Bass Ackwards and Belly Up

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up

by Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain

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Overview

For readers of the New York Times bestselling Gossip Girl and A-List series, here is a smart and highly commercial first novel about four best friends who, after graduating high school, decide to postpone the standard college route to pursue their creative dreams.

Harper Waddle, Sophie Bushell, and Kate Foster are about to commit the ultimate suburban sin--bailing on college to each pursue their dreams: write the next Great American Novel, make it as a Hollywood actress, and backpack around the world. Middlebury-bound Becca Winsberg is convinced her friends have gone insane...until they remind her she just might have a dream of her own. So what if their lives are bass ackwards and belly up? They'll always have each other.

Harper is going to be the next Jane Austen. Or Sylvia Plath. Or Plum Sykes. Figuring out which should be easy. It's living with the lie she told her three best friends that's going to be hard.

Kate doesn't know exactly what she wants. But whatever it is, she won't find it at Harvard. Maybe the answer is in Paris, or Athens? or anywhere Kate can be someone besides the girl with perfect grades, perfect hair, and the perfect boyfriend.

Sophie is a star. She's already got the looks, the talent, and a list of demands for her dressing room. Now that she's wrangled a furnished guesthouse in Beverly Hills, it's only a matter of time before she's discovered. Unless she isn?t.

Becca is dysfunctional. At least, her family is. Which is why she can't wait to flee the drama and get to college. But Becca's friends know she needs more than a spot on the Middlebury ski team and a cozy dorm room. They know she needs to fall in love.

Dreams are complicated. They almost never turn out like you imagine?they almost always change. Sometimes, they change you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316054836
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 12/14/2008
Series: Bass Ackwards and Belly Up Series , #1
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 681,324
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 15 - 17 Years

About the Author

Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain wrote their first piece together when they were fifteen - a feature on Kansas City delis for their high school newspaper. They now live in Los Angeles, where they've written for numerous television shows. They are currently Writer-Producers on the Emmy-award winning show The Shield. Bass Ackwards and Belly Up is their first novel, and they are currently working on the sequel, Footfree and Fancyloose, coming in September 2007.

Interviews

An Interview with Liz Craft and Sarah Fain

Q: You were friends in high school. How much -- if any -- of Bass Ackwards and Belly Up's plot came from your own experiences/friendship? And which -- if any -- of the characters in Bass Ackwards and Belly Up are based on yourselves?

A:Yes, we were friends in high school and ran our high school newspaper, The Voice, together, although Sarah was definitely the more responsible one. We didn't take many actual events and put them in the book -- neither of us had a Mr. Finelli, or ski competitively, or have ever made out with a semi-famous actor. Sarah did backpack through Europe, but she certainly never got mugged in Athens!

Even though we didn't use real-life events, we definitely infused all of the emotions of those years into the girls' stories. For instance, BABU (as we call it) opens the night before Becca is to leave for college. It's an overwhelming moment for the girls. They know their friendship will never be quite the same, and that from now on they'll be on their own paths. We felt that same mix of excitement, fear, and poignancy in the days before we went off to our respective colleges, and we wanted to convey that.

As to whether any of the characters are based on ourselves…. To a certain extent, yes. Sarah related to Becca because she was dealing with the complexity of a blended family (although Sarah's was, luckily, much happier than Becca's). Harper was based on Elizabeth, so far as they share the same physical traits (including the glasses), love for junk food, and need to neurotically obsess over everything.

Q: Unlike the characters in your book, you both took "the traditional college route" after high school. Did you ever yearn to be like Harper and take time to write "the great American novel"? Did you always want to be writers...or did you have other dreams?

A: We weren't as in touch with our dreams at 18 as Harper, Becca, Sophie, and Kate are. It never occurred to us that we could do something different from the tradition college path. That's part of what we wanted the book to say-go after your dreams, no matter what your age. Of course, we're not suggesting everyone should ditch college. It's a hugely important experience, both in terms of education and emotional evolution. But it's never too early to start defining what you want in your life and going for it.

Now that we're older, we both yearn for a few months of freedom. But we can hardly complain. We get to write every day -- TV and novels. Who knows? Maybe some day we'll both move into log cabins and go to work on our two-thousand-page "masterpieces."

Q: Your book's been touted as a "more grown up Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." How do you feel about that comparison? And what YA books/authors do you admire?

A: To be compared in any way to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the biggest compliment we can think of. We're both huge fans of the series. Elizabeth even worked under Ann Brashares in New York, back when they were both in the publishing side of books. Ann was a mentor and remains a friend. We can't wait for the next Sisterhood to come out!

Other authors we admire… There are so many. We grew up reading Judy Blume and Paula Danziger, along with Jane Austen and Willa Cather, and so many others. We both still read tons of young adult novels. Sarah Desson is a favorite, and we love Jodi Lynn Anderson, Melissa De La Cruz, and Dan Ehrenhaft. Our favorite title ever (and it's a great book) is The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. And of course we have to mention the goddess, J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter changed the world for the better.

Q: How was writing this book different than writing for TV?

A: Very different! For one thing, TV is an extremely collaborative process. A bunch of writers get together in a room and discuss story ideas. Then we pitch those ideas to the boss (in our case, The Shield creator Shawn Ryan). Some are approved, some thrown out, some tweaked or given, as we say, "a haircut." Then a group of us "break" the story so that an outline can be written. That outline is discussed and debated during a notes session. Only then do we go off and write the script. Usually it goes through at least three drafts before Shawn puts his final touch on it, making what we call his "pen changes." We're producers as well as writers on The Shield, so we're involved in casting, props, etc. Once the script is being filmed, we're on set every day for the seven-day shoot, where we work with the director and actors to help see the story to fruition. The crazy (and wonderful thing) about TV is that we so quickly get to see our words come to life. Sometimes we'll finish a script the night before it shoots. We had to wait almost a year to see our book!

Writing a novel was different, because we had the final say-so. Our editor, Cindy Eagan, had amazing suggestions, but ultimately what went on the page was our decision. When we're writing TV, we have to be as brief as possible both in dialogue and description, because page space is precious. When we wrote BABU, it took a long time to let ourselves relax and let the words flow! When we did, it was so much fun.

Q: In your writing, your teen voices/sensibilities are so on-target. How do you stay in touch with the interests/personalities of teens today?

A: First of all, THANK YOU! That's so nice to hear. We try to stay in touch with teens today through TV, magazines, and books, as well as by talking to teens we know. Sarah mentors a girl who's given us amazing insights. Mostly, we both still feel like teenagers ourselves. It's so easy to go back to that place in our lives and remember exactly what it was like. Even though fashion and styles change, the experience of growing up is fundamentally the same.

Q: What's the writing process like for you both.... How exactly do you collaborate?

A: Before we start a project, we have a lot of conversations during which we throw around dozens of ideas. Often one of us will suggest something and the other will add on to it, making the initial idea even stronger. When we're nearly ready to start writing, we sit down and outline together. Then we divide up the scenes and go off to our respective corners to do the hard work of actually putting words on paper. Once we reach our pre-determined deadline, we trade what we've done and give each other notes. We love the process of working together partly because we feel the collaboration makes our material stronger when it finally gets to our editor. In other words, we're each other's first line of defense to bad writing! Being partners is extremely rewarding. We're there for each other when one of us has writer's block, or self-doubt, or simply needs to have a momentary melt down. We have a great time talking about stories and planning what we want to do next. Of course we get on each other's nerves and argue, but we always know our friendship is strong enough to weather those small bumps.

Q: You're working on a sequel for Bass Ackwards and Belly Up. Can you give us a hint about what's next for Harper, Sophie, Kate, and Becca?

A: We don't want to say much! But here is a hint about what happens to each girl as she continues to pursue her dream: An event in Harper's family changes her priorities. Now that Becca's in love, she has to learn how to be in a relationship. Sophie's Beverly Hills lifestyle takes a turn toward the less glamorous. And Kate finally does discover what her dream is. There are a couple of new guys in the picture, but we can't reveal whose lives they're in. Hope everyone tunes in to find out!

