That's when I returned to YA; I hadn't read one since Judy Blume's Forever, which had been so scandalous in the 70s. I chose Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging solely for its provocative title. YA books used to be heavy on messaging, like the after school specials of my preteen days, so I really loved the new character-driven contemporary YA. I started devouring books by Carolyn Mackler, Sarah Dessen, and local authors I met at conferences like Carol Lynch Williams.
I loved the authenticity of modern YA writing.
And that's why I returned to my true inspiration for my YA writing: teenage me. I reread my old high school diaries. Insecure, boy-obsessed teen me gave me the courage to write the first of my novels that would be published: My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters.