What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Sydney Salter')

Recent Comments

Recently Viewed

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 7 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Sydney Salter, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 10 of 10
1. Goodbye to Summer!


As it's been in the 90s home in Utah and at the time this posts I'll be coming back from my cousin's wedding in Dallas, Texas, which has made the news for having the longest stretch of over 100 degree days, it's hard to believe that it's actually September. But it is! And all this week, the Buzz Girls are going to be sharing their summer highlights.

As I posted in August, CLICK HERE, this was the Summer of Reunions for me. A family reunion, two high school reunions (my husband and I graduated from our respective high schools the same year), and a work reunion for the advertising agency where I used to work. All were very fun and as reunions have a way of doing, they gave me an occasion to reminisce and remember my roots. All in all, I can honestly say I've had some pretty darn amazing people in my life and I couldn't be more thankful for their support and love.

Some of my favorite moments of the summer include:
  • hanging with my almost two-year old nephew, who lives in Denver
  • witnessing the kids in my writing camps become better writers in just two weeks
  • boating in Pineview Reservoir (I only got to use my new wakeboard once, though, because I injured my back in May)
  • getting to meet talented authors Lara Zielin, Sheila Nielson, and Sarah Ockler
  • appetizers on a rooftop terrace overlooking downtown Denver with my husband, brother, sister-in-law, best girl friend from high school, and best guy friend from college
  • my youngest son's 5th birthday party which started 4 hours early and ended 5 hours late
  • rescuing Miller the Duck off the highway in Ogden Canyon (he's doing GREAT in his new home, by the way) CLICK HERE if you missed that story.

Though it's been a fabulous summer, I'm really looking forward to the fall. Now that my back is doing much better and I'm finally able to tie my own shoes, I'm going to start practicing yoga again real soon, and I'm excited to get back to work on a new YA book proposal. I've also been asked to be a writer in residence, along with the mega-talented Sydney Salter, at an alternative high school, which is a great honor.

Enough about me! What about you? What are some of the highlights of your summer and is it just me, or are you looking forward to fall, too?


2 Comments on Goodbye to Summer!, last added: 9/4/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
2. Look at my Desk! Sydney Salter

Welcome to the desk of my terrific friend from Utah (USA) Sydney Salter. Sydney also contributed to my 12 days of Christmas last year. You can see that here. But now, here is Sydney's Creative Space. Just look at her desk, and bookshelf and more....

********

I suppose that my laptop is my real creative space. While drafting a new WIP, I often head to a coffee shop—or other public place—where I can eavesdrop on conversations as I compose. I actually keep a list of all the locations where I’ve worked on a particular story—like the chapter of Swoon At Your Own Risk that was composed on a ferry boat in stormy weather.



At home I’ve taken over part of our living room for my creative space. I like the open feeling of high ceilings, big windows, no doors, and having my biggest bookshelf in view. I can also peek out at my neighbors riding bikes, walking dogs, mowing lawns, etc. I feel less isolated from the rest of the world in the middle of the living room. Now if only I could keep my desk clean!

Little toys and inspirational mementos clutter my desk. I keep a small frame of quotes near my computer. (“Others will underestimate us, for although we judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, others judge us only by what we have already done.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) A jar of pink cupcake sprinkles adds a bit of fun.



I also amass a group of figurines and things relating to my WIP. Maybe you can guess the subject of my most recent novel?



My turtle collection is my favorite part of my creative space. Over the years I’ve gathered a small army of tortoises and turtles to remind me to have a tough shell when it comes to rejection or criticism, and that slow and steady wins the race.



Writing can sometimes be frustrating and lonely so I try to make my creative space playful.

********

See more of Sydney here at her website.

Her latest titles are:
My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, Harcourt/Graphia
Jungle Crossing, Harcourt Children's Books

0 Comments on Look at my Desk! Sydney Salter as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
3. Infinite hypothetical boyfriends, or lack of same.


MyBigNoseSydneySalterMy very final thoughts on MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS. Something else Sydney Salter does that’s unusual — besides her brief, if beloved (by me), embrace of the scatalogical for girls — is to have main character Jory be interested, or potentially interested, in many different guys at once.

Not like a love triangle, where she’s interested in two guys and has to choose (or maybe was interested only in one at first but realizes he’s The Wrong One). More like… endless possibilities. Like every guy she meets is being scoped out as a potential boyfriend/crush object, and they might stay in that category for a while.

