This is Lauren Myracle's third novel. She is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA Program for children's writers, and is extremely well-connected to the writing community.
Gr 8-10-Three high school sophomores, lifelong best friends, are now facing a variety of emotional upsets in their personal and social lives. Angela is boy crazy and emotive, but able to lend support to her friends when they need it. Zoe is the quietest and most self-effacing, considered by some to be a goody two-shoes but in fact headed full speed into a very dangerous relationship. Madigan is the hothead, less certain of how to grow up than she allows anyone, including herself, to see. The entire narrative is composed of the instant messages sent among these three, from September into November, as they each get involved with dating, sort out how to have friendships with others, cope with disasters that range from wardrobe issues to getting drunk, and offer one another advice and defiance. Each character's voice is fully realized and wonderfully realistic in spite of the very limiting scope of the IM device. Page layout mimics a computer screen and each girl IMs in a different font and in her own unique verbal style. (The title is IM jargon for "talk to you later"). Myracle not only sustains all this but also offers readers some meaty-and genuine-issues. Both revealing and innovative, this novel will inspire teens to pass it to their friends and will suggest to nascent writers that experimenting with nonnarrative communication can be a great way to tell a story.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Myracle's (Kissing Kate) approach is creative, even if her newest novel is somewhat formulaic: three best friends hash out their lives-from new relationships to conflicts with one another-through instant messages. As they start 10th grade, social Angela catches her new boyfriend on a date with another girl; tough Maddie is befriended, then humiliated, by a popular girl; and "good little Zoe" finds herself crushing on a teacher-who seems to be interested in her, too. Though the main characters and the plotting seem familiar, readers will appreciate Myracle's portrayal of the supportive friends: they listen to one another, plan a surprise party and a road trip, and when Maddie is low, Angela and Zoe make her a care package with a poem that Angela calls "mushy but not 2 mushy." Their messages at times contain too much plotting to seem like realistic chats, but the style makes for an engaging, quick read. Flourishes such as emoticons and Internet lingo add realism; the book's title translates to "talk to you later," and Angela adds stage direction to her messages, writing "*stomps foot*" (when she believes Maddie is withholding information) or "*jumps up and down and squeals*" (when Zoe promises her a makeover). As might be expected, there is a falling-out among the friends. But while Maddie's reaction when she catches Angela and Zoe discussing her behind her back seems too extreme, readers will cheer their reunion, which happens just as Zoe's teacher makes his move. Ages 13-17. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.