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Between Two Lockers With Mandy C.

FYA’s resident nerd Mandy C. chats about her high school crush(es), how Twilight is responsible for her YA addiction, and the fact that action stars make for good heist teammates and potential husbands.

Between Two Lockers With Mandy C.

In case you missed the announcement, over the next few months, we’ll be running a Between Two Lockers special series featuring your fave FYA writers and contributors.

Also, in case you’re wondering if I often refer to myself in third person—no. Only when I’m running special series I also happen to be a part of.


What’s your name?

Mandy Curtis

Where are you from/located?

Rogue River, OR / Austin, TX

What do you do when you’re not writing for FYA?

I am a technical/web writer for a large technology company. I write content about how to use products, how to fix issues, etc. for the company's support website. (Side note: I am one of few people I know who has a career that uses or is similar to the field in which they got a college degree.)

What do you look like?

Where can you be found on social media?

Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Tumblr


How long have you been writing for FYA, and how did you start writing for the site?

I first started writing for FYA in May 2013; my first post was a Swimfantage on the Science Bros.

But let me back up a bit. I joined the Austin chapter of FYABC as part of a personal 30 before 30 project in early 2013; one of the "to-dos" on the list was to force myself out of my comfort zone—and social events like book club meetings with a bunch of strangers are definitely out of my comfort zone. Thankfully, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Soon after joining, I asked Posh, who's the leader of ATXFYA, how I might go about writing for the site; she asked me to submit two samples. The rest is history.

How did you come to read YA as an adult?

Honestly—I blame/thank Twilight for that. I jumped on that bandwagon pretty hard right before it exploded into the thing it eventually became, and quickly realized that YA books weren't just for teens, that they could be super entertaining and full of themes that spoke to me, even in my late 20s. I haven't looked back.

Why do you think YA is an important genre, for both actual Ys and those of us who are more A?

Like I started to touch on in my previous answer, I try not to judge books by their genres. Too many people scoff at the YA genre, in particular, for being "for kids." I think that just because a protagonist happens to be between the ages of 13 and 20 doesn't mean that they aren't dealing with issues and/or having adventures (etc.) that can't translate to or resonate with people of any age. Plus, YA protagonists are frequently much less jaded than adult ones, and I'd rather read about exciting firsts than stuff like the drudgery of paying bills.

What are five of your favorite YA books?

Shhh ... ooot, I knew this question was coming, but I purposely put it out of my mind until now. I am TERRIBLE at picking faves of pretty much anything, but here goes—in no particular order:

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Every series by Ellie Marney
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Do you have a favorite YA character or couple? If so, who are they, and why are they The Best?

I have a crap memory, so I can never remember things like this when I'm put on the spot. But one couple that stands out is Rachel Watts and James Mycroft from Ellie Marney's Every series. They're not perfect people—far from it in Mycroft's case—but they're trying to be their best. And their relationship is off the charts swoonworthy.


If your real life adolescence was a YA book ... What would you, the main character, be like?

The bookish and nerdy overachiever who's often the teacher's pet (even though she doesn't mean to be). She thinks no one likes her or knows who she is, and never fails to be surprised when she's proven wrong.

Who is your secret crush?

Early high school: The super hot—tall with blond curls, great singing voice, could dance, totally kind—guy in show choir.*

Late high school: The sweet, romantic guy I met in Chemistry who'll come over to my house to watch Roswell regardless of how lame he thinks the show is and brings my mom flowers when he picks me up for the Homecoming dance.

*Yes, he was straight.

What is your number #1 source of angst?

Boys. No, grades. No, boys. No ...

At what point would the reader pump his/her fist in victory?

When the ragtag Show Choir I'm a part of wins first place in a regional competition despite our having nearly no funding or professional help.

And who would play you in the film adaptation?

A younger Gaby Hoffman—more for her personality and physical features than ancestry.

I was once told that I looked "so much like Charlize Theron." I thanked that person, but in my head was totally thinking she was either on something or had some vision impairment I didn't know about.


What is your #1 favorite food?

Pretty much anything that falls under a generic heading of Americanized Asian: Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai … And the more Sriracha I can put on it, the better.

Tell me about your area of expertise.

My brain stores pop-culture trivia like it's actually useful knowledge, to the detriment of memories I'd really like to hold onto and certain life skills. Also, I can drive a stick shift.

If you could assemble your own Ocean's 11 of fictional characters, who would you pick?

THIS IS HARD. And I will probably think of some really awesome substitutions immediately after I share this, but ...

The Leaders: Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake (The 100)
The Brains: The Tenth Doctor (Doctor Who) and Spencer Reid (Criminal Minds)
The Brawn: Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews’ character in the Expendables franchise)
The Master Spies/Assassins: Sydney Bristow (Alias) and Celaena Sardothien (The Throne of Glass series)
The Distraction: Loki (The Avengers)
The Getaway Drivers: Dominic Toretto (The Fast and Furious franchise) and Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

What is your best karaoke song?

I like to warm up with a little "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" by Will Smith, and later in the evening (when most people are too tipsy to remember the performance the next day and free-flowing with compliments regardless of quality of said performance), bust out a rendition of Martina McBride's "Independence Day." Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" is another crowd-pleaser.

Tell me something scandalous!

Although I have seen most adaptations and "inspired by" films/TV shows, read the zombiefied version, and adore Mr. Darcy even when he's being dickish ... I have never read the original Pride & Prejudice.

What is your favorite adult beverage?

I like a good cider. Although, full disclosure, I am one of those FYA HQ weirdos that Posh mentioned in her B2L who doesn't really drink much.

What is the most crucial snack food and/or movie/or anything you'd bring to an FYA slumber party?

I'd definitely bring some food, but what depends on my mood. If I'm in a savory mood: Munchies. If I'm in a sweet mood: Some sort of cookie or pastry. If I'm in an in-between mood: Kettle corn.

I'd also bring the Blu-Rays of the first two seasons of The 100 and a variety of fandom blend teas.

What book have you read the most number of times?

Probably the Harry Potter series. (Hashtag humble book blogger brag: I don't really have time to re-read books. I should really make the time to, since there are many books I'd love to read over again, and my crappy memory helps with not remembering plots, haha.)

YA authors are so cool. Who would you give a BFF charm to?

All of the authors I've had the pleasure of meeting through being a part of FYA have been fabulous people, and I totally get nervous when meeting them and/or working with them because I really want them to think I'm cool. (I get really nervous around celebrities. And yes, authors are totally celebrities.) So, really, I'd have a hard time picking just one to be my bestie.

That said, I recently did a B2L with Susan Dennard, author of Truthwitch. I got super nerdy in the MASH section because of the things she listed as likes on her blog, and she not only went with it, she seemed to really appreciate my choices. I'm always down for more awesomely nerdy friends.

Out of all of the characters you’ve read, which one do you most wish you could be?

Someone from the Lunar Chronicles, probably either Cinder or Scarlet. They get to go on awesome adventures—IN SPACE—and are both all-around awesome. It would just come down to whether I wanted to be the most famous fugitive in the solar system or merely one of her known associates.


The magic number (chosen by a random number generator) was 7.



Neville Longbottom
Tom Hiddleston
Bellamy Blake
The Rock


District 13

A hotel on the moon
The future


23 (most adopted)


Celebrity stylist
CIA agent
YA book blogger


Paid in wishes
Paid in winning lottery tickets
Paid in rare pop culture memorabilia

Paid with more hours in the day


Austin, TX
Colby, North Carolina
Portland, OR
Cupertino, CA


A unicorn
A creature that also functions as a space ship
A magical talking cat
A dog named Mrs. Mollie Weasley


The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
A fire-engine red 1971 Chevy Nova
The Pig from The Raven Cycle

Do you have additional questions for Mandy C.? Or maybe just want to comment on something particularly awesome that she said? Head to the comments!

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.