Myracle, Lauren 1969-
Myracle, Lauren 1969-
PERSONAL: Born 1969; married; children: Mirabelle. Education: Colorado State University, M.A.; Vermont College, M.F.A.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Books for Young Adults list, American Library Association, Top Ten Youth Romances list, Booklist, Top Ten Books by New Writers list, Booklist, all 2004, all for Kissing Kate.
YOUNG ADULT NOVELS
Joyride, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.
Kissing Kate (young-adult novel), Dutton's (New York, NY), 2003
Eleven (middle-grade novel), Dutton (New York, NY), 2004.
TTYL (Talk to You Later) (young-adult novel), Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2004.
Exposed: The Fashion Disaster That Changed My Life, Dutton (New York, NY), 2005.
Rhymes with Witches, Amulet Books (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Lauren Myracle, a writer of young adult fiction, published three books in two years. Her debut novel, Kissing Kate, a "forthright, insightful coming-of-age story," to quote Denver Post reviewer Claire Martin, revolves around Lissa and Kate, who explore their nascent sexuality. After an initial drunken encounter during which the girls kiss passionately, the two separate to assess what this action might mean in their lives. While Kliatt reviewer Michele Winship described Kissing Kate as a "sensitive coming-of-age story [that] speaks honestly, and at times humorously," and Booklist critic Hazel Rochman called it "funny and anguished," other reviewers expressed reservations about the novel. Mary Ann Carcich, citing in School Library Journal what she considered an "unconvincing" friendship between Lissa and Kate, wrote, "While the message is sound, the delivery is seriously flawed." In Publishers Weekly a reviewer also found that a number of secondary characters "read as cliched." On the other hand, writing in the Lambda Book Report, Nancy Garden found Kissing Kate to be a "solid, honest book exploring complicated adolescent sexuality, with all its intensity, doubts and drama." She continued, "Kate, Lissa and Ariel are strong, believable characters, and the ambiguity of Kate's feelings work as a poignant counter-point to the intensity of Lissa's."
Myracle takes a different direction in her second novel, Eleven, for middle grade girls. Eleven portrays Winnie during her eleventh year, fifth grade, when the world still changes slowly, instead of during the whirlwind years of puberty. According to contributors to Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, Myracle effectively captures this period in a girl's life. The former called it a "lighthearted and well-observed novel," while the latter noted the author's "good ear for the words, emotions, and angst of a tween." Details that add to the verisimilitude of the novel include such items as flavored Lip Smackers, Chinese jump ropes, and friendship bracelets and, as Booklist critic Kathleen Odean commented, the characters "come across as fully rounded." Yet as Tina Zubak pointed out in her School Library Journal review, "It's the book's occasional revelation of harder truths that lifts it out of the ordinary."
Composed entirely of Instant Messaging (IM) messages on the Internet, ttyl (stands for "talk to you later") gives readers a glimpse into the lives and friendships of three high school girls: Zoe (a.k.a. zoe-girl), Maddie (a.k.a. mad maddie), and Angela (a.k.a. Snow Angel). The trendy format—the book was touted as the first to be told all in IM—made for some stylistic concerns, such as the meanings of e-mailese for the non-IM savvy, and the fact that, as a Publishers Weekly critic pointed out, some messages "contain too much plotting to seem like realistic chats." According to several critics, while the dialogue/epistolary style may make for a quick read for some, for others it might be maddening. The topics the girls discuss online are common (school, boys, parents, parties, cliques), yet, as Booklist reviewer John Green explained, their "distinctly compelling IM voices are the hook." The novel garnered positive reviews. Calling ttyl "revealing and innovative," Francisca Goldsmith, writing in School Library Journal, praised the novel and gave it a starred review: "Each character's voice is fully realized and wonderfully realistic." Likewise, a Kirkus Reviews contributor dubbed it "surprisingly poignant," a work that "prompts both tears and LOL (laughing out loud)." Online reviewers varied in their assessments of ttyl. Melissa Parcel, writing in Bookloons.com, called the novel "exquisite," and added that Myracle "captures the language, mannerisms, and struggles of teens perfectly."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Kissing Kate, p. 1972; April 15, 2004, Kathleen Odean, review of Eleven, p. 1443; May 15, 2004, John Green, review of ttyl, p. 1615.
Denver Post, March 30, 2003, Claire Martin, "Outsider Can't Shed Difference in 'Harmony'," review of Kissing Kate, p. EE2.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2004, review of Eleven, p. 39; March 1, 2004, review of ttyl, p. 228.
Kliatt, March, 2003, Michele Winship, review of Kissing Kate, pp. 14-15; March, 2004, Claire Rosser, review of ttyl, p. 15.
Lambda Book Report, August-September, 2003, Nancy Garden, "Not So Terrible Teens," review of Kissing Kate, pp. 34-35.
Publishers Weekly, March 17, 2003, review of Kissing Kate, p. 77; January 12, 2004, review of Eleven, p. 54; March 1, 2004, review of ttyl, p. 71.
San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 2004, review of ttyl, p. F1.
School Library Journal, April, 2003, Mary Ann Carcich, review of Kissing Kate, p. 166; February, 2004, Tina Zubak, review of Eleven, p. 150; April, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, review of ttyl, pp. 158-159.