interview by Susannah Jaffe and Sarah Blustain

Sara Shandler Speaks

One afternoon this fall, best-selling author Sara Shandler, a college sophomore, took off from school at Wesleyan University for a whirlwind day in New York City. Her morning appointment took her for a glamour photo shoot at Cosmo Girl—complete with stylists, rock music and fake fur stoles—one of the many star moments she’s had since her book by and about teenage girls, Ophelia Speaks, shot onto The New York Times paperback bestseller list. Her book (Harper Perennial, $12.95), culled from first-person accounts of teenage girls around the country, gives human voice to the troubles outlined in Mary Pipher’s landmark book Reviving Ophelia and traces the troubled life of American girls. A dramatic portrait of anxiety, low self-esteem and super-human efforts toward self-perfection emerges as these girls write to Shandler about sex, drugs, eating disorders, academic stress, parental pressures and more.

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