Mark Schreiber was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1960, graduated high school at age fifteen and began writing novels full-time. Princes in Exile, which explores a prodigy’s struggle to accept his own mortality at a summer camp for kids with cancer, was published in 1984 and made into a feature film in 1991. It has been published in ten countries, received two awards in Europe and was shortlisted for the Austria Prize. Carnelian, a fantasy, was published by Facet in Belgium. Starcrossed, a rebuttal to Romeo and Juliet, was published by Flux and translated into French and Turkish. His illustrated science book, How to Build an Elephant, was published as an Apple app by Swag Soft. He has written over forty books and received two State of Ohio Individual Writer Fellowships. For the last seven years, he has been a digital nomad, living on four continents. He currently resides in Costa Rica. http://www.markschreiberbooks.com/
“A riotous take on the randomness of who becomes an influencer in our modern era. A wild ride for young and old alike!” —Galya Gerstman, author of Texting Olivia
“Mark Schrieber offers a delightful tale of an adolescent girl suddenly thrust into fame as an internet influencer. Amanda911 is a must-read in the contemporary era!” —Kay Sloan, author of The Patron Saint of Red Chevys
Praise for Princes in Exile
“I enjoyed and admired Princes in Exile, and was glad to learn that this unusual and excellent novel eventually had the success it deserves.” —Alison Lurie, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“…a film that views its afflicted characters with a clear-eyed understanding and affection.” —Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“Remarkable.” —Northrop Frye
Praise for Starcrossed
“Readers…are bound to enjoy Schreiber’s edgy spin on Romeo and Juliet.” —Library Journal
A 2008 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers list nominee
Praise for Dreams of the Solo Trapeze: Offstage With the Cirque du Soleil
“Schreiber provides a wealth of perceptive portraits, but his eloquent evocation of Sidorova is the heart and soul of this account.” —Publishers Weekly
Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review –
Children usually fall down wells—not teenagers. Adults are usually political influencers—rarely ordinary teens without a name. But Amanda911 poses the question of how the ordinary becomes extraordinary when sixteen-year-old Amanda Dizon’s fall into a well during the presidential primary campaign leads to media attention that places her in the spotlight of news reporting.
Suddenly, Amanda is a social media star. Neither she nor her family is prepared for the responsibility and demands of this kind of attention.
The story opens from the perspective of a grandfather who relates his granddaughter’s disaster, but quickly incorporates an irreverent humor into the piece in an exchange that teens and adults alike will find intriguing even as disaster unfolds: “911 Dispatcher: What’s the address of your emergency? Amanda (crying): Don’t you have GPS? 911 Dispatcher: Please give me your address. Amanda: I’m at the bottom of a fucking well! I don’t think they have addresses in wells. 911 Dispatcher: Are you in a safe location? Amanda: Hellooooooo! Bottom of a WELL.911 Dispatcher: Do you have injuries?Amanda: Do you think I could fall down a well and NOT have injuries?I’m not a cat.”
Ironically, it’s not the emergency crew who arrive first on the scene. It’s a national social media reporter from the new platform PingPong. And so the story evolves.
Mark Schreiber’s ability to capture a sense of whimsy and fun elevates Amanda’s story as readers enjoy a wry tale narrated from a grandfather’s perspective: “At the hospital they tripped over each other to photobomb her fifteen minutes/seconds/nanoseconds? of fame. Even the president couldn’t resist, Photoshopping himself with Amanda from her knees up with the captions: American wells are safe! And Drill deeper! Meanwhile my granddaughter, her left ankle in a cast and her right ankle in a brace, lay in a hospital room that was private in name only.”
Spoofs on not just political self-interests but social media focuses and self-centered actions that swirl around Amanda and her choices mark a tale that moves from Amanda’s moment of fame and the good times it brings her, to new choices and decisions that affect her friendships and life perspectives.
Schreiber’s choice of presenting much of Amanda’s experiences from the perspective of grandparents who go along on her journey is involving and especially fun as inter-generational interactions meld with modern-day social media woes and the pitfalls of fame.
The wild ride through politics, hackers, lovers’ quarrels, changing family relationships, and the decision to either fully embrace or lock out the world makes for a romp that is at once hilarious and thought-provoking.
While directed to a teen audience, Amanda911 will appeal to adult readers, as well. Its rollicking, sassy tone and special brand of family and social engagement is refreshingly original in voice, playful and spunky in life approach, and powered by underlying realistic inspections of society and culture that will leave readers thinking and laughing.
Amanda911 is highly recommended as a delectably unique read in a sea of the ordinary, standing out for its social inspections and relationship ironies alike.
Daryl Ponicsan –
“Mark Schreiber captures both the joyful silliness of American youth and the grim silliness of American culture.”
A young woman becomes a viral celebrity after falling into a well in this darkly comic novel.
In an interesting choice for a young adult novel, Amanda’s brainy, globe-trotting, increasingly heavy-drinking grandfather narrates. His assessment of Amanda as dull and unremarkable seems to say more about him than it does about her. Equally incomprehensible to him is the world of online influencers—the very world into which Amanda is abruptly dropped when, after her accident, she amasses a huge following on PingPong, a Chinese-owned social media platform. Told in three parts through short, dialogue-driven prose, Amanda’s unassuming ordinariness in the face of this intense commodification of her misfortune is showcased. The teen’s struggles with her parents, who are terrified by the prospect of screen addiction and its associated ills but vicariously thrilled by their daughter’s newfound fame, are played for comedic effect, insightfully underscoring the disconnect between different generations’ relationships to technology. A satirical romp…
Pauline Harris Editorial –
“Amanda911 is probably the funniest portrayal of influencer culture I’ve ever read. It’s honest, down to earth, heartbreaking, but oh so funny at the same time!”