Lauren Myracle’s bestselling “Internet Girls” series, which consists of the communications of three girls via Instant Messenger, can still appeal to young adult readers through the issues that the three protagonists are facing.
It’s just the technology that’s changed since the first novel, “ttyl,” was released 10 years ago.
So for the anniversary of “ttyl,” Myracle has rewritten the three novels of the series, updating the books for 2014. Protagonists Zoe, Maddie, and Angela no longer chat through IM; now they’re texting. Myracle has also updated various pop culture references that are no longer contemporary.
She told Publishers Weekly that at first, she only set out to change names of movies, music, and teen expressions.
“But very early on I texted [publisher Amulet senior vice-president] Susan [Van Metre] – yes, we do communicate by text! – saying that I realized I had to rewrite these novels altogether,” Myracle said.
Now characters can talk to each other via text message while events are happening, said Myracle, versus rehashing what happened once they’ve gotten home and logged on to Instant Messenger. Myracle and Van Metre both told PW that Van Metre’s assistant Erica Finkel, who’s in her 20s, was invaluable in making sure the books were current with her generation’s lifestyle.
The reissuing of the three books – “ttyl,” “ttfn” and “l8r, g8r” – comes before the release of this fall’s “yolo,” Myracle’s newest novel in the series which catches up with the three characters at college.
The Internet Girls series often ends up on the American Library Association’s list of the most banned books of the year. Myracle said that “yolo” will include the girls partaking in such experiences as drinking and going to fraternity parties
“I don’t set out to shock, and I am lucky to have such a brilliant, liberating editor who tells me not to worry about people’s reactions,” she said. “I didn’t want to do fake college – that would be stupid.”
But she said she enjoys how strong the friendship between the three girls is in “yolo” despite now being separated by distance.
“Though the modes of communication have changed, the fabric of these girls’ friendship hasn’t changed a bit,” she said. “I found that reaffirming. I love these characters, and it was super fun to hang out with them again.”
The new versions of the first three “Internet Girls” books will be released Feb. 18.