Some of my favorite ideas come in the shower, waiting for the conditioner to work its magic. So there I was, trying to brainstorm new concepts for a middle grade book, which usually starts with me asking, “What was I obsessed with as a tween?”
- Sweet Valley High books
- Obtaining a Forenza sweater of my very own, even though my mom refused to buy something so overpriced “just for the label”
- Babysitting (not for the fun of it; purely for the money. See: Forenza sweater above.)
- Sleepovers with friends.
Ooooh, yes! I could see the title in my mind’s eye: THE SLEEPOVER. Short, simple, to the point. Kind of like The Hangover. But of course, not at all like The Hangover, because, ha! Can you even imagine that movie as a tween book?
(Figuratively. Electricity and running water don’t play nice.)
Why couldn’t there be a tween version of The Hangover, called The Sleepover? What if the night got wild and crazy and in the morning the birthday girl hosting the party was missing, but none of her friends could remember any of the events from the night before and the basement was TRASHED and there were weird clues that out-of-control things had happened and they had to piece them all together to find their friend before the parents arrived to pick them up?
Hmm. But why can’t they remember? No place for “roofies” in tween novels, obviously. Except, what if the party act the night before was a not-so-accomplished hypnotist? That could totally work!
Would that not be SO MUCH FUN to write??!?
Yep. Yep it was.
And now it’s a real book-shaped thing with a cover and everything and I get to share that cover with you today!
To help me out, I had some friends (okay, one is related to me) stage a zany sleepover of their own. Let’s just say they had entirely too much fun spraying Silly String all over that bed. Alas it doesn’t show up to well in the photo, but trust me (and the hour it took to clean up) it’s there!
And just in case you’d like something more official, here is the jacket copy and cover being all “officially”:
Though she’s never done it before, twelve-year-old Meghan is determined to make it through lights-out at her best friend’s sleepover. She’s also ready to have The. Best. Night. Ever. Her friends Paige and Anna Marie are happy to bring on the fun. There will be miles of junk food, stacks of crazy-scary horror movies, and hours of karaoke smack-downs! Not even the last-minute addition of Anna Marie’s socially awkward, soon-to-be stepsister Veronica can dampen their spirits.
But nothing prepares them for the scene that greets them the next morning. The basement is a disaster, Meghan’s left eyebrow has been shaved off and she somehow has the Class Bad Boy’s hoodie, plus there’s a slew of baby chicks in the bathtub! Worst of all, Anna Marie is missing.
Now the remaining girls have to piece together what happened the night before. There’s just one teeny, tiny problem: None of them can remember anything past the two-bit act by the hypnotist Veronica hired as the party’s entertainer.
Can they find Anna Marie and pull off the ultimate save-face . . . all before parent pick-up time? The clock is ticking, the clues are getting weirder and weirder, and only one thing is certain: last night got a whole lot zanier than games of Truth or Dare.
Thanks for letting me share with you! The Sleepover will be published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin in May 2016 and is available for pre-order now.