Author Spotlight

A Field Guide to Marissa Walsh

Habitat: New York City

High School Habitat: Lynn, Massachusetts

Carpool: I was in a carpool driven by parents for three years–my freshman year there were six of us, plus the driver!–and I was often the annoying late one in the morning. Not fun. Then senior year I drove two other girls in one of the girl’s mother’s extra car. (I didn’t have my own car.) It was great.

Clubs: I played soccer, basketball, and softball, was involved with the lit mag, edited the yearbook, and was a member of the Lynn Young Democrats.

Favorite American Idol: Kelly Clarkson

Favorite High School Band: I loved U2 when I was in high school. My first real concert was a U2 concert at Boston Garden at the beginning of 10th grade.

Favorite Book About High School: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Favorite Book I Read in High School: Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. Beloved by Toni Morrison. Raymond Carver’s short stories.

Favorite High School Celebrity: Bono. Molly Ringwald. Tom Cruise. Bruce Willis. (I know!)

Favorite High School Class: Senior English

Favorite High School Clothing Brand: We weren’t allowed to wear jeans or sneakers to school. At the beginning of high school, I was really into Esprit and The Limited, which was very 80s. I had a hippie phase, with long, flowing skirts and those black Chinese Mary Jane slippers, which I wore in the winter without socks. Senior year I did a weird mix of vintage, hippie, and artsy. I wore an ill-conceived Betsey Johnson three-piece outfit to the prom with my hair in lots of little braids.

Favorite High School Movie: Pretty in Pink

Favorite High School Musical Character: Ryan!

Favorite High School Restaurant: Chi Chi’s and Pizzeria Uno

Favorite High School Song: “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” U2

Favorite High School Student: Hermione Granger

Favorite High School Teacher: Mr. Sneeden, my English and creative writing teacher, and Mr. E, my art teacher

Favorite TV Show About High School: In elementary school, I loved Fame, and wanted to move to New York so I could go to the High School for the Performing Arts. My parents wouldn’t let me, obviously. My high school ended up being nothing like that.

French or Spanish? Spanish, but I bombed the Spanish AP. And Latin! My parents made me take two years of Latin. There were only three kids in the class.

High School Group: My high school was so small that there were really only two groups: Popular and Not. All the kids who weren’t popular sort of banded together, even though we didn’t really have that much in common, other than the fact that we weren’t popular.

Job: I had two summer jobs. I worked at the Lynn Public Library as a page. And then the summer before 11th grade, I worked at a local beach, collecting money at the parking lot and cleaning the beach and the restrooms.