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Garfinkle, D.L. (Debra L. Garfinkle)

Garfinkle, D.L. (Debra L. Garfinkle)


Born in CA; married; children: three. Education: Brandeis University, B.A.; University of California—Berkeley, J.D.


Home—Orange County, CA.


Author. Formerly worked as a waitress, a tutor, and at an insurance company. Attorney in practice for nine years.


Best Unpublished Novel designation, San Diego Book Awards, 2001.



Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl, Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.

Stuck in the Seventies, Putnam (New York, NY), 2007.


Holding On, Berkley Jam (New York, NY), 2007.

Trading Guys, Berkley Jam (New York, NY), 2007.

Finding Love, Berkley Jam (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author of humor column in Orange County Register, and of how-to articles for Writer's Digest. Author of D.L. Garfinkle Web log, at


Though D.L. Garfinkle had a varied career before she became a professional author, she always made time to write. After graduating from college, she had several jobs, including working as a waitress, tutoring standardized testing, and, as she admitted on her home page, "pushing paper at a big insurance company where I wrote a lot of short stories." The realization that writing was important to her came in 1997, when Garfinkle was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. Although eventually the tumor was found to be benign, the diagnosis caused her to reevaluate what she wanted out of life. "I realized I was most proud of my children and a short story I'd gotten published in 1985," she told Cynthia Leitich Smith for Cynsations online. "I decided to quit my job, have another baby, and finish writing my novel." That novel was Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl. Storky is Michael Pomerantz, a character who had figured in many of the author's short stories over the years.

Presented in a diary format, Storky follows Michael through his freshman year of high school. His goals are simple: get rid of his nickname, which he earned from being overly tall and thin, and get the uber-popular Gina to notice him. Michael's intent in keeping a journal is, in fact, a ruse to make Gina view him as a sensitive type and fall for him. Apart from his frustrated romance, the teen's life is full of ups and downs, particularly with his family, as his divorced parents are both dating—his mother is seeing a dentist and his father dates a succession of attractive but empty-headed women. Storky "shows a real flair for comedy and dialogue and genuine empathy for the awkward teen in all of us," wrote Debbie Carton in her Booklist review of Garfinkle's debut novel. Tracy Karbel, reviewing the book for School Library Journal, called Storky "an enjoyable read about … one teenage male in that first overwhelming year of heaven and hell in the halls of high school." A Publishers Weekly critic found Michael to be an engaging narrator, predicting that "readers will cheer him on, relishing the rewards that await him at the end of his first trying year of high school."

In Garfinkle's second novel, Stuck in the Seventies, modern Valley girl Shay finds herself transported back in time from a Jacuzzi at a party in 2006 to the bathtub of a male honor student in 1978. Tyler is a science geek who cannot believe that a beautiful young woman has landed in his tub. In order to get back home, Shay agrees to pose as Tyler's girlfriend until he can come up with a solution to her problem. "Told in alternating chapters by the two teens, this is a fun tale of love and finding one's true identity," wrote Ginny Collier in School Library Journal. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews remarked that Garfinkle's use of alternating narratives in Stuck in the Seventies highlights the author's "credible insight into what makes teens tick." Along with the comedy of the situation and the clash of cultures, however, the book has a deeper theme. A Publishers Weekly critic commented that the novel also "raises thought-provoking questions about whether teen relationships, attitudes and romance have evolved for better or for worse over time."

On her home page, Garfinkle offered the following advice for writers: "Write every day, or almost every day, whether the spirit hits you or not. Sit down and do it. Just a half-hour to an hour a day should give you a completed young adult novel within a year." Though she also acknowledges that writing is not an easy job, she told an interviewer for Publishers Weekly: "I love being a writer. I write every day. Life wouldn't be complete without it!"



Booklist, March 15, 2005, Debbie Carton, review of Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl, p. 1284; June 1, 2007, John Peters, review of Stuck in the Seventies, p. 64.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2005, review of Storky, p. 382.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2005, review of Storky, p. 473; April 15, 2007, review of Stuck in the Seventies.

Kliatt, May, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of Stuck in the Seventies, p. 12.

Publishers Weekly, May 2, 2005, review of Storky, p. 201; June 27, 2005, "Flying Starts," p. 27; April 30, 2007, review of Stuck in the Seventies, p. 162.

School Library Journal, March, 2005, Tracy Karbel, review of Storky, p. 212; June, 2007, Ginny Collier, review of Stuck in the Seventies, p. 144.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2005, Marlyn Roberts Beebe, review of Storky, p. 38.


Cynsations Web site, (September 2, 2005), Cynthia Leitich Smith, interview with Garfinkle.

D.L. Garfinkle Home Page, (January 30, 2008).

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