5

1. Yay for Laurie Halse Anderson! She rocked the house yesterday on Penguin’s Point of View website. Her reading/Q&A event streamed live for all to see. You could even submit questions online. I was stoked when my question was selected! I asked, “What’s the one thing you hope that your books can do most for teens?” And guess what? Laurie and I have the same exact answer! Which is to help teens feel less alone. I was a bit verklempt to be connecting with one of my role models in this way, all united by a common purpose. Love her.

2. The Cybils nominations are out. This list of awesome YA novels that were released over the past year includes lots of my faves. It’s a good resource if you’re looking for new book recommendations.

3. When I signed some books recently, I noticed that When It Happens is in its 10th printing! It was really cool to see that “10” there all by itself. I was a bit verklempt again. Of course, a 10th printing would not be possible without everyone who has read or talked about or shared this book. Word of mouth is a very powerful force. So I have all of you to thank for your kindness. Thank you thank you thank you! You guys rule.

4. Princess Bookie recently had a contest where you could redesign certain book covers. Although the contest is closed, it’s fun to see alternate cover designs. Redesigns of the Something Like Fate cover were included. Cindy’s blog is super impressive, so go on over for a visit if you haven’t seen it yet.

5. Apparently, Halloween is tomorrow. Do not get me started on how quickly October flew by. We have a friend visiting, so we’ll watch the big Halloween parade here in the Village. If I dress up, I’m going as three-hole-punch Dave, a composite of two Jim Halpert costumes. My Yip-Yips costume idea will have to wait. Whether you’ll be trick-or-treating, partying like the rock star you are or having a low-key night, be safe and have a fabulous time!

sensitivity

Guess who’s getting braces?

That would be me.

I probably should have gotten braces, like, 20 years ago. As a neglected teen, I usually didn’t have even the basic things I needed, much less some expensive braces. My Gram did intervene in her classic superhero ways and managed to set me up with a retainer. But the retainer hurt. It kept scraping my gums. It was anchored around my bottom wisdom teeth, which hurt all the time. And I kept throwing it out with my lunch. So now I need to fix the problem. Oh, and those bottom wisdom teeth? Need to come out.

If it wasn’t for the issue of getting my wisdom teeth pulled, I wouldn’t be so resistant about braces. They’re not the old-school metal kind that Miranda had in Sex and the City where she asked that girl, “Are your braces blue?” and the girl was all, “No, they’re sapphire.” Mine will be the invisible kind that go on the back of your teeth, so no one can even tell you have them. Plus, my dentist says they’ll only be on for less than a year. So it’s time to move forward, despite the horrific expense. Did I mention that I don’t have dental insurance anymore? I know, the fun times just keep coming!

My top wisdom teeth were pulled years ago. It was pretty bad. Mainly because I have a really sensitive system. I would love to be less sensitive, but that’s not happening. My pain threshold is so low it’s subterranean. I can’t drink caffeine without feeling sick. Even cold medicine makes me feel weird. But I have to accept who I am and make the most of my lacking attributes, of which there are many. While sensitivity sucks in the face of teeth yanking, it’s good for writing books. So I’ll focus on writing. And psyching myself up to make that appointment. Which I’ll be making any minute now…

my neighborhood rules

People sometimes ask me why I pay so much rent to live in a tiny apartment (which is an average size for the West Village but microscopic anywhere else) when I could own a massive five-bedroom house in Kentucky for the same amount. The reasons for this are infinite. It’s mostly about the energy. It’s also about experiences like last Saturday night, aka The Ultimate New York City Night.

I’m a huge fan of a certain famous person who lives in my neighborhood. Out of respect for his privacy, I can’t write his name here. However, I can give you the following hints about his identity:

1. I mentioned I was going to his house on my Twitter.
2. We get togethernow and then to have lunch.

He just bought a house a few blocks away from my place. You basically have to be him to own an entire brownstone around here. A friend of mine is his interior designer, so I got to visit his house. It’s still being worked on, which means I’m allowed to show you a photo or two. This is part of his changing room:

Kiefer's changing room

The first floor has an amazing front room with a fireplace (I think there are eight fireplaces in total) and built-in bookshelves around the windows. Built-in bookshelves are a passionate desire of mine. These won’t stay white like mine will be one day, but they are still gorgeous:

Kiefer's reno

After the tour, we went to The Waverly Inn. I’ve always wanted to go there. It’s this restaurant that doesn’t even have a phone number -reservations are that exclusive. But another friend of mine (who is the boyfriend of my interior designer friend) is a fitness instructor at Equinox around the corner, so he’ll saunter over during the day to make reservations. I know, my friends are outstanding! Shout-out to SP for hooking me up. Usually there’s some movie star or other at The Waverly Inn. There wasn’t anyone famous there Saturday night, though. Just some guy who looked like that guy from that show. But I do have one thing to show you:

Waverly Inn truffle mac and cheese

See this plate of mac and cheese? It’s not just any mac and cheese. This mac and cheese is $95.00. It has shaved white truffles on top. While I think it’s outrageous that there can be $95.00 mac and cheese, I cannot deny its deliciousness.

