Someone just did the (rare) thing: they gave me some negative feedback on the first chapter of John Paul 2 High, and they also left their email address. Now, I'm one of those people who actually is interested in negative feedback. (Not that I don't appreciate the positive feedback!) So I'm interested to hear what sort of criticisms people have. I guess it's not my business to make everyone like John Paul 2 High (it really comes down to a matter of taste!), but I admit I can't resist answering some criticisms.
So I thought I'd share what I wrote to the person. Also, many of you have written to ask me when the books will be out, and the letter contains an update. I did promise you a September release date, and many of you have been wondering: so why aren't we seeing more information on the books? Well, I couldn't answer any questions because I was waiting to find out myself. But now I finally have some information, and I can say that we're looking at an October release date. But hey, since one key moment in the book involves a showdown at a Halloween dance, maybe it's appropriate...
Feedback Form: 9/17/07
School: Catholic school
Comments: There's pretty much no Catholic fiction out there, and I'm happy that there are plans to get some out there, but... it wasn't fantastic. I'm always a little weary of books containing instant messages (or emails, websites, etc.) because usually they're not realistic at all... they're just used as an attempt to be "modern" and "cool". In this case, the message itself was pretty realistic, but don't you think a girl would call her friend (boyfriend? I couldn't tell) with news that important? If he's that close to her, I don't think she would tell him over the internet.other than that, I liked it. I would be interested in reading more... I'm afraid I probably wouldn't buy it, not for lack of interest, but because I don't have enough money to spend on extra things like this. If a copy made its way to my public library, I'd definitely read it.
I wanted to thank you for your comments on the John Paul 2 High feedback form. Not everyone gives comments (and also leaves an email address!) so I like to respond to those who do send both.
You know, it's funny, but we've gotten more negative feedback on the IM conversations than anything else so far! But usually the criticism is, "Those don't sound like teenagers talking," or "the teenagers sound too dumb." So, on behalf of the actual real teenager who wrote the IM conversation for Christian Frank, I want to thank you for saying it was "realistic."
We tried to make the conversation reflect the personalities of the actual teens doing the writing: because, after all, most teens have widely different IM styles. As for trying to be modern and cool... well... I guess we used IMing because it's a fact of most teens life these days. (At least, my younger teenage sister seems to do nothing else!)
Regarding whether or not Allie would tell her boyfriend a matter of such importance over the internet -- I can only say that it accurately reflects the kind of strange relationship she and Tyler have...
Again, thanks for the feedback. I can't promise you the book is going to get into your local library (unless you request a copy, which I'd definitely encourage you to do!) but hopefully the book will be reasonably priced (under $10) so the average teen can afford it.
We're now looking at an October deadline for the series, due to a recent setback (deep sigh). So if you think of it, say a prayer for smooth sailing from here out. I personally think the book is pretty fantastic, especially now as I'm proofreading the final chapters, but hey, that will be for you and other teens to judge.
Thanks for reading!
Peace and good
John Paul 2 High Series Editor