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June 2005

Princess in Training, by Meg Cabot

Princess in Training. You've probably already read it. I feel no obligation to post the cover, cute as it is. (Hint: it's PINK). But can I just say, Meg Cabot is pretty freakin' funny?
She is. There is a whole thing about "baby licker" in this book that I just laughed and laughed over.

(Though I do take issue with Cabot's position on what to do with a crying baby: Mia is very responsive to four-month Rocky's tears, and always comforts him, while her mother wants to let him cry by himself so he stops trying to get attention. At four months! Cabot doesn't condemn Mia's big-heartedness, but the mother turns out to be right. I strongly disagree.)

Okay, back to the book. Cabot is just great, also, at rendering the big joy of goofy girl times; quizzes and notes in class and all that kind of thing. I loved the subplot about a new person in school of indeterminate sex. And as always, I love how GEEKY all the characters are, and there's a bit more analysis of school cliques and reasons they exist in this book than there were in earlier ones.

The story. Does it matter? Mia's freaking out because her boyfriend might want to have sex and she's inadvertantly running for student council. There you go. You buy it for the laughs, and there are enough to justify my $11.55, for sure.

Washington & California

Here are two dates for summer readings I'll be doing -- more concrete details later.

Redmond, WA, Borders Bookstore, on June 23

Torrence, CA, Barnes & Noble, July 22

Also, I may be reading in San Diego in July as well. I am having scheduling issues on that one.
I promise to be entertaining and to wear a cute dress and and to tell you secrets about my next two books, so come on out!

Also, if you're an indie bookstore in Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego or LA, and you'd want me to swing by and sign some stock or say Hello, lovely Random House reps are taking me around and about those towns this summer, so let me know at [email protected] and it'll happen.


The Grease Poll

If you are UNDER the age of eighteen, will you do me a favor and take my Grease poll? You'll be supporting highly unscientific research for a project I might do in the future.
Plus it's fun!
Thanks in advance. (you have to scroll down -- I don't know why and I can't fix it!)

I say "Grease." What do you say?
No idea what you're talking about.
It's grease. Oily gunk like you find in car engines.
Oh, you mean like some crap '50s movie back when Travolta was skinny? I think I've heard of it.
I loved that movie when I was eight, but now I'm so over it.
I loved that movie when I was eight and secretly, I still watch it all the time and know the lyrics to Summer Lovin'.
I love that movie! And I'm proud to admit it!
Excuse me. You can't just say "Grease." Do you mean the stage musical or the film? Because they're quite different, you know. But both of them rock.


Free polls from

I can't resist a book meme

Book meme from Literaticat and Cecil Castelluci, author of Boy Proof:

) Total number of books owned?
I have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. There are books stacked in piles everywhere. Millions.

2) The last book I bought?
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming. And it does not disappoint.

3) The last book I read?
I am in the middle of
The Coffee Trader by David Liss
Murder in the Museum by Simon Brett
Quick Service by P.G. Wodehouse
Queen Bees & WannaBees
Practially Seventeen by Rosamund Du Jardin
Freakonomics by Steven Leavitt
A Cast of Killers by Sidney Kirkpatrick
and some book about wine that I thought would be more exciting than it is.
This is a typical situation for me.

4) 5 books that mean a lot to me?
This is more a list of books that once meant a lot to me, in chronological order:

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren -- At eight, I was Pippi for Halloween and read this book over and over.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott -- Read it probably once a year from ages 8-14. It inspired me both to be charitable and fearless.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf -- Reading it (at age 22) changed the way I see fashion and pop culture, and made me stop worrying so much about how I look.

Reading the Romance, by Janice Radway --This book, a study of a particular romance-novel-reading group's reading practices and beliefs, changed the way I thought about literary analysis when I was 26.

Healing Back Pain, by John Sarno -- My back hurt every day for no diagnosable reason from age 21 - age 30 or so. Then I read this book.

What Classic Pin-Up Are You?

Okay, so it's 9 at night, I just ate ramen for dinner, I have a cold, my shoes are smelly, I have a sink full of dishes, and I can't resist:
I am a classic pin-up!
Now I feel so much better. You can be one, too.

You are Betty Grable!
You're Betty Grable!

What Classic Pin-Up Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I was kinda hoping for Sophia Lauren, but to get her I probably shouldn't have described myself as "sporty."

Marianne Mancusi's Boyfriend List

Marianne Mancusi is on the GCC with me. She's got her first book out now: A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court, which is about a cosmopolitan, Manolo-wearing babe who time travels back to the days of Camelot You can read an excerpt here.

She's also a writer of teen novels, under the name Mari Mancusi. Sk8er Boy (arriving in stores this October) is about a girl who falls for a rebel from the wrong side of the tracks, and Boys that Bite (in 2006) is about a girl who turns into a vampire just a week before her prom.

Anyway, you can tell by her boyfriend list that she has been a BOY MAGNET since the first grade, and that her books are loads of fun.


Marianne Mancusi's Boyfriend List

Sk8erboy1) JASON in 1st grade. He smelled like mustard and prefered my friend Michelle because she had longer hair.

2) FRANKIE in 2nd grade. A hoodlum in training that would share his peanut butter Ritz crackers with me if I sent him love notes.

3) FRANCIS in 3rd grade. A brainy, arrogant boy I called "Hot Shot" because that's what Princess Leia called Han Solo. I figured it must be a compliment.

4) TODD in 5th grade. I sent him a Valentine's Day card to tell him how I felt. He giggled with his classmates on the other side of the room and never asked me out.

