Written by: Lauren Myracle.
Publication Info: Published originally by Amulet Books in 2004, updated by Amulet Books 2014.
One Line: Best friends Maddie, Zoe, and Angela text and Instant Message their way through the trials and tribulations of modern 10th grade life.
Brief Summary: Told entirely in instant messages and text messages, this is the story of 10th grade best friends Maddie, Zoe, and Angela. At the beginning of the new school year, the three girls aren’t part of the popular crowd, but they’re not necessarily outcasts, either. Maddie is the wild one, who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with Jana, the bully queen bee of the school. Angela is boy-crazy and dramatic, and Maddie and Zoe are always afraid they’re going to have to talk her off a
Thoughts: Lauren Myracle’s innovative epistolary format – telling the story entirely in instant message chats and text messages – seems at first like it could be annoying, but it actually works quite well. With a theme of friendship, one of the book’s strengths is its characterizations. The girls have very specific voices, so even if the font style were not different for each girl and the names were not next to their messages, we could probably still tell them apart. The messages from the girls are effective at moving the plot forward without being expository. After all, we are not with them when they experience things and are largely hearing about them after, just as we would if we were actually friends with someone. Myracle has three characters who are not together all the time, so it is logical that they need updates on each other’s lives. Myracle’s language seems authentic to teenagers and there is a great deal of humor, even though the book explores some dark topics, such as excessive alcohol use, sharing of inappropriate photos, and a relationship with an older man that is veering on inappropriate. However, as the teens go through these experiences, they are able (for the most part) to rely on each other, and Myracle is able to easily portray the downside to risky behavior without being preachy. Many young adults will enjoy this book – it is a fast, easy read, but one that has heart. In addition, the fact that it was updated in 2014 for the 10th anniversary is a huge plus: all references to pop culture, of which there are many, are totally up-to-date.
Author Information: From the back of the book, “Lauren Myracle is the author of many books for teens and young people, including the New York Times bestselling Internet Girls series, Shine, Rhymes with Witches, Bliss, The Infinite Moment of Us, and the Flower Power series. She lives with her family in Fort Collins, Colorado. Visit her online at laurenmyracle.com.”
From Myracle’s website, http://www.laurenmyracle.com/about/lets-talk/about-me, she tells us that she was born in 1969 and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She has an undergraduate degree in English and Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill, a Master’s in English from Colorado State University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. Myracle has a strong online presence.