Readergirlz Issue 6 (July 2007)

Welcome to our July issue! Readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, and Justina Chen Headley are pleased to present Goy Crazy by Melissa Schorr, a hilarious novel about falling for the wrong goy.

Summer is here. Time to slip on your shorts and sandals, pack your sunscreen, and head outside. But wait! No summer day is complete without a great summer read. Make sure to slip Goy Crazy into your pack.

Teens Read Too calls Goy Crazy "sweet, tragic, and laugh-out-loud hilarious."

With an unforgettable cast of characters and razor-sharp wit, Melissa Schorr's debut novel is an engaging comedy about a girl's decision to go goy crazy.

Join us on the readergirlz MySpace group to talk about Goy Crazy and the ins and outs of dating.

 

 

Goy Crazy

Rachel Lowenstein can't help it. She's got a massive crush on a goy: Luke Christensen, the gorgeous star of the basketball team at St. Joseph's prep. But as the name implies, he's not exactly in Rachel's tribe. Rachel just knows her parents would never approve.

Then Rachel's Jewish grandmother issues a stern edict -- "Don't go with the goyim!" -- sealing Rachel's fate and presenting her with a serious dilemma.

Should Rachel follow her heart and turn her back on her faith? Or should she heed her family's advice and try and find a nice Jewish boy?

What people are saying:

2007 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age selection

Best Books of 2006 - "A notable debut."
-- Little Willow

"Well-written chick-lit with a Jewish slant" –- Kirkus Reviews

"GOY CRAZY is fabulous - a giddy, juicy read!" -- Lauren Myracle, author of TTYL and TTFN

The While-You-Read Playlist

Here's what Melissa recommends downloading for Goy Crazy.

I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
Ordinary Day – Vanessa Carlton
Dirty Little Secret – The All-American Rejects
Opposites Attract – Paula Abdul
The Hanukah Song – Adam Sandler
Two Princes – Spin Doctors
Girlfriend – Avril Lavigne
If We Were a Movie – Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus)
Chemicals React – Aly & AJ

       

Shoutout: Audrey Brashich

The readergirlz divas want to give a shout out to acclaimed author, former teen model, and girl power spokesperson Audrey Brashich.

Definitely pick up Audrey's book All Made Up: A Girl's Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty to get the inside scoop on what real beauty is all about.

 

Community Challenge

Get into the giving spirit this summer with this fun project: catch and release a book. That's right: join BookCrossing and be part of the half a million people who practice leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. Read a book (such as one of the readergirlz picks or companion reads). Register the book on www.bookcrossing.com Get a special code that you put in your book. And release it in your neighborhood or your next vacation for someone else to read.

Live Chat

Readergirlz and readers held a live chat with Goy Crazy author Melissa Schorr on Thursday, July 26th. We talked about The Dramedy of Dating and shared our most tragic and comic and moments in romance - especially summer romance - and dating people from different faiths or backgrounds. Thanks to everyone who attended - It was our best chat to date!

 

Recommended Reads

Our July theme is Fun. If you love Rachel's misadventures in Goy Crazy, then you'll love the delightful characters in these great companion reads.

Fiction:

Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Darer Littman

Never Mind the Goldbergs by Matthue Roth

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Non-Fiction:

Got Issues Much? Celebrities Share Their Traumas and Triumphs by Randi Reisfeld and Marie Morreale

         

The Ultimate Book Celebration Guide

Gather your favorite readergirlz together for a fun book party for Goy Crazy. Make sure to e-mail us a picture of your readergirlz celebration. If we post it, you'll win a special readergirlz prize!

Invites

Send out an evite with a holiday theme. My favorite is "Naughty or Nice?" which goes perfectly with Rachel's decision to break The Teen Commandments.

Eats

Create an interfaith feast! Start with the Goy Crazy signature sandwich, which was created by the legendary Katz's Delicatessen in New York City. Here's how to make your own:

  1. Take white bread and slather it with mayo and mustard.
  2. Add pastrami.
  3. Cut into quarters.
  4. Enjoy (or not)!

