Those of you who contacted HarperCollins for an ARC of DIE FOR ME have probably discovered that they’re being kept under strict wraps: my publicist is waiting until the last possible moment to send it out. And the only ones I’ve sent out—besides the first signed ARC, which went to the winner of the charity auction—were to my grandma, my two teenage nieces, and my six Beta readers.
Knowing this, my best friend and Beta reader Kim (who is not only my son’s godmother, but the creator of Oprah’s favorite brownies) emailed me a couple of days ago to ask if her 12-year-old niece, Ellie, could read her copy. She made Ellie’s case by saying, “She is 12, a Harry Potter/Twilight fan, and wants to be an editor when she grows up.” *this is where i melt* I had to say yes.
Kim sent me that note on Jan. 17 and gave the book to Ellie the next day. Ellie’s mother Carol wrote me the following morning to say:
“Just wanted to let you know that Ellie started DIE FOR ME last night at 9 and finished it…she doesn’t know when she went to bed! A message from Ellie: SHE BETTER BE WRITING ANOTHER!! IT’S AMAZING and WE ARE BUYING HER BOOK ASAP!!”
You can imagine how that made me feel. I got all teary reading the message to Laurent off of my iPhone. (I’m getting all teary typing this now!) Because not only did a twelve-year-old enjoy my book, but she stayed up all night to read it! Which totally reminded me of my 12-year-old self buying a flashlight with my babysitting money so I could read under the covers after lights-out.
A couple of hours later, a message came through from Ellie’s mother on my iPhone:
“Okay, she is reading it AGAIN! I think she wins an award for quickest turn around to read your book a second time!”
And later that evening, “Well since I last wrote you, she finished DIE FOR ME for the second time! I peeked in on her earlier this afternoon and she had a silly grin on her face. I asked what was up and she quoted ‘We’re Zombies!’…I’ve got to read it now!”
I can’t think of a better compliment than a 12-year-old book-lover staying up all night to read my book and then reading it again THE NEXT DAY. Now I’ve got my armor against any less-than-flattering reviews. Because ELLIE LOVED MY BOOK. And that’s enough for me.