Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's Fresh with Hannah Friedman's Everything Sucks

Today we chat with Hannah Friedman on her book Everything Sucks: Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for Cool

The debut memoir every teen will be Twittering about.

"No matter how fabulous Delia's wardrobe is, the most perfect person in my high school is Scarlet Karr, hands down. Rich and blonde, she has the best of every popular-girl requisite accessory: the newest designer purses, the straightest whitest pearly veneers, even a gorgeous college boyfriend who sends roses to her dorm room and croons romantic original songs on her cell phone voice mail, which she eagerly plays on speaker phone for every girl in earshot to go crazy with jealousy over. Although she is a new Junior, a transfer student from California, it takes her only a month to rise from anonymity to the heights of social royalty, winning the lead in the school musical, a place at the head of the most popular lunch table, the lust of every straight guy, and the cultish adoration of the girls and the gays. She is the Madonna of Dansforth and with each $300 haircut and weekend in St. Lucia, her status as our very own tabloid queen swells."

Welcome inside the head of boarding school survivor Hannah Friedman-a fresh new author whose biting wit and captivating writing style is a cross between best-selling YA author Anne Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and the hysterically honest Amy Sedaris (I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence).

Everything Sucks details the teenage years in all of their cringe-worthy absurdity-from getting homeschooled in a tour bus with hippie musicians to attending one of New York's most prestigious private schools on full scholarship to developing a drug habit and eating disorder to nearly getting kicked out of Yale University before she evengets to attend. Did we mention Hannah also grew up with a rescue monkey as a sister? In the end, it's Friedman's spirit and Everything Sucks attitude that keeps her afloat, as it will for all who share in her story.

Hello Hannah, it's great to have you with us on YA Fresh! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Hannah: With the help of my favorite highschool English teacher, I published my first article in Newsweek at the age of seventeen. It was about the hectic and sometimes insane results of the college admissions process, and it provided me with a wonderful entrée into the literary realm. I made my first sale straight out of college. Everything Sucks is everything I wish I had known as a teenager, and I hope it will resonate with everybody who's ever felt a little crazy, or like they would never fit in.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Hannah: Firstly, please do check out some of my writing tip Vlogs at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh1lpi_HLaI in which I discuss all of my favorite writing tips and tricks! I try to write for four hours a day when I have a big deadline coming up, and I never set a page goal for myself because sometimes the best ideas emerge in only a few short sentences that take a whole lot of time to squeeze out of your brain. When I was in highschool and college I used to sit at the computer and sort through thesaurus entries for a half hour to find the perfect word, then move on and never look back. With this book, I began to learn the value of bad first drafts. Bad second drafts. When you give yourself the freedom to push forward even when things aren't perfect, you get a whole lot more done and you don't drive yourself nuts in the process. Then you can go back with your more literal/editor left brain writing style and polish. Makes everything much easier!

Please tell us about Everything Sucks: Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for Cool and what we can expect from this book.

Hannah: Everything Sucks is published by HCI books, and it comes out Aug. 03. '09. The story is about me growing up, from having a real live monkey as an older sister, to getting homeschooled on a bus with hippie musicians, to winding up at an elite private school where the mantra was "sex, drugs, and SATs." I talk about all the things I thought nobody else thought about so that people will know they're not alone in wondering where they fit in.

What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Hannah: I have several projects in the works actually. A few television pilots in development, a children's book, and hopefully a followup to Everything Sucks which discusses my surprising research about the Ivy League and the history of modern education. Also many new songs and videos for youtube!!

Great! Thanks for sharing, Hannah. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Hannah: Don't start the book. Start the sentence! :)

Hannah Friedman (Peekskill, NY) is a recent Yale University graduate. She is the daughter of gold-record singer/songwriter Dean Friedman. An article titled "When Your Friends Become the Enemy" about her experiences applying to an Ivy League University was published in Newsweek in 2004. Ms. Friedman is the winner of the Yale 2007 Playwright's Festival, as well as the New York Television Festival's 2008 "Flying Solo" Pilot Contest. Her pilot about transitioning from college student to author will debut at the Festival in September 2008. Visit Hannah's website, http://hannahfriedman.com.

2 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks for visiting with us, Hannah, and this book sounds like a wonderful read.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly, Thanks for the review and for the fun interview with Hannah. I like what she said, "Don't start the book, start the sentence." Good advice!

I really appreciate all the time you put into reading and reviewing Everything Sucks. Thanks!