In their own words

* Why let adults tell them how their life is? Teen authors are writing it as they live it.

Home Edition, Calendar, Page E-1
Calendar Desk
56 inches; 1918 words

By Josh Getlin, Times Staff Writer

New York -- BY the end of "The Notebook Girls," the story of four teens at an elite New York high school, the main characters have had the kinds of experiences that make parents cringe -- oral sex, the loss of virginity, binge-drinking, pot smoking. But Julia, Sophie, Courtney and Lindsey have also matured. They've mended fences with their parents and thought deeply about the world. They're on their way to college.

..."Text never went away for this generation; it's very much a part of what we deal with every day," said Ned Vizzini, who published his first book, "Teen Angst? Naaah ..." (Random House) when he was 18. "I'm shocked by how many e-mails I get, maybe two or three a day, from people who say they're teenagers and want to write a book.... They think it's a very cool thing to do, something with real permanence."

PHOTO: TEEN TRUTH: Pollitt-Cohen, left, Toombs and Newman wrote of boys, drugs, terrorism and more with Julia Baskin, not pictured.
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PHOTOGRAPHER: Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Times
PHOTO: HER STORY: At 17, Kaavya Viswanathan wrote about a brainy Indian American high school senior.
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PHOTO: 'THE NOTEBOOK GIRLS': Courtney Toombs, left, Sophie Pollitt-Cohen and Lindsey Newman are three of the four voices in their young adult book.
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PHOTOGRAPHER: Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Times

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© Ned Vizzini 2000-2006