It struck me because it both felt very true to life, and also very rare in teen fiction. Usually all a character’s romantic hopes and dreams will be invested in one or, at most, two people at a time — and if two, they’ll feel it as a conflict. Jory, on the other hand, does have the one guy who she’s had a huge crush on forever, and the guy she ultimately ends up with, but there’s also this other guy, who seems kind of promising, but then it doesn’t really work out…

Why is this so rare? Is it because romantic conventions dictate that protagonists’ affections not be too promiscuous, or because fiction conventions dictate that the ultimate end of these books — the hero getting what she wants (and maybe realizing along the way it’s different from what she thought she did) — is cleaner if the major roles are filled by only one character?

Posted in My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters, Salter, Sydney

3 Comments on Infinite hypothetical boyfriends, or lack of same., last added: 6/2/2009
Display Comments Add a Comment
4. How They Got Here: 2009 Debut Author Sydney Salter

This post is part of a year-long series of blog interviews I'll be hosting with my fellow 2009 Debut Authors, called "How They Got Here." 


Today...Sydney Salter, author of JUNGLE CROSSING!


Despite her reluctance to go on a family vacation to Mexico, Kat ends up on a teen adventure tour where she meets Nando, a young Mayan guide. As they travel to different Mayan ruins each day, Nando tells Kat the legend of Muluc, a girl who lived in the time of the Ancient Maya. 

This is actually Sydney's second title released in her debut year, after her YA novel MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS - You can read my interview with her on that book here.

Welcome, Sydney! Writing across genres, do you find differences in your process between MG and YA?

Not really. I always try to get inside my characters' heads and write in their voices no matter what their age. I have found that writing every novel is a unique experience with its own joys and challenges. I guess they're kind of like people that way--complex and one-of-a-kind!

What did you learn launching your first book that you’ll remember when JUNGLE CROSSING is released?

Hopefully, not to stress out about things I cannot control--like reviews. I do think there's a big marketing difference between middle-grade and YA. Teen bloggers can really help spread the word about a YA novel they enjoy, but Jungle Crossing will depend much more upon parents, teachers, and librarians.

What’s next for you?

My second YA novel, Swoon At Your Own Risk, comes out in April 2010. But right now I'm exciting about figuring out what to write next! That will always be my favorite part--falling in love with a new character.

Thanks for joining us!

You can learn more about Sydney at her website and check out JUNGLE CROSSING at IndieBound!

Add a Comment
5. Slush Pile: Then and now


Revision update: Another two chapters revised in the last two days, but I’m starting to doubt that I’ll finish by the end of the week. Maybe end of next week?

For unpublished writers, facing the slush pile can seem daunting. We hear all these horror stories about manuscripts getting buried in six-foot piles of paper, never to be heard from again. We send off query letters filled with hopes and dreams and fear they’ll get lost in a sea of other queries.

The slush pile has changed a lot in the last few years. It used to be stacks and stacks of manuscripts in an editor’s office, but that has — mostly — gone now. In its article Death of the Slush Pile, the Wall Street Journal offers up some of the well-known authors who were discovered through the slush pile when it was in its heyday, such as Anne Frank. If it wasn’t for the slush pile, we wouldn’t have her classic literary work, which is a staple of English class curriculums.

But what WSJ’s Katherine Rosman doesn’t point out is that it’s not so much that the slush pile has died, it has just changed. Today, most publishing houses won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts except from agents. So the slush pile has moved from the editor’s desk to the agent’s desk, and for most agents, it has moved from paper to electronic. This newest technological change benefits both agents and writers. When I sent out my first query letter for my first novel, within minutes I had a request for the full manuscript. Not every agent was so quick, but on average, I’d say the turnaround time was around a week between query and response. (It was longer after a full was requested, but that’s a lot more reading on the part of the agent.) A week is a lot different from the three-to-six-month turnaround time — at least — when writers and agents/editors were dealing with paper copies.

Rosman does point out one agent slush pile success: Stephenie Meyer. But agents will tell you there are many others.

Here’s the latest example: Earlier this month, agent Janet Reid wrote about the launch of her client Patrick Lee’s book and how that book came to her as a query in her slush pile back in August 2007.

And on the Guide to Literary Agents blog, agent Ted Malawer told how he found his client Sydney Salter through her stellar query letter in his agency’s slush pile.

These are just two examples, but it shows that, with a brilliant query letter and an equally brilliant manuscript, slush can in fact work.

Hang in there.

Write On!

2 Comments on Slush Pile: Then and now, last added: 1/20/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
6. Crystal Kites

and in all of the hullaballoo of the week ... I forgot to add this on Monday night when they were announced:

Congrats to Claire Saxby who received the 2011 Crystal Kite Award for our SCBWI Australia and New Zealand divison. Would love to be at the next Victorian SCBWI meeting!!!!

WHAT are the Crystal Kites you ask? Well they are the Awards that I set up here for our SCBWI chapter where members voted for their favourite published book of the preceeding year - a little like the Logies or the People's Choice Awards (or a National Children's Choice awards that should be run here)! One year it was a little Aussie / New Zealand thing, the net year it went global and all around the SCBWI membership folks voted for their favourite books published last year in their division.


And elsewhere in the world Candy Gourlay - who will be appearing on My Creating Space in the next few months, and my friends Sydney Salter (who appeared in a Christmas Memory post last year) and Jo Kittinger (who I will have to grab for this blog) also won the trophy for their respective divisions. Their books get stickered, they each receive a Crystal Trophy and more ...
As Chair of these awards (that's what happens when you come up with a great idea) it was absolutely amazing to see this happen. There were a few pinching-of-self too. Oh and it was awfully hard not to blab - but I DID keep the secret!

More on the Crystal Kites in the press release from the SCBWI website.
What an awesome BUZZ!!!

0 Comments on Crystal Kites as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7. How girls can find themselves...and gain self-esteem

I've read three pretty great books lately, all about learning to love one's self, one's heritage, and one's physical features. Very important topics in the world today, facing teen girls. All too often you hear a girl saying how she doesn't like the way she looks or feels like her background hurts rather than helps her social reputation. In those instances, I definitely recommend one (or all) of these titles.

The first is a book I can now say I'm pretty much in love with. Shine, Coconut Moon is written by Neesha Meminger and focuses on Samar (or Sam), a typical teenage girl that just happens to have an Indian background. Her mother has not raised her to be religious, as she ran away from her ultra-strict family when she was younger. Sam doesn't really know anything about her heritage or culture. When she's called a "coconut" by a fellow Indian classmate, she doesn't even know what that means. Brown on the outside, but white on the inside, Sam is totally confused about who she is.

When estranged Uncle Sandeep arrives on their doorstep, at first Sam is completely taken aback, not sure what to make of him or why he is there. As she gets to know him, she learns what a wonderful person he is and slowly begins to gain interest in her Indian heritage, allowing her Uncle to teach her about it and help her to properly blend her Indian culture with her American culture. She also has started to understand what true prejudice is all about, as the story takes place right after the September 11th attacks and Uncle Sandeep is exactly what people seem to believe a terrorist looks like.

Filled with true emotion and very believable characters, I really really really hope you all go out and read this book. The plot is current and realistic and Samar is a beautiful, hope-filled character. I loved it! I think it belongs on all library shelves and is very deserving of being a gift to a teen girl.

Shine, Coconut Moon
Neesha Meminger
256 pages
Young Adult
Margaret K. McElderry Books
9781416954958
March 2009


Ten Things I Hate About Me, written by Randa Abdel-Fattah, is another book about the clash of cultures and not embracing one's heritage. Jamilah (or Jamie as she calls herself) is of Lebanese-Muslim background, living with a very strict father in Australia. None of her school friends know about her background, as most of them seem to believe that anyone with dark skin and a Muslim faith are terrorists. She just doesn't trust any of them to not disown her as a friend, so Jamie hides her cultural qualities by wearing blue colored contacts and dying her hair blonde, as well as laughing along with all the race driven jokes some of her classmates make.

When Jamie meets a friend online and begins revealing bits of herself to him, she starts to realize that maybe being completely Australian, never embracing her Lebanese culture, is not all it's cracked up to be. She begins to become offended by the typical jokes and comments made, and after some real self-searching, becomes proud of her heritage, rather than embarrassed by it. Learning about herself and her father along the way.

Though I didn't quite enjoy this book as much as Abdel-Fattah's first (Does My Head Look Big in This?), Ten Things I Hate About Me is still a good representation of embracing one's self. Jamilah is a bit flat in the beginning, but once the online conversations began, I liked her a lot more and believed what the author was trying to make her out to be.