Create your own cross-cultural sandwiches: Ham on mini bagels? Chopped liver on pita bread? Be creative!

For drinks, serve Kosher grape juice and eggnog. Yes, you can make your own eggnog -- all you need is milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg.

Don't forget dessert! You may not be able to find them in stores right now, but you can order favors like candy canes and Hanukkah gelt online. Try chocolategelt.com and orientaltrading.com

Decorations

Create a holiday theme with all faiths represented. Use a string of Christmas lights and some menorahs lit with candles. Create a mix of funny holiday music, like "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and "The Chanukkah Song" by Adam Sandler.

Mood Music

Simply crank up the playlist from above and dance.

Movies
1. The Way We Were
2. Romeo + Juliet (or West Side Story)
3. Save the Last Dance

Discussion Questions

1. Rachel thinks that her parents won't approve of her dating a boy who isn't Jewish. Have you ever wanted to date someone, but thought your parents wouldn't approve? What did you/would you do?

2. If a parent wants their child to only date or marry someone of the same race or religion, does that make them prejudiced? Why or why not?

3. Do you think there are any benefits from being friends or dating people of different backgrounds from your own?

4. From Rachel's perspective, her family was not very religious, but still made religion a priority in who they wanted her to marry. Do you agree with Rachel that this was hypocritical?

5. Luke suggests that Rachel should get a tattoo, but she's not sure she really wants one. Meanwhile, her friend Jen plays strip poker to impress her boyfriend and his friends. Have you ever seen smart girls do dumb things to please boys? What would you tell them?

6. Is it really possible to go from being "just friends" to boyfriend/girlfriend?

Author Chat

Listen in as Melissa Schorr chats with the readergirlz divas about Goy Crazy.

Justina Chen Headley: Where did you get your inspiration for your novel?

Melissa Schorr: My own life. The idea to write a book about interfaith dating started almost ten years ago when I wrote an essay called "The Joys of Goys" for GQ magazine, based on my own life experiences. At first, I wanted to write a non-fiction book about my own life, a real-life "Sex in the City" about dating a slew of non-Jewish guys. Then -- whoops! -- I met this great guy, who just so happened to be Jewish, and -- even bigger whoops! -- I ended up eventually marrying him. So, that basically killed that book project (sob, sob).

It only took another decade or so until I realized the story could be fictionalized and set back where it all began, in my teen years, when my parents were always pressuring me about whom I dated.

So when people ask me how long it took to write the book, I like to say that while literally, GOY CRAZY took about a year to actually write, in a sense, I've been writing it my whole life -- by living it.

Most importantly, my book doesnít try to send some kind of message, either for or against, interfaith dating. I just hope the book will help teens and parents talk about the issue, and maybe help any teen also dealing with that feeling of pressure like I did.

Lorie Ann Grover: How autobiographical is it?

Melissa Schorr: Very. My parents always pressured me as a teenage to date Jewish boys. Once, my own grandmother, like Rachel's, actually said to me, in her thick European accent: "Mal-ees-ssa, donít go with the goy-im." So of course, like every teenager, I did the exact opposite. Just like Rachel, I did once meet a sexy non-Jewish boy at a party and snuck off to meet him.

Dia Calhoun: What is your writing process? Do you ever get writer's block?

Melissa Schorr: I try to daydream a lot about my story, keeping it in my subconscious, even when I'm not actively working on it. I tend to write a lot of it away from the computer -- visualizing it as a movie and hearing the characters talking to each other in my head. I have an outline of what I think is going to happen, but sometimes the characters surprise me.

Janet Lee Carey: Who are your role models and why?

Melissa Schorr: My parents. To their credit, they always encouraged me to pursue a career in the arts, even though writing can be a tough pursuit. I joke that my parents "burdened" my ambition to be a writer by giving me such a happy childhood, without too much angst to draw upon. But, even so, I'm still subconsciously working out my issues with my parents, because parental approval seems to be a key theme in my next novel as well.

