Meg Cabot's "Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls"

February 19, 2009 9:45:31 AM PST
Millions of young girls around the world have fallen in love with the Princess Diaries written by Meg Cabot. The popular series, now up to title #10, is sold in more than 37 countries. Disney made two hit movies based on the books. Now Cabot has introduced girls to a new heroine in her new series Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls. Written for middle grade readers, the series is a fresh new direction for the best-selling author. With Cabot's signature wit and amazing ability to channel girls, Allie Finkle is a winning character with real problems and lots of spunk. She's sure to become everyone's favorite fourth grader. The first two Allie Finkle books are now available; the third in the series will be released in March. Moving Day, where Allie Finkle debuts, begins when nine-year-old Allie's parents announce that the family is moving from their suburban split-level into an ancient Victorian house in town, Allie's sure her life is over. With a new room she's half-scared to go into, the burden of being "the new girl," and her old friends all a half-hour car ride away, how will Allie ever learn to fit in?

In The New Girl, Allie Finkle is the new girl at Pine Heights Elementary, and she's very excited. She already loves her new fourth grade teacher Mrs. Hunter as well as classmates Erica, Caroline, and Sophie?plus, she's getting an adorable new kitten named Mewsette. There is only one fly in the ointment of Allie's perfect new life: one of the girls in Allie's new class, Rosemary, doesn't like her. In fact, Rosemary says she's going to beat Allie up after school. Everybody around Allie has lots of their own rules for dealing with bullies. But which are the right ones to follow. Who knew it was going to be so hard being the New Girl?

Sassy and simply awesome Allie tackles new rules about friendship in Best Friends and Drama Queens. In this third book in the series, Allie Finkle is excited when a new girl, who comes all the way from Canada, joins her class at Pine Heights Elementary. Now Allie won't be the new girl anymore! But her excitement turns to dismay when the new girl, Cheyenne, starts telling everyone in the fourth grade what to do! Soon Cheyenne has everyone, including Allie's best friends, Caroline, Sophie, and Erica, believing that if they don't do what she says, they'll be what Cheyenne accuses them of being babies! But Allie isn't sure she's ready to be all grown-up yet-not if it means chasing boys at recess, not playing "queens" anymore, and especially...not being herself!

Meg Cabot is the author of more than forty books for adults and teens, including five #1 New York Times bestsellers. Her books have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. For teens, her books include Airhead, the Mediator series, the 1-800-Where-R-You? books, All-American Girl, Ready Or Not, Teen Idol, Avalon High, and How to Be Popular, as well as Nicola and the Viscount and Victoria and the Rogue. She also writes best-selling books for adults, including The Boy Next Door, Boy Meets Girl, Every Boy's Got One, Size 12 Is Not Fa, and Queen of Babble. Cabot divides her time between Key West, Florida and New York City. For more information, visit www.megcabot.com and www.alliefinklerules.com.

MEET MEG CABOT

Thursday, February 19
6 PM
Anderson's Bookshop
123 West Jefferson
Naperville, IL 60540
Tel: 630-355-2665
For more information about this event, click on the link below: http://www.andersonsbookshop.com.

A CONVERSATION WITH MEG CABOT

Q: What made you decide to write Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls?
A: I am constantly being asked by the little sisters of my readers when I'm going to write a book that's ok for them to read (appropriate for readers under 12). It was so sad seeing them looking up at me at book signings, telling me their moms wouldn't let them read my books! I knew it was time to write something they could enjoy along with their moms and big sisters! So that's why I decided to write Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls.

Q: What can you tell us about your new character, Allie Finkle? How is Allie similar and/or different from you when you were growing up?
A: Allie is exactly like me when I was growing up. Just like me, Allie has two pesky little brothers and a big smelly dog that she loves, and just like me, Allie longs for a kitten all her own-not to mention a best friend. And just like me, Allie tries really hard to get along with her friends and stay out of trouble-but it's so hard when you're in the fourth grade. There are so many rules to remember - about friendship, about family, about school, about fashion, about fun-only no one will tell you what they are! It's like they're unwritten. So Allie decides to start writing them down, so she won't forget. And that's what Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls is about.

Q: Are any of the characters in this new series based on people you know?
A: Hmmm, I don't want to get into trouble and say yes, but I will say that many of the characters in this book have a lot in common with certain people I knew (and lived with!) growing up. Like Allie, I had a group of best friends I played with all through fourth and fifth grade - and we're still in touch today! Like Allie, I had a pretty teacher I loved named Mrs. Hunter. Like Allie, my parents made me move from a lovely modern house in the suburbs into an ancient creaky house in town, where I went to an old-fashioned school two blocks away and came home for lunch every day - and I got a kitten from one of our neighbor's show cats in exchange for being a good sport about the move! So...I guess you could say it's not based too much on real events or people!

Q: How is writing for the tween audience different from writing your novels for teens and adults?
A: People ask me this all the time, and really, there isn't much of a difference to me. It's all about getting into a character's head, and whether that character is nine, sixteen, or thirty, it's the same amount of work-hard work! Fortunately, I remember being nine as well as if it were yesterday and have many nine-year-old friends with whom to consult! So I think the chances of capturing a genuinely nine-year-old voice are high.

Q: When you were Allie's age, what kind of books did you like to read?
A: I liked adventure and animal stories, fantasy and sci-fi, but also historical stories, diary stories, anything featuring a funny heroine-really, I wasn't particular. I'd read just about whatever anyone put into my hands!

Q: What do you hope tweens will take away from reading Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls?
A: As with all my books, I hope readers will see that Allie has the same problems they do, and that they're not alone out there. Allie is just like they are - her rules aren't just for her, but for everyone (although perhaps the "never eat anything red" rule can be ignored by everyone but her!).

Q: What's in store for Allie in future books?
A: Allie's going to be making a lot of new friends-and maybe a few new "frenemies"-but hopefully she'll figure out a way to make them friends, too.


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