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Mass, Wendy 1967-

Mass, Wendy 1967-

Personal

Born 1967, in Livingston, NJ; daughter of Norman (a lawyer) and Linda (a psychotherapist); married; husband's name Michael; children: twins. Education: Tufts University, B.A. (English); California State University at Long Beach, M.A. (English); Drew University, doctor of letters degree. Hobbies and other interests: Photography, reading, music, genealogy, archaeology.

Addresses

Home—NJ. Agent—Curtis Brown, Ltd., Ten Astor Place, New York, NY 10003. E-mail—wendy@wendymass.com.

Career

Writer. Worked variously for a literary agent, a television casting company, as a script reader for a film producer, and as a book editor at publishing houses in New York, NY, and CT. Cofounder, with Laura Hoffman, of Writes of Passage (literary journal for teenagers).

Member

Authors Guild, Writers Guild of America East, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

Schneider Family Book Award, American Library Association, 2004, and New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age designation, and Great Lakes Great Book Award, Michigan State Reading Council, both 2005, and Booksense Choice designation, and several state reader awards, all for A Mango-shaped Space; International Reading Association Young-Adult Choice designation, 2006, for Leap Year; New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age designation, and Booksense Choice designation, both 2007, and nominations for several state reader awards, all for Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life; National Parenting Publication Awards Gold Medal, 2008, for Every Soul a Star.

Writings

YOUNG-ADULT FICTION

Getting a Clue: Tammy, Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 1996.

A Mango-shaped Space, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2003.

Leap Day, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2004.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2006.

Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2007.

Every Soul a Star, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2008.

11 Birthdays, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2009.

Author's work has been translated into several languages.

NOVELS; "TWICE UPON A TIME" SERIES

Rapunzel: The One with All the Hair, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.

Sleeping Beauty: The One Who Took the Really Long Nap, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2006.

NONFICTION

Stonehenge, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 1998.

Teen Drug Abuse, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 1998.

Women's Rights, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 1998.

(Editor) Readings on Night, Greenhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Great Authors of Children's Literature, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 2001.

(Editor) A Guide to Children's Literature, Greenhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2001.

(Editor, with Stuart P. Levine) A Guide to Fantasy Literature, Greenhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2002.

Gods and Goddesses, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 2002.

John Cabot: Early Explorer, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.

Ray Bradbury: Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.

Celebrate Halloween, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2005.

OTHER

The Bad Hair Day (picture book), Longmeadow Press (Stamford, CT), 1996.

Contributor to Cricket, Storyworks, and Girls' Life; short fiction included in anthology Geektastic, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2009.

Adaptations

All Mass's novels were adapted as audiobooks by Recorded Books.

Sidelights

Wendy Mass is an award-winning author of young-adult fiction and nonfiction whose books have been translated into nine languages. Mass, a former book editor who co-created the teen literary journal Writes of Passage, began her writing career in nonfiction. However, after earning the Schneider Family Book Award from the American Library Association for her 2003 novel A Mango-shaped Space, Mass has focused on fic-

tion for teen readers, producing critically praised novels such as Leap Day, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, and Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall.

After graduating from Tufts University with a degree in English, Mass moved to Los Angeles, California, to work in the entertainment industry. She later attended graduate school, where she made the decision to write for children and young adults. Moving back east, where she began her career in publishing, Mass was soon afforded the opportunity to write nonfiction. Her first works, Stonehenge, Teen Drug Abuse, and Women's Rights, appeared in 1998. Mass has also written and edited a number of books about authors, including Great Authors of Children's Literature and Ray Bradbury: Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy. In Ray Bradbury, Mass "presents a well-organized biography of the writer," according to Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan.

In A Mango-shaped Space Mass introduces an unusual protagonist who sees the world in an unusual way. Thirteen-year-old Mia Winchell discovers that she has a rare neurological condition called synesthesia. As Mass told Beverly Rowe for MyShelf.com, "synesthesia is a condition that some people have where the different senses—touch, taste, hearing, vision, and smell—get mixed up instead of remaining separate. The most common variety is called lexical synesthesia, which is where letters and numbers each have individual colors. For instance, someone with this condition might say that the letter ‘A’ has a sunflower yellow tint with a crumbly feel to it. The number ‘two’ might be the color of wet cement." In Mia's case, synesthesia allows her to see sounds, letters, and numbers in color, but she keeps her abilities a secret, fearing that her family and classmates will view her as a freak. Mia's struggles with math and Spanish, a consequence of her condition, eventually prove too much for her, and she must seek help from her parents and a sympathetic doctor.

A Mango-shaped Space was well received by critics. A Publishers Weekly contributor remarked that the book's "well-defined characterizations, natural-sounding dialogue, and concrete imagery allow readers to feel Mia's emotions and see through her eyes a kaleidoscopic world." Reviewing Mass's book for School Library Journal, Eva Mitnick stated that "Mia's voice is believable and her description of the vivid world she experiences, filled with slashes, blurs, and streaks of color, is fascinating."

Leap Day concerns Josie, a sixteen year old who, having been born on February 29th, is celebrating only her fourth "official" birthday. During this busy day, Josie plans to take her driver's test, audition for the school play, and join her friends on a scavenger hunt. Leap Day employs a dual narrative: Josie's version of events is interspersed with third-person accounts that describe the same incidents from another perspective. According to Michele Winship in Kliatt, "Readers get to see beyond Josie's point of view and find out the motivations and inner thoughts of the people she interacts with throughout her birthday." Horn Book contributor Jennifer M. Brabander called Leap Day a work "that highlights the potentially life-altering results of our most fleeting daily interactions."

An important birthday is also central to the plot of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. Here cautious Manhattan preteen Jeremy will turn thirteenth within the month when he received an interesting box in the mail. Made of wood and with four locks no keys, the box was made by Jeremy's dad five years before, just before the man's untimely death when Jeremy was eight. Along with instructions to open the box on his upcoming birthday, Jeremy is also informed that the box contains the meaning of life. Determined to honor his late father's wishes—and satisfy his own growing curiosity—Jeremy and adventurous friend Lizzy go on a quest to find the four missing keys before the sun sets on his thirteenth birthday. Featuring what a Publishers Weekly critic described as a "exquisitely executed plot twist, combined with an ending that requires a few tissues," Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life is a "soulful novel one not to miss." For Faith Brautigam, reviewing Mass's novel for School Library Journal, the story is enriched by a "warm picture of parental love and wisdom and of a boy growing into his own understanding and acceptance of life."

The junior year of unhappy high-schooler Tessa Reynolds yields both ups and downs in Mass's verse novel Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall. Hit in the head by a ball during gym class, Tessa suffers a coma and re-experiences important times in her own short life. While wandering through a heaven that looks a lot like the local shopping mall, Tessa finds that each storefront reveals another of the mean-spirited acts and poor choices that comprise her past. Her unconscious experiences prompt the comatose teen to evaluate her life from a fresh perspective and realize the potential that still exists for a more positive future. "Tessa's journey and authentic voice is one that readers will appreciate," Lynn Rashid predicted in School Library Journal, the critic adding that in Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall Mass "will entertain and inspire" middle-grade readers. Writing that the author "takes a chance by offering readers an unlikable protagonist" in the angry and dishonest Tessa, Booklist critic Ilene Cooper asserted that Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall is an "emotionally realistic novel [that] will resonate with many" teens.

