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>Is long the new short?

>I just picked up Katherine Applegate’s Beach Blondes: A Summer Novel (Simon Pulse) and boy are my arms tired. This sucker is 721 paperback pages long, and first in a series to boot. I’m guessing it’s so fat for some strategic marketing reason, or perhaps I just haven’t yet gotten to the chapter “This Is Summer Speaking,” in which the heroine stops the motor of the world in order to expound for fifty-seven pages on the virtues of Vera Bradley bags.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Anonymous says:

    >LONG MAY SHE REIGN is over 700 pages also; I’m enjoying it but it does feel padded.

  2. Barbara Johansen Newman says:

    >Seems like a good reason to buy a Kindle….

  3. katherine applegate says:

    >It feels padded because it apparently has been — I assume by the packager. I wouldn’t know a Vera Bradley bag if you smacked me with one. I suppose I might have written about one at some point, but I really doubt it.

    This was originally a project we (my husband and I) wrote about a millennium ago as a three-book series. It was dragged out beyond the 3 books at the behest of the packager.

    Our editor on the project was Ann Brashares, later of Traveling Pants fame. The final book of Summer — number 6 or 7 or whatever, who remembers — was finished by Ann when we admitted we were sick to death of the genre, did not want to write another word, and would rather return our advance or possibly stab ourselves in the neck (necks?) than continue.

    It was not our decision to reissue this series. We were not informed by the packager. We had no hand in altering or updating the series. We did not make the decision to put the three books together in one volume. I learned of it during a random encounter with a Simon editor at NCTE. We have no control and essentially no financial stake in the series.

    Not complaining. We made the deal. (On the advice of our agents at Gray, Faust and Johnson.) But we have both moved on a bit since then. There was a rather lengthy sojourn in science fiction. And now I’d like to be the author of HOME OF THE BRAVE and THE BUFFALO STORM while my husband would prefer to be known as the author of GONE.

    — Katherine Applegate
    katherineapplegate at) mac (dot) com

  4. Roger Sutton says:

    >Hi Katherine–

    It doesn’t feel padded (the Vera Bradley bag was my joke, not from your book); it’s just way longer than the average teen romance. I thought it was a lot of fun–I talk about it on an upcoming Horn Book podcast about summer reading.

  5. >I recently read Beach Blondes and Tan Lines because I work for a teen magazine and Simon Pulse is my client. I’m absolutely obsessed with both of them! I literally couldn’t put either book down. Katherine, I really wish you’d write a follow up even though you’re sick of the series!

  6. >i love the novel…
    the guys seem so hot in the book…
    girls my age (i’m 15)
    should try reading it…
    i’ve got lots of friends enjoying it already…
    but the sequel SUCKS!!!
    please do make a third one…

  7. >ms. katherine applegate,
    i would love it if you would make
    the third one, because TAN LINES
    is certainly frustrating…
    we would all want to know what
    happened to Summer Smith’s love life, right?

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