Growing A Reader
by Dahlia Adler
The first years
I was early. In my house, that just made sense, because reading was such old news for everyone else; that's what happens when you're the youngest by six years. The first word I read was "cold" in the first line of Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, and I remember everything about it, except that I maintain I was 3 and my brother maintains I was 4. Either way, by the next year, I was attempting Sweet Valley High, because, well, it was there, and it looked so much cooler than everything else on my shelves. I didn't exactly get the nuances there, though. One book had the tagline "Can Jessica play Bruce Patman's game and win?" I asked my sister what game it was. She said it was Monopoly. Needless to say, that ended up being a disappointment.
The slightly more seasoned reader years
Eventually, I landed in a comfortable, age-appropriate spot, and when that happened, Beverly Cleary and Ann M. Martin were my heroes. I devoured every Ramona book, and every Baby-Sitters Club, and the awesome part is that they weren't just keeping me a reader, but I could feel them turning me into a writer, too. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure my earliest work shows some heavy influence there. At this point, I was a introverted solo reader, with one exception: my sister was reading Of Mice and Men for school, and she used to let me sit in her walk-in closet with her on Friday nights while she read it out loud to me, using voices. She made me bawl with that, though; if I think about her Lenny voice saying "George" too much, I still start to tear up.
Tweens and teachers
It was in fifth grade when a teacher first really made me feel like I could step up beyond the Sweet Valley Highs I was still devouring regularly. Not that I had to abandon them completely--and I never have--but that I could probably handle some stuff I'd previously found scary. She got me reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Gone With the Wind, and it turns out? Yeah, I could handle it. If I ever think to underestimate what a tween can read and absorb, that's where my brain goes to remind me to stop it.
About the Author
Dahlia is an Associate Editor of mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and does a whole lot of writing at every spare moment in between. She's also been a Production Intern and Editorial Assistant at Simon & Schuster, a Publicity Intern at HarperCollins, and a Fashion Intern at Maxim. (She's kind of into that whole publishing thing.)
She's the author of the YA novels Behind the Scenes, Under the Lights, and Just Visiting, and the NA novels Last Will and Testament, Right of First Refusal (March 15, 2016), and Out on Good Behavior (Spring 2016).
She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves, and you can find her on Twitter at @MissDahlELama and blogging at B&N Teens, The Daily Dahlia, and YA Misfits.
About Just Visiting
Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.
Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn’t go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won’t stand out for being Mexican.
One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective…only to learn she’s set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants…only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they’ve sworn to leave.
As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don’t know about each other’s pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they’ll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.
About Behind the Scenes
High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.
Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.
About Under the Lights
Goodreads / Purchase
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls ... opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.
Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved ... and the person she never imagined she could.
Learn more about the Growing A Reader series here!