Author spotlight: Luisa Plaja
Swindon Library staff were lucky enough to attend a really informative talk last week by author Luisa Plaja at Isambard Community School. Luisa writes fiction about teenagers and relationships, has a real passion for books, and edits the teen book blog Chicklish. What really shone through during the talk is how much Luisa enjoys writing her books and identifies with the characters in them, making them totally believable; something which some teen writers just do not manage to pull off. Luisa read a section of her most recently published novel, Diary of a Mall Girl and from the opening sentences we were chuckling away at the dry humour and realistic dialogue….
This book has had some great reviews and it was fascinating to hear how the plot was influenced by teenage readers. The book was first published as an interactive e-book on Fiction Express. It was written in eleven weeks and Luisa was under pressure to write a new installment to be published each week, which would then have outcomes voted on by the readers! This sounded like a very intense experience, which culminated in a book which didn’t quite go the way Luisa had originally envisaged; but what a great way to write, by involving your audience!
The story of Diary of a Mall Girl revolves around main character, fifteen-year-old Molly. Molly actually lives in the residential wing of her local mall, and mysterious twins Jewel and Jasper have just moved into the flat upstairs. As Molly grows closer to them, she becomes more determined than ever to find out their secret and so do her other friends. Will their prying spoil Molly’s chances of happiness?
Check out the book to find out what happens!….
“…a warm, humorous book that will delight all her established fans as well as bringing in new ones who are discovering her distinct voice for the first time…” Serendipity Reviews
“Full of Luisa Plaja charm! It had everything I have come to expect from one of her novels – loved it!” — I Want To Read That
“I loved it, and it’s a definite must read for every teen girl!” — Bookster Reviews
“This book is sure to make you laugh!” — The Mile Long Bookshelf
Inspired by Luisa’s own experiences when she moved to America, and suddenly everyone thought she was really cool because of her British accent…
Jo has just moved to America with her mum. She’s always been a fairly average girl – not a nerd but certainly never one of the popular kids. But on her first day in her new school, she seems to be adopted by the It girls – and is invited to one of their parties. There, she meets Jake Matthews, officially the hottest boy in school, and when they begin to play the kissing-in-the-closet game, Seven Minutes in Heaven, amazingly Jake picks Jo to join him in the closet! She can’t believe her luck. But the reality of being kissed and groped by Jake is not quite as great as the fantasy… Jo has a choice to make: should she carry on, kiss Jake and secure her position in the It crowd – or should she tell him where to get off and risk relegation back to the land of the ordinary . . . ?
At this moment – Jo splits. She’s Josie the Cool – girlfriend of Jake, member of the It crowd. She’s also Jo the Nerd – rejected by the It crowd, single . . . Will her two halves ever come back together again? Is Jake the guy she’s meant to be with or could some of the other people she meets along her journey – Rachel the scary goth, David the misfit or Albie the rocker – be the answer?
Swapped by a Kiss: Rachel hates her life and everyone in it – she even has suspicions that her on/off boyfriend David might not be entirely trustworthy. However, when David invites her to a music festival in England featuring their friend’s band, she jumps at the chance for an overseas adventure.
Hoping to surprise David, Rachel arrives at the festival early, where she runs into a nasty surprise of her own – she sees David kissing their friend Jo. Distraught, Rachel runs off, wishing she could leave her life behind… the next thing she knows, she’s back with David. But not as herself… She’s now in Jo’s body!
Can she keep the swap a secret from David until she can work out exactly what’s going on and get her revenge? Over the course of a very weird weekend, Rachel puts herself in someone else’s shoes and finds that her own maybe weren’t as uncomfortable as she’d always thought. But can she ever be herself again?
Extreme Kissing: Carlota and Bethany are best friends. Bethany is the sensible one with a long-term boyfriend, Carlota is the crazy one with a wild past and rebellious nature. All is fine in their world – apart from Carlota hating her stepdad and longing for a old flame. And apart from Bethany thinking her boyfriend is about to dump her and that her period is late…
Carlota comes up with a plan to put all their troubles behind them and go on a girls-only wild day out, with only their favourite magazine to guide them through the day. If they open it on a fashion page they have to get hold of a fabulous new outfit and pretend to be models. If they open it to a page on snogging, they have to find a boy to snog. The magazine will take them everywhere they need to go – but will it help them to reveal the secrets they are keeping from each other?
Kiss Date Love Hate: Lex Murphy’s group of friends have all dated, hated, ignored and lusted after each other for the last few years. If only there was a way of matching people perfectly to avoid all the unrequited love, dumping and drama!
Then Lex’s friend George is give a mysterious Sims-like game by his software-testing dad which involves building character profiles in the categories of Life, Looks and Love. Lex and George populate the game with avatars for all their mates, making a few ‘wishful thinking’ adjustments to the settings – and find that the next day these tinkerings have come true! But how long can this new calm, loved-up atmosphere continue…?
Have you read any of Luisa’s books? We would love to hear what you thought of them.