Todd Strasser

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Todd Strasser
Strasser in Langenau, Germany,
in March 2006
Born (1950-05-05) May 5, 1950 (age 65)
New York City, New York, United States
Pen name Morton Rhue; T. S. Rue
Occupation Writer, journalist
Nationality American
Period 1979–present (as writer)
Genre Children's fiction, novelizations
Subject Literature


Todd Strasser (born May 5, 1950)[1] is an American writer[2] of more than 140 young-adult and middle grade novels and many short stories and works of non-fiction, some written under the pen names Morton Rhue[3] and T.S. Rue.

Early life[edit]

Todd Strasser was born in New York City.[4]


After studying literature in college, Strasser earned his living as a journalist and also operated his own fortune cookie company, producing cookies under the "Dr. Wing Tip Shoo" brand name. He is the father of two children, and an avid tennis player, skier, and surfer.[5]

Strasser has written novels for young adults and teens, picking controversial themes like Nazism, bullying at schools, homelessness, school shootings, and sexuality. They include Give a Boy a Gun, Boot Camp, Asphalt Tribe and If I Grow Up. His most famous work is The Wave, written under the name Morton Rhue, which is a novelization of the teleplay by Johnny Dawkins for the movie The Wave. These are fictionalized accounts of the "Third Wave" teaching experiment by Ron Jones in a Cubberley High School history class in Palo Alto, California. The Rhue novel has been translated into more than a dozen languages and is read in schools around the world.[citation needed]

Strasser is the author of the Time Zone High trilogy, How I Changed My Life, How I Created My Perfect Prom Date, and How I Spent My Last Night on Earth. How I Created My Perfect Prom Date was adapted for the feature film Drive Me Crazy, starring Adrian Grenier and Melissa Joan Hart.

Other novels for young adults include The Accident, which was adapted into the television movie Over the Limit, as well as Angel Dust Blues, Friends Till the End, and A Very Touchy Subject. The latter also became a television movie, entitled Can a Guy Say No? Another novel, Workin' For Peanuts, was adapted to a television movie with the same title.

A trilogy of mystery thrillers for older YA readers includes Wish You Were Dead, Blood on My Hands, and Kill You Last, which was nominated for a 2012 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America.

Strasser has also written a number of young adult series, including Impact Zone (about surfing), Drift X (about drift car competitions), and Here Comes Heavenly (about a punk nanny with magical powers).

His books for middle-graders include CON-fidence, The Diving Bell, and Abe Lincoln for Class President. His series for middle graders include the very popular 17-book Help! I'm Trapped... collection, as well as the Don't Get Caught, Against the Odds, and Camp Run-A-Muck books. He also wrote Is That a Dead Dog in Your Locker?, Is That a Sick Cat in Your Backpack?, Is That a Glow-In-The-Dark Bunny in Your Pillow Case?, Is That an Angry Penguin in Your Gym Bag?, and Is That an Unlucky Leprechaun In Your Lunch?

Strasser has also published articles and short stories in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The New York Times.[citation needed]

His Kids' Books series of E-books includes The Kids' Book of Gross Facts and Feats (two volumes), The Kids' Book of Weird Science, The Kids' Book of Stupendously Stupid Stunts, The Kids' Book of Really Dumb American Criminals, The Kids' Book of Amazing Sports Facts and Feats, The Kids' Book of Funny Animal Jokes, and others.

The novel Can't Get There from Here is about a group of homeless teenagers in Manhattan who struggle to survive a harsh winter.

The novel Boot Camp is about a young man who is sent to a physically abusive boot camp by his parents because of behavior.

The book Give a Boy a Gun was written as a series of interviews from Middletown High School, after a recent location of a school shooting. Teachers, friends, and students give their versions of their time with Brendan and Gary, the two perpetrators of the shooting, from the beginning of ninth and tenth grades, and the day of the attack, which eventually led to the suicide of Gary.

The Nightmare Inn series consists of four horror novels, all published in 1993, set at a luxurious mountain hotel, which is the site of many horrific acts of murder and ghostly revenge.

In Strasser's novel If I Grow Up, the protagonist DeShawn lives in the Frederick Douglass Project, where he encounters death daily, and caught between the war of the Gentry Gangstas and the Douglass Disciples he struggles to stay out of gang life, but eventually joins the Disciples.

Strasser wrote the Help! I'm Trapped... series of 17 books written between 1993 and 2001.

In Strasser's novel Wish You Were Dead, Lucy Cunningham goes missing in a well-to-do quiet neighborhood Soundview after Madison and Tyler drop her out side her house.

Strasser's novel Y2K-9: the Dog Who Saved the World documents the story of an aging detection dog, named Byte, who was once trained by the military to assist in counter-cyberterrorism missions deemed too risky for his human handlers.

One of Strasser's novels, Fallout, is part memoir and part speculative fiction featuring nuclear war that results from the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

His novel No Place, was published in 2015.

Strasser has also written separate stories including Kidnap Kids (about two siblings who kidnap their parents), and Hey Dad! Get a Life, and two sequels to Wish You Were Dead: one called Blood On My Hands, and one called Kill You Last.

Selected works[edit]

  • Super Mario Brothers. Phoenix, AZ: Blue Cloud Books 1993. ISBN 1-562-82471-6
  • The Wave. New York: Dell, 1981; Laurel Leaf/Dell, 1985; Puffin Books 1988, ISBN 0-14-037188-5. Novelization of the 1981 ABC television show The Wave.
  • Coming Attractions trilogy:
    • Rock ’n Roll Nights / Turn It Up! (1985) / Wildlife (1987)
  • "Young Adult Books: Stalking the Teen." Horn Book Magazine, vol. 62, no. 2 (1986, Mar.-Apr.), pp. 236–239.
  • The Accident. New York: Delacorte, 1988. Adapted for television in the ABC Afterschool Special Over the Limit (1990).
  • How I Created my Perfect Prom Date. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996. Originally published as Girl Gives Birth to Own Prom Date (1996) and later adapted into the film Drive Me Crazy (1999).
  • Give a Boy a Gun. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000; Simon Pulse 2002, ISBN 0-689-84893-5
  • Thief of Dreams, Putnam Juvenile 2003, ISBN 0-399-23135-8
  • Can't Get There from Here, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-689-84169-8
  • Slide or Die. Simon Pulse 2006, ISBN 1-4169-0581-2 Drift X Series
  • Battle Drift
  • Sidewayz Glory
  • Wish You Were Dead
  • Mob Princess:1 For Money and Love
  • Mob Princess:2 Secrets, Lies, and Stolen kisses
  • Mob Princess:3 Count Your Blessings
  • is that a dead dog in your locker
  • Night time
  • Blood On My Hands
  • If I grow up
  • How I Changed My Life
  • How I Created My Perfect Prom Date
  • How I Spent My Last Night On Earth
  • con-fidence
  • "Angel Dust Blues"


  1. ^ "Todd Strasser". Scholastic. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  2. ^ "Todd Strasser". Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  3. ^ "Todd Strasser". Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Todd Strasser author of Fallout, and many YA and middle-grade books". Retrieved 2015-02-26. 

External links[edit]