South Beach

South Beach

by Aimee Friedman

Paperback

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439706780
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 03/01/2005
Pages: 318
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 7.34(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range: 15 - 17 Years

About the Author


Aimee Friedman is the New York Times bestselling author of Sea Change, The Year My Sister Got Lucky, South Beach, French Kiss, Hollywood Hills, A Novel Idea, and Breaking Up. Born and raised in Queens, Aimee now lives in Manhattan.

Interviews

An Interview with Aimee Friedman

Are there any particular authors/books that inspired you to become a writer?

AF: Growing up, I was a huge Ann M. Martin fan -- I waited breathlessly for each new installment of the Baby-Sitters Club, and I devoured all her single titles, too -- dog-eared paperbacks that still sit on my shelf, their spines tattered from years of rereading. I remember looking at the author bio in the back of one of these books, and learning that Ann was a "freelance writer." This idea seemed wondrous to me -- that someone could make it their life's work to just write, every single day. It was like being told that daydreaming could be a full-time job. I'd always written for pleasure, but it must have been around this time -- when I was about nine years old -- when becoming a real, professional writer began to take shape in my mind.

What advice do you give to aspiring writers?

This is a tricky question not only because I feel like I still have so much to learn about writing myself, but because everybody develops as a writer in their own way, and what's good for some -- say, setting a strict writing schedule, or keeping a journal -- may not work for others. Probably the most across-the-board advice I could offer, though, is to read, read, read. Read as much as you can and as often as you can, whether it's curl-up-in-bed-with-tea classics like Pride and Prejudice, fun beach reads like Summer Boys, short books, long books, graphic novels, whatever keeps your brain engaged. You will learn from other writers' triumphs and mistakes. And I believe you can find a good deal of inspiration -- and eventually your own voice and writing style -- this way.

Do you have a particular writing philosophy that you follow?

I believe fiercely in writing about what most excites or interests you -- not, say, what you feel you 'should' be writing, or what is proper or appropriate. Your own writing needs to compel you, needs to be something you yourself would love reading. I always feel that, as a writer, your characters and story ideas should make your heart pound -- then readers' hearts will pound, as well!

Did you ever take writing courses?

I took many writing classes in college, and they were extremely helpful and eye-opening. It was in these courses that I started to understand writing as a deliberate craft, to see the shapes and textures that made up stories. I had the good fortune to have very smart, supportive, and insightful professors who were able to teach me these things. Writing classes can also be beneficial because they set deadlines for you; if you have to hand in a complete story to your teacher by the end of the month, you will start working faster than anything!

How can teens relate South Beach/French Kiss to their own lives?

Though both these novels have an element of fantasy about them - most teenage girls don't have the opportunity to jet off to exotic locales all that often! - what readers always say to me is that they relate to the characters themselves, and to the friendships and relationships in the book. A lot of readers, for instance, have told me that they see themselves in Holly - they relate to her shyness, her protective parents, her hesitation when it comes to taking a risk. And I'm sure many readers can relate to the pain of growing apart from a friend - of having a childhood friend who changes, or discovers boys sooner than you do. These are all universal themes - they just happen to take place in fabulous settings like Miami and Paris!

What kind of feedback have you gotten about South Beach/French Kiss from teens? Do you ever get ideas for plots or characters from your fans?

First let me just say that I love hearing from my readers. Writing is such a solitary activity, and it's thrilling to find out how people respond to the words and characters and stories that I've put together in the privacy of my room. Teens have been so enthusiastic and positive about these books, which only makes me want to write more and more. For instance, I didn't initially write South Beach with a sequel in mind, but I got several questions from readers wanting to know what happened to Alexa and Holly and their respective boyfriends, so out of that grew French Kiss.

How do you research your books?