Customer Reviews

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Bass Ackwards and Belly Up 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
This book follows four best friends after they graduate high school. Initially, these girls all planned on going to college, but this changed when one of the girls, Harper, gets rejected from NYU. Instead of admitting to her friends that she got rejected from the only school she applied to, she tells them she is purposefully taking the year off to pursue her dream of writing the next great American novel. This sparks a revolution among her friends, and soon Kate and Sophie don't want to go to college either. Kate, the perfectionist, doesn't have a dream yet, but she plans on finding it as she spendss the year backpacking around Europe. Sophie, ever the dramatic one, goes off to LA to pursue her dreams of being a famous actress. Becca, the only one still going to college, is given a dream of her own to accomplish: she must fall in love. So what if they turn their lives completely upside down? They always have each others backs. I've heard that people say this is the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" for older readers, and I agree with that statement to a certain extent. The premise is certainly similar, but this book seemed to lack the spark that made the "Sisterhood" books so wildly popular. I enjoyed this book. It was a good way to spend time. But I still never felt anything for the characters. They were nicely developed, with faults and strengths, but I lacked an emotional connection. I would have to say this book is forgettable. While reading it, you don't notice anything lacking, but when you finish and reflect, you realize it wasn't that great. It probably deserves less than 4 stars in retrospect. I might read the sequel though, if I'd happen to come across it.
spanish-lullaby More than 1 year ago
this is basically sisterhood of the traveling pants except a bit more mature. the characters are realistic and fun to read about.
jenreidreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not quite as good as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, but still very fun and enjoyable. I look forward to the sequel.
MickTheChick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was quite awesome - it was like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but more mature. I liked the differences this one had from the Sisterhood books - that it was a few months long and not during the summer, that it was post-high school, that the girls all had to go their separate ways into the real world, for good, and that it was about going after their dreams, no matter how difficult it may have appeared to be, which is something that I and many other people can relate to. The story was funny and real and inspiring.
Awesomeness1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book follows four best friends after they graduate high school. Initially, these girls all planned on going to college, but this changed when one of the girls, Harper, gets rejected from NYU. Instead of admitting to her friends that she got rejected from the only school she applied to, she tells them she is purposefully taking the year off to pursue her dream of writing the next great American novel. This sparks a revolution among her friends, and soon Kate and Sophie don't want to go to college either. Kate, the perfectionist, doesn't have a dream yet, but she plans on finding it as she spendss the year backpacking around Europe. Sophie, ever the dramatic one, goes off to LA to pursue her dreams of being a famous actress. Becca, the only one still going to college, is given a dream of her own to accomplish: she must fall in love. So what if they turn their lives completely upside down? They always have each others backs. I've heard that people say this is the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" for older readers, and I agree with that statement to a certain extent. The premise is certainly similar, but this book seemed to lack the spark that made the "Sisterhood" books so wildly popular. I enjoyed this book. It was a good way to spend time. But I still never felt anything for the characters. They were nicely developed, with faults and strengths, but I lacked an emotional connection. I would have to say this book is forgettable. While reading it, you don't notice anything lacking, but when you finish and reflect, you realize it wasn't that great. I might read the sequel though, if I'd happen to come across it.
Runa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bass Ackwards and Belly Up seemed like a rip-off of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. As glad as I was to read another book featuring characters in their older teens, it wasn't as great as I had hoped. It dives right into the middle of a hugely dramatic time in these four teens' lives, and while a bit confusing, eventually everything makes sense. The storylines are interesting enough, but they were pretty simple and very predictable stories for the most part. The characters were made lovable through the writing early on, but since they were all separated, the story wasn't as interesting as it could have been if they were together, much like Sisterhood again. At least with the Sisterhood series, when the girls were apart, they were in regular correspondence and we as readers were witness to that, but here, they were all on their separate adventures, and it was harder to imagine how crazyawesome the story would have been with them all together. Midway, the stories just lose all their push. Something happens, and it all becomes dull. The girls' characterization seems to fall by the wayside, and while they had their moments, the second half of the book was not nearly as enjoyable a read as the first. The one pairing I was interested in had no resolution, and I was very disappointed about that. Many of the stories are left ambiguous, which makes some of them seem utterly pointless and a waste of time to have read. I would just stick with reading the Sisterhood series instead of picking this one up.Rating: 3/5
WaupacaTeensRead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is for anyone who enjoyed reading the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. There are four girls in this book, all of whom are going to embark on life after high school. They all decide to take the path less traveled. This book provides the reader with laughs and tears. Very good book.
