Creative Writing at The New School

Acclaimed Young Adult author Rachel Cohn, recent judge for the New School MFA chapbook competition and author of the recently published YA novel Beta, visited the New School to share her insight about crafting a popular book series.  Thanks so much to Rachel Cohn for visiting us and to Patricia McCormick for moderating the forum!

Beta by Rachel Cohn (via this kickoff to a planned four-book series, Elysia is a beautiful teenage clone bought as a companion to a wealthy family living on the exclusive island of Demesne on an Earth that is recovering from ecological disaster and global warfare. Though Elysia initially believes she has no free will, she discovers a taste for human foods like macaroni and cheese and chocolate—and, more importantly, begins to feel emotions like attraction, worry, and rage. She also has mysterious memories of the human girl from whom she was cloned, but keeps her discoveries secret, for fear of being marked a Defect. Cohn (coauthor of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) describes Elysia’s luxurious world completely and persuasively, hinting that social justice themes may escalate in subsequent books; Elysia’s evolution from robotic to real is similarly believable, as is her increasing desire for freedom.  — Publisher's Weekly


Rachel Cohn is the author of many young adult novels, including the Gingerbread series, You Know Where to Find Me, and Very LeFreak.  She has co-authored three collaborations with New School MFA faculty member David LevithanDash & Lily's Book of DaresNaomi & Ely's No Kiss List, and Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, which was turned into a movie starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings.  Her most recent book, Beta, is the first in a 4-book Young Adult sci-fi series about a teenage girl who is a clone.

Patricia McCormick, author most recently of New Fall Down, was recently nominated for a 2012 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature.


About The Author


Founded in Greenwich Village in 1931, Creative Writing at The New School continues to promote, engender, and shape innovative literature.