I used to think of 'research' as sitting in a musty, dusty library, bent over a stack of ancient textbooks. But, in reality, being a writer means that 'research' is everywhere and everything -- just by interacting with and observing people and places, you are gathering material for your stories. For South Beach and French Kiss, my research was particularly sweet, because I got to travel! Before I started writing French Kiss, I went to Paris for a few days to visit friends and reacquaint myself with the city. I went on long, meandering walks across the bridges, scribbled lots of notes, and sat in cafes and spied on people, noticing their habits and clothing and gestures... I often think that to be a writer you have to be something of a spy, which is what makes the work so much fun. I also do some research online, which mainly involves Googling stuff to make sure I'm spelling or referencing it correctly.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes! As soon as I learned HOW to write, it was my absolute favorite thing to do. When I was in elementary school, I spent all my free time -- hours, or whole days sometimes -- filling up spiral-bound notebooks with very long stories (I called them 'novels'). Nothing made me happier than creating those worlds for myself -- though reading did come in a close second. That's probably why I'm now both an editor and a writer-- this way, I get to combine my two greatest loves.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing routine?

My writing routine is sort of unconventional because I work full-time as an editor (see above!). I wish I could say I wake up before dawn every morning, do yoga, and write for a few solid hours before beginning my day - which is what I obsessively imagine is the healthy, ideal thing to do. Instead, I'm a night owl -- after work, I'll usually have dinner with friends, maybe read or watch TV to unwind, and then stay up writing very late. I actually prefer writing at night -- there's an energy that's not there in the daytime. When I'm working on a tight deadline, I'll write on weekends, too. It's definitely a challenge making the time for writing, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

What do you like best about writing books for teens?

I think it's an exciting time to be writing for teens, because the market has really exploded in recent years. There's so much freedom, so many opportunities, in terms of what you can write about. Teens are very sophisticated now, so there are lots of topics you can explore that you couldn't ten years ago. Also, I love how teens and young readers respond to books in general with so much sincerity and passion -- I remember myself as a teenager, and I approached books with the same kind of intensity. It's sometimes harder to find adult readers who get as excited about fictional characters and stories. What authors do you admire? As a young reader, what were some of your favorite books?

Where do I start? I'll read almost anything by Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Michael Chabon, Kate DiCamillo, Philip Roth, Armistead Maupin, Art Spiegelman, Ian McEwan, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Sophie Kinsella, and many more... In terms of my favorite books growing up, well, you already know how much I adored Ann M. Martin. I also really liked good old-fashioned teen horror, like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike -- I just enjoyed scaring myself silly. Some other beloved books: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Catcher in the Rye, the All of a Kind Family series, Behind the Attic Wall, Just as Long as We're Together (really any Judy Blume), To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Secret Garden. I recommend them all!

How do your books stand out in the ever-growing Teen category?

My books owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Gossip Girl series, which really kicked off this whole new model of fun, glossy, sophisticated teen fiction. But I think South Beach and French Kiss are different from other books in this vein because the two books are, at their core, about friendship. About this complicated, wonderful, interesting friendship that Alexa and Holly share. I like to think that my books have heart -- warmth -- and go beyond the "mean girls" model of young women being catty or cruel to each other. I feel it's so important for teens to take away positive, empowering images of themselves -- and the world they inhabit -- from the fiction they read. I can only hope that, in some small way, my books accomplish that.