5) DAVE in 9th grade. Taught me to french kiss. Problem is, I wanted to practice on his friend Brian instead.

6) BRIAN in 9th grade. I broke up with Dave to be with him. He broke up with me at the school dance. Then asked me out again. Then broke up with me again.

7) RUSSELL in 10th grade. The sweetest skater boy I ever met. Mom wouldn't let me date him cause he was from the wrong side of the tracks.

8) PAUL in 11th grade. Right side of the tracks. Wrong kind of boy. Dropped out of high school while we were dating. What a winner.

9) JAIMIE in 11th grade. The art teacher's 22 year old son. Knew better than to get involved with a 17 year old who was obsessed with him.

10) BRIAN in 12th grade. But he had a girlfriend. Not that it mattered much to him.

11) CRAIG in 12th grade. Broke up with me because he wanted to flirt with other girls. Couldn't find a girlfriend for years afterwards and decided I must have cursed him.

Marianne's blog is here.

Yesterday, St. Ann's

Notitgirl_2Melissa Kantor, author of Confessions of a Not It Girl, invited me to come speak to the 7th graders at St. Ann's School in Brooklyn. Yesterday, I went.

It was great. Everyone asked sharp questions, laughed at my jokes, and generally made me feel welcome. One girl came up afterwards and asked me if I'd read The Clique, by Lisi Harrison. I said I'd read the first one, but not any more after that. "I liked it," I told her, "but weren't they 12 years old? I did think that was a little young to be wearing all that Gucci."
"It's Prada," she corrected.

Many of the students were extremely well-read in recent teen literature, thanks to having Kantor as their teacher, and I couldn't have asked for a better audience. Cheers to everyone at the school. I had a really great time.

Y.R.'s Boyfriend List

A reader I'm calling Y.R. sent in this charmingly written and thought-provoking boyfriend list.



1.Micah... He was the first boy I liked and it was in third grade. He was my reading/writing partner. We had a wax museum and he was a dare devil, I was an author.

2.Phil... I didn't like another boy until seventh grade. Me and my friend would pass notes in Math class about guys we liked, that was until one fell into the wrong hands. At school dances some of my other friends would ask his to dance with me. Talk about embarrassing! I just figured out that my new friend, that moved here from flordia, her mom is best friends with his mom!

3.D.J. ... That was in Eighth grade. He is also one of Phils friends. I think it was an
acquired liking though. In all of my classes in seventh grade we were partners on all the projects. And when we came back from summer vacation he looked different.

4.Shawn... now(ninth grade) he's a year older than me. A sk8er and he is in a band with my brother's best friend. And we have the same favorite band;Rush!!

5.Jeff... he's my guy friend. My brother thinks I'm gonna start liking him next. No way!!

Just so ya know Jeff has dark brown hair and so does every boy that I've liked has dark brown hair. Thats why he thinks that I gonna like him.

6. Jake... I'm only putting him on here because he is the only boy that I know of that has ever had a crush on me. Gross!

I know I haven't liked that my boys but I grew up with them. It's kinda like I'm one of them.

Mary Pearson's Boyfriend List

The charming and delightful Ms. Mary Pearson, whom I know through email, newsgroupy things for teen novelists and LiveJournal, is the author of the much much acclaimed A Room on Lorelei Street, which lands in bookstores this June. (See Richie's Picks to read a review). It's about a 17-year old girl who rents a room of her own, which allows her to escape her alcoholic mother and the controlling guilt of her grandmother. Pearson also wrote Scribbler of Dreams and David V. God, plus she pens a weblog that I really enjoy. And now, she's written a BOYFRIEND LIST that is funny and proves that Ruby is wrong about high school loves not lasting.


Mary Pearson's Boyfriend List
I just finished THE BOYFRIEND LIST. And like everyone else, it got me going down boyfriend memory lane. Just like Ruby Oliver, I started remembering ones “who didn’t really count” and squeezing them inbetween others.

Don Marcus - age 4. He is my cousin. I don’t really remember him as a boyfriend but my mother recounted to me that I said I wanted to marry him. She was fairly horrified ; )

John - Grade 3. My first REAL boyfriend. He even gave me a St. Christopher to wear around my neck. We talked on the phone a lot. But of course we never kissed. That would have been too gross.

Carl - Grade 7. Carl had a terrible stammer and when he decided to ask me to go steady, he couldn’t get the words out. I had to help him. So really, I sort of asked me to go steady. Our going steady only lasted for the weekend.

Bob - Grade 9. The first boy I kissed. He was a surfer and so was I at that time. We went together for 3 months and then he broke up with me (sob! Ruby, I understand!)

Dave - Grade 10. Another surfer. Good looking. Big blue eyes. We went together for 7 months, but during that time I tried to break up with him twice. He wasn’t for me, but he, well he kept talking me out of it. I finally got tough.

Jeff, Eric, and Big-Iowa-Guy whose name I can’t remember - Grade 11. Technically not boyfriends, but since Ruby included every relationship so will I. Jeff, was actually a younger man–only a sophomore! Oh, the scandal. We shared a brief kiss. Eric was a one time date, and the same with the Big-Iowa-Guy. After the difficulty of breaking up with Dave, I was a little boyfriend shy.

Dennis - Grade 12. oo-la-la, a college man! And a great kisser. And . . . well, the guy of my dreams! He still is. End of boyfriend list! He’s been my boyfriend ever since ; )