A New York Times Bestseller
Award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales crisscrossed the country talking to more than two hundred girls between the ages of thirteen and nineteen about their experiences online and off. They are coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills.
The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media: Instagram, Whisper, Yik Yak, Vine, Youtube, Kik, Ask.fm, Tinder.
Provocative, explosive, and urgent, American Girls will ignite much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate the new social and sexual norms that govern their lives.
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Nancy Jo Sales is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for Vanity Fair, New York, Harper's Bazaar and many other publications. She has done profiles of Damien Hirst, Hugh Hefner, Russell Simmons, Taylor Swift, Tyra Banks and Paris Hilton, among other pop culture icons. Her VF.com profile of reality star Kate Gosselin won a 2010 Mirror Award for "Best Profile, Digital Media." Her Vanity Fair story "The Quaid Conspiracy" won a 2011 Front Page Award for "Best Magazine Feature." Her book The Bling Ring: How A Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World (Harper Collins It Books, May 21, 2013) tells the true story behind the Sofia Coppola film The Bling Ring, which was based on Sales' 2010 Vanity Fair piece, "The Suspects Wore Louboutins."
She was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, and attended Phillips Exeter Academy. She was a Presidential Scholar in 1982. In 1986, she graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, which awarded her its Willet's Prize for fiction writing. She received her M.F.A. from Columbia in 1991.
In 1994, she became a reporter at People, and in 1995, a New York Correspondent. In 1996, she was hired as a contributing editor at New York, where she covered a variety of subjects including youth culture. She became a contributing editor at Harper's Bazaar in 1999. In 2000, her piece for Vibe on Donald Trump ("Money Boss Player") was included in the Da Capo Press's Best Music Writing 2000. Her story "Woody and Me," about her childhood letter-writing relationship with Woody Allen, is included in 2008's New York Stories: Landmark Writing From Four Decades of New York Magazine. Her essay "Home Word Bound" is included in The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (2011).
In 2000, she was hired as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where she has written profiles of Angelina Jolie, Kimora Lee Simmons and director Brett Ratner, among others. In 2003, her story about the hanging death of Ray Golden ("Somebody Hung My Baby"), an African-American man in Belle Glade, Florida, uncovered inconsistencies in the police account of Golden's death, which had been ruled a suicide. Not long after her piece was published, the police chief of Belle Glade resigned. Many of her stories have been optioned for films, including her 2008 piece for Vanity Fair, "The Golden Suicides," about the double suicide of artist-filmmakers Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan. In 2000 she had a daughter, Zazie May. They live in the East Village in New York.