That’s the news from the nabe for now. When his house is finished and I get to see it again, I might be able to post a photo or two here. Stay tuned.

5

1. As Teen Read Week wraps up, I’d like to remind you to read something out of this world. To celebrate this most fabulous week, Readergirlz has been posting tributes to authors made of awesome. If you’re looking for some good book recommendations, you should head over there.

2. Dissecting Perfection has compiled a Fall 2009 playlist entitled YA Celebs Playlist. Along with a bunch of other authors and bloggers, I answered the question, “What’s your fall anthem of choice?” Regular readers will be less than shocked by my response.

3. Speaking of John Mayer, I’m a bit irritated. His new album, Battle Studies, drops on November 17. I could not be more excited. He’s even having a small album release concert. When tickets went on sale, they were only available to existing members of his fan club. Which of course includes me. But I didn’t get my tickets! Because right when they went on sale at 10:00, the website didn’t refresh my page the way it was supposed to. Then it was 10:01. Then 10:02. The dread was unbearable. At 10:03, I was forwarded to the sales page. By then all the good seats were sold out. I could always go and sit way in the back, but I know me. I’ll just be fuming the whole time that I’m not closer and I can’t see and there’s some dumbass who’s not even a fan in the front row, checking his messages and not knowing any of the songs. Blerg.

4. When Thirtysomething was on, I was 13. I was not interested in watching the show. It was about grownups. Grownups were not interesting. Even so, I remember getting a sense that the show would be good. So I’ve been watching the first season, and it really is good! I love shows where people just sit around talking about everyday stuff that we can all relate to. If you can look past the goofy 80s fashion atrocities, you’ll see a show that was ahead of its time.

5. The last few days were gorgeous! Today is cold and rainy, which is actually a good thing. It was so perfect out yesterday that I kept finding excuses to do errands. Now I have a lot of writing to do. Last night we went to the High Line to watch the sunset. That place is magical, especially at night. It was all city lights and big sky and waxing crescent moon:

The High Line at night

Hoping you find some magic this weekend!

the return

When I graduated from high school, I ran out of that place swearing that I’d never go back, ever. I was finally free. Never ever would I ever go back to the scene of countless emotional traumas.

So of course I just went back.

Dude.

Facebook was involved. I reconnected over there with my friend from back in the day, Paula. I thought it would be really fun to see her after almost two decades. Around that time, I was considering going back to my old high school for reasons related to the new book I’m writing. Then my lIbrary event was scheduled (thanks for an awesome time, Kimberly!) and…it all came together.

When we graduated, a massive renovation of the school was just staring. Now the kids have an insanely schmancy new auditorium, new high-tech photo lab, new cafeteria, new freaking everything. I’m all jealous of their improved school experience, but I’m not jealous that they’re there. I was drooling over the new science wing. The only remaining science teacher from the old days totally remembered me from Science League!

Which got me thinking about the things we remember about school and the things we block out. I seem to have blocked out a lot of the horror. That’s one reason I wanted to go back – I was hoping the visit might unlock some things. Paula remembers so much, though. She was telling me about all this stuff that happened and I was like, Really? I did that? She brought her photo album to show me old pictures of us. Here’s what’s strange: Looking at pictures of yourself with no memory of being there, doing whatever you were doing in the picture. Apparently, I was a Corn Flake for Halloween one year.

Was I traumatized by my return? Not at all. In fact, it was a good example of how time heals. To all of my teen readers who are having the worst experience of your life right now, please know this. The badness comes to an end. Your real life starts. And everything just gets better from there. So keep the hope of a better life alive, and one day soon you will be living it.

secret adventure

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be embarking on a secret adventure. The secret adventure will commence after my visit to the Elizabeth Public Library in New Jersey. If you’re a teen who would like to stop by, here are the details.

Some things about the secret adventure are:

1. It involves doing something I said I’d never do.
2. It’s both exciting and scary.
3. It involves a reunion.
4. It is not sky diving.

Of course I will document everything for you. Until then…