On Saturday, January 2, 2010, Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA), returned to twirl around the Debutante Ball with the post, Graduate Deb Eileen Cook is back with a new book!. And, within that post, she confessed:
“My third book is coming out this week and I’ll admit I still am amazed and thrilled. I feel so very fortunate to have the chance to do what I love. I practically can’t wait for someone to ask me what I do, so I can tell them. It’s almost enough to make me like going through customs at the airport: ‘“What’s my occupation? Why, as a matter of fact, I’m a novelist.”’
Without question Eileen is a terrific novelist and her venture into the YA genre with What Would Emma Do? earned her high praise. And tomorrow, January 5, 2010, she follows with her second YA release, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood.
Indeed the title and book cover art could be considered intriguing or even eye-brow raising, however the backstory might prove even more so. After all where did this idea come from? Well according to the author:
“The topic of revenge was interesting to me in two ways. One, I enjoyed the book The Count of Monte Cristo and was intrigued to see how it could play out in a high school setting and the book is all about revenge. Secondly, I think it’s a common experience to imagine getting revenge on someone who has done us wrong. Reading gives us a great chance to live out things we would never do in real life, so tackling revenge seemed an interesting area to explore. Reading about revenge can be cathartic, and in this case, hopefully funny. ”
In addition to her English major, Eileen also has a background in counseling — not surprising as she continues to explain the storytelling process:
“As I wrote the book I realized that it wasn’t really about the process of getting revenge. Helen is struggling with letting go of the past. Lauren, and what happened in 8th grade colors how she sees everything. It holds her back from being who she really could be. She has to decide what it will take to get over what happened. Will revenge actually make her feel better? Is there such a thing as evening the score — or does life have to take care of itself? Is there really anything she can do to Lauren that will change where things are now? As I began to explore these topics with the characters I found myself really interested to see how they played out. I think so many of us have things that happened in the past that we hang onto even though they may be keeping us from doing great things. I wanted to make the story a great over the top fun read, but I hope readers walk away thinking about what might be holding them back and learning to let go.”
Based on a literary classic and all the above questions, the story evolved and became condensed into this synopsis:
Popularity is the best revenge.
In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls–and now, at the start of her senior year, she’s the cheerleading captain, the quarterback’s girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she’s ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.
But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she’s moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn’t dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that’s ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.
Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.
Actually an even better introduction is Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, Chapter One. And, of course, there’s also the Book Trailer Video:
TRUTH: Eileen Cook is a novelist who raises her status with every book. Last week she announced the signing of a two book deal with her publisher.
TRUST: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood is smart, clever, realistic with a bit of fictional fun, and characters who jump off the page and enter the world as totally believable, including Helen with her revenge-seeking plan.
Simply put this YA novel is brilliant and impressively insightful thanks to the author’s deft hand in handling “meanness,” hypocrisy,” and “revenge” — which is more about “growing up and letting go.” In fact it’s for all ages because, no matter one’s years, maturity has been known to slip when someone gets under our skin…or worse.
Revenge may not be sweet, yet Eileen Cook’s Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood definitely is. Please treat yourself, your daughter, your niece to a tale of human behavior: the good, the bad, and the most valuable — being true to oneself!
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand will be awarding two copies of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood via a random drawing of all comments left on this post. The deadline for comments is 7:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 6, 2010 with the the winners to be announced in Thursday’s post.