In this first installment of "He Said, She Said", a recent college graduate (male) and a bookseller (female) teamed up to discuss a book written by a woman from the point of view of a teenage boy.
Both Little Willow and I (Book Chic) read Play Me by Laura Ruby recently and decided to do a co-post all about it! It’s going to be done in the form of a QnA session, in which both of us answer questions about what we liked and thought about the book. Before we start the Q&A, here’s a summary of the book that Little Willow wrote:
In this day and age, it seems as though almost everyone is uploading their movies to YouTube. Eddy, along with his two best friends, all aspiring filmmakers, and a feisty actress, create an online series which is entered in a big-time television contest. Eddy's always been serious about his movies, but not so serious about love. That is, until Lucinda comes back into his life. They "dated" at camp when they were younger, but now, as high schoolers, things are different. Eddy has a reputation as a serial dater; Lucinda's a hard-core tennis player. This relationship might change Eddy's mind about dating, and about girls, and his filmmaking might lead him back to his absentee mom, an actress who left her family years ago to pursue her own career. Though this book is not a direct sequel to Ruby's previous teen novel, GOOD GIRLS, it does take place in the same universe and mentions Audrey as the ex-girlfriend of one of Eddy's friends.
And now, the Q&A! Hope you all enjoy!
Who was your favorite main character in Play Me?
BC: It might seem a bit obvious, but I enjoyed Eddy. His voice was just so real, and I actually could relate to him pretty well in regards to some of his characteristics and actions (though not the player part- I’m not that, lol). It was a pleasant surprise since I don’t read many books from a straight guy’s perspective, and this has made me a bit more open to reading other books from this point of view.
LW: I admit that I went into the book holding Eddy at a distance since he was described as a “player” in the book summary. Thankfully, he’s not really like that - he’s not dating a different girl every chapter, nor looking to make trouble with others - so I’m able to tell future readers that the summary is a little misleading. Rambling aside, I liked the story and I enjoyed Laura Ruby’s writing, but I really didn’t have a favorite character.
Who was your favorite supporting character?
BC: Hm, I’d have to say Meatball/Matthew, Eddy’s brother. I thought it was so funny and cute how he would pretend-die all the time, and have Eddy “save” him.
LW: He was a quirky kid. I would have been more worried about his fake deaths than his other family members were, because I’m extremely sensitive to jokes about death. I suppose they got used to it because he did it all of the time and knew he was really okay, but I still worried that he would get hurt at some point and everyone would think he was joking, like The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Why did you pick up this book?
LW: I really liked Good Girls, so when I saw that this book was being offered by HarperTeen’s FirstLook program, I immediately entered the drawing.
BC: I got this book originally from HarperTeen’s FirstLook program, but the reason I decided to enter for it was because the summary looked really interesting. Plus, I’d been meaning to read a book by Laura Ruby anyway and this seemed like the perfect chance. And I ended up winning a copy, which was fantastic.
Do you feel the tagline and cover summary capture the essence of the story, or are they misleading?
LW: Yes, I do. He’s not “such” a player. (I just shuddered when I typed that. I really don’t like the word “player” and I stay away from anyone who boasts about being one!)
BC: I agree with Little Willow. Both are a bit misleading because when I finished the book, he didn’t really “get played”, like the tagline suggests. But hey, if it gets people to read this book, then that’s great because it is a really good novel.
What did you think of the cover?
BC: To me, it really doesn't seem like something that would catch a straight guy's eye, and it seems similar in style to the cover for Good Girls, which was more aimed toward girls. I think the story itself would be a fantastic read for guys, but they may be put off by the cover. That's just me though.
LW: Yes, it was obviously made to match the style of Good Girls, which suited it - the stories took place in the same school and have the same market and target audience, and much of Play Me revolves around the movies they film. The camcorder is being held up by a hand that looks feminine, small, with polished nails. Do you think it should have been held up by a boy's hand instead, or had a completely different cover?
BC: Yeah, I like the continuity of the covers since they do take place in the same setting, however, I don't think this book is necessarily aimed at the same target audience since it's being told from a guy's perspective, and so guys will be more likely to read this book over Ruby's first, Good Girls. I do like the camcorder idea because it does make sense with all the filmmaking going on, but I do also think that it should've been held by a boy's hand since Eddy is the main character and the filmmaker, so he'd be the one holding the camera, not a girl. Also, the colors on the cover seem more feminine, so parts of the cover do make sense but at the same time, there are other parts that may keep guys away from picking it up and reading it. Alright, my rant's over now, haha.
Had you read Good Girls, Laura Ruby's previous novel that takes place in the same school?
LW: Yes, and I really enjoyed it. I like that the two books are loosely connected, having protagonists that attend the same school, without having PLAY ME be a direct sequel to Good Girls. I like authors that employ those kind of connections, setting their stories in same world but not exactly writing a series, such as Sarah Dessen, Christopher Golden, and Laurie Halse Anderson.
BC: I had REALLY wanted to since it first came out, but I just never got around to it, but I hope to do so soon once my reading pile goes way down, and since the paperback is now out, so it’s much cheaper.
Would you read another book in this school or this town?
LW: Yes, indeed. Ruby has a nice handle on this generation.
BC: I second Little Willow’s statement. This was a great book, and I’ll pretty much read anything else Ruby writes from now on, even if it’s not set in the same school or town.
LW: Speaking of which, if readers like Play Me, I think they’ll also like Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson and Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player by Antony John. Pick up Looking for Alaska by John Green while you’re at it, please!
Have you ever filmed your own movies?
LW: Not yet, but I plan on it. I'm a screenwriter, a playwright, an actress, and a director. I look forward to filming my own works someday.
BC: No, I have not, due to not having a video camera. But I really would love to do video blogs sometime on my own book blog, which aren’t really movies per se, but they do involve a video camera, lol. Oh, wait, I was a part of my friend Lauren’s movie project that she had to do for one of her classes, but that wasn’t my movie. I just played a part in it, as the “Literacy Fairy”- how gay is that? lol.
LW: That sounds awesome, and I want to see it.
BC: It was horrendous and will never see the light of day, though I did have a fun time being a part of it all, though I crack up in fits of laughter WAY too much. Also, I think that Lauren turned in the only copy of it, and it's not in a file she could share with me over the internet. But it's been so long that I don't even remember the reason I never saw the finished version of it (other than the whole being 4 hours away bit).
And we’ve actually got an extra copy of an ARC of Play Me to give away to a lucky winner! All you have to do is just be the first commenter on this post, and you automatically win it! But even if you aren’t the first commenter, please do comment on what you thought about this co-post, and whether or not it should be done again in the future.
Play Me by Laura Ruby will be released on September 9th, 2008.
Book Chic posts his reviews over at MySpace, while Little Willow blogs about books at Bildungsroman.
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