Alissa Grosso is one of those folks that seem to have the internet all figured out. It was her serious diversification into all the social media avenues that suggested to me that this is an individual connected and in touch. I first learned of Alissa via Twitter so I can honestly say that Twitter does have at least one redeeming quality.
So what is it about Alissa Grosso that sets her apart from others who rely so heavily on social media? Is it the fact that she is an author? Oh heavens, no - show me an author and I'll show you someone social media savvy (more than likely) - Alissa is not the typical in-your-face, buy-my-book, author/promoter. She is however, persistent, powerful and oh so Awkward™
Actually it is her YouTube channel that proclaims by it's very title that Alissa Grosso is indeed the "Awkward Author." Thanks to her IndieGoGo campaign she was able to bankroll her upstart web series. Now delivering to her modest (100+) group of loyal subscribers, a regularly(ish) scheduled Tuesday video on subjects ranging from the serious (tips and advice for authors) to the tongue-in-cheek (tips and advice for authors.) Episode titles such as "Fun With Flags For Authors", "Author Make-up Tips", "Children's Books Warped My Brain", "Things Authors Don't Say on Facebook" and "Everything You Learned in School (About Writing) Is Wrong" only begin to suggest the variety of information and/or entertainment that awaits your indulgence.
Of course Alissa did not just wake one morning and decide to affix the label "Author" (awkward or otherwise) to her name; she has earned the title through the hard work and "dedication to craft" that has resulted in the publication of three very well received novels that have brought her much acclaim.
There can be no dispute that her very first novel was Popular. We all know not to judge a book by its cover but I think that this cover points to cleverness by virtue of the title alone. "Popular" - a killer title by any measure; but in the genre of YA? This is a pick-it-up-and-flip-through-it type of book cover if ever there was one. However, since I did not discover Alissa Grosso in the book store it was other equally effective techniques that ultimately resulted in my having consumed the work. And now I feel compelled to recommend that you do likewise.
So how did she do it? How did she get her "High School Clique Drama - YA Fiction" into the hands of a 50+, fiction adverse, creepy old man? Well, it all started with a book trailer:
Video book trailer for the YA novel Popular by Alissa Grosso, available from Flux.
Of course the description: (from Amazon)
For reigning popularity queen Hamilton Best, the very idea of graduation is filled with fear. She's always been the star of Fidelity High's most exclusive clique, idolized for her perfection and her fabulous parties—you know you're "in" when you make Hamilton's guest list. As high school draws to a close, Hamilton is about to lose everything that makes her who she is.
To make matters worse, the clique is slowly coming apart at the seams. Although the hand-picked members—Olivia, Zelda, Nordica, and Shelly—all have their own agendas, desires, and secrets, they do have one thing in common: they're desperate to break away from Hamilton. Yet Hamilton has the biggest and most shocking secret of all, one that only her devoted boyfriend Alex knows. If the truth got out, it would completely destroy her fragile world.
And she'll do anything to keep that from happening.
And then there was the offer to begin reading:
I thought, "hey this is nice..." and jumped right in and started reading; thinking all the while I would stop at some point and return to my pre-Grosso activities. Before I knew it I was enthralled with this author's unique style of story telling and soon found myself at the end of this rather generous excerpt and eager to turn yet another page. Alissa you crafty trickster you! I was hooked, and soon (metaphorically) hit the streets in search of those high school girls that had so innocently gotten under my skin.
Not being the independently wealthy sort - of course I am rich in love and happiness (and all that) but did not find where Amazon was accepting those methods of payment - I went online to my local library and entered a hold request for the public copy owned by the citizenry of Indianapolis. Before too long I received notification that the book had arrived at my local branch and drove on over to pick it up. Trying my best not to put forth an "Aqualung" vibe I collected the item, allowed the swipe of my card and left the institution with the balance of that Fidelity High tale right there in my (really not greasy) hands.
If I thought Alissa Grosso was a "Crafty Trickster" before - by simply getting the book into my hands - I was not aware of the mere "half" nature of that perception. With book at hand the only thing standing between me and "the end" was finding the time - in a very busy schedule - to read. This was a page-turner to be sure. A genuine hate-to-put-it-down novel that taunted me whenever I would see it setting idle beneath the reading lamp, daring me to think I knew how it would end, mocking my priorities to the point I would often shirk responsibilities so that I could catch-up with the clique; just a few more chapters - I promise.
I really can't say more than the publisher's description for fear of spoiling what the author has so brilliantly constructed. However, I will add that although this is obviously targeted to the YA reader - who will no doubt, eagerly share this with all their friends - it represents an admirable work of fiction, sure to entertain anyone with a proclivity towards clever writing. It took me back to my youth and taught me a lesson or two. Let's just leave it at that.
I am now the proud owner of Alissa Grosso's second novel "Ferocity Summer" - I confess I am avoiding all excerpts for this one and will instead wait to crack it open until I can devote the attention that I am certain it deserves. I'll let you know how it goes...
In the mean-time, you too should get to know this lovely, talented, multiple-hat donning, internet dweller and Awkward Author: