What's Fresh with Paula Chase Hyman's Don't Get It Twisted
Desperate times called for sneaky measures.
Mina Mooney's parents are killing her social life. It's time to fight back.
Mina's fantasy has finally come true. Craig Simpson-the hottest guy at Del Rio Bay High-has just invited her to the biggest bash of the year. There's just one hitch: her parents aren't down with letting Mina date a boy they know nothing about. Now she has thirteen days to give her parents a crash course in Craig, or else figure out how to get her fine self to the soiree-without alerting mom and pops. Whatever she decides, she's going to need reinforcements.
Unfortunately, her peeps are caught up in their own twists and turns. Jacinta's boyfriend has been getting on her nerves about spending so much time in `burbville, while rich and sheltered Kelly just might kick it with Angel, a cute, slick-talking hustler from the projects. And ever since JZ made varsity basketball, his mind has been glued to the game instead of schoolwork, which means his dad might make him drop all sports. As for Mina, if she doesn't succeed in enlisting the help of her friends-and fast-her social life just might hit skid row.
A fast-paced novel about loyalty, love, and friendship, Don't Get It Twisted shows what it takes to have a blast while breaking all the rules.
Hello Paula, thanks for joining us again to chat about the second book in your Del Rio Bay Clique series! Please tell us about your latest novel.
Paula: Don’t Get It Twisted (Dafina for Young Readers, December 2007) is the second in my Del Rio Bay Clique series. It gives readers a peek into the clique's foray into dating. And I dip my toe into the issue of student athletics and cheating. We find the MC, Mina, scheming to go on a date with her crush, Craig, to a coveted party thrown by the school's football team. She draws her friends into the plans only to have a monkey wrench thrown into her romantic endeavors by a newcomer. That same newcomer has her friend JZ, sweating over his spot on the Varsity basketball team. In the end, both JZ and Mina find themselves on the 'by any means necessary' road to trouble.
Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?
Paula: Although there are six friends whose stories are told within my books, Mina Mooney is definitely the main character. Mina’s a cock-eyed optimist, a true teen idealist who often finds herself in situations where realism is hit home over and over. Yet, every book she emerges unscathed, still optimistic. It’s what I love about her. It’s not that she’s remaining “innocent” and oblivious. Quite the opposite. The lessons she learns help her grow, yet she truly believes that there’s no reason a bad situation can’t be turned around in her favor.
How did the idea for this novel come about?
Paula: The characters were still speaking to me once I finished So Not The Drama in 2003, so I kept on writing. Don’t Get It Twisted was the result. However, once the book was acquired by Kensington Books/Dafina for Young Readers I did heavy re-writes because the characters had changed from the original story. Still, the essence of the story is the same.
What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?
Paula: I write books for readers to escape into. I want readers to get lost in Del Rio Bay and feel as if they’ve been walking beside my characters. The situations my characters face are real, yet turned up a notch for the fun of drama. So I never set out with the thought of having the reader gain anything other than satisfaction that they’ve read a good story.
Great, Paula! Thanks for sharing. Best of luck with Don't Get It Twisted. Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?
Paula: Recently, I read Thirteen Reasons Why, By Jay Asher. I recommend it because it’s the sort of book that will evoke emotion and discussion. For me, it evoked frustration with the MC. But I’ve been a part of several online threads about it and the discussions have been so enlightening. It’s so powerful when a book can springboard discussion – especially about a topic as sensitive as teen suicide.
Author, Paula Chase has written for Girls Life, Sweet 16 and Baltimore Magazine, among others. In addition to her background in corporate communications and public relations, she founded the Committed Black Women, a youth mentoring program for 14-17 year old girls. Her Del Rio Bay Clique series helped launch Kensington Books YA line and joins a burgeoning number of YA books targeted to multi-culti suburbanite teens. Chase calls her brand of teen literature, Hip Lit, a nod to the diversity spawned by the MTV-watching, 106 & Park-ing, pop culture hungry hip hop generation. The author lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about the series and author at www.paulachasehyman.com.