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Conversation with Deanna Proach, Author of To be Maria (Fiction/Young Adult) - "Seventeen-year-old Anya Preschnikov dreams of one day becoming a famous actor, but she's faced with two problems: her one-parent, dysfunctional family neglects her and has no money to support her, and at school, she's the target of her peers' contempt. Anya believes that in order to secure her stepping stone to stardom, she must dress like the rich girls and be surrounded by a large network of friends. All of this changes, though, when Maria Hernandez comes to Peach Valley Senior High. Rebellious and headstrong, Maria instantly gains the acceptance of her peers - yet she sees in Anya what everyone else does not: her physical beauty and immense talent. So when Maria extends her hand of friendship, Anya is elated. Her lifelong dream seems like it's about to become a reality - until it falls short one Saturday night at a party when a boy's rude comment sends her into a rage. Desperate to belong somewhere, Anya and Maria set out to find new friends outside of school. They soon meet Alex and Marissa, a young couple who eagerly welcomes them into their world of parties and drugs.
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