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Author Interview: Jennifer Ziegler on Alpha Dog 

Author Q&A on “Dog Reads”

Alpha Dog

Seventeen-year old Katie isn’t used to being in control. Her mother drives her crazy with her constant criticism and advice, and her boyfriend of two years just destroyed her whole world by dumping her on her birthday. It’s just as well that Katie’s headed to a summer program at the University of Texas in Austin — at least there, she can get over Chuck at her own pace. But Austin holds its own challenges — like Christine, a cooler-than-thou roommate whose rocker boyfriend is permanently camped out on the couch. When Christine drags Katie to the city pound to check out a potential pet, it’s Katie who’s mesmerized by a pair of brown doggie eyes. Before she can think it through, she’s standing out on the curb with her adorable new dog, Seamus.

There’s only one problem: Seamus is a holy terror. He chews up the apartment, barks maniacally, terrorizes their landlady’s cat, and seems destined to keep the cutest guy in their building at arm’s length. When Katie takes Seamus in for obedience training, she’s told, “You have to be the alpha dog.”

The alpha dog. The head of the pack. Katie has never wielded much power before, but she finds that being top dog can be addictive. Soon she’s acting the alpha dog in every phase of her life, and nothing will ever be the same.

336 pages, Ages 12 and up, 2006, Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0385732857 (paperback)

Jennifer says . . .

Alpha Dog was inspired by my late, great doggie, Cutter — a stray I adopted when I was living on my own for the first time and could barely take care of myself.

The book deals with a life lesson that I took a little too long to figure out: that standing up for yourself does not make you selfish. Sometimes when you take the lead, both you and your relationships are the better for it.

Reviews & Honors

“A charmingly humorous romp. Dog lovers will like it, but other readers will speak for it, too.”


“[A] rare and wonderful kind of first novel — one that is both sweet and powerful.”


“A breezy first novel about learning to lead the pack…. Dog lovers will likely chuckle over the canine misadventures, including puppy chewing and barking…. Fans of teen romance will probably enjoy this romp with a likable heroine.”

Publishers Weekly

2007 Teddy Children’s Book Award finalist

All materials © 2018 Jennifer Ziegler. All rights reserved. Web site by Websy Daisy.