We should have a cover (and, hence, a trailer) for EXTRAORDINARY: THE TRUE STORY OF MY FAIRY GODPARENT, WHO ALMOST KILLED ME, AND CERTAINLY NEVER MADE ME A PRINCESS soon! That book will be out next Summer/Fall.
I've also just turned in a revised version of another YA book, which just MIGHT end up using the title I planned for it: DEBBIE DOES DETENTION. This is just one of a handful of titles under consideration, though. The book is a John Hughes-esque (or maybe Kevin Smith-esque) story about a neurotic, Full House-obsessed girl who tries to get over a crush on her best friend by embarking on a "holy quest" with a couple of misfits who have invented their own religion.
Now, the question that will inevitably asked: Will the pop culture references make it become outdated quickly? Do kids still know about Full House? In answer to the latter question, teenagers of today grew up in world where that show was on five times a day. It's now a part of the Teen Nick lineup. Fans of the show will recognize plenty of references in the book, but all people who haven't seen it need to know is that it's an old family-friendly sitcom with a lot of hugging (which the main character explains right away).
The former question is the biggie - debates about whether there ought to be pop culture in YA books are endless. Many are the blog reviews of I Kissed a Zombie that went to great pains to say that the book will not "stand the test of time" because of the pop culture references (I'm not sure which ones they mean - most of them are to Leonard Cohen and Cole Porter, which I can't imagine will be more dated in twenty years than they are already).
I've covered this before, but it bears repeating: there are arguments against using pop culture in books, but "the test of time" is not one of them. Pop culture references in books can make it look like you're bending over backwards to look hip and contemporary (which readers see right through), and if you have your main character be, say, a big Beyonce fan, many readers who hate Beyonce will judge the character (and the book) harshly (it would be nice to say that most people are better readers than that, but believe me, it's an issue).
However, when I read a book from fifteen or twenty years ago, the pop culture references are usually the LEAST dated thing about the book. ALL books from back then are "dated" - the characters don't have cell phones, they lick stamps, flip channels, watch videos on MTV, have no access to Youtube (so if they miss something on TV, man, it's GONE), read encyclopedias, think a college degree will get them a good job, buy film, get chicken pox, and have trouble tracking down a copy of an old book.
Most classic works of literature - Dickens, Shakespeare, Twain, you name it - are loaded with pop culture references. They're dated now: our concept of what's funny changes over time (for a good 100 years it was widely agreed that The Pickwick Papers was the funniest book in the world - when I read it now I find it funny, but get a "well, you had to be there" vibe). And sometimes their references to popular songs and political scandals of the day require footnotes. But these are no more dated now than the references to the kind of clothes the characters wore or the kinds of carriages they used. And yet, they've all stood the test of time, because the stories and characters continue to entertain and to resonate.
If the main character of a book is a teenager, it's ridiculous to imagine that pop culture is not a part of their life (whether they love it or hate it). All books end up being period pieces eventually - to attempt to keep this from happening would inevitably result in a very bland book. There are readers who don't want to read a book that seems as though it must have taken place two years ago, not right that very week, but those same readers aren't going to want to read a book that came out two years ago in the first place.
So, there's always a danger that I'm going to get dinged by some bloggers for the Full House references, and the day will probably come when readers are less familiar with that show than they are now. But I don't think it'll matter. The book isn't ABOUT Full House, it's about Debbie trying to figure out who she is and who she can be when the life and future she's imagined for herself have fallen apart. People will still be dealing with that sort of thing long after any book where the characters' cars need gas have become period pieces.
Here's me with Dave Coulier in 2002: