Anyone But You by Lara M. Zeises (Delacorte, 2005). It's one hot summer. Seattle's planning to spend her early vacation days hanging out with her stepbrothers--Jesse and Critter. But it's too hot for Sea to skate, too hot for Critter to chase girls, and responsible Jesse is busy working. Layla, the boys' mom, is working all the time, too, and Sea's dad took off six years ago. That leaves step-siblings-turned-best-friends Sea and Critter to venture to a swimming pool in an nearby upscale town. It's there that Critter falls for a pretty life guard, and before long, Sea's spending all of her time with a skater boy who's on the rebound and just visiting for the summer. Neither Critter nor Sea is happy, though both struggle with why, and then Sea's dad reappears, even further confusing the roles of friendship, love, and family. Ages 12-up.
More Thoughts on Anyone But You
Great Shades of Greg and Marcia! Lara Zeises is a genius. I loved it, loved it, loved it. Read it in one sitting. Okay, I was actually sprawled on the bed in front of the fan with a glass of iced tea, but it was one-sitting-ish.
Both Sea and Critter's alternating voices are engaging and distinct, conveying character and giving the reader insights that clarify motivation and fuel the story.
I, like Critter, am a fan of Rod Stewart. One of my clearest childhood memories is my one older cousin Laura dancing to "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" in my Grandma Melba's living room.
The skater (as in skateboard) girl perspective and culture was interesting.
I also especially liked how Critter found a variety of female body types attractive. His analysis of the girls from "Clueless" (especially Brittany Murphy) was appreciated.
The ending will leave you panting for more.
Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Chair Kathi Appelt has informed me that I'll be guest teaching under the wing of Margaret Bechard and leading a workshop with Ron Koertge. I am of course ecstatic.
Nancy Childress, daughter of Robert Childress, illustrator of the Dick and Jane books, writes announcing a tribute site to her father's work. Nancy was the model for "Sally." She is available for related presentations.
"Letting Go of Your Babies" by Linda George, in the Work Habits section of Writer's Support (Growing up as a writer) from the Institute of Children's Literature. On reworking early manuscripts rather than moving on to new projects. See also: "Overcoming CP (Chronic Procrastination)" by Heather Tomasello, in the Getting Started section of Writer's Support, also from ICL.
"Basketball and Murder: Taking the Perfect Shot at Mystery Writing for Young Adults." An ICL chat transcript with author Elaine Marie Alphin and Shannon Barefield, Editorial Director of Carolrhoda Books.