YA author and Boston Globe journalist Melissa Schorr talks about her new catfishing novel IDENTITY CRISIS.
I recently read this riveting book. It took me less than two days to finish – it’s a page turner you simply can’t put down!
This fiction novel that parents and tweens and teens should read, can not only open up a dialogue about online life but can also open up conversations about offline issues that our youth silently struggle with.
I recently asked the author, Melissa Schorr a few questions about writing Identity Crisis:
What is your new book for teens, IDENTITY CRISIS, about?
Identity Crisis is a modern-day look at cyberbullying, false online identities, but also timeless friendship in the high-tech age. The story revolves a “catfishing” scheme when a high school girl named Annalise falls for an online romance with a mysterious guy — only to discover that three female classmates are behind the ruse. The story is also told from the perspective of Noelle, one of the girls who regrets her part in the scam as she increasingly grows close to Annalise.
What motivated you to write it?
Sheer terror. I have two daughters heading towards tweendom, and the pitfalls for girls in today’s social media landscape seem so immense. My memories of being left out of parties and cliques in middle school are traumatic enough, but it all seems so much more potentially toxic today, with teens posting “online beauty pageants” and “ugly girl polls” online. I would never have made it out of middle school alive. The fact there is now a name for bullying a child online to the point of suicide — “bullicide” — just horrifies and saddens me.
What do you hope teens will glean?
I suspect many teens just tune out lectures about internet safety from teachers, parents, and cyber-experts, or think they know better. This is a more natural way to engage teens, get them to really imagine the risks, and feel the emotional ramifications of being duped online or hurting someone else. But I’m not a total technophobe! The story also spotlights the potential upside of technology; the power of social media being used for good.
Tell us some fun facts about the book.
Book clubs can be good for much more than wine and conversation — I was chatting about the challenges of publishing with a fellow member who happened to work in the industry. She ended up passing along my manuscript to my editor, and eight weeks later, the book was sold. I got that magical call when I was on vacation with my family in Disney World. I was literally checking my email in a bathroom on Tom Sawyers Island in the Magic Kingdom. So, yes, I tell my daughters, as the motto goes: dreams really do come true!
Thanks so much Melissa!!!
I encourage parents of teens and tweens to purchase and read this fantastic novel. What a great book to be able to have a discussion about! Yes to book clubs all over!
You can read my review in the Huffington Post.