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South Beach 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book called South Beach by Aimee Friedman and I thought it was amazing. When I saw that you made a new book I wanted to read it immediately. I found out about this book by when I saw my sister reading it and she recommended it to me so I decided to try it out. In this book there was a lot of drama and I loved the characters and their personalities especially Holly. She had this free-spirited, care free lifestyle, and she was such a good girl, until she reunited with Alexa and decided to go to South Beach with her. Overall, I loved the whole book and I am going to read all of them to come. This book is about 16-year-old Alexa is looking for a little excitement in her life. Tired of her boyfriend Tyler, who she find immature, safe, and entirely too nice, Alexa breaks up with him and cancels their spring break plans. Shocked to find herself now with no place to go for break, she calls up her old best friend Holly. The girls decide to go to South Beach, Florida and try to restore their friendship. Their trip is barely in progress before both Alexa and Holly are questioning why they ever thought this was a good idea. With little in common anymore except for the memories of a washed out friendship, they must struggle to get along and conquer their differences. When a boy comes between them, they realize they are more alike than they think. Good girl Holly experiments on Alexa's more free-spirited life and Alexa finds herself wanting something more than just a good time. This book, as I said, has a lot of drama or problems. When they get to South Beach to stay at her Grandmother Ida's house with Alexa she finds out that he grandmothers BOYFRIEND is living with her grandmother now. So they decide to not protrude and they rent a room at the Flamingo, a hotel/motel that Holly's grandmother recommend, which turns out to be a rat hole. There are co-ed bathrooms with a shower and that has no stalls. They run into Thomas, Daisy, Kaitlin, Aaron, and Jonathon who gets them into the clubs and etc. I think that Alexa has two different sides to her: she can be nice, helpful, and caring; but at times she can be mean, offensive, and insightful when you get on her bad side. And Holly I think she is a nice sweet good all A+ student, but not when she is around the wrong people. I noticed that ever since she started going to places with Alexa she is trying to act more like her and dress more like her. I think she is trying to do this because when Holly sees Alexa at clubs she acts so natural around boys and she is like a boy magnet. And I think that the only reason why Holly wants to be like Alexa is because when she finds her long lost love Diego she wants to be like Alexa. The impact that this book had on me was that I could see that your old friends that you thought weren't as weird as you thought they were. I also thought that I took away from this book is to not judge people and actually give them a shot and don't just judge them when you first see them ( not to be so judgmental ). I think that this book has a clash of different characters personality, which makes this book so interesting. This clash of different characters personalities makes this book also make you not want to put it down. I recommend this book to people that want to read a book that is drama filled and a book that you could never put down. In conclusion, I love this book and I cannot wait to read the next one French Kiss and I hope that it's going to better than this
TxTobinxJ More than 1 year ago
When i first got this assignment from my 9th grade english teacher i thought she must have been joking, it was a comical day in her class. After the initial awkwardness of going into barnes and noble to purchase this book i began to read it when i returned home that night and couldnt put it down. This book provided a new perspective on life, vacation and young adulthood. It was able to show what most girls would think in those kind of situations compared to us guys. I would reccomend this book to most of my friends because it was very entertaining, amuzing and insightful in many different ways.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book South beach writen by Aimee Friedman is an outstanding book. It¿s about a romance between two characters, but later on it forms into three.This book is great for readers who understand a day in the life of New York City. You can buy this book at basically any book store, and I deffinatley recommend this book. It¿s the best book I¿ve read in years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i mean yea it iz kinda like gossip girl. But it had an awesome ending i luvd it can't wait to read part 2. I started reading this book and after a second couldn't get out of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Give me example of what u mean Btw im a girl(16)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey i want nook sex please
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pick up and read this book....guartee u willl love it I did U just cant put it down It will keep u tied down to it
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the book and right away, i was hooked on to it. Alexa & Holly never have perfect lives that I could relate to, and the book was filled with drama and romance. The only thing that was not very good was that some of the things are not really realistic. Overall, it's a great book that I enjoyed over and over again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gossip Girl's already done it, Aimee. Think of a better plot to upgrade your poor storylnes. Work on your vocabulary too, it sucks. It was pretty boring. Nothing new, and the narraration sounded like it was coming from a fourth grader, since it lacked vast vocabulary.
Guest More than 1 year ago
South Beach is about two people who used to be friends and go on Spring Break together and if that isn't the best part there is alot of romantic parts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the book, I thought it was great with the romance, the drama, and an old friendship renewed. I love books with ALOT of drama, and this book has ALOT!