Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child
written by Maria T. Lennon
published by HarperCollins
About the book: Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child stars hilariously spunky recovering bully and tween hacker Charlie Cooper, who gets expelled from her fancy Malibu Charter School for a prank gone wrong and finds herself “shrinked” for middle child syndrome and getting more than she bargained for at her new school in the ueber hippy community of Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.
In Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, Maria Lennon has created a fresh and fun story that brings “Mean Girls” to the tween level, peppered with snarky comments, major attitude, and advice to spare from Charlie Cooper, whose virtues, flaws, fears and sheer humanity promise to hit home among young girls, braving middle school in the 21th century, with all the pressures that come with it: popularity, bullying, social media, the list goes on.
“Lennon’s tale addresses manifold topics, including the pressures and social issues of middle school, friendship quandaries and bullying. Charlie’s eclectic mix of interests–she’s a computer prodigy with a talent for hacking and an aspiring fashion trendsetter who harbors a keen interest in Harry Houdini–contribute to her distinctive narrative voice.” –Kirkus Reviews
“In her first book for children, adult author Lennon offers a fast-moving story with a satirical edge.” –Publisher’s Weekly Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. All right here we go: Because it deals with real-life issues girls face at school every day and it’s wrapped in a funny package.
Where did you get your inspiration for Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child? I have two girls and two boys. And over the years, I’ve watched the way girls can treat one another. It bummed me out. So I wanted to write a book about a girl who overcomes the labels people put on her. Labels are useless. Kids change too fast to be labeled.
Was it difficult to switch from writing a general fiction novel (Making It Up As I Go Along) to a middle grade novel? It was a natural progression–I wrote my first novel after my first baby when I was still firmly entrenched in the land of the adults. As I had more children, I gave up the adult world and spent all my time with my kids, other parents and hung out at schools an awful lot. I really began to see life through their eyes and it’s so much more fun. I love writing for kids.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? Yes. I just finished the second book in the Confessions of a so-called Middle Child series. In this one Charlie tells a small white lie to get what she wants—a staring role in a TV series. And it blows up in her face, of course. Also I’m working on a middle-grade series for boys, which I am so excited about. At night I read installments to my boys. They’re my first editors.
What do you enjoy most about being a writer? About being a screenwriter? Do you prefer one over the other? Who doesn’t love a good story? Whether it’s oral, written or comes at you from a screen? We all love stories. I am first and foremost a novelist but I want to write more and more for the screen. It’s a very concise way of breaking down a story and it appeals to me. Also television is so great right now. I would love to adapt.
What is your favorite genre to read? Great middle grade fiction of course. Books like the House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer are unbelievably good. And I keep a classic by my bed at all times to reconnect with the greats. Right now I am reading Lolita again. Talk about voice! Talk about pace and emotion. Wow. Amazing stuff
Who is your favorite author? This is a question I like to dodge because there are so many. I have no favorite. I love Dave Pilkey of Captain Underpants, Sherman Alexie of Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Tolstoy for giving us Levin, my favorite character of all time. Shakespeare. Suzanne Collins for the great Hunger Games. Awesome stuff.
In your opinion, what is one book that everyone should read? Heart of Darkness by Conrad.
Tell us three things about yourself that cannot be found on the internet…at least not found easily.
- I have a plastic finger.
- I am not a morning person
- I am obsessed with Breaking Bad and pretend to be Jesse when I’m stuck in LA traffic.
About the author: At fifteen, Maria left Santa Barbara to study at The American School in Switzerland. She continued her studies at Brillantmont in Lausanne, then went on to London to complete her A levels. She was accepted to the London School of Economics and studied International Economics and Politics of International Aid. After graduating, she moved to Italy where she taught summer school at The American School in Genova, an elementary school. Maria later moved to Paris and wrote her first novel, Making it Up as I Go Along (Random House, 2004). Today, she finds herself living under a heap of Disney paraphernalia in a slightly disheveled tree house in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, with her husband, four children ages 5-13, a dog, three cats, and a caterpillar named Harry.