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The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball Paperback – September 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
More About the Author
I lived my entire life before college in the same house in a suburb of Philadelphia called Ambler. I loved to read, and whenever I found a book that really spoke to me I would read it over and over and over again, and somehow, I never got tired of it. Most of Judy Blume's books fell into this category for me (particularly Are You There God, It's Me Margaret), as did Bridge to Terabithia, a book called The Girl With the Silver Eyes, and my all-time favorite book, The Westing Game. I was a good student, though better at English and writing than I was at math, and although I like to think of myself as athletic, the truth is that I am not particularly coordinated or fast, and I don't have what my husband likes to call "heart" when it comes to sports. So after dabbling in field hockey and lacrosse in middle school (more because I thought the uniforms looked cool than because I was good at either of them, which I wasn't), I became a cheerleader. It was very 1980′s. I also was president of my class for three years, which I enjoyed at the time but I now kind of regret, because twenty years later, it turns out that I am the one responsible for planning our class reunions, which is something I distinctly do not recall being told when I was seventeen.
Until I was ten, I used to spend every summer "down the shore" with my family in Atlantic City (I am dating myself here, but I still remember when the first casino in AC had it's grand opening), and after that I went to sleep away camp, which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, were the best summers of my life. When I got older, I had part-time jobs during the school year at Baskin-Robbins and at a Hallmark store, and I spent a lot of time hanging around in the parking lot of McDonald's with my friends, because there wasn't a whole lot else to do in Ambler. I couldn't wait to get out of there, and I always imaged that I would go to college somewhere far away and experience a different part of the country, but I fell in love with the University of Pennsylvania, which was just forty minutes from my house.
At Penn, I double-majored in English with a concentration on 20th century literature, and American Civilization which is sort of like American History but from a social and cultural perspective. I always enjoyed writing and much preferred research papers to tests, but I never did take a creative writing course during college, probably because I never really imagined that I would ever become a writer. During my senior year at Penn, I met a guy from Los Angeles who eventually became my husband, and after I graduated I went to law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
I moved to Los Angeles and got married and practiced law for two years at a big firm, and I hated every second of it. Somehow, I just knew that if I didn't quit then, I would wake up one day and be forty years old and still hating my job, and I'd be really sorry that I'd wasted all those years being miserable. So I quit, and, much to the chagrin of my parents - who really enjoyed bragging to their friends about how I was a big-time lawyer in LA - I got a job as a college counselor at a private high school in the city. During my five years there, I really got to know teenagers in a way that I couldn't when I was in high school. Because I was a neutral observer and not part of one clique or another, I got to know all kinds of different kids, and because I was a confidant and they trusted me, I got to know them really well.
My daughter was born in 2002, and it was while I was on maternity leave that I started writing what eventually became my first novel, Notes From the Underbelly. I didn't intend for it to be a novel. I was just bored being at home all day and I had some pretty funny stories about being pregnant and having a newborn, and I wanted to write them all down for posterity. When I was finished, I gave it to a friend of mine to read, and she (who is someone who knows about these kinds of things) insisted that I had to try to publish it. So she gave it to someone who knew someone who worked in the lit department at a talent agency, and that guy gave it to some lit agents he knew in New York, and the next thing I knew, I had an agent and I was working as a counselor during the day, taking care of a newborn baby at night, and then staying up until two am to work on turning my essays about pregnancy into a novel. The book sold in 2004, while I was pregnant with my son, and then I quit my job as a college counselor to write full time. I wrote a sequel to Notes called Tales from the Crib, and then I wrote another adult book called The Carpenter Girls, which sold in Europe. It was after that I decided to try my hand at a YA novel.
I love writing YA, I think, for the same reason that I loved being a college counselor; teenagers are fun, being around them and writing about them makes me feel young, and there is really no other experience like high school, where you're thrown into this place every day with some people you love and some people you can't stand, where anything can happen and you never know what to expect on a daily basis, and all the while you're growing up and becoming an adult and figuring out who you are and where you fit in. If that isn't a gold mine of material for a writer, then I just don't know what is.
Top Customer Reviews
Erin's two best friends, Lindsay and Samantha, think the crystal ball might be the key to unlocking their secret wishes. Erin isn't convinced. She doesn't think outside the box - much.
Erin's also trying to convince her used-to-be friend that she's not boring. Against the odds, they're partners for an art project. Erin can't help remembering the one time they made out while playing "Seven Minutes in Heaven" two years ago. While Jesse's a little different, he's still a hottie. He doesn't seem to remember that night. He also doesn't seem to remember they used to be friends. Working on this project together might bring up old times and maybe something more. Could he be the key to her letting go, just a little?
