Hello, dear readers! This past Saturday, I did a contest on all references to my past books in We Can Work it Out. I promised that after the contest, I would write a blog with all of the references. Now I don't think any of these references giveaway anything that happens in the book, but if you haven't read We Can Work it Out yet, proceed with caution. (Please note, the page numbers are from the US hardcover edition.) BETTER OFF FRIENDS The idea to do little shout-outs/references to my past book came when I started working on branching the Lonely Hearts Club beyond Parkview, IL. A very exciting thought hit me: I could have characters from Better Off Friends pop up since Milwaukee isn't that far away from Chicago. So, yes, that is Danielle e-mailing Penny on page 34. Then Danielle and Macallan show up at the Lonely Hearts Club Valentine's Day party, pages 92-93 . (And don't worry, Macallan is only there to support Danielle, she and Levi are doing fine!)
REVENGE OF THE GIRL WITH THE GREAT PERSONALITY This is the hardest one to spot, so I didn't do a trivia question for this. When Penny tells Tracy that a guy is interested in her (page 123), Tracy's deadpanned reaction is, "Well, I do have a great personality." Subtle, but it's there!
PROM AND PREJUDICE Okay, I will mark this one as a potential SPOILER. On page 124, Tracy tells Penny that she doesn't see the point in dating in high school because most couples don't last. "...all I'm saying is there's a reason why all those romance books end with the guy and girl getting together. Because if you show what happens after the first date, it will be filled with disappointments. In the real world, most of those relationships would end in a few weeks. Well, except Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I may have a heart made out of coal, but even I can't deny Jane Austen." [Also, dear reader, this is what you call foreshadowing!!]
There's a second shoutout, which credit goes to my editor David Levithan. He was cracking up at all my self-referential items in the manuscript. Then he couldn't believe I had Penny saying that she was weary of prom and suggested what's now in the book, "I became a little prejudiced against prom." (Page 287) I'm actually disappointed in myself for not thinking of this first!
TAKE A BOW Not only do readers get to meet Penny Lane's oldest sister Lucy in the book, they get to experience the wedding. So when I was listing the many different artists the DJ was playing during the reception (page 185), in addition to the Beatles (duh), I threw in Teenage Kicks, Emme, Ethan, Jack, and Ben's band. Now, if you've read the Ten Years Later Epilogue that I did for Take a Bow, you'd know that they never lasted beyond CPA, but hey, it's my world and I can make changes if I want to!
I also have the Bloom family actually "take a bow" on page 191 after their "Twist and Shout" performance.
That's it! We Can Work it Out was a book five years in the making, one that so many readers had asked me for. So while I had a blast putting them in, I also did it as a little thank you to those of you who have stayed with me through SIX books. SIX BOOKS! SAY WHA?
Now I'm off to work on book seven (which is the first book in my middle-grade series, The Great Shelby Holmes, coming fall 2016) and book eight (my next YA!). I'm one lucky duck. THANK YOU GUYS!