readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Featured Title: THE TRUE MEANING OF CLEAVAGE, by Mariah Fredericks

Hello, readergirlz, and happy Valentine's Day! This is the perfect day to spotlight Mariah Fredericks' wonderful friendship tale, The True Meaning of Cleavage, because I absolutely loved this one!

*A little bit of background: I was working as a very junior level editor at the publishing house that released this book, and I remember very clearly seeing the cover at an early positioning meeting. I was immediately hooked. A great cover for a fantastic book!

Sari and Jess are best friends and total opposites. They've liked each other ever since they discovered that they are the only two normal people at Eldridge Alternative. As they prepare to face the trials of ninth grade, Sari is psyched. Jess is not. How can she face the Prada Mafia, the most evil clique in school? Or Mr. McGuiness's unnervingly long nose hair? What if something really interesting happens to Sari and nothing whatsoever happens to Jess?

But not even Jess can predict the mayhem that erupts when Sari falls madly in love with David Cole. David is a senior. He's been dating Thea Melendez for forever. So he couldn't possibly be interested in Sari. Or could he? And if he is, where does that leave Jess?

Fredericks writes with confidence and authenticity about the very real complications of even the deepest friendships. I'm so excited to welcome her to the blog today! Here's what she had to say about Loyalty: 

Loyalty. That promise we make to friends and family to be on their side. To never hurt them. Never betray them. Loyalty is what makes friendship a refuge, a place in this world where you can reveal yourself without fear. (That is, until one friend spreads the other friend's business all over town.)

We get through life with allies, people we trust to be there for us. Always. And in the same way. But of course, people change. And change can threaten those connections. When I was in high school, I wanted my best friend and I to be the same. Geeks against the world. I did not want her to go and do things I knew were stupid and dumb and lame. (And which, by the way, I was far too scared to do.) I judged her for doing them; she judged me back for being gutless. And that's where we betrayed each other.

Obviously, that?s the story behind The True Meaning of Cleavage, in which two friends betray each other in different ways. Sari puts her relationship with a boy before her friendship with Jess. The things she liked to do with Jess, she now thinks are uncool. She obnoxiously asserts her own newfound coolness. Jess struggles to stick by her friend, but then she commits her own ugly act of betrayal.

"Ragged, battered, but still loyal." That's a line from Jess's beloved fantasy series, Hollow Planet. I think it describes many of my long term friendships. I've gotten more tolerant? I hope. As long as there's respect and a shared love of cheesy movies, I'm true to the end.

Well, she had me at "cheesy movies." Definitely the key to any strong, lasting friendship. Thanks for stopping by, Mariah!

So readergirlz - on Valentine's Day, tell us about some of your favorite stories (real life, or literary) of loyal friends!


Melissa Walker said...

I love the loyal friendship between the guys in Michael Northrop's GENTLEMEN. It's strong and true in that "guy" way, not so much something to be expressed as a solid, tangible thing.

Micol Ostow said...

That's a really good example. Guy friendships are such a mystery to me!

Micol Ostow said...

Although - I think that's a good example also because it's a good example of how loyalty to people who are maybe not the best influences can lead you down the wrong path...

Little Willow said...

Mariah Fredericks has written a wonderful book about two girls whose friendship is tested repeatedly throughout their freshman year as they change, matured as individuals but growing apart. It is stellar. It is memorable. It is solid. I highly recommend it, and I'm so glad that it's here at readergirlz.

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Mariah!

Micol Ostow said...

Exactly what LW said! I love that the story pulls no punches regarding the ups and downs of a complicated friendship - and I love how persistent the friendship is.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I like Mariah's words about allies. Being loyal does create a group of allies. aka rgz!