Monday, March 11, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Plastic Polly (with ARC giveaway and author interview!)

Middle school years can be tough. There's no getting around it. In Plastic Polly, author Jenny Lundquist explores one girl's fallout based around her middle school choices. And . . . since Plastic Polly releases next week, I'm celebrating with an author interview and ARC giveaway!

The premise: Polly Pierce is a very popular girl, but in order to get where she is, she made some hard-to-swallow choices. For her, it's worth it. Most of the time. But when her best friend, the even more popular Kelsey, has a freak accident, Polly takes the challenge and becomes PlanMaster for her school's Groove It Up committee. She's hoping she can prove she's more than Plastic Polly.

What I loved: Polly's voice. Because even though everyone thinks Polly is fake, the way she tells this story lets readers know there's always more to a person than what you see and what you think you know.

I purposely kept my review super-short, which I plan to do from now on. My job is to hook you and tell you what I loved. Your job is to then read. :-) Now, the interview with Jenny Lundquist. My questions are in blue, her responses in black.

What do you love about writing?

There are so many things I love about writing. I love that I can play in my imagination for several hours a day and call it work. I love that I can consume novel after YA/MG novel and call it "studying my craft." I love that I can stare out the window and daydream and call it "brainstorming." I love that I can stare at images on Pinterest and call it "research." But mostly, I love taking an idea, or a character in my head, and weaving words together to try to help others "see" the things I see in my imagination. That's a real privilege, and I don't take it for granted.

What do you not love about writing?

For all the things I love about writing, there are definitely days when it feels like "a job." When my kids are sick, and my house is a mess, and the laundry is piled up, but I'm having a hard time dealing with any of it because I'm staring down a deadline, those are the days I'm not particularly fond of, when I feel like my entire life is on hold because of writing.

I also don't love how careful I have to be about guarding my own confidence, if that makes sense. When your work is out there for everyone to see and you read a bad or even just a mediocre review, it can really mess with your head and make you doubt yourself. Sometimes I've had to ban myself from Amazon, Goodreads, etc., because I knew I wasn't in the right frame of mind to hear criticism (no matter how constructive) without it affecting my ability to write that day. And when I'm staring down a deadline, I really need to be able to produce pages without believing I'm the worst writer in the entire universe. I don't think I ever imagined that so much of the writing life after you're published is about learning how to effectively manage your own negative emotions and make choices to keep yourself in a healthy place, emotionally and mentally.

Writing can certainly test one's confidence. It's nice to know published authors still struggle with that too. What is one fun or little-known fact about you (that you're willing to share)?

I secretly name my cars. The first car I ever bought was a metallic blue color which I named "Otter Pop." My current car is named "Callie" after the main character in Seeing Cinderella. But my all-time favorite is my husband's car, which I named, "Machine Gun Kelly." Any So I Married an Axe Murderer fans out there?

I love that!
In college, a bunch of my friends named cars. The only one I remember is Morrie Mazda. Another little personal bit: Would you rather take a jaunty spin in a sports car or hike a mountain trail?

I would love to hike up a mountain trail, then let someone with their jaunty sports car ferry me back down. When it comes to hiking, I'm a wimp.

Thanks so much for having me!

Thank YOU for sharing with us, Jenny! As for the ARC giveaway: simply comment on this post by Sunday, March 24, 2013, at 8pm CDT and have a US mailing address. Blog followers will be entered twice. Winner announced March 25th.

For more middle grade goodness, check the links at
Happy middle grade reading!


  1. Awesome interview. I'm not entering the contest because I have an ARC and am interviewing Jenny at the end of the month.

    This is a fantastic book. I loved how Jenny described the middle grade scene so accurately and she made Polly a really sympathetic character. Jenny's one of my favorite authors.

  2. Ahh, "guard my confidence"--great way to put it! And yaay! Plastic Polly looks awesome. I have two little girls who I bet will love it. Thanks, Barbara & best to Jenny! Funny thing, my college roommate's name was Jenny Sundquist. :D <3

  3. This looks like a terrific book. Thanks for running the giveaway and for the interview.

  4. I love the concept of Plastic Polly. There are so many books and programs aimed at addressing self esteem for young girls these days. I wish I'd had those when I was growing up and I'm anxious to see how recognition of the hard choices girls sometimes make will change their ability to cope with those decisions.

  5. Yay!!! Another book from Jenny Lundquist. I can't wait to read it.
    Thanks for the giveaway and interview. :)

  6. I've been itching to read this one because I enjoyed Seeing Cinderella so much. Please enter me in the giveaway. :-)

  7. I hadn't heard of this book. Great interview, Barbara and Jenny. I love that Jenny would hike up a mountain and let someone in a sports car ferry her back down. Girl after my own heart!

  8. Great interview. Sounds like a fun book. Thanks so much for spotlighting it here!

  9. Count me in! SEEING CINDERELLA was my favorite MG read last year, and I'm really looking forward to this one!

  10. Great interview! Hadn't heard of this one (your MMGM are always giving me the scoop on good books!)

  11. I really enjoyed this interview, Barbara and Jenny. I can identify with both the reasons to love writing and the days it feels like "a job." Good luck with the book, Jenny. :)

  12. Nice interview. I like your insight on voice. It is one area I really appreciate in a book.

  13. This sounds like a book that a lot of MGers will love and relate to with ease. I enjoyed the interview and I always name my cars, too!

    Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win. :)


  14. Love the premise of this book.

    I used to be a drug rep. I prefer what we read over what I used to have to read for work. :D

  15. Great interview! Plastic Polly sounds like a really fun book. I absolutely love the cover art for it--so cute! :)

  16. Sounds like a super cute book for girls to read especially. Popular girls tend to fall in the fake category without realizing it, so awesome premise.

  17. An author with a great sense of humor. My kind of book person. Thanks for the interview and fun. Good luck with the book. It's charming.

  18. I've had this on my future to-read list. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck, Jenny!


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