Mass introduces readers to three unusual tweens in Every Soul a Star, a novel for middle-grade readers that alternates first-person narratives with interesting facts about astronomy. The youngest of the three, twelve-year-old Ally, enjoys puzzles and anything to do with astronomy. She also loves living at the Moon Shadow Campground, which her family owns. Popular and pretty, Bree is thirteen and needs a mall nearby to survive. To her horror, her academic parents have decided to purchase Moon Shadow. Jack is also thirteen, but unlike Bree, he is gawky and overweight and also failing his favorite science class. When the three children meet up at the campground amidst a gathering of hundreds of people hoping to witness a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse, the friendships they form change each of their lives for the better. Commenting on the novel, Hazel Rochman commented in Booklist that "Bree's hilarious account of her experience as a glamour queen in the wilderness is right-on." "Confirming her mastery of the middle-grade novel, Mass … [presents] a well-balanced look at friendships and the role they play in shaping identity," maintained a Publishers Weekly critic in reviewing Every Soul a Star.

Leo and Amanda used to be best friends until Amanda overheard Leo joking about her with his friends. Now, after a year-long falling out, the friendship is rekindled when the two preteens become stuck in time in 11 Birthdays, another middle-grade novel by Mass. Praising the book's "winning story," a Publishers Weekly contributor added that the author's "expertise with pacing keeps the story moving at a lively clip, and her understanding of this age group is … finely honed." In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan pointed out that 11 Birthdays "offers a fresh twist on the familiar themes of middle-grade family and school dynamics."

Asked by Rowe why she chooses to write for teenagers, Mass explained, "When I was that age, reading was such a huge part of my life. I wouldn't be the same person today if I didn't have those wonderful stories living inside my head. It seems to me that those years, between ten and fourteen, are when kids figure out what kind of person they want to be-both inside and outside, and how they want to live their life." She added, "We can experience things in books that we can never experience in life, but these experiences show us what is possible in our own life."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 2003, Debbie Carton, review of A Mango-shaped Space, p. 1390; February 15, 2004, Cindy Welch, review of Leap Day, pp. 1051-1052; November 1, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Ray Bradbury: Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy, p. 474; December 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, p. 49; October 15, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall, p. 44; December 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Every Soul a Star, p. 51; December 15, 2008, Carolyn Phelan, review of 11 Birthdays.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2007, Karen Coats, review of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, p. 302; October, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall, p. 98.

Horn Book, July-August, 2003, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of A Mango-shaped Space, p. 463; May-June, 2004, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of Leap Day, p. 333; January-February, 2007, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, p. 70; November-December, 2008, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of Every Soul a Star, p. 709.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2003, A Mango-shaped Space, p. 392; January 15, 2004, review of Leap Day, p. 85; October 15, 2006, review of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, p. 1074; August 1, 2007, review of Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall; September 1, 2008, review of Every Soul a Star; December 15, 2008, review of 11 Birthdays.

Kliatt, March, 2003, Paula Rohrlick, review of A Mango-shaped Space, p. 14; January, 2004, Michele Winship, review of Leap Day, p. 10; September, 2006, Joanna Solomon, review of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, p. 15; September, 2007, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall, p. 15; November, 2008, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of Every Soul a Star, p. 130.

Publishers Weekly, April 14, 2003, A Mango-shaped Space, p. 71; December 11, 2006, review of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, p. 70; October 13, 2008, review of Every Soul a Star, p. 54; December 22, 2008, review of 11 Birthdays, p. 52.

School Library Journal, June, 2000, Timothy Capehart, review of Great Authors of Children's Literature, p. 169; January, 2001, Marilyn Heath, review of Readings on Night, p. 151; March, 2003, Eva Mitnick, review of A Mango-shaped Space, p. 237; March, 2004, Paula J. LaRue, review of Leap Day, pp. 216-217; December, 2004, Kathleen Simonetta, review of Ray Bradbury, p. 164; December, 2006, Faith Brautigam, review of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, p. 151; September, 2007, Lynn Rashid, review of Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall, p. 203; November, 2008, Kristin Anderson, review of Every Soul a Star, p. 130.

Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 2007, Stephanie L. Petruso, review of Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall, p. 333.

