ADDRESSES: Home—Brooklyn, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Hyperion Books for Children, 77 W. 66th St., 11th Fl., New York, NY 10023.
CAREER: Novelist and high-school teacher in Brooklyn, NY.
Confessions of a Not It Girl, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Melissa Kantor's first novel, Confessions of a Not It Girl, tells the story of Jan—pronounced "yawn"—Miller's senior year at a classy private school in New York City. Jan, said Booklist reviewer Debbie Carton, "is convinced that she is and will remain an utter failure at romance." Between juggling the unwanted advances of former crush Tom and clumsily flirting with new love interest Josh, Jan is preparing college applications, trying to keep up her grades in her last remaining classes, and meeting with her best friend, Rebecca. Rebecca lives dangerously, lying about her age and representing herself as a college student to seduce an older man who works for her father. Rebecca is named an "It Girl" by Chic, a prominent national magazine. Despite Rebecca's sophistication, she and Jan share every detail of their lives with one another. "Much of this novel," wrote Claire Rosser in Kliatt, "consists of their endless conversations dissecting each little thing that has happened in their lives, especially their social lives and their parents."
Despite Jan's extensive interactions with Rebecca, the major focus of the novel is Jan's attempts to create a relationship with Josh. Josh has just relocated from Seattle, and it is intensely important to Jan to discover if he has a girlfriend back on the West Coast. Wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, "Readers will easily identify with Jan, who attracts the wrong boys, occasionally gets tongue-tied around Josh, and has an active fantasy life." In Horn Book, Jeannine M. Chapman stated, "Kantor deftly captures Jan's insecurity through her internal dialogue … and through the mini-plays she enacts in her head." Writing for School Library Journal, Susan Oliver commented, "Jan struggles with her feelings and her nerves, and comes through a winner on the very last page. Lots of fun, lots of truth, very satisfying."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2004, Debbie Carton, review of Confessions of a Not It Girl, p. 1716; September 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Confessions of a Not It Girl, p. 236.
Horn Book, July-August, 2004, Jeannine M. Chapman, review of Confessions of a Not It Girl, p. 454.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of Confessions of a Not It Girl, p. 224.
Kliatt, May, 2004, Claire Rosser, review of Confessions of a Not It Girl, p. 10.
Publishers Weekly, April 12, 2004, review of Confessions of a Not It Girl, p. 67.
School Library Journal, April, 2004, Susan Oliver, review of Confessions of a Not It Girl, p. 156.