Susan Juby (1969-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights
Born 1969; Education: Attended University of Toronto; University of British Columbia, B.A. (English literature).
Agent—c/o author Mail, HarperCollins, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10019-4703.
Editor at publishing company in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, c. 1992; writer, beginning 1995.
Alice, I Think, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 2000, revised edition, HarperTempest (New York, NY), 2003.
Miss Smithers, HarperTempest (New York, NY), 2004.
Alice Macleod, Realist at Last, HarperTempest (New York, NY), 2005.
Alice, I Think was adapted as an audiobook by Harper-Children's Audio, 2003.
Canadian author Susan Juby didn't intend to write a young adult novel when she set out to pen her first book. However, her first publisher, Canada's Thistle-down Press, realized that Alice, I Think with its young teen heroine, was definitely a teen read. The novel, which has been followed by several sequels, reads as the diary of Alice McLeod, a fifteen-year-old home-schooled misfit who finally decides to enroll in public high school ten years after a first-grade costume incident in which she was publicly mortified. Ilene Cooper, reviewing the novel for Booklist, commented that while Juby "needs to accept that 'less is more' and abandon the overused diary format, … her potential is clear." A Publishers Weekly critic expressed more enthusiasm for Alice, I Think, stating that "while Juby's novel stands out more for her narrator's voice than for its plot, her dark wit virtually glitters on every page."
A popular character, Alice has returned in several other novels. Miss Smithers once again finds the now-sixteen-year-old heroine engaging in a variety of comic situations, one of which is as a contestant in the Miss Smithers beauty pageant. While budget-conscious Alice is motivated to enter for the $400 clothing budget given to participants, her ex-hippie, feminist mother is none too happy with her daughter's latest quest. And in Alice Macleod, Realist at Last, she attempts to find solace through self-expression by writing screenplays after her boyfriend moves to Scotland and her mother is jailed for her radical environmentalism. Debbie Carton commented in a Booklist review that Miss Smithers "easily stands alone and will send new readers back to the first book," while in Horn Book Betty Carter praised Alice as a "charismatic character with strong appeal."
Juby discussed her inspiration for her "Alice" books on her Web site: "My intention was to write a book about a teenager who doesn't fit in, but doesn't allow that fact to crush her. Alice is my homage to oddballs. I wanted her to have the courage and integrity to find her own way and define herself independently of other people. I've always admired people who can do that."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, August, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Alice, I Think, p. 1971; October 1, 2003, Brian Wilson, review of Alice, I Think, p. 341; May 1, 2004, Debbie Carton, review of Miss Smithers, p. 1555.
Horn Book, July-August, 2004, Betty Carter, review of Miss Smithers, p. 454.
Publishers Weekly, June 9, 2003, review of Alice, I Think, p. 53; May 3, 2004, review of The Latest Scoop, p.194; May 31, 2004, review of Alice, I Think, p. 77.
School Library Journal, October, 2003, Lynn Evarts, review of Alice, I Think, p. 86.
Susan Juby Web site, http://www.susanjuby.com/ (January 5, 2005).*