ChickLitGurrl Spotlights YA Author Debbie Reed Fischer!
This month, Fischer celebrates the release of her second novel, SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS!
“Blubber for the 21st century. Debbie Reed Fischer’s sizzling take on girl hazing and cheer pressure mixes the perfect ratio of humor to anger for a compelling, un-put-downable read.” – Alex Flinn, award winning author of Beastly
Meet Peyton Grady: self-declared president of The Neverhadaboyfriend Club, six feet tall, “freckled and flat as a skateboard,” on financial aid, with only her best friend Maya to rely on. Until now, she hasn’t exactly been the poster child for popularity at her posh private high school, Beachwood Prep. But everything is about to change, because this year, Peyton has a coveted spot on the varsity cheerleading squad. Now she’ll finally have a shot at the life she’s always wanted, complete with membership in the Alpha Clique, the boyfriend of her dreams, and “no more standing on the social sidelines.” But treasured goals never come easy.
When the principal, Dr. Johnson, appoints new student Ellika Grosset, a “squatty stump of a girl” with zero athletic ability as the squad’s newest member, things get complicated. Peyton and the rest of the squad are outraged that this girl has been forced upon them, simply because her parents donated millions for a new athletic facility.
None are more furious than the queen fly girl herself, charismatic and powerful squad captain, Lexie Court. Ordering Peyton and her team mates to “take initiation rituals to the next level,” Lexie hatches Operation Smellika, a bullying campaign to drive Ellika out. “Do whatever it takes,” she tells them. “It’s for the good of the squad.”
Peyton knows it’s wrong. Horrible, even. She feels sorry for Ellika. But in the end, Peyton participates along with the others. Torn by her conscience, yet seduced by the chance to have everything she wants, she gets further and further involved in Lexie’s sick hazing plan.
Until it goes too far.
Peyton knows she has to stop Lexie.
Fill in the blank: “I wrote SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS BECAUSE.. a few years ago, I was watching this news story about a powder puff football incident in a wealthy suburb of Chicago. Privileged girls ganged up on each other in a brutal melee, while 200 high school spectators cheered them on. They strangled each other with pig intestines, threw buckets of animal waste on each other and wound up in the hospital with broken bones. I thought to myself, ‘Why are these young women so angry that they have to inflict that kind of humiliation and brutality on each other? These are wealthy kids from beautiful homes; what is bubbling under the surface?” The next thought that occurred to me after watching the footage was, “Which one is the ring leader? And why did the others go along with it? There must have been kids that knew it was wrong but went along with it anyway.” And that’s how my character Peyton was born. I started researching other hazing incidents and I was shocked by how widespread it is, and how private schools often manage to keep it under wraps. The whole idea of someone being a hateful bully has always baffled me. Mob mentality has always baffled me.”
To learn more about Debbie, her books, writing, and inspiration, head over to CHICKLITGURRL: high on LATTES & WRITING!
ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING
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