Plus, she's trying to write an essay for a chance to win a trip to Italy. She has to write about her life experiences. Unfortunately, because she rarely strays from the box, she can't think of anything important to write about.
Her friends are still pushing her about the crystal ball, but Erin's trying to figure out the instructions. Lindsey and Samantha force her into asking it questions: Does the hottest boy in school think she's smexy? Will her English teacher say her paper was well-researched and insightful? As the questions get tougher, so do the outcomes. Is the ball wreaking havoc on her life?
I really enjoyed reading this book. I love how Erin usually lives inside the box, but must make her way out of her comfort zone courtesy of a pink crystal ball. She must take risks and enjoy the consequences. Erin deals with friendship drama, bullies, school work, and a potential boyfriend all while navigating through life.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
"The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball" is a delightful book for young adults. It is almost as if author Risa Green put several ingredients - high school life, best friends, crushes, teenage angst, bullying, sadness, magic, riddles, art, and more - into a magic 8-ball, err, a pink crystal ball, shook it up, reached in, and came up with a book that is fun to read from start to finish. The book is written in the first person from Erin's point of view and Green does a great job with Erin's character - she tends to think inside the box, has a crush on Jesse Cooper, gets very good grades in school, is a loyal friend, and really wants to go to Italy. Green does an equally good job with Lindsay who is bullied because of something she did years ago and who thinks she can find a way to beat the bullying by shopping at Ye Olde Metaphysical Shoppe. Samantha is the daughter of rich parents, a bit blasé, but insecure in her looks even though she is beautiful. While some of Aunt Kiki's friends seem stereotypical, by the end of the book she and her best friend Roni are anything but stereotypical.Read more ›
This story was a fun twist on the genie in a bottle giving three wishes story. The old adage be careful what you wish for really comes true here. Erin's friends seem to take the pink crystal ball more seriously than Erin does. And because of that, their wishes not only backfire on them, but they come back to haunt them in a worse way. Erin is more worried about what is happening in her real life and pondering why her aunt didn't tell her about this gift that was left to her. The friends all have good chemistry together and Erin's rationalism keeps the trio from going off into craziness.
What I really enjoy about this book is that even with the "magic" that's in the book, most teen girls will be able to relate to the story. Erin and her friends are realistic and fun to hang around yet they share the same insecurities and worries that the average teen girl goes through. There's also a good bit about the importance of family weaved throughout the story. Erin is close to her parents and was also close to her aunt. Overall, this was a fun read and I had a blast reading it. I don't think this book is set up to be a series but if there are additional books featuring the girls or the Pink Crystal Ball, I'd love to read them. A fun YA book that girls everywhere will enjoy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book for my daughter and she simply love this book.She said "I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in a girl that was given a pink crystal ball and uses... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Bonnie Rook
When I saw this book at first, I thought it was going to be another big cliche. But I have to admit, this is now definitely in my top 20 list. Read morePublished on January 5, 2013 by Lexa
Why I read this: I was totally hooked by the title and cover - hoping for a chick lit with a slightly magical plot and I was not disappointed. Read morePublished on July 25, 2011 by Kristen M. Harvey
A cute read worth grabbing off the bookshelf. A girl is given "power" through a crystal ball where she can help change her future, thanks to her aunt who has recently passed away. Read morePublished on June 19, 2011 by Kristin Jones
"The Secret Society Of The Pink Crystal Ball" is a fun, delightful book. Erin Channing, a 10th grade student, has the highest GPA in her class, thinks inside the box, feels she... Read morePublished on January 26, 2011 by Phyllis G
This is an enjoyable, light YA read. It mixes a little bit of reality with a lot of teen drama. It actually reminded me a little of Ann Brashares' Traveling Pants series,... Read morePublished on January 21, 2011 by J. A. Harnick
Erin Channing is a perfect A student. Erin's friends are always telling Erin to think outside of the box or other words...quit being boring! Read morePublished on January 9, 2011 by Cheryl Koch
I will admit, I often judge a book by its cover. I am a very visual person - in fact, I have a college degree in Visual Design - so I tend to make some decisions about a book based... Read morePublished on January 3, 2011 by S Day
Erin Channing is working hard to keep her GPA high so she can earn a trip to Italy. To be considered for this, she needs to write an essay that will blow the committee away, yet... Read morePublished on December 23, 2010 by Sheila A. Dechantal