May 20, 2012
“A coming-of-age story without the comfort of padding…a relatable and compelling character [with] a lot of wonderful snark.” —New York Journal of Books Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.
How was your overall prom experience?I didn’t go to my senior prom. No one asked me. I had a boyfriend at the time but he was a junior and I guess I didn’t want to ask him. There was a boy in my grade I was friends with, he was also friends with two of my good friends to and basically he was like I will take one of you to the prom. It went on for two weeks of his trying to decide which one of us to take. It was weird and stressful, like an episode of the bachelor before that show existed. Guess who he picked? The pretty one. Some friend!
Did you use anything from your prom experience in Pretty Amy?No, but I was arrested during my senior year of high school, not for the same reason Amy was, but that was where the kernel came from. I also knew I wanted to write a “shocking” book from a teenage girl’s point of view. I feel like you can get away with your character being a murderer, or a jerk, or just a smart ass more easily if your book isn’t contemporary and I wanted to try to break that mold with PRETTY AMY. I also wanted to write a contemporary YA book that was about what real teens go through. I feel like teenage girl’s lives are complex and I hoped to show that in PRETTY AMY.
What sort of research did you have to do when writing Pretty Amy?I sat in a courtroom all day long one day, just to see what it was like. I also had to research drug laws, they are confusing.
Have you kept in touch with your prom date?My junior prom date, no, but his(our) picture now comes up in a Google image search of “PRETTY AMY” so I may be hearing from him soon.
Best piece of advice for aspiring writers?Keep writing- don’t give up! It seems so simple, but it’s really true. It took me 10 years! to get published, two agents and countless number of editor passes to finally get published. I could have given up, easily, but I felt like I had something important to say. I believed my words could matter.