Biography of Todd Strasser (1950-)
Morton Rhue is the pen name of Todd Strasser, a prolific novelist for children and young adults. Strasser was born in New York City and raised on Long Island. Although he struggled with English in school, he eventually studied literature in college. He published his first book, Angel Dust Blues, in 1978. Until 1990, he balanced writing with managing the fortune cookie company he founded.
When The Wave was published in 1981, Strasser was asked to come up with a pseudonym for himself. His publisher, Dell, thought that it would hurt sales to have two titles by the same author published close together (his second novel, Friends till the End had also been published that year). He created Morton Rhue. When The Wave became successful in the United States, Strasser dropped the pseudonym and all of his subsequent books have been published in the U.S. under his real name. However, the Morton Rhue name is still used abroad for The Wave and some of his other novels. Indeed, Strasser has become very well-known in Germany and other parts of Europe for The Wave, but his European readers know him only as Morton Rhue.
Although much of Strasser's recent work, such as the Help, I'm Trapped in A... series, is humorous and targeted at younger readers, his books for teens often address mature themes including bullying and school shootings. In addition to his books for young people, Strasser also contributes articles to The New Yorker and The New York Times. His most recent novels include Famous and [Kill You Last].