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Teenagers

Is Chat-Fiction the Next Big Thing in Publishing?

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If you’ve ever heard of chat fiction, chances are, you’ve got a teenager. Think about it like this: e-books were the new alternative to paperbacks, and chat fiction is the new alternative to e-books. Instead of just putting paperbacks into digital format, chat-fiction are stories, but told in text message format. The idea is that because the text format is more familiar to the teenagers and pre-teens of today who grew up texting, then having a book or a story in text message format will encourage them to read more – and surprisingly, it’s working. The original chat-fiction app was Hooked, available for $2.99 per week. The app launched in 2015, and has remained popular since, with an ever-growing fan…

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Coming of age on the road to rapture

in Fiction by

It’s hard to convince a thirty-something woman to willingly revisit the teenage experience, even another girl’s story and especially with the added complexity of today’s technology. A thirty-something woman knows too well what awaits her in those pages—self-doubt, self-wonder, and lack of foresight to start; the fine balance between limitless possibility and assured impossibility; the question of sexual attractiveness; smart phones. (Thank goodness those weren’t an option in 1996.) But despite whatever implications a coming-of-age story might suggest, veteran short story writer Mary Miller has managed to portray hers in a way that is pleasantly prickly and not at all expected, in this thirty-something’s opinion. In her debut novel, The Last Days of California (Norton/Liveright, January), Miller delivers a succinct, page-turning…

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Lost love: the universal currency

in Fiction by

Your heart’s been broken before. Perhaps it happened many years ago, or perhaps it occurred more recently. Whenever the wound was inflicted, whoever was to blame, the experience was formative—like puberty, with which heartache often corresponds. Obviously, your ordeal was intensely personal; at the same time, you felt connected to a larger community. All those songs that suddenly gained a deeper significance; all that poetry that became (briefly) tolerable. Love lost is a universal currency: honored everywhere, despite your inclination to hoard it. Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler (art by Maira Kalman), is a fictional account of one such love lost. Specifically, Min (high school student, “interesting” girl) has dumped Ed (high school student, athlete and offhand homophobe),…

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