Book: ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Genre(s): Realistic Contemporary Fiction, Series
Publisher: Lee and Low Books
Publication date: 2004
Hardcover: 224 pages
first of the Internet Girls series

ttyl coverSummary: Told entirely via instant messages, this is the story of the trials and tribulations of three high school sophomore girls who are best friends — they call themselves the “Winsome Threesome.” Myracle uses “texting spelling” and internet slang (“ttyl” for “talk to you later,” “u r” for “you are,” “g2g” for “got to go,” “laffing” for “laughing,” “byeas” for “bye-bye,” for example) to recreate the way contemporary teens actually communicate. The story unfolds via these chat messages, and through their online dialogue we learn that each of the girls has challenges to overcome as they navigate the social perils of high school life. Angela is a bit boy crazy and has trouble keeping her crushes in perspective. Maddie is moody and can at times not be the best judge of how to act. Zoe is quiet and shy, the “good girl” who nevertheless (literally) lands in hot water. It is a pleasure to read over their shoulders as these loyal friends cheer each other on, providing solid advice to each other, without sounding like they are the puppets of an adult agenda. Their genuine voices and the ways they deal with their problems will be inspiring to many a teen or tween girl who is dealing with similar issues.

To whom will this appeal?: First and foremost, the potential reader of this book will want to be familiar with (or patient enough to look up) internet slang. Combine the slang with the computer-screen style layout, and you have a particular format that will be highly appreciated by many teens and tweens who are excited to see their daily life reflected in their reading matter. The tone of the book is conversational, and the characters are well-developed, but one must be able and willing to extrapolate a lot from the conversations, as all of the action is only described via chat conversation. This may be disconcerting to the reader seeking continuity, but will be a boon for those who revel in unusual and innovative formats. While serious issues (as well as mundane high school angst) are discussed, and problems must be overcome, overall the tone is upbeat and positive and sends the message that strong friendships can help you overcome anything life throws at you.