This one is a good companion to Shine, Coconut Moon and nice for collections that have the author's first title. A good choice for a teen girl in need of some positivity about herself!

Ten Things I Hate About Me
Randa Abdel-Fattah
304 pages
Young Adult
Orchard Books
9780545050555
January 2009


Finally, moving onto self esteem in terms of physicality, we have My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter. Hilarious is the first term to come to mind when I think of this book, as well as dosed with a positive message.

In the "Summer of Passion," Jory Michaels is determined to accomplish 2 things. Find a boyfriend (preferably popular guy Tyler, who her best friend appears to have an interest in as well) and earn money for the ever-important nose job. She gets a job as a delivery girl for a local bakery to pay to change her huge nose and starts having some real love interests. The summer appears to be off to a great (and very humorous) start, but of course, what would a book be without some twists and turns?

Jory is really on a path of self-discovery, slowly learning about what is truly important in life. Those things are not always boys and appearances, but as any teen would be, she is very slow to realize that. Filled with some pretty great messages and lots of hilarious circumstances, this was an enjoyable read.

I did find that the book was a bit too long for my liking. I think it took longer than necessary to get to the point of the story...maybe losing about 50 pages would be good. I also feel the sexuality and drinking was a bit over the top too...not necessarily needed to make the point, but not so heavy that I wouldn't want teens to read it. Overall the good definitely outweighs the negatives and the message is great. A story that will definitely appeal to teen girls!

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters
Sydney Salter
352 pages
Young adult
Graphia
9780152066437
April 2009


To learn more about any of these titles or to purchase, click on the book covers above to link to Amazon.

1 Comments on How girls can find themselves...and gain self-esteem, last added: 4/10/2009
Display Comments Add a Comment
8. Sydney Salter: 2k9

This entry is part 4 of 3 in the series 2k9

Introduced first in 2007, authors debuting children’s books have formed a cooperative effort to market their novels. Last year, I featured many of the stories of how the 2k8 Novels Were Revised. This is part of the ongoing stories from the Class of 2k9 authors and how they went about revising their novels.

Learning to Love Novel Revisions Takes Time

My big Nose by Sydney Salter

by Sydney Salter

My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters (HM Harcourt/Graphia, April 6, 2009).

Nasty chore. I used to think of novel revision as a nasty chore, kind of like laundry or washing dishes. I vividly remember taking my first manuscript to my writing group. I knew they would love it. This was my first novel, and it was going to be snapped up by a publisher, win many glorious awards for novels, and I’d become rich and famous—in mere months (okay, you can stop laughing now).

Imagine my shock when I returned the next week—and learned that they had suggestions. For improvement! They thought my novel started out kind of slow. They thought one thread of the novel was amore interesting than the other. Heart pounding, cheeks flushed, I defended myself mightily, explaining why I didn’t really need to take their suggestions, didn’t need to revise. They just didn’t get my novel. And maybe they weren’t quite as intelligent as I’d thought they were?

I submitted the novel. I collected rejections—mostly form letters. On the fifth form letter an editor scrawled, “Promising, but Kat’s voice could be stronger.” I focused on the promising part, not knowing how to revise to make the voice stronger. I simply didn’t have the writing skills to do that yet.

I wrote new novels. I attended conferences and workshops; I learned that nothing in book publishing takes mere months. And I learned to take criticism on my novels. Sure my heart still pounded, my cheeks still flushed, but I took extensive notes and asked clarifying questions. I stopped defending myself and my book. I really listened to critiques.

I actually looked forward to using the advice to improve my novels. Was this [whispers] revision?

I wrote my fourth book during National Novel Writing Month, but before revising it, I decided to return to that first story. I finally understood voice. I even took another look at those initial revision comments made by my writing group. How I loved returning to those familiar characters! I finally knew how to make the book better.

My fourth novel, My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, caught an agent’s attention. But he had a few notes for revision. No problem—my patient (and did I mention intelligent?) writing group had taught me how to take criticism! I worked hard on the revisions.

Sale #1. And the book sold quickly.

Sale #2! A few months—and revisions—later, my agent also sold that very first novel, Jungle Crossing, but only because I had learned to appreciate, okay, maybe even love, revising. Now if only I could learn to love laundry and dishwashing . . .
Jungle Crossing

Jungle Crossing (HM Harcourt, September 28, 2009)

Post from: Revision Notes Revise Your Novel! Copyright 2009. Darcy Pattison. All Rights Reserved.

