Some people won't answer the phone if they don't recognize the number. I'm not one of those people. It could be a free trip to Paris or to the Grand Canyon or maybe someone's offering great gobs of cash. Who knows what awaits?
On the other hand, Jennifer Hubbard, a young adult novelist who once taught at Charlotte Country Day School and now lives in Salisbury, doesn't answer strange numbers.
You might say what happened recently will change that.
The call came on the eve of Super Bowl Sunday. Jennifer was at home, working the New York Times cross-word puzzle. Ring. Ring. The phone showed a Tennessee area code.
She let it ring.
Jennifer and her husband went out to dinner, and the calls continued. Once. Twice. She ignored each one.
As she was stepping into Salsibury's Keppel Auditorium for a performance of the North Carolina Symphony: ring, ring. This time, a New York number. Jennifer listened to the voice mail, which chastised her for not answering the previous calls.
So Jennifer returns the Tennessee call and learns that...
Her 2014 young adult novel, And We Stay, had been named a Printz Honor Book!
Now, what does this mean exactly?
The Michael L. Printz Award, given annually by the American Library Association, honors the best book written for teens based on its literary merit. In addition, the Printz Committee names up to four honor books, which also represent the best writing in young adult literature.
So Jennifer's book now keeps company with past winners of the Printz Honor, including The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak, and Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson.
This means that And We Stay will be in print for a long time to come. It also means that every library in the country will want to have a copy on its shelves. It means a lot of things, really, but most of all, Jennifer's hoping it means that her work will be taught in high schools, and that she'll be invited to talk with students about it.
Oh, and Sofia Coppola, if you are reading this, Jennifer would also very much like for you to be the one to adapt the novel into a screenplay and direct the film version.