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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Alex Flinn and Diva

Being on tour can be a thankless task for most authors. The events can be difficult for even the most savvy bookstores to publicize and its often only the really big names that can draw crowds.

Yet, book signings are also wonderful events for those who do attend them. You get to put an actual face to the author and learn far more about the book than you do just from reading its pages. If you've never read the author before, book signings are an opportunity to hear the person talk about his or her books and decide whether they are something you want to read.

Such was the case for a recent book signing that I attended. It was there I had the opportunity to meet Alex Flinn who was stopping by in Lansing after doing a number of presentations at libraries in Midland. She read from the first chapter of her latest book, Diva, and then talked for a while about how she became a writer, her own experiences in a performing arts high school, and about Diva and her other books, most notably Breathing Underwater.

Diva is "a companion novel to Breathing Underwater but it's a lot different in tone," Flinn said. It's humorous with a sharp edge. It's a book for young girls, letting them know there is something beyond boyfriends and being pretty."

While it has been a long time since I was a teenager and I was never someone who was bothered one way or another about my weight or dating, I did enjoy the novel and can easily see why Flinn is so appealing to teenagers.

Here's an excerpt from my Diva review:

Diva explores many issues that are of relevance to teenagers, foremost among them the obsessions with dating and weight. It takes Caitlin a long time to figure out that 115 pounds is not fat nor is it any reason to panic. She keeps a daily record of her weight in an online journal and obsesses over every bite she consumes. It's hard to blame her, though, when she is surrounded by voices that make her feel like a "fatgirl." Flinn takes a pretty realistic look at the pressures a teenager can get that distort self-image completely out of proportion.

At a book signing, Alex Flinn says she hopes that girls who read Diva will take from it that there is something more to life than boyfriends. It's a lesson that Caitlin seems a little slow to learn at first, showing a willingness to bypass incredible opportunities on the chance that she'll have more time to spend with a particular guy. However, life continues to throw her curves which make her realize that there are other things in life than just dating, a lesson she learns even before her mother does.

Diva is an easy-to-read book with a streak of breathy humor running throughout it. It's peppered with online journal entries (which I kept expecting someone else in the novel to stumble across). Those entries are written in the annoying, but realistic, Internet-speak that constantly replaces "to" with 2.

Alex Flinn does an excellent job of writing an entertaining story that gives teenagers something to think and talk about without lecturing or talking down to them.


  • Thanks for the review and coverage! It was nice meeting you. Alex Flinn

    By Anonymous Alex Flinn, at 3:36 AM  

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