Related posts:

  1. Are you Still Submitting Before Revising?
  2. Laurel Snyder: Class of 2k8
  3. Deborah Lytton: 2k9

Add a Comment
9. How They Got Here: 2009 Debut Author Sydney Salter

This post is part of a year-long series of blog interviews I'm hosting with my fellow 2009 Debut Authors, called "How They Got Here." 

It should be an especially helpful series for teens who write, teachers, and anyone who wants to write for kids.  2009 debut authors will be dropping by to talk about how their writing in school shaped the authors they are today, what teachers can do to make a difference, how they revise, and how they found their agents and editors.  (You'll even be able to read some successful query letters!)  If you know a teacher or two who might be interested, please share the link!


Today...Sydney Salter, author of MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS!


Seventeen-year-old Jory Michaels wakes up on the first day of summer vacation with her same old big nose, no passion in her life (in the creative sense of the word), and all signs still pointing to her dying a virgin. In spite of her driving record (it was an accident!), Jory gets a job delivering flowers and cakes to Reno's casinos and wedding chapels. She also comes up with a new summer goal: saving for a life-altering nose job. She and her new nose will attract a fabulous boyfriend. Jory survives various summer disasters like doing yoga after sampling Mom's Cabbage Soup Diet, enforced-mother-bonding-with-crazy-nose-obsessed-daughter night, and discovering Tyler's big secret. But will she learn to accept herself and maybe even find her passion, in the creative (AND romantic!) sense of the word?

Welcome, Sydney! Tell us about the first thing you ever wrote that made you think maybe you were a writer.

I felt like an impostor until I wrote my first novel JUNGLE CROSSING.

What books did you love when you were a kid?

I loved Jenny And The Cat Club by Esther Averill. I still long to have a little black cat that I can name Jenny, and possibly entice to wear a red scarf.

Is there a particular teacher or librarian who was a mentor for you in your reading and writing life?


Mrs. Muth at Reno High School. She's the first one (besides my mother) who believed in me--it still took me several years to believe in myself.

Moving on to the here and now, most writers admit that making time to write can sometimes be a challenge.  When and where do you write?   Do you have any special rituals?  Music?  Food & beverages?

I write while my daughters are in school. I love background music and I drink lots and lots of tea.


Do you have a favorite strategy for revision?


I make a numbered list of all the suggestions and then I march through the manuscript and cross them off as I complete them.

What’s your best advice for young writers?

Keep a daily diary--it will help you develop your voice without the pressure of having to write something others will read.

What’s a mistake beginning writers often make?

They don’t read enough. If you want to write, read, read, read as much as you can across all genres.

What’s special about your debut novel?

I really put a lot of myself into this novel--all those feelings of insecurity I had about my looks in high school. I think it makes the book stronger, but I still hate talking about my nose. And now I’m doing it all the time!

What were the best and worst parts of writing it?

I loved writing about some of my horrible experiences--like wrecking a delivery van and a wedding cake on the same day. Sometimes it was hard to write about difficult situations while keeping the novel's overall tone light and humorous.

How did you find your agent and/or editor?


I queried Firebrand Literary at another agent's suggestion and got picked up by a new agent Ted Malawer. He matched me with Julie Tibbott at Harcourt and I absolutely adore her!

Here's the query letter:

Dear Ms. Cornier,

I would like you to represent my 65,000 word contemporary teen novel My Big Nose & Other Natural Disasters.

Seventeen-year-old Jory Michaels wakes up on the first day of summer vacation with her same old big nose, no passion in her life (in the creative sense of the word), and all signs still pointing to her dying a virgin. Plus, her mother is busy roasting a chicken for Day #6 of the Dinner For Breakfast Diet.

In spite of her driving record (it was an accident!), Jory gets a job delivering flowers and cakes to Reno’s casinos and wedding chapels. She also comes up with a new summer goal: saving for a life-altering nose job. She and her new nose will attract a fabulous boyfriend. Nothing like the shameless flirt Tyler Briggs, or Tom who’s always nice but never calls. Maybe she’ll find someone kind of like Gideon at the Jewel Café, except better looking and not quite so different. Jory survives various summer disasters like doing yoga after sampling Mom’s Cabbage Soup Diet, Enforced Mother Bonding With Crazy Nose Obsessed Daughter Night, and discovering Tyler’s big secret. But will she learn to accept herself and maybe even find her passion, in the creative (AND romantic!) sense of the word?

