While MBA’s and Madison Avenue suits have been scratching their collective head as to why daytime soaps haven’t been able to attract and sustain younger viewers since Laura and Luke ran off with that Little Black Book, one teenage girl seems to have it all figured out. Too bad she only exists in the pages of Likely Story, the hilariously-on-target young adult novel from David Van Etten.
Who is David Van Etten you ask? He’s actually three people-One Live to Live scribe Chris Van Etten, publishing executive-turned-novelist David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy) and freelance writer/playwright David Ozanich.
This talented trio has teamed up to introduce the world to Mallory, the teenage daughter of the uber drama mama, an aging daytime soap diva with the mothering insticts of a slug. Mallory’s mom is more concerned with keeping her struggling soap on the network’s daytime lineup and the identity of Mallory’s father a secret, than she is being there for her only daughter’s turbulent adolescent years.
After one of many fights with her maternal nightmare, Mallory retreats to the sanctity of her room and her blog where she blasts her scenery-chewing, modern day Mommy Soapiest and the ridiculous stereotypes she and her show perpetuate for all of cyberspace to see. Mallory declares with complete cyber indignation that if she wrote a soap, it would be realistic, something that real teens could relate to, a likely story.
Mallory doesn’t think much about her digi-rant until her mother’s own agent calls with the opportunity of a lifetime-or in the case of a soap, several lifetimes so long as they don’t find the body-he wants to pitch her blog entry to the network as a potential daytime soap!
Before she knows it Mallory is meeting with network execs, being paired with a snarky show runner, dealing with a BFF obsessed with starring in the soap, being tempted by a gorgeous theater actor the network wants her to convince to play the male lead and a boyfriend who she has to share with another girl. If this were truly daytime it would be enough to cause Mal to develop a split personality!
Likely Story is a fresh, hip glimpse into the life of daytime soaps and everyday teens from the perspective of the demo the industry is so blood thirsty to hook. The book is Soap Dish meets Sweet Valley High.
Mallory conveys truths that diehard fans of the soap opera genre have been screaming for years. All we want is realistic, character-driven stories that we can relate to…and the occasional catfight and/or explosive, unexpected kiss.
If you are a soap fan, YA novel fan or simply looking for a good, dishy, well-written read, Likely Story is a must have.
Now for the fun part.
One lucky Daytime Confidential registered member can win a copy of Likely Story by being the first to answer this question correctly: I mentioned that one of the authors, David Levithan, was also a publishing executive. He was once responsible for editing the wildly popular tween series The Babysitters’ Club for Scholastic (of which I am finally man enough to say I read each and every copy!). The first person to respond in the comment section with the full names of the original BSC members will win a copy of Likely Story!