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Fredericks, Mariah (Emmi Fredericks, M.E. Fredericks)

Fredericks, Mariah (Emmi Fredericks, M.E. Fredericks)

PERSONAL:

Born in New York, NY; married. Education: Graduated from Vassar College, 1988.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Worked as lead writer for Book-of-the Month Club.

WRITINGS:

YOUNG ADULT

The True Meaning of Cleavage, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2003.

(As Emmi Fredericks) The Smart Girl's Guide to Tarot, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.

(As Emmi Fredericks) Fatal Distraction: or, How I Conquered My Addiction to Celebrities and Got a Life, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Head Games, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Crunch Time, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2006.

In The Cards: Love, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Anna's Story, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Fame, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Life, Atheneum Books (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Mariah Fredericks is the author of young-adult books, beginning with her debut, The True Meaning of Cleavage. The book is about two teens, Jess and Sari, and how their friendship is changed by Sari's relationships. Jess and Sari, who have been best friends since seventh grade, are first-year students at Eldridge Alternative. Jess, the intellectual narrator, worries about their friendship when the attractive Sari pursues soccer star David, a senior who is already seeing the most popular girl in the class. They begin a secret sexual relationship, while David is still seen in public with his girlfriend. Jess feels left out and abandoned and is angered by Sari's lies and continued self-destructive behavior. She comes to realize that the true meaning of cleavage is the division of two people.

A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that Fredericks "realistically captures high school society." "Readers will be intrigued by" the relationship between Sari and David, noted Angela J. Reynolds in School Library Journal, "but the real story is Jess dealing with the pain of betrayal and beginning to understand human nature."

Fredericks also writes as Emmi Fredericks. Her first novel published under this name is Fatal Distraction: or, How I Conquered My Addiction to Celebrities and Got a Life. Protagonist Eliza is a celebraholic, obsessed with the rich and famous. She works in a bookstore by day and spends her free time reading magazines and watching television programs that fixate on the stars. Eliza scans the faces of the people she passes on the street, hoping to spot a celebrity, but the only one she knows is Norm the Wonder Dog, who does commercials. Eliza's boyfriend dumps her, and her best friend, Dinah, says she was behind the wheel when she and her rapper boyfriend are involved in a hit-and-run. Eliza thinks Dinah may be lying to get media attention. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Fatal Distraction an "entertaining look at America's cult of celebrity."

In the novel Head Games, Judith's online gaming identity is male. Judith realizes that she cannot have a relationship with her online competitor, Jonathan, unless she gives up her real identity, and her gender. Judith is comfortable with her male identity because she is recovering from a sexual attack, and she is also trying to get over the loss of her best friend, Leia. A Kirkus Reviews contributor said that the story leaves readers with a "wistful feeling," and that Fredericks "has a gift for replicating teen vernacular."

Fredericks followed up the successful Head Games with the 2006 novel Crunch Time. Main characters Leo, Max, Daisy, and Jane are all juniors at a New York private high school, and instead of taking an SAT prep course they've decided to study together on their own. While the teenagers aren't part of the same cliques at school, they begin to relate to each other through their collective anxiety over taking the stressful SATs. Adding to the drama, a student at their high school is accused of paying someone else to take the test, and suspicions fall to the group. Critics enjoyed Fredericks' latest teen novel, citing the author's continued skill at speaking eloquently about issues relating to teenagers. She "works the same magic" as she does in her other novels, noted Taylor Morris in a review for the Romantic Times Online Web site. Others agreed that Crunch Time is a success. The novel offers "sharp insight and spot-on humor," wrote Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg.

The following year, Fredericks published In The Cards: Love. In this novel, three very different friends try to navigate life as eighth graders in New York City. Early on, an elderly neighbor passes away and leaves one of the girls a deck of tarot cards; soon Anna, Eve and Syd are busy trying to find out about their futures. The cards predict Anna will start dating the popular Delcan Kelso, but when she does Anna discovers the rest of her life seems to be falling apart. Readers enjoyed Fredericks's latest book about the lives of teens, some citing the author's talent at creating realistic and heartfelt scenes between the friends. She has a "keen ear for dialogue," observed Riva Pollard in a review for the School Library Journal. Readers also lauded Fredericks' well-developed and complex cast of characters. In The Cards is about "intelligent, thoughtful adolescents," wrote Kliatt contributor Claire Rosser.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of The True Meaning of Cleavage, p. 1322; January 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Crunch Time, p. 83; January 1, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of In The Cards: Love, p. 100.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of Crunch Time, p. 262; January, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of In The Cards, p. 212.

Horn Book, July-August, 2003, Lauren Adams, review of The True Meaning of Cleavage, p. 455; March-April, 2006, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of Crunch Time, p. 188; January-February, 2007, Lauren Adams, review of In The Cards, p. 66.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2003, review of The True Meaning of Cleavage, p. 60; December 15, 2003, review of Fatal Distraction: or, How I Conquered My Addiction to Celebrities and Got a Life, p. 1413; August 1, 2004, review of Head Games, p. 741; January 1, 2006, review of Crunch Time, p. 40; December 15, 2006, review of In The Cards, p. 1267.

Kliatt, July, 2004, Claire Rosser, review of The True Meaning of Cleavage, p. 17; January, 2006, Claire Rosser, review of Crunch Time, p. 7; January, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of In The Cards, p. 11; May, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of In The Cards, p. 24; September 2007, Claire Rosser, review of Crunch Time, p. 20.

Library Journal, October 1, 2004, Kimberley Robles-Smith, review of The Smart Girl's Guide to Tarot, p. 98.

Library Media Connection, October, 2006, Anna Hartle, review of Crunch Time, p. 74.

Publishers Weekly, December 9, 2002, review of The True Meaning of Cleavage, p. 85; January 26, 2004, review of Fatal Distraction, p. 230; February 6, 2006, review of Crunch Time, p. 71; December 4, 2006, review of In The Cards, p. 58.

School Library Journal, February, 2003, Angela J. Reynolds, review of The True Meaning of Cleavage, p. 141; January, 2006, Diane P. Tuccillo, review of Crunch Time, p. 132; April, 2007, Riva Pollard, review of In The Cards, p. 134.

ONLINE

Jonathanstephens.com,http://jonstephens.livejournal.com/ (June 4, 2006), review of Crunch Time.

Mariah Fredericks Home Page,http://www.mariahfredericks.com (August 18, 2004).

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (November 9, 2007), Taylor Morris, review of Crunch Time.

Tarot Channel,http://www.madebymark.com/thetarotchannel/ (May 8, 2007), review of In The Cards.

Vassar College Web site,http://www.aavc.vassar.edu/ (August 11, 2004), Corinne Militello, "Captivating a Young Audience."

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