I have written for APPLESEEDS, Children’s Playmate, Confetti, FACES, Hopscotch, Story Friends, Wee Ones Magazine, the Deseret News, and Blooming Tree Press’ Summer Shorts anthology. I won the Utah Arts Council prize for Not-A-Dr. Logan’s Divorce Book. My novels Jungle Crossing and Going Native! each won first prize in the League of Utah Writers contest. I am currently serving as a Regional Advisor for SCBWI. 

I submitted My Big Nose & Other Natural Disasters to Krista Marino at Delacorte because she requested it during our critique at the summer SCBWI conference (no response yet).

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,



Thanks, Sydney!  Click here to learn more about Sydney at her website.  You can pick up your copy of MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS at your local independent bookseller, order it through one of my favorite indies, Flying Pig Bookstore (they ship!), or find an indie near you by checking out IndieBound!

Up next in the "How They Got Here" Debut 2009 series... Cheryl Renee Herbsman, author of BREATHING, will be stopping by on Monday.

Add a Comment
10. My Big Fart, And Other Natural Disasters


MyBigNoseSydneySalter… is totally the way I will remember Sydney Salter’s book, which in actuality is named MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS. (Blog readers may recall this as the book I called out for its curly hair blunders, in what is now our most-read and most-linked post here at Underage Reading; Salter gets cool points for having a good sense of humor about the whole thing.)

I actually really didn’t like MY BIG NOSE much at first. It’s going for this breezy, contemporary tone, but I found a lot of the writing sufficiently generic at the line level that it just felt forced. The characterization, especially early on, also comes in really broad strokes in a way I found off-putting. Like, check this out:

“It’s going to be the best summer ever.” [... Hannah] fanned herself with her certificates for Outstanding Community Service, Super School Spirit, and Best Poetry. “We can relax and really discover our passions.”

“Like getting into college? Getting real work experience?” [offers the character Megan]

Who talks like that? The answer is no one.

Partly, I think the book suffered from uncertainty about how far into parody it wanted to descend. There were some priceless details; here’s one — the protagonist’s social-climbing mom is talking about a book club the higher-status moms hold — next to which I wrote, “This is almost a satire, and if it were it would be awesome”:

Mom leaned back, clutching a pillow to her chest. “I’ve been trying to swing an invitation to that book club for over a year. I read all the books just in case I get invited and people talk about previous selections.”

…But it wasn’t a satire; it gave us awesome shit like that but then also wanted us to take these characters seriously. I struggled with that.

However. MY BIG NOSE grew on me quite a bit as it went along. In part this is because it handled well some things — sexual violence, homosexuality* — that usually make an appearance in teen books only when they are The Point. Here, as in many teenagers’ actual lives, they are important parts of the pastiche of what our main character and her friends experience — and Salter takes them as seriously as they deserve — without being the dominant features of our hero’s life. This felt to me both convincing and refreshing.

The best part of this book, though, for me, was a so fully awesome scene that inspired the title of this post. It is a very extended, deeply hilarious depiction of what happens when our hero goes to yoga class while forced onto her mother’s cabbage soup diet. The gaseous results are reported to us in detail. In a book for girls! So rare!

It’s kind of like how masturbation is a staple of realistic-genre books for teen boys, but if I ask you about female characters masturbating, what will you say? That’s right, DEENIE. Which was published in 1973. Cheers to Salter for, thirty five years later, taking another little step forward in popular culture portraying girls as possessing bodily functions.

* By the way, one way that blogging has changed my book reading is that I am more accountable to my predictions about where a book is going (even when they’re pathetically off base). It was on page 101 of this book that I noted, “I think I had called [character] = gay before this, but now I am WRITING IT DOWN.” Sixty six pages later we get the scoop for real. I mention this because, now that I am in the habit of writing down my predictions, I’m wondering how many books I feel like “Oh, I saw that coming!” about, but only because I predicted like twenty different mutually exclusive plot developments, one of which actually occurred. Now we will be able to track this. Stay tuned.

Posted in Blume, Judy, Boys, Girls, and Nerds, Deenie, Flawed does not preclude Interesting, My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters, Salter, Sydney

10 Comments on My Big Fart, And Other Natural Disasters, last added: 6/4/2009
Display Comments Add a Comment