List Price: $26.95
First entered: 27th, Feb 2016
Number of weeks: 6
Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. Vine. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women is the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls.
With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment. What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016? It means coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls.
Provocative and urgent, American Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.
Name: Nancy Jo Sales
Hometown: West Palm Beach
About the author:
Nancy Jo Sales is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for Vanity Fair, New York, Harper's Bazaar and many other publications. She has done profiles of Damien Hirst, Hugh Hefner, Russell Simmons, Taylor Swift, Tyra Banks and Paris Hilton, among other pop culture icons. Her VF.com profile of reality star Kate Gosselin won a 2010 Mirror Award for "Best Profile, Digital Media." Her Vanity Fair story "The Quaid Conspiracy" won a 2011 Front Page Award for "Best Magazine Feature." Her book The Bling Ring: How A Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World (Harper Collins It Books, May 21, 2013) tells the true story behind the Sofia Coppola film The Bling Ring, which was based on Sales' 2010 Vanity Fair piece, "The Suspects Wore Louboutins."
She was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, and attended Phillips Exeter Academy. She was a Presidential Scholar in 1982. In 1986, she graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, which awarded her its Willet's Prize for fiction writing. She received her M.F.A. from Columbia in 1991.
In 1994, she became a reporter at People, and in 1995, a New York Correspondent. In 1996, she was hired as a contributing editor at New York, where she covered a variety of subjects including youth culture. She became a contributing editor at Harper's Bazaar in 1999. In 2000, her piece for Vibe on Donald Trump ("Money Boss Player") was included in the Da Capo Press's Best Music Writing 2000. Her story "Woody and Me," about her childhood letter-writing relationship with Woody Allen, is included in 2008's New York Stories: Landmark Writing From Four Decades of New York Magazine. Her essay "Home Word Bound" is included in The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (2011).
In 2000, she was hired as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where she has written profiles of Angelina Jolie, Kimora Lee Simmons and director Brett Ratner, among others. In 2003, her story about the hanging death of Ray Golden ("Somebody Hung My Baby"), an African-American man in Belle Glade, Florida, uncovered inconsistencies in the police account of Golden's death, which had been ruled a suicide. Not long after her piece was published, the police chief of Belle Glade resigned. Many of her stories have been optioned for films, including her 2008 piece for Vanity Fair, "The Golden Suicides," about the double suicide of artist-filmmakers Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan. In 2000 she had a daughter, Zazie May. They live in the East Village in New York.