Known for such works as the surrealistic short story collection The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and the novel An Invisible Sign of My Own, this Los Angeles-based author has earned two Pushcart Prizes and a New York Times Notable Book designation. An Invisible Sign of My Own was made into a 2010 film starring Jessica Alba
After earning an undergraduate degree from the University of California at San Diego, she received an MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine. She later taught at the University of Southern California and with the University of California, Los Angeles' Extension program.
She published her second novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, in 2010. Her second short story collection, Willful Creatures, had debuted five years earlier.
She grew up in Los Angeles, California.
She and The Lovely Bones author Alice Sebold became friends while attending the Master of Fine Arts program at UC-Irvine.