We are Amy & Maurene—both young adult authors who write contemporary stories about teenagers who we find funny. We were so thrilled to put this newsletter together for you, and recommend things like the best animals on Instagram (Maurene loves Carlow_FDNY_cat while Amy is very partial toRyuji513), great gifs of Zac Efron, and where to dine when you’re on the eastside. This is because we truly believed that, this week, we’d be still buzzing from electing the first female president and proving that hate has no future here.
Right now...it’s easy to believe that we don’t know what we believe anymore.
SAY HELLO TO YOUR FRIENDS
So we started thinking of what initially brought us together. You might assume it’s that we’re both located on the eastside of Los Angeles, or that we’re both young adult authors. But the truth is that both of us felt we met our YA soul mate in the other when we bonded like a couple of weird nerds over The Baby-Sitters Club. Yeah, those books from the 1980s about girls who babysat. Yes, we are also in our 30s.
But here’s the thing about the BSC. They were girls who worked together because they loved what they did, and they loved each other. They had each other’s backs. They believed that friendship could be a revolutionizing force. (Kristy Thomas never came out and actually said it but we know she believed this to the bottom of her bossy heart.) The times are scary, friends, but we take solace in the power of female friendships and female/PoC-led businesses.
Are you still curious about The Baby-Sitters Club? You should be. Here are some links:
Here’s a great recent interview with author Ann M. Martin on the enduring appeal of the BSC, where she also -- spoiler alert! -- comes out as queer, and a Mary Anne.
Here’s a BuzzFeed quiz to see how well you actually remember the BSC(and their handwriting). Amy only got a 5/7, while Maurene got a 7/7 AWWW YEAHHHHH (perhaps unfair because one of her talents is forging people’s signatures like a creep).
Claudia’s outfits will forever be burned into our memories but also almost everything she wore is back in style now.
For all the boys who secretly read their sister’s BSCs, Slate’s Bennett Madison sees you. Although, “dull” HOW DARE YOU
As with everything else in the world, there is now a podcast about the BSC!
“Sure, Maurene and Amy, this stuff is interesting, but could we get into the finances behind how something like the BSC would actually work?” Thanks to The Billfold, we can.
And finally, if you need BSC swag, BookRiot has done a great job rounding some up.
YA NOVEL RECS!
Since we’re YA authors, we bring to you some books we love! With a special focus on books that explore various marginalizations and feminist issues—entertainment with a dose of empowerment.
I’d kick myself if I didn’t tell you to run out to read Maurene’s debut novel, Since You Asked, which is funny, sweet, diverse, and thoughtful. (Just like Maurene!)
This fat lady took forever to read Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ because, no joke, she kept having to put it down to pump her fists in the air. Oh, what it would have been like to have a fat girl romance on my shelf when I was younger.
If you’re afraid to read YA novels because you’re worried they’ll all be fluffy, let Pointe change your mind. An important read about survival and triumph.
Initially I really was just going to recommend comedies and cute books about kissing. Anyway, if someone wants to know what rape culture is, point them toward All the Rage. Unflinchingly real but full of hope too.
This beautiful, devastating YA novel won Stephanie Kuehn the Morris Award and for good reason—it’s a complex story that mastefully deals with mental health and trauma.
A feminist twist on fairy tales filled with violence, sex, and diverse AF characters? Yes please. It’s like a Disney movie by way of a very smart woman with a penchant for some naughtiness—aka author Elissa Sussman.
Now more than ever, young people are lucky to have Kate Hart’s achingly sensitive debut about consent, feminism, love, and redemption. A bonus? Lovely and empathetic writing. (Out Jan. 24!)
AS IF I could have a list without Ames! I have a special spot for Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) because it’s about crushes and takes place in LA. You have to know that everything Ames writes is about smart, funny girls and that we need those kinda heroines right now.
FUNNY AF WOMEN!
...because we’ve still got to laugh.
Ali Wong: Maurene needs to see a loud Asian women yelling at people right now. Also because Maurene almost blacked out laughing so hard at her Netflix special, Baby Cobra (giffed above).
Jenny Slate may not realize it, but earned eternal BFF status with Maurene when she got her nails done next to her and talked about heartbreak and Marcel the Shell for an hour. (Fun fact: Dame M. went to elementary school with Jenny Slate. Less fun fact: Jenny Slate does not remember Margaret-- someone ASKED HER at a wedding, to M's eternal mortification. Margaret likes her anyways, though. She’s magnanimous like that.)
Riley Silverman flies while trans and makes a scary and frustrating situation so. Freaking. Funny.
Jessica Williams was the funniest part of the Daily Show. Case in point: her rant on the reaction to Beyonce’s halftime show is a must-watch.
Bossy Giveaway: HAMILPINS!!!!
GREAT NEWS, Dames Nation! Casey Barber, one of our favorite artists, is teaming up with Two Bossy Dames to give away a FULL SET of her AGGRESSIVELY ADORABLE #Hamilpins: Hamilton, Burr, Lafayette, Jefferson, Angelica, Eliza, AND PEGGY! If you are interested in winning them, you can fill out an entry form RIGHT HERE until Friday, December 2nd. AND if you're too impatient to wait for wining, and you opt to buy them, you can get the gift box (featuring a watercolor drawing of the Hamilton set, pictured above) completely free with the coupon code DAMES. SHOP HAPPY and may the odds be ever in your favor!
OK, just one Zac Efron gif before we go.You can find Maurene on Twitter and Instagram and also Snapchat as @mauxbot. Her newest book, I Believe in a Thing Called Love is out next May but can be pre-ordered here.
Amy can be found on Twitter and Instagram. She is on Snapchat as @thatames but, as a very old woman, usually forgets it exists. Her books can be found in most places books are sold. (And Dame Margaret thinks her Spotify might be the Happiest Place On Earth.)xoxo,
Amy & Maurene