aka YA Literature

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dear Matt,

This is what I'd like to tell Matt De La Peña:

Dear Matt,

I've booktalked Mexican Whiteboy in about 50 classes. In every single one, when I said the title of Mexican Whiteboy, there was a twitter of amusement, sometimes along with a "Hey, that's So-and-So!" or "Hey, that's me!" This tells me two things: (1) It's a great title. No other title I've booktalked elicits this kind of response. (2) They'd love to read a funny Mexican Whiteboy. Granted, you'd have to call it something else now, but there must be something left. I know you love the gut-wrenching, sad, emotional "highs" of tragic and depressing stories, but I think you have funny in you if you wanted to do it. Maybe something like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Or maybe something totally different. I'm just saying, I think you could do it well and I think teens would love it. I think you could give the masses what they want and something you'd want to give them too.

Second, it's not what the masses want necessarily, but it is what I'd like to read by you: a book with a female lead or near-lead. I really like your female characters so far, even though they've been secondary. They're interesting, fun, and sometimes kind of badass. They're familiar as real people but unique as YA lit characters. I could see you writing a really good alternate perspectives novel, alternating between the guy and the girl's perspectives. It doesn't even have to be a romance (indeed, I'm still reeling from Perfect Chemistry).

Thank you in advance for your consideration in these matters, as I'm sure this will be paramount in your mind as you decide what to write your novels about,

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