Book Briefs: Jessica Leader

nicemean Book Briefs: an interview series where authors talk about...what else?  Books!

Jessica Leader's debut middle-grade novel, Nice and Mean, will be published by Simon and Schuster/Aladdin MIX on June 8.      

What book are you reading right now?  The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (a lacuna is a gap or opening, in case you, like me, had forgotten)

Your favorite children’s book:  Ogads!  Just one?  I plead the fifth.  But E. Lockhart's The Boy Book and Edward Bloor's Tangerine come to mind.

Your favorite non-fiction book: A Primate's Memoir by Robert Saplosky (Who's nuttier: the orangutans or the guy who's studying them?)

Your favorite classic (read: book they made you read in school) book: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  And I will add that in the movie (which no one will ever make, because the book is 500+ pages), Dmitri should be played by Will Ferrell.

The last book that made you laugh: The Five Children and IT by E. Nesbit.  Magic in a big British family.  A classic! 

The last book that made you cry: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  

The last book you recommended to a friend: Boys R Us, part of the Clique series by Lisi Harrison.  I think these are way underrated and should start getting nominated for awards.

A novel you’ve re-read (and re-read): Vegan Virgin Valentine by Caroline Mackler.  Overachiever reevaluates her life.  Plus lots of descriptions of cheese.  Yum.

One sentence that gives the gist of your book best: A truly nice girl and a truly mean one face off in their middle-school video elective.

Avoiding spoilers, a 1-2 sentence passage from your book that you really like:

I snapped my pen shut.  If Sachi had come up with the Victim/Victorious idea, Mr. Phillips would have been like, "Oh, Sachi, you are a genius, let me have your autograph."  Instead, he was trying to make me feel like I had twisted her arm, when in reality, her idea reeked of squeege.  Did teachers talk about who to like and who to be mean to?  I lay my arms across my desk and rested my chin on my hands.  I hated school.  I just hated it.

Learn more about Jessica and Nice and Mean at her website:

Thanks, Jessica!