Novel by Rachel Cohn
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With Shrimp, pop culture wordsmith Rachel Cohn successfully resurrects Cyd Charisse, the irrepressible punk princess from her breakout hit, Gingerbread. C.C. is back from an emotional summer in NYC where she met her biological father for the first time and nursed her karmic wounds after a messy breakup with her short-statured surfer boyfriend, Shrimp. Now, it is the start of senior year in San Francisco, and C.C. is determined to get the surfer boy of her dreams back. She is aided and abetted by new friends, Helen and Autumn, and "old" girlfriend, sunny octogenarian Sugar Pie. When Cyd's cool half-sib Danny invites her back to NYC for a long weekend, will C.C.'s turn eastward--away from Shrimp's surfer dreams?

Shrimp's bright cover belies the frank, sexy narrative within that is definitely not for the tween audience of Cohn's middle-grade novel, The Steps. But older teen fans are going to love guessing what their unapologetic, espresso- and Nestle Crunch bar-addicted antiheroine will do next. Are Shrimp and C.C. destined to move in together after graduation? Or will Shrimp's brother's wedding give them second thoughts? Whatever happens, Cyd Charisse is convinced that "at the end of the road, there will always be a Shrimp." Cohn's Shrimp is a witty, sparkling sequel that was definitely worth the wait. --Jennifer Hubert Exclusive Content

In this exclusive essay, author Rachel Cohn tells readers why she decided to write a sequel to her wildly popular novel, Gingerbread, how she "hears" from Cyd, and what she thinks of Shrimp. Enjoy!

Why Shrimp? by Rachel Cohn

When authors are lucky (or mildly disturbed – you be the judge), character voices speak to them when they’re least expecting it. This is what Cyd Charisse does to me. She wakes me up from deep sleeps to narrate commune fantasies; she accosts me on the subway to rummage through the deep well of my purse for a notepad and pen to jot down her observations on the Manhattan freak experience; she makes me use up frequent flyer miles for jaunts to San Francisco to savor her favorite dim sum.

I knew when I finished writing her story in Gingerbread that she and I were not finished – it was just a question of when she would decide to kidnap my attention again. She was helped along the way by a bounty of readers writing to me to demand to know if Cyd Charisse and her true love, Shrimp, would find their way back to each other. But CC, like her author, needed some time and maturity before she could figure that one out.

Of course, when Cyd Charisse was ready, she demanded to be heard. She did not want a sequel that basically played out the same issues as her first book. She wanted a new story that could stand on its own – independent, like CC herself. In Gingerbread, she’d earned a peace dividend with her family, and come into some hard-won maturity too. She and I both wanted to see how this peace and maturity would play out within the framework of her senior year of high school, that crucial and vulnerable time in teenagers’ lives before they are flung out into the world on their own.

Cyd Charisse let me know in no uncertain terms that however long it took, she was determined to reclaim Shrimp. But Shrimp had complications of his own. He’d returned from his summer away from San Francisco with new appendages called parents, who brought new stress to his mellow mentality. He was struggling through his own issues, not necessarily ready to bounce back into a relationship with hyper-girl CC.
Shrimp and Cyd Charisse’s relationship needed its own maturity, for them to rediscover each other as friends, in order for romance to blossom again. This time out, their matured relationship could actually be harder to navigate: they needed to move past the infatuation of their first romance and truly get to know and understand one another as individuals. (And of course, there’s the small matter of CC’s crush on her true love’s brother to deal with.)

Cyd Charisse is her own force of nature, never shy about her feelings or motivations. Shrimp, however, may prove more elusive. Whether they’re able to work through their complications and complicated personalities to find their way back to each other – well, CC is bursting to tell, and you can read Shrimp to find out!

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