Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park, California. So did my best friend, Andy Smith -- Andrew Smith, the meteoric Young Adult author. We went out that night. We had dinner, we held hands and wandered the sidewalks of Westwood, shopped at Pier I, and we laughed. We always laughed.
In time we drifted apart, but the truth is, I never stopped thinking about him. I missed him just about every day of my life, and started looking for him when the Internet made that possible in the mid-1990s. My detective work failed.
"Where's the novel?" I asked.
"What makes you thing there's a novel?" he replied.
"Where's the novel," I repeated. Fiction had always been his first love, and I couldn't believe that love had really ended, even after all those years.
"It's in the drawer," he said.
"Get it out," I said. "We're going to get it published."
Horn Book Award winner for fiction, and I had to smile. Even in high school, I knew Andy was destined to be a writer. He made me laugh, sure, but he also had depth beyond his years or his peers, depth that drew me to him. In fiction or nonfiction, he had something to say, and smart people listened.
So I want to congratulate him on this award and every marker of success he's enjoyed and will yet experience. I am so glad you're a part of my life again. And while I respect that you are Andrew Smith now, I'm glad you'll always be a little bit Andy, to me.
See you in November!