Justina Chen Headley: You mentioned that there has been some controversy surrounding the title of your book.

Melissa Schorr: Yes, some people are uncomfortable with my using the slang word "goy," which they see as being offensive to non-Jewish people. To me, this is like judging a book by its cover. From what I understand, all the word traditionally means is "people" or "nation." The negative connotation comes from how some people have used it, which is something Rachel actually agonizes over within the book. Basically, as a writer, I believe context matters, and here, the word is clearly being used affectionately, in a positive, not negative, way.

Lorie Ann Grover: What is your favorite part of writing?

Melissa Schorr: When the perfect line or scene pops into my head. Getting fan e-mails from readers. And finishing.

Dia Calhoun: We chose your book to represent fun. Can you please comment on why you think teen girls ought to know about this?

Melissa Schorr: The point of my book is that even though interfaith dating can be a serious issue, it's also okay to joke about it. Also, while I'd encourage teens to think about this, I'd also say that it's okay to date people of different backgrounds while you're still young, in high school. That's the whole point of dating, to have fun, to explore different options, and to learn about the world and yourself.

Divas: Thank you, Melissa, for the wonderful interview.

To learn more about our featured author, please visit her website http://www.melissaschorr.com

Also drop by her MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/melissaschorr

Discuss the book at http://groups.myspace.com/readergirlz

Additional interviews with Melissa Schorr:
Little Willow interviews Melissa Schorr at Bildungsroman
The Book of Life Podcast featuring Lorie Ann Grover and Melissa Schorr

Next Month: Ironside

August's spotlighted title will be Ironside by Holly Black.

In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure only of one thing—her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to him, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak with Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth—that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

What people are saying:

"Decadent and deadly, the urban fantasy setting is not for the faint of heart; the cruelties of even the so-called good faeries are breathtaking. Fans of faerypunk will eat it up."

-- Kirkus Reviews

The Ultimate readergirlz Group Guide

How to set up your own readergirlz group:

Ten Tips for Starting Your Own readergirlz Book Club

1. Contact other girlfriends who love to read and chat about books as much as you do, and invite them to join readergirlz. Be sure they stand by the readergirlz Manifesta!

2. Your group can be any size, but staying below 12 seems to work well. Everyone has a chance to share. Will your group be all girls or will it be a mother/daughter group?

3. Consider if there's one girl who will always be the leader or will the leader change from month to month? That person might download readergirlz monthly info and discussion questions for the group and send out meeting reminders.

4. Consider where you'll meet. Homes, a library, a bookstore, or a school classroom are great choices.

5. Is your group going to have a party each month where you follow the great readergirlz suggestions? Who will take care of the food, decorations, and music? The fun preparations might rotate through the group.

6. How long will your meeting last? Two hours is a good amount of time to gab about a book.

7. Have a commitment from everyone to keep to the readergirlz monthly pick and avoid gossip. Redirect discussion that strays.

8. Share your opinions, but be willing to hear other points of view. Everyone doesn't have to agree. Differences make great discussions!

9. Once your group is meeting regularly, be respectful of the other members and ask before inviting another readergirl. Groups can be tight with each other, and everyone needs a say before an addition.

10. As all true readergirlz are, be a great friend in the group and out. These are friendships for a lifetime!

Readergirlz Ground Rules

So here's the deal: readergirlz encourages healthy discussion and debate about the books we're celebrating. What does that mean?

1. Keep it clean: no swearing and definitely no personal attacks, threats, porno, or cybersex. That is very uncool and un-readergirlz-ish.

2. Keep it pure: no ads of any kind, please. This is about the book, the whole book, and nothing but the book.

3. Keep it safe: don't share your personal info in any of our public forums.

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If you have any questions about this issue or anything else related to readergirlz, please feel free to email divas@readergirlz.com

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