Welcome to The Bookish Babe's stop on the PRETTY AMY Blog Tour! For my stop, I have a Q&A with author Lisa Burstein about terribly important things such as favorite comfort foods and television shows...You know, the things you're dying to know about! And to finish it off, my review of PRETTY AMY.
You can find the complete tour schedule at Lisa's website.
Q&A with Lisa Burstein
Andrea: Lisa, I know you are a tea seller. I grew up on instant tea (blasphemy!). Can you recommend a delicious tea for a newbie like me?
Lisa: Earl Grey is probably the best place to start :).
Andrea: I'm a foodie. What is your favorite comfort food?
Lisa: Mashed Potatoes. Sometimes I'll have a whole big bowl of them for dinner. Those are the nights my husband makes his own dinner. I say, "mashed potato bowl tonight" and he knows, I'm not cooking.Andrea: Lol! This reminded me of Carol Kane in License to Drive!
Andrea: Favorite movie from teenage years? Favorite song?
Lisa: Breakfast Club, I was in LOVE with Judd Nelson(who wasn't?). I can't pick one song, but one of my favorite bands was Gun-N-Roses. Appetite for Destruction was my favorite album.Andrea: I have officially declared you my "pop culture soulmate".
Andrea: What do you like to do to unwind?
Lisa: Read. Surprising right? ;)
Andrea: What tv show is a must-see in your home?
Lisa: Seinfeld, yes in re-runs. Shows on now, me and my husband never miss The Killing.
Andrea: Can you recommend a great book?
Lisa: A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is my ultimate favorite.
Andrea:Can you tell us a little more about the Pretty Amy Project?What inspired you to create it? Lisa: Basically I wanted to provide a safe place where teens who had read PRETTY AMY could share their feelings about the book and how they feel it relates to their lives and their experiences. I am asking them to tell me how they've felt like Amy. How they got over it. How they are getting over it. How they are embracing it. I am inviting them to tell anything they've been too afraid to tell before. I will be creating a blog to showcase the stories, teens can decide whether they want to be anonymous and or have their names listed. I am hoping it will let teen girls know they are not alone. That a lot of people feel what they feel: the desire to belong, to fit in, to have people who understand them. I was a lot like Amy. Just like her I had such a desire to belong, to fit in, to have people who understood me. I wanted that so badly and I guess I never felt like adults understood that. It was most of the reason I wrote PRETTY AMY. If I'd had it when I was in high school I feel like I would have been able to understand my feelings better. I wouldn't have felt so alone. That feeling was something I never admitted to anyone, not even my friends and I wanted to let teens know it's okay to feel lonely even surrounded by friends and family.
Andrea: I can't tell you how happy this project makes me!
**Thanks to Lisa Burstein for taking the time to answer my questions!**
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.
"Unfortunately, I am only myself. I am only Amy Fleischman."(pg1)
Thus begins PRETTY AMY. Amy is lost. Amy is afraid to speak out. Amy is afraid of being lost in the crowd, so she does the only thing she knows to gain attention: She acts bad. She smokes, she drinks, she hangs out with fellow "bad girls" Cassie and Lila. What Amy doesn't realize, though, is that she's digging herself a hole. With each misdeed, with each burned bridge, she's going deeper and deeper. Until the night she, Cassie and Lila cross the line. Without the shadows of Lila and Cassie to hide behind, Amy is forced to face her bad decisions and decide whether the consequences are worth it.
Oh, to be a teenager again. The saying "Youth is wasted on the young" is painfully accurate. Teenagers have such potential. The world is sitting there, just waiting on them to venture into the unknown. But, that's looking at it with hindsight, with all the painful bits removed. Things like self-esteem, self-worth, fitting in, friends, frenemies; they all can be torturous to navigate. So to be put back into that frame of mind, a lost girl, was draining.
I'm fairly certain author Lisa Burstein has Jedi-Mind Skills. Never, in all my *cough* twenty-eight years of reading have I ever felt quite so exposed. There were moments when Amy was internally pleading with someone to see her, the scared girl behind the facade, that I had to gently set the book down, take forty-five deep breaths, wipe the tears away, then dive back in. It's not necessary to be just like Amy to get her. I wasn't, on the outside, I was an excellent masker of emotions. But deep down, I was so painfully lost that I could have easily spun out of control. The fact that Burstein was able to bring Amy and her feelings so firmly to life, and put me right back into her situation, is mind-boggling.
I also read this book from the perspective of a mother. I've vowed to myself to learn the lessons I found in PRETTY AMY. Don't be like Amy's mom and dad. It's actually very simple, if you think about it.
PARENTS: Don't rush into accusing, blaming, and punishing. ASK YOUR CHILD QUESTIONS. Ask them if there is something going on inside that makes them act out. Ask, ask, ask. Then hug. Let them know you are there, no matter what.
Although PRETTY AMY was heavier than I originally thought, there were many laughs. Amy's internal dialogue had me smiling. Her observations: on her parents, her therapist, her coworker, her neighbor, her friends were wry and painfully accurate. Her friends, Cassie and Lila, were not in the story as much as I expected. And that was great as far as Lila goes, because that girl was so self-absorbed. I had a friend like Lila and just, ugh. Cassie on the other hand was a riot. I loved that girl and wish she had more book time. But...I hear Cassie's getting her own book! That's a total win. I can't wait to read an entire book from her point-of -view.
I wish I had PRETTY AMY when I was seventeen years old. I would like to think that I would have read it, and learned something through Amy instead of, well, drinking and smoking and hanging out with bad boys. Maybe this book would have shown me I had worth, besides being the girl who was popular but could still party like a rock star. The best I can do now is pass the story on to my own daughter someday, and a girl I know, right now, who could use some PRETTY AMY.
"I probably should have been scared to smoke that much, but I needed to be annihilated. I had to forget tomorrow, when I would wake in one of three hotel rooms we'd rented, alone in that big bed, my dress crumpled up on the floor like a discarded attempt at a love letter." (pg. 16)
"They would fill me up with their secrets. They would make me feel like my silence was a choice. Like being left over was a choice." (pg. 228)
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by Entangled Publishing
You can purchase PRETTY AMY at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Source: Received from publisher for review.