airdna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very much like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants this introduces us to a group of tightly-knit girlfriends who are about to go their separate ways. When one of them announces (shortly after their high school graduation) that she's changed her mind about college, the others react by reevaluating their own decisions. They spend the next year having very different experiences and adventures, and find their friendship tested, as they make their ways into adulthood.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Often described as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for older readers, Bass Ackwards and Belly Up is a sweet debut novel that tracks an unexpected season in four friends' lives. Sophie, Kate, Becca, and Harper are all supposed to go to college... but at the last minute Harper tells them that she's staying home to go for her dream: writing the next Great American Novel. In actuality she's been rejected from the only school she applied to, but she conveniently doesn't tell her friends that. Harper's announcement starts a rebellion shocking in the girls' comfortable suburban neighborhood: Kate and Sophie decide to not go to college either. Sophie's going to LA to pursue her dream of being an actor, and Kate's decided to travel around Europe in search of something she's passionate about, something different from her life of plans. Becca's the only one of the four still going to college in Middlebury, so her friends give her an assignment in addition to being a skiing star: she has to fall in love. In LA, Sophie has an up-and-down something going on with Sam, pool boy of the family she's staying with. She also gets together with a famous actor. Kate travels around Europe trying to accomplish the list of 100 things her friends have given her to do. Harper procrastinates on writing her novel and feels an attraction between her and Mr. Finelli, her hot and young former AP English teacher. And Becca deals with an unfair Middlebury coach and her disgust for football star Stuart Pendergrass... who happens to like her. A lot. How will their romantic relationships turn out? Will their dreams come true? Bass Ackwards and Belly Up starts out slow, but it's well worth the first 50 pages of non-action. A sequel is in the process of publication.
Somer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Readers who enjoyed the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will enjoy this book. As in Sisterhood, the book centers around four friends, Harper, Becca, Sophie, and Kate, who are all college-bound. Until Harper shakes things up by declaring that she is taking off the year to write (after being rejected by the one college she applied to) - which sends the Dream Train on its way. The book is formatted like the Sisterhood books, too, shifting perspectives from one friend to the next. Great characterization - when I started I thought I would never remember which character was which, but by the end, they're all old friends. The one thing I found annoying about the book, though, was the product placement. At first I liked the added visualization of specific brand names, but by the end I was fed up with hearing about exactly what jeans Sophie was wearing or what store she was shopping in. It got to be like that friend who is always dropping names in order to impress. Enough already! I would have given it 4 stars, but knocked 1/2 star off for that reason.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is great for what it is- a fluffy chick lit read. It stars four friends, each of whom take a different path after high school. Each story is interesting in its own right- Harper stays at home to write the next Great American Novel, Sophie goes to LA to be an acress, Becca goes to college, and Kate backpacks through Europe. It's a fast read, fun with a little drama thrown in. Definitely for a slightly older crowd than Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but will appeal to fans of those books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down! Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So,freaking amazing!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes we could all use a reminder to chase our hearts. This book reminds us just that. As we get to know four young women and their year of discoveries post high school graduation.
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vickireviews More than 1 year ago
This book portrays a story about the power of friendship and following the path of your dreams. You will easily feel a connection and fall in love with the four main characters, Harper, Sophie, Kate, and Becca. The four girls find themselves taking the road of their dreams instead of the one considered "normal". This book is definitely one of my favorites and one that is unforgetable. While reading, i found it hard to put the book down. You know its a great book when you can't stop reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bass Ackwards and Belly Up is a funny, touching story about four best friends. And what young teenage girl wouldn't want to read a story like this? For someone looking for an interesting read that will keep your attention, this is a good book. However, this book is not highly intellectual. Still, it was a very good read, and contains many lessons that are easy to learn with the good writing and interesting characters. This is a book about following your dreams and love and friends and everything else that is important in life. The sequel is also equally as good. I recommend reading both books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very well written and I could never put it down! Very addicting, I wanted to read it all in one day but I couldn't! :D A MUST read summer book!
vikkitoria919 More than 1 year ago
to say the least: I read it the first two days after i bought it!! the book was really awesome!! I didnt put it down or stop reading until something was necessary like well using the bathroom. It is one of my favorite books..not that i read so many but anyway the book is a turn by turn thriller and i can not wait to read footfree and fancyloose!!! you know while reading this i figured hey this is along the same guidelines as the sisterhood of the traveling pants. except one smal fact: IT WAS INFINITY TIMES BETTER. bass ackwards and belly up was wy more realistic and thrilling and it wasnt so...chik flicky. and to be frank chick flick books and movies are not my forte if you know what i'm saying. Now i'm going to shut up before i write the next "Great American Novel" :) :) hope my review didn't bore you!!! :) :) :) :) :)