Thursday, May 17, 2018

"The Accidental Bad Girl"

Maxine Kaplan was born in Washington, DC. She and her twin sister spent their early childhoods trotting behind their journalist parents as they traveled around the world, eventually settling in Brooklyn, NY. Maxine graduated from Oberlin College in 2007. Following a long stint in the world of publishing, she has worked as a private investigator since 2009. She lives in her adopted hometown of Brooklyn, NY, with her lovely husband and complex cat.

Kaplan applied the Page 69 Test to The Accidental Bad Girl, her debut novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Accidental Bad Girl is both representative of the book as a whole and not representative. I don’t think this page out of context will give away the central conflicts of the book; it doesn’t tell you anything about the plot or even the genre. But what I think it does convey is the underlying conflicts of the book—the themes that undergird all the action. Specifically, this page concerns the contrast between reputation and lived experience; between trust your interpretation of your actions over the wider world’s impression of them. It also highlights the focus on sexual double standards and the slut-shaming that we still haven’t gotten over as a society, and which teenage girls deal with on a daily basis.
“Kendall, talk to me,” she said earnestly, grabbing my wrist. “I’m your friend.”

“Get away from me,” I hissed at her, trying to extricate my arm.

Audrey suddenly let go and buried her face in her hands. When she looked up there were tears in her eyes. I would have been impressed if I hadn't been there the first time Audrey cried on demand, to get out of trouble when she snuck into the hotel pool on the eighth grade field trip to DC. But I had been the only one there, so when she did it now, a hush fell over the hallway as Audrey hunched over and her shoulders shook.

“When you did what you did with Grant, I was angry, but I hoped our friendship would eventually get past it,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, it was a real betrayal, but I told myself to remember how frustrating it must have been for you, to watch your friend with the guy you secretly wanted. I felt bad for you. But it’s because I assumed you liked him, not that it was about sex!”

She drew a raggedy gasp and continued, with narrowed, clear eyes staring straight at me. “Now I’m just worried about you, Kendall. Despite everything, I still care about you and I don’t want you to put yourself in dangerous situations. Grant is one thing, but strangers? Where are you meeting these guys? How old are they? Are you being safe?”

At each question, her voice went an octave higher, painting pictures in my head—and everyone else's heads.
I’m actually pretty pleased with page 69 as representative of Bad Girl. Gives nothing away while telling you what it’s worried about. Not a bad test...
Visit Maxine Kaplan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue