Blog Tour: Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian

Like It Never Happened
by Emily Adrian
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: June 2nd 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, High School, Chick Lit, Theatre, Fiction

Stereotypes, sexuality, and destructive rumors collide in this smart YA novel for fans of Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl, Siobhan Vivian’s The List, and E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.

I wrote something like six or seven drafts of Like It Never Happened between the summers of 2012 and 2014, when my editor and I decided the book was finished. Despite the novel’s many incarnations, I think the final version is pretty true to the story I set out to write. That said, I still managed to make (what now seem like) some pretty absurd decisions along the way.Here are some examples of what I cut from the novel as I turned it into something publishable:An early draft of the book contained about fifty pages of notes passed between Rebecca’s sister, Mary, and Mary’s ex-girlfriend, Nadine. I had Rebecca discover the letters in a box of old notebooks, and then the narrative just sort of yielded to the letters themselves. For fifty pages. Some of the notes were written in verse, including a villanelle sixteen-year-old Mary wrote for her favorite singer, Morrissey. I cut the villanelle. I cut all of the letters but one.Including them was a bad for idea for a lot of reasons, but I don’t really regret taking the time to imagine the two characters’ correspondence. Having such a complete understanding of the history between Mary and Nadine definitely helped me write some of my favorite scenes in the book.The first lines of the very first draft were: “Technically, I was all wrong for the part. Every actress who has ever played Blanche DuBois has been pale and blonde.” I still like these lines, actually, and I think some version of them appears halfway through the published book. But once I decided that the action of Like It Never Happened would unfold over a couple of years, I realized I couldn’t begin the novel with Rebecca’s performance of A Streetcar Named Desire. I needed the cast’s rehearsals for the play to run parallel to the book’s central climax.

Originally, the “Essential Five”—Rebecca’s exclusive gang of thespian friends—were the “Essential Seven.” This was partially because it sounded cool, and partially because I thought I needed at least seven thespians, because how else could Rebecca and her friends dominate their school’s theater program? But my editor thought that the seven actors—some of whom felt pretty interchangeable—were hard to keep track of, and she was right. I ended up cutting two characters. To compensate for their absence onstage, I had Rebecca make passing references to “non-essential” cast members. That neither Rebecca nor her co-stars ever seem to give these other kids the time of day is, I think, a believable side-effect of how insular their group becomes.

Deleting characters, lines, or entire scenes from a novel you’re already pretty proud of can be kind of devastating. The worst is when some of your favorite parts of the story—I really liked those letters between Mary and Nadine!—aren’t actually helping your book say what you want it to say. Definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of the publishing process is getting to work with people who can help you make those choices, and then—once you’ve hit delete—assure you that the book is getting closer and closer to being the best book you can write.

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Emily Adrian was born in 1989 in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Portland State University, she moved to Toronto, Ontario, where she worked as a receptionist while secretly writing books.
Emily currently lives in Toronto with her husband and their dog named Hank. Like It Never Happened is her debut novel.

Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Book Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: AmazonBook Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in “the Kool-Aid Kid,” who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

This book took me on an emotional ride from start to finish. This debut is an amazing one and Courtney Stevens manages to capture everything just perfectly. Books like this tend to be some of my absolute favorites and this one was no exception.

Over the summer things abruptly changed for Alexi. Now, in order to keep her secret quiet, she must act normal. Act like everything is okay. But it’s not okay. She seeks comfort in scratching her neck to try and dull the pain she’s dealing with. She retreats to her safe haven, her closet whenever she can

Her friends Heather and Liz have no idea what’s going on and Alexi knows she can’t tell them. It would ruin everything for them as well. Alexi believes that she can keep this secret because she doesn’t want her friends and family to have their worlds turned upside down as well.

Then comes Bodee Lennox. He was an unexpected surprise. He had his own demons to deal with and yet he was willing to help Alexi with hers.Slowly but surely Alexi begins to open up to him in a way that she hasn’t been able to open up to anyone since the summer.

In so many YA books, authors put certain topics as taboo topics. Yet Courtney does not. These teenagers talk about sex openly and not in a disgusting way. There’s no pressure to be in love before you have sex so it doesn’t get all preachy, which I am extremely thankful for. 

Before Alexi realizes it, she’s grown stronger emotionally and she’s ready to tell the world what happened. Even if it ruins the lives of her family and friends. She knows now that she has to do it. Bodee is the reason behind it. He encourages her to come forward with what she knows. He knows she doesn’t want to but he also knows that she needs to tell everyone so she can begin the healing process.

As much as this story was about Alexi and her journey to begin the healing process, this story was also about Bodee and how he was going to be his mom’s voice unlike before. Bodee was the standout character in this book. I loved him. Like a lot. He was amazing and the way he cared about Alexi was sweet without being cheesy.
I absolutely didn’t like her older sister Kayla. She seemed very immature for being 8 years older than Alexi. Yet at the end of this book, she turned into the sister that Alexi desperately deserved which of course made me really happy.
Before I forget, I need to gush about the writing for a bit. How absolutely gorgeous it was. It reminded me a lot of Katja Millay’s writing but Courtney still maintained her own voice in her writing. So it was beautiful, reminiscent of Katja Millay’s writing but it was still unique which I really loved. 
This book had all the feels and the amazing characters in it. It was an indescribable book. I am sure I’ll have a hangover from this book for awhile. It was that amazing and sob inducing. So sob inducing in fact that I ran out of kleenex and had to sob in my sweatshirt sleeve. Five stars to this amazing contemporary debut.