The Most Dangerous Thing
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Release Date: March 7th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Sixteen-year-old Sydney hates to talk (or even think) about sex. She's also fighting a secret battle against depression, and she's sure she'll never have a boyfriend. When her classmate Paul starts texting and sending her nature photos, she is caught off guard by his interest. Always uncomfortable with any talk about sex, Sydney is shocked when her extroverted sister, Abby, announces that she is going to put on The Vagina Monologues at school. Despite her discomfort, Sydney starts to reexamine her relationship with her body, and with Paul. But her depression worsens, and with the help of her friends, her family, a therapist and some medication, she grapples with what she calls the most dangerous thing about sex: female desire.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Only one? I love Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table, and Helen Humphrey’s The Lost Garden. My favorite YA title is Calvin by Martine Leavitt.
I’m a big fan of Girls. I also love Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
3. Favorite movie?
I love Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight.
4. Your Favorite Song?
“I Fall To Pieces” by Patsy Cline
5. Favorite Food?
I love sushi. In particular, I’m fond of tuna temaki.
6. Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.
Winnie The Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood.
AS Byatt’s rambling farmhouse called Todefright, located in the Kentish Weald, from the The Children’s Book. The house is in the Arts and Crafts style and has an orchard, a garden, and a forest nearby.
The mountain hut that Heidi lives with her grandfather in Johanna Spyri’s Heidi.
That’s easy. Levi Stewart, Cath Avery’s tall, blond Nebraskan boyfriend in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Orson Welles
I’m obsessed with all things about the British Raj. Recently I got very excited about some old maps of Delhi.
Perseverance is the key to success. If you have goals you want to achieve, whether they be personal or professional, you have to keep up a steady and on-going effort to make them into reality.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about THE MOST DANGEROUS THING?
The Most Dangerous Thing is about a very introverted teenage girl named Syd who suffers from anxiety and depression. There's also a boy who likes Syd, but Syd isn't sure how people with anxiety deal with boyfriends, or their sexual feelings. Meanwhile, Syd's very extroverted sister Abby want to put on the play The Vagina Monologues at her school. Syd thinks this is a terrible idea, but eventually the play helps Syd start to re-think her issues about her body and her sexuality.
How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?
I was driving to work and listening to a CBC radio interview with Eve Ensler about her newest book, In The Body of The World. I’d read and seen her play The Vagina Monologues years ago, but I didn’t know that Ensler worked with women in the Congo, or that she was part of V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against girls and women. She was so inspiring that I pulled my car over to take notes. By the time I got to work, I knew my next book had to be about empowering girls and women, especially about control over their bodies.
Tell us your favorite quote from THE MOST DANGEROUS THING.
“Sometimes I think I need to start a support group for introverted people with extroverted siblings.”
Syd feels this way about her sister Abby. I like this line because I come from a family of extreme introvert/extroverts and someone is always cringing over a sibling or parent’s behavior. My own children, similar to Abby and Syd, are quite different in personality and frequently regard each other with awe and occasionally with despair.
Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write? Or which one was the most difficult to write?
Sydney claims that she’s only interested in math and science, but she’s also taking a writing course, and she does a lot of writing throughout the book. One of the scenes that was the most interesting to write comes at the end of the book when Sydney works through some of her relationship angst by writing.
If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for THE MOST DANGEROUS THING – Which one would you pick?
Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.
Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?). Who would you pick to play your characters? (It can be anyone – famous or not)
I would love Lea Michelle and Harry Shum (both of Glee fame) to play Syd, and her love interest Paul in the film version of my book.
Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read THE MOST DANGEROUS THING (specific music, snacks…)?
My MC Syd isn’t religious, but she likes Jewish cultural foods. I would recommend a bagel, cream cheese and lox sandwich as a starter and maybe a few mun (poppy seed) cookies to dip in your tea for dessert.
Any advice related to your book that you can give to your readers?
If you feel depressed, or suffer from other mental health challenges, seek help. Please know that mental health problems are common and although you may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about what’s bothering you, letting others help you is an important step towards healing. Talk to your doctor, a trusted adult (parent, teacher, guidance counsellor) or a good friend. Know that you are not alone and although your depression may feel all-consuming, there are ways out. If you are a teenager, most areas have some kind of kids’ help phone. If you call, they’ll be able to give you the resources you need. You can always call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number at 1 800 273-TALK(8255).
What’s next for you?
I am working hard on an adult fiction novel called The Bird Lovers. It’s set in Victorian era British Raj. My MC is an adventurous girl named Alice who wants to be a travel writer. Instead, she gets stuck working as governess. Alice’s family wants to marry her off, but she has other plans.
Thank you so much for everything, Leanne!
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