HarperCollins Publishers
Robin Wasserman

The Wasserman List

from Robin Wasserman, author of Girls on Fire

Book Recommendations

Girls to the Front

by Sara Marcus

Judging from the prologue of this riveting, novelistic, revolution- (or at least revolutionary impulse-) inducing history of the Riot Grrrls, Sara Marcus's teen years started out looking a lot like mine. In 1991, we were both young, awkward, East Coast theater geeks feeling out of place in our high schools, our families, and our own bodies. But lucky for her (and unlike me), Marcus found the Riot Grrrls--a community of angry, impassioned, zine-writing, music-making punk rebels who wanted to change the world. Her book is a tribute to a girl-power movement that's now mostly remembered, hazily and inaccurately, as an estrogen-heavy offshoot of punk. Marcus gives us the music, gloriously profiling Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and the other all-girl bands that stormed the stage--but she gives much more page time to the girls in the audience battling their way to the front of the crowd. It's a heartbreaking and hopeful portrait of a generation, and it made me want to get out my black Sharpie and, fifteen years late, jump on the bandwagon, write it on my wall, my T-shirt, my skin: Every girl is a 'riot grrrl.'

Buy Book

The Uses of Enchantment

by Heidi Julavits

I can't stop talking about this book, but I can't quite find the right way to talk about it. Imagine a bizarro universe version of yourself, I tell people, someone whose brain is cluttered with all the same obsessions as yours, but who sees them in completely different ways. Now imagine she writes a book, and it is, simultaneously, the book you've been wanting to write your entire life--but also a book wholly alien from anything you could have written. Which is to say: This book takes all the things I love, dumps them in a blender, scrambles them until they're both unrecognizable and irresistible. A therapist with dubious ethics; a narcissistic mother with hidden depths; a weird, intricate, nonlinear structure; a kidnapping--maybe; several teenage girls, unreliable narrators of their own stories--or maybe not; Freud and Dora and hysteria and witches--and all of it unfolding in absurdly beautiful, envy-inducing writing. I know it's a tired cliché to say this book has everything! But this one actually does.

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

by Ben Fountain

Almost a decade ago, alone in Paris and trying very hard to lead the kind of life I imagined writers alone in Paris were supposed to lead, I went to a Tom Bissell reading at the (now tragically defunct) Village Voice Bookshop. His signing line was interminable and happened to plant me right in front of the event's other author, a guy I'd never heard of who was promoting a short story collection, too. He was friendly and chatty and dispensed some delightful wisdom about my own writing, all of this despite the fact that I wasn't buying his book. English-language books in Paris are just too insanely expensive, I finally told him, as an awkward apology ... not, to be clear, a suggestion that he should buy a copy for me. But that's exactly what he did. Because Ben Fountain is officially the nicest guy in modern literature. All of which is to say, even if I'd hated the book, I would still be his biggest cheerleader. (Not that, these days, he needs one.) The good news is that, as it turned out, Ben Fountain is also one of the most talented guys in modern literature, and Brief Encounters with Che Guevara is incredible. The stories are set all over the world--Haiti, Myanmar, Sierra Leone--brutal and beautiful stories about brutal and beautiful places; they're about war and death and the collision of good intentions with bloody reality. They're the stories I read and reread to remind myself of what writing can do.

Buy Book
Robin Wasserman

About Robin Wasserman

Robin Wasserman is a graduate of Harvard University and the author of several successful novels for young adults. A recent recipient of a MacDowell fellowship, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. Girls on Fire is her first novel for adults.

Latest Book Recommendations from the author

Girls on Fire

by Robin Wasserman

By turns a shocking story of love and violence and an addictive portrait of the intoxication of female friendship, set against the unsettled backdrop of a town gripped by moral panic, Girls on Fire is an unflinching and unforgettable snapshot of girlhood: girls lost and found, girls strong and weak, girls who burn bright and brighter--and some who flicker away.

Buy Book