What kind of question would you like answered?

Q: So why would there be a boarding school that does not provide at least a window unit to their boarding students in this day and age?

All the things in the book that seem really improbable are just things from my boarding school that I assumed would read as plausible because they had happened.

So, yeah, my boarding school did not (at the time) have AC. Window units were only available if you got a letter from a doctor saying you had asthma.

We were all obsessed with developing asthma, of course. Having asthma seemed like winning the lottery to me.


Q: How much of the Culver Creek school was actually true about Indian Springs? 

The dorms are vastly different, and the barn where Alaska and Pudge and Takumi and everyone spend the night is no longer there. The physical campus of Indian Springs is very similar to the physical campus of Culver Creek, and I do think it’s a great place to seek your Great Perhaps. The novel is fictional—although it was inspired in uncountable ways by my high school experiences—but this isn’t: Indian Springs really is a magical place to go to high school. And I continue to be impressed and inspired by the students there.


Q: What about Culver Creek is realistic, and what isn’t?

The physical setting of Culver Creek is very, very similar to the physical place where I went to boarding school, Indian Springs School. There’s a lake and an evil swan and a barn and there was an unairconditioned dorm circle when I was a student. (The dorms are now much nicer.) It’s an excellent school. Attending Indian Springs made my life possible, and I am very grateful to the school and its teachers.


Q: Are bufriedos real?

Sort of. There was a similar thing at the boarding school I attended called a crispito. A chimichanga is basically a deep-fried burrito. I imagine bufriedos tasting a bit fried-er than chimichangas, but again, the way I imagine things is totally irrelevant because books belong to their readers.


Q: Is “bufriedo” pronounced bu-FRY-do or bu-FREE-do?

Well, first let me say that books do not belong to their authors. Books belong to the reader. So you can pronounce bufriedo however you’d like; my pronunciation of it is not inherently better than yours. But now that we’ve got the philosophical question out of the way, I say buh-FREE- doh.