ONLINE

MyShelf.com,http://www.myshelf.com/ (May 26, 2005), Beverly Rowe, interview with Mass.

Teenreads.com,http://www.teenreads.com/ (January 5, 2009), "Wendy Mass."

Time for Kids Web site,http://www.timeforkids.com/ (June 25, 2003), Carolyn Zemanian, "Kid Scoops: Wendy Mass, Author."

Wendy Mass Home Page,http://www.wendymass.com (January 5, 2009).

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"Mass, Wendy 1967-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mass, Wendy 1967-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/mass-wendy-1967-0

"Mass, Wendy 1967-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved October 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/mass-wendy-1967-0

Mass, Wendy 1967-

MASS, Wendy 1967-

Personal

Born 1967, in Livingston, NJ; daughter of Norman (a lawyer) and Linda (a psychotherapist); married; husband's name Michael. Education: Tufts University, B.A. (English); California State University at Long Beach, M.A. (English); Drew University, doctor of letters degree.

Addresses

Agent Curtis Brown, Ltd., Ten Astor Place, New York, NY 10003. E-mail mangobook@aol.com.

Career

Writer. Worked variously for a literary agent, a television casting company, as a script reader for a film producer, and as a book editor at publishing houses in New York, NY, and CT.

Member

Authors Guild, Writers Guild of Ameria East, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

Schneider Family Book Award, American Library Association, and Best Books for the Teen Age selection, New York Public Library, both 2004, and New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age designation, and Great Lakes Great Book Award, Michigan State Reading Council, both 2005, all for A Mangoshaped Space.

Writings

NONFICTION

Stonehenge, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 1998.

Teen Drug Abuse, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 1998.

Women's Rights, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 1998.

(Editor) Readings on Night, Greenhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Great Authors of Children's Literature, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 2001.

(Editor) A Guide to Children's Literature, Greenhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2001.

(Editor, with Stuart P. Levine) A Guide to Fantasy Literature, Greenhaven Press (San Diego, CA), 2002.

Gods and Goddesses, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 2002.

John Cabot: Early Explorer, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.

Ray Bradbury: Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.

Halloween, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2005.

FICTION

Getting a Clue: Tammy, Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 1996.

The Bad Hair Day (picture book), Longmeadow Press (Stamford, CT), 1996.

A Mango-shaped Space, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2003.

Leap Day, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2004.

Rapunzel: The One with All the Hair, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.

OTHER

Contributor to Cricket and Girls' Life magazine. Cofounder, with Laura Hoffman, of Writes of Passage, a literary journal for teenagers.

Work in Progress

Jeremy Wink and the Meaning of Life, for Little, Brown, 2006.

Sidelights

Wendy Mass is an award-winning author of young-adult fiction and nonfiction. Mass, a former book editor who co-created Writes of Passage, a literary journal for teens, earned the Schneider Family Book Award from the American Library Association for her 2003 novel A Mango-shaped Space. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel Leap Day, published in 2004.

After graduating from Tufts University with a degree in English, Mass moved to Los Angeles, California, to work in the entertainment industry. She later attended graduate school, where she made the decision to write for children and young adults. Moving back east, wher she began her career in publishing, Mass was soon afforded the opportunity to write nonfiction. Her first works, Stonehenge, Teen Drug Abuse, and Women's Rights, appeared in 1998. Mass has also written and edited a number of books about authors, including Great Authors of Children's Literature and Ray Bradbury: Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy. In Ray Bradbury, Mass "presents a well-organized biography of the writer," according to Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan.

