Tracy, Kristen

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Tracy, Kristen

PERSONAL:

Education: Holds M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, poet. Brigham Young University, Johnson State College, VT, and Western Michigan University, former instructor; Hawthorne High School, Los Angeles, CA, former teacher.

WRITINGS:

Lost It, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2007.

Crimes of the Sarahs, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Kristen Tracy's debut novel, Lost It, was a "hilarious and heartfelt first novel about a girl who falls in love—and has her first sexual experience—and tries to let go of her fears," as a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted. Tracy, who has also published poetry on the Internet, targeted this novel at the young adult audience. She chooses as her protagonist teenager Tess Whistle, from Idaho, whose parents have turned to evangelical religion after a household accident. Beginning with the loss of her virginity, Lost It then flashes back to trace Tess's trajectory toward this early sexual experience. Intent on remaining a virgin until marriage, as she enters her junior year of high school Tess is in a weakened condition: her parents have taken off to a survivalist school and her best friend Zena is busy constructing a bomb with which she plans to blow up a dog as a protest against her parents' marital difficulties. Then a good-looking young guy, Ben Easter, transfers to her school. Tess's relationship with Ben starts out oddly enough, for in order to explain her choice in apple juice, she claims she is diabetic, and then is forced to stick with this untruth. Ultimately, however, Ben's kindness and closeness win Tess over. Up to this time, Tess's twin phobias have been losing her virginity and the outdoors. That she makes love for the first time out of doors is a sign of the topsy-turvy changes her world has undergone. The Publishers Weekly contributor went on to praise the "eccentric characters and outrageous plotting" in this "offbeat story." Similarly, School Library Journal writer Kathleen E. Gruver thought "teens will laugh out loud at Tess and her frank, humorous observations about the outrageous situations in which she finds herself." Gruver further felt Lost It was a "great read, hilarious and poignant at the same time." Holly Wiseman, writing in Kliatt, found that Lost It deals with traditional young adult themes, including relationships with parents, with friends, and with newfound intimates. Wiseman noted, "Eventually, Tess learns that sometimes to find yourself, you need to get a little lost."

Tracy's second young adult novel, the 2008 Crimes of the Sarahs, is, as the author described it on her Web site, a novel "about girls who commit crimes and parrots who don't and a knife-wielding psycho brother and stuff like that."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of Lost It, p. 345.

Kliatt, January, 2007, Holley Wiseman, review of Lost It, p. 26.

Publishers Weekly, January 1, 2007, review of Lost It, p. 51.

School Library Journal, May, 2007, Kathleen E. Gruver, review of Lost It, p. 144.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2007, Lois Parker-Hennion, review of Lost It, p. 154.

ONLINE

Kirsten Tracy Home Page,http://www.kirstentracy.com (December 18, 2007).

Slayground,http://www.slayground.livejournal.com/ (December 18, 2007), review of Lost It.