Anna Breslaw recorded an episode of The Public Library Podcast with Helen Little to discuss her debut novel Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here. The book follows Scarlett Epstein, a teenager from central New Jersey, trying to navigate the difficulties of home and school life. What separates this young adult novel from all the rest is Scarlett herself, who Google Books describes as a cross between Veronica Mars and MTV's Daria. Scarlett is smart yet snarky, confident yet totally self conscious, and almost always hilarious. While she doesn't navigate every social situation with complete aplomb, she always feels so completely real thanks to Breslaw's writing.
Part of the reason Scarlett feels so genuinely complex is because Breslaw pulled inspiration from her own experience as a New Jersey high schooler. Let's get one thing clear, though: the stereotype that women can only write about what they know is so not true. Breslaw opened up about that stereotype when describing her process for creating Scarlett, saying that "I feel like I'm supposed to be like 'Well, you know, I just came up with this character.' It was me in high school essentially," going on to say she felt that Scarlett was braver and more outspoken than she was. "I feel like male writers tend to think that women write autobiographically and they can't really do anything else...For the first one I figured I could keep it pretty close."
Breslaw also spoke about the Kirkus Review that described her novel as an "unabashedly feminist debut." She says her goal is always going to be to write books that make girls feel like they're not alone, which is her own personal definition of feminist writing. Breslaw recommend authors A.S. King and Emily Henry for those seeking to read more empowering novels written for young women.