In A Mango-shaped Space Mass introduces a protagonist who sees the world in an unusual way. Thirteen-year-old Mia Winchell discovers that she has a rare neurological condition called synesthesia. As Mass told Beverly Rowe of MyShelf.com, "To put it simply, synesthesia is a condition that some people have where the different sensestouch, taste, hearing, vision, and smellget mixed up instead of remaining separate. The most common variety is called lexical synesthesia, which is where letters and numbers each have individual colors. For instance, someone with this condition might say that the letter 'A' has a sunflower yellow tint with a crumbly feel to it. The number 'two' might be the color of wet cement." In Mia's case, synesthesia allows her to see sounds, letters, and numbers in color, but she keeps her abilities a secret, fearing that her family and classmates will view her as a freak. Mia's struggles with math and Spanish, a consequence of her condition, eventually prove too much for her, and she must seek help from her parents and a sympathetic doctor.

A Mango-shaped Space was well received by critics. A Publishers Weekly contributor remarked that the book's "well-defined characterizations, natural-sounding dialogue, and concrete imagery allow readers to feel Mia's emotions and see through her eyes a kaleidoscopic world." Reviewing Mass's book for School Library Journal, Eva Mitnick stated that "Mia's voice is believable and her description of the vivid world she experiences, filled with slashes, blurs, and streaks of color, is fascinating."Leap Day concerns Josie, a sixteen year old who, having been born on February 29th, is celebrating only her fourth "official" birthday. During this busy day, Josie plans to take her driver's test, audition for the school play, and join her friends on a scavenger hunt. Leap Day employs a dual narrative: Josie's version of events is interspersed with third-person accounts that describe the same incidents from another perspective. According to Michele Winship in Kliatt, "Readers get to see beyond Josie's point of view and find out the motivations and inner thoughts of the people she interacts with throughout her birthday." Horn Book contributor Jennifer M. Brabander called Leap Day a work "that highlights the potentially life-altering results of our most fleeting daily interactions."

Asked by Rowe why she chooses to write for teenagers, Mass explained, "When I was that age, reading was such a huge part of my life. I wouldn't be the same person today if I didn't have those wonderful stories living inside my head. It seems to me that those years, between ten and fourteen, are when kids figure out what kind of person they want to beboth inside and outside, and how they want to live their life." She added, "We can experience things in books that we can never experience in life, but these experiences show us what is possible in our own life."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 2003, Debbie Carton, review of A Mango-shaped Space, p. 1390; February 15, 2004, Cindy Welch, review of Leap Day, pp. 1051-1052; November 1, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Ray Bradbury: Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy, p. 474.

Girls' Life, June-July, 2003, Kim Childress, review of A Mango-shaped Space, p. 46.

Horn Book, July-August, 2003, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of A Mango-shaped Space, p. 463; May-June, 2004, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of Leap Day, p. 333.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2003, A Mango-shaped Space, p. 392; January 15, 2004, review of Leap Day, p. 85.

Kliatt, March, 2003, Paula Rohrlick, review of A Mangoshaped Space, p. 14; January, 2004, Michele Winship, review of Leap Day, p. 10; January, 2005, Sally Tibbetts, review of Leap Day (audiobook), p. 46.

Publishers Weekly, April 14, 2003, A Mango-shaped Space, p. 71.

School Library Journal, June, 2000, Timothy Capehart, review of Great Authors of Children's Literature, p. 169; January, 2001, Marilyn Heath, review of Readings on Night, p. 151; March, 2003, Eva Mitnick, review of A Mango-shaped Space, p. 237; March, 2004, Paula J. LaRue, review of Leap Day, pp. 216-217; December, 2004, Kathleen Simonetta, review of Ray Bradbury, p. 164.

ONLINE

MyShelf.com, http://www.myshelf.com/ (May 26, 2005), Beverly Rowe, interview with Mass.

Time for Kids Web site, http://www.timeforkids.com/ (June 25, 2003), Carolyn Zemanian, "Kid Scoops: Wendy Mass, Author."

Wendy Mass Web site, http://www.wendymass.com (February 1, 2005).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mass, Wendy 1967-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mass, Wendy 1967-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/mass-wendy-1967

"Mass, Wendy 1967-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved October 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/mass-wendy-1967