authors previously featured on this blog.

Newbery Honor Awards went to Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm (Random House)(recommendation) and Rules by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic, 2006). The John Newbery Medal recognizes "the most outstanding contribution to children's literature."

Rules also is the middle grade winner of the Scheider Family Book Award, honoring titles that "embody an artistic expression of the disability experience." Read an interview with Cynthia.

The Coretta Scott King Awards recognize "African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to 'the true worth and value of all beings.'" Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper (Atheneum) was a CSK award winner. The CSK illustration award went to Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Hyperion). Read an interview with Kadir. This same title also was recognized with a Caldecott honor. The Randolph Caldecott Medal is "for the most distinguished American picture book for children."

The Printz Award "for excellence in literature written for young adults" honor books included An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Dutton, 2006) and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson (Candlewick, 2006). Read interviews with John about Katherines and with Tobin about a previous title, Whales on Stilts (Harcourt, 2005).

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award "for the outstanding book for beginning readers" went to Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways by Laura McGee Kvasnosky (Candlewick, 2006). Read an interview with Laura.

Cynsational Notes

Winners and honorees also listed among my own favorite books of the year included: Penny from Heaven; Rules; Copper Sun; and Moses.

Fantasy Links Round-up

Notes from "Creating the Fantasy World" by Jo Whittemore. Jo's books are Escape from Arylon (Llewellyn, 2006) and Curse of Arastold (Llewellyn, 2006). Read a Cynsations interview with Jo.

"Moonshower's Heart Leads Her Back to Children's Books:" an exclusive Authorlink interview with Candie Moonshower, author of The Legend of Zoey (Delacorte)(excerpt) by Susan Van Hecke.

"What lies behind the magical doors of Crackpot Hall?" An interview with Ysabeau Wilce by Kelly Link from BookPage. Ysabeau Wilce is the author of Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog (Harcourt)(excerpt).

"The word on technology: A new column on online literature" by Katie Haegele from The Philadelphia Inquirer. Features L. Lee Lowe's online novel "Mortal Ghost," see http://mortalghost.blogspot.com.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

2007 Edgar Nominees

The Mystery Writers of America has announced the 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award nominees, "honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television and film published or produced in 2006." The Edgar Awards will be presented at a banquet on April 26 in New York City.

Nominees in the "best juvenile" category are: Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake by Jennifer Allison (Penguin-Sleuth/Dutton); The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl); Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements (Simon & Schuster); The Bloodwater Mysteries: Snatched by Pete Hautman & Mary Logue (Penguin-Sleuth/Putnam); The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer (Penguin-Philomel/Sleuth).

Nominees in the "best young adult" category are: The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks (Scholastic-The Chicken House)(excerpt); The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson (Penguin YR-Sleuth/Viking); Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks (Simon & Schuster-Richard Jackson Books/Atheneum)(excerpt); Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready (Penguin YR-Dutton Children's Books); The Night My Sister Went Missing by Carol Plum-Ucci (Harcourt).

Cynsational Notes

Don't miss Bringing Mysteries Alive for Children and Young Adults by Jeanette Larson (Linworth, 2004)(recommendation).
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