Sunday Street Team is the brainchild of the very lovely Nori over at Read Write Love, shining the spotlight on new releases by new authors. For the March edition, I interview Ami Allen-Vath, the writer of contemporary YA novel Liars And Losers Like Us. And I am in love with that title!
For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High. When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.
With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast - as a party of one.
Ami Allen-Vath is a writer of contemporary YA, lover of ice cream, and an experienced avoider of birds. She’s lived in 9 of the 50 states and currently resides in NJ with her husband, two children and dog, Yoda. Liars and Losers Like Us is her first novel.
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1) Was there any particular book or author that inspired you to start writing?
I love Judy Blume. As a middle-grader and teen, loved how engaging and personal her books were. I also was very inspired to start writing after reading her book Tiger Eyes. I wrote about this experience for Pop Goes The Reader last year.
2) How much of your real life and people you know have made it into Liars and Losers Like Us?
It’s all fiction! I swear! Well...this book was inspired by my high school years and I definitely noticed this in the editing process . As far as the anxiety issues and using humor to cope, I’m a lot like Bree. But I also see a little bit of myself in some of the other characters. And although I wish some of those characters (like Maisey) would’ve had outcomes closer to my real life, it wasn’t my personal story to tell.
3) Do you have a "movie cast" in your head when you write about your characters?
Not really while I’m writing but I’ve created a Pinterest board for LALLU. It’s nothing fancy but I have posted pictures of how I imagine the characters look.
4) Do you write from your experiences, from fantasy, or a little of both?
5) If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give your teenage self?
I would say, “You have made it this far, so you are strong. Channel the energy you use on hating your body and trying to “fix” it, into accepting yourself. You are brave and beautiful. And although it’s not always going to be easy or consistent, happiness and contentment are attainable and worth fighting for.”
6) What three books would you take to a desert island?
Three journals. I’ll keep all the wonderful stories I’ve read in my head, but use the time to write new ones.
7) Who is your favourite character from a book?
Davey Wexler from Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes.
8) What book would you most like to see made into a (good!) movie?
Aside from my own book (haha) I’d love to see The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry as a movie. Smart and witty main character, to die for love story and awesome BFF relationship. The book is damn gorgeous, unique and I demand Hollywood get on this right now.
9) Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Even though we look nothing alike, I’m sure Meryl Streep could find a way. She’s genius.