Bestselling author Jenny O’Connell presents a sizzling new series for summer. Her first two Island Summer novels, LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS (MTV/Pocket Books; June 2008; $9.95 each) highlight the lives of the summering visitors, the year-round locals living in the beach towns of Martha’s Vineyard, and the fireworks that explode when they combine for three steamy months.
In LOCAL GIRLS, friendships are in danger of ending with the summer. Kendra and Mona are best friends, local girls who spend their summers catering to rich tourists and the rest of the year chafing against small-town life. Then Mona's mom marries one of the island's rich summer visitors, and Mona joins the world of the Boston elite, leaving Kendra and Martha's Vineyard behind. When Mona returns the following summer, everything is different.
Unlike his sister, Mona's twin brother Henry hasn't changed. He's spending his summer the way he always has: with long, quiet hours fishing. Early mornings before work become special for Kendra as she starts sharing them with Henry, hoping he can help her figure Mona out. Then Kendra hatches a plan to prove she's Mona's one true friend: uncover the identity of the twins' birth father, a question that has always obsessed Mona. And so she begins to unravel the seventeen-year-old mystery of the summer boy who charmed Mona's mother. But it may prove to be a puzzle better left unsolved--as what she is about to discover will change their lives forever...
In RICH BOYS, Winnie jumps at the chance to babysit for a wealthy summer family and earn some extra money—but soon learns that life in the Barclay’s beautiful vacation home isn’t as perfect as it appears. And what was supposed to be a carefree summer quickly becomes more complicated than she ever thought possible.
Learn how you can win an Island Summer t-shirt – just in time for the beach. Go to http://jennyoconnell.blogspot.com and enter to win today! And learn more about LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS at www.jennyoconnell.com.
Here's my chat with Jenny O'Connell:
In my debut novel, SISTERS OF MISERY, the main group of mean girls call themselves the Sisters of Misery since they take part in orientation rituals on Misery Island. Here are some questions for you about your own cliques (hopefully they aren’t as mean as the ones in my story!)
What writers do you consider your “sisters”? Are there any published writers that you hang out or tour with a lot? Call? Email? IM?
There are a bunch of us who all got published at the same time in the same genre. It also happened that three of them lived in Chicago , where I lived at the time. I also edited an anthology called EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME and I hand-picked every writer who contributed and we got to promote the book together and have a great time. So, here they are: Laura Caldwell, Stacey Ballis, Megan McCafferty, Alison Pace, Cara Lockwood, Melissa Senate. I know if I ever needed something, I could email them.
Who do you find yourself being compared to or are often put together with in reading lists or book clubs?
I’ve had readers send me emails and say Sarah Dessen, who, personally, I love. Other than that I just don’t know.
What writers do you wish would be in your “clique”? (It doesn’t have to be in your genre….doesn’t even have to be living! For example, I’d pick Alice Hoffman, Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, Oscar Wilde, Stephenie Meyer, Meg Cabot, Stephen King and Joan Didion).
I’d love the writers mentioned above, plus I’d love to meet Sarah Dessen and Sonya Sones, Norma Klein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marilyn French.
If someone was going to join your book club, what would be a “must read” in order to join?
The Women’s Room by Marilyn French
What was your “initiation” to writing?
I sat down and started typing.
When did you first feel that you’d officially joined the published writers’ club?
When my agent called to tell me my first book had a preempt offer. But, honestly, I still sort of don’t believe I’ve joined the club.
What was your best/worst memory of high school?
I liked school, but I couldn’t wait for college. I knew that’s where I’d meet my best friends and make lifelong memories. I don’t really have any bad memories of high school except crappy people – girls who were bitchy or guys who thought they were above everything. They sucked.
In SISTERS OF MISERY, the last place new members want to go to is Misery Island. But if you had the choice, what island would you go to and what would you take with you?
Can I have two answers? In the summer and fall I’d go to Martha’s Vineyard and I’d bring my laptop, a t-shirt and shorts and my family and friends. In winter and fall I’d go to Anguilla and bring my husband.
Finally, what can you tell me about your book? Give me a quick run-down about why I’d want to pick it for my own book club.
Even though LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS are part of a series each story has a main character that’s vaguely part of the first book. Because of that readers get to spend time on a beautiful island and become familiar with the setting but they’re always getting a new character’s perspective on it. That, and, well, the books are just a lot of fun!