Biography of Todd Strasser

Todd Strasser is an American novelist who writes primarily for the young reader market.

Born in New York City, Strasser struggled with English classes in school and dropped out of New York University. After living on a commune and as a street musician in Europe, Strasser returned to the U.S. to study literature and writing at Beloit College. He published his first novel, Angel Dust Blues, in 1978. Until 1990, he balanced writing with managing the fortune-cookie company he had founded with money from the sale of his first book.

When The Wave was published in 1981, Strasser was asked to invent a pseudonym. 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 U.S., Strasser dropped the pseudonym and all of his subsequent books have been published in the U.S. under his actual name. However, the Morton Rhue pen name is still used abroad for The Wave and some of his other novels.

Although much of Strasser's recent work, such as the Help, I'm Trapped In 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.

Study Guides on Works by Todd Strasser

The Wave was Todd Strasser's third novel, written while he spent days working as the owner of a fortune cookie manufacturer. It is based on a real-life experiment performed by high-school teacher Ron Jones in 1967 (for more information, see "The...