PRE-BLOG NOTE TO READERS:
The Weekend Bucket List strays from my usual path of touching YA LGBTQ romance, but not from the direction of a poignant LGBTQ YA love story. Friendship is just a different kind of love. And it can be intense…
Much of the popular culture geared toward teens—books, movies, music, and more—grooms them to feel incomplete without a boyfriend or girlfriend—their mandatory “other half.” But friendship is compelling in a different way than romantic love—it is precious and rare and is earned through patience, understanding, forgiveness, laughter, and love. Teens should celebrate the awesomeness of friendship, and reading The Weekend Bucket List is a step in this direction!
And on to the blog post…
The Weekend Bucket List: A Different Kind of Love Story
In The Weekend Bucket List, I have crafted a love story, which will not come as a surprise to my loyal base of readers (thanks, everybody!) or to new readers who look its way (welcome to my blog!). As the story starts, high school seniors Cooper and Cady aren’t sure whether it’s best-friendship or the first stirrings of romantic love that has them dwelling on nothing but each other twenty-four/seven. Difficult questions about Cooper’s sexuality also come into play, causing insecurity and emotional distance. And yes… I’ve crafted stories with similar themes in previous YA novels. But this one is different… so keep on reading.
On the weekend prior to high school graduation, under the guise of crossing risky items off a carefully constructed bucket list, the teens set out to discover the truth of their feelings for each other—are we in love or just good friends? Is Cooper gay or straight, or something else entirely? Awkward!! And this is when Eli, a high school drop-out who works at the traveling carnival they visit—dreamily handsome and oh, so tempting to both Cooper and Cady—enters the picture. He joins their journey of self-discovery, which turns out to be a voyage that transports all three teens to new and uncomfortable places in both the physical and emotional realms, where they learn the truth of their feelings for each other.
At the risk of dropping a spoiler in the promotion of my very own book, I will say this: Compelling love comes in different forms. And by compelling, I mean the kind of love that is magical and soul-driven, packed with enough ups and downs to make a reader’s palms sweat. I’m talking about the kind of love that you truly give a damn about… in which the characters endure raw emotion sufficient to cause withdrawal symptoms when they lose sight of it, and long sighs of relief when they find a chance to reach for it again. Cooper, Cady, and Eli must earn their reward—the bond of devoted friendship.
I wrote The Weekend Bucket List with the above quotation in mind because friendship is an exquisitely fine art, even if in our society is incredibly undervalued. Maybe romantic love is frilly and lacy and jeweled, and is supposed to be what all teens should want—the be-all and end-all of relationships. But a committed bond of friendship is not a consolation prize; in fact, it can be a more meaningful target for emotional investment.
Friendship is a worthwhile vessel for deep feeling.
Friends can be PASSIONATE about EACH OTHER!!!!
ELI, CADY, and COOPER experience POWERFUL PLATONIC PASSION!!!!
Friendship offers opportunity that romance often can’t.
*can tolerate complete honesty
*is dependable, especially in times of trouble
*allows you total freedom
*calls you out when you are wrong
*celebrates your success without reservation
*grows stronger with disagreements
*is able to forgive and overlook
*helps you live longer
*makes you want to be a better person
Shouldn’t there be an extensive list of gripping YA books that celebrate the unique and necessary and loving bond of friendship? The Weekend Bucket List is every bit this kind of love story. Best friends Cady and Cooper and Eli can no more live apart than could Romeo and Juliet! Aristotle said, “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” In the case of The Weekend Bucket List, three teenage souls live their best lives when they’re together. Cooper, Cady, and Eli must struggle to understand their individual sexualities and to discover the roles they will play in each other’s lives, but they find a way to be together. They learn to be honest. They decide to forgive each other’s mistakes. They become a family of choice. They complete each other. And if this isn’t love, I don’t know what is. But it isn’t romance.
My April 19th release of YA LGBTQ fiction, The Weekend Bucket List, strays from my usual path of romance, but not from the direction of love.
(And it’s pretty funny too.)
I REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE DIFFERENT DIRECTION I’M TAKING in The Weekend Bucket List. (My next three releases are all YA LGBTQ romances, so this is a definite toe-dip in the waters of general fiction.) And so I’m offering a raffle to ENCOURAGE COMMENTS!
Please leave me your thoughts on The Weekend Bucket List (the blurb is below) or your interest in YA general fiction vs. romance or an author trying out a new genre… or anything you want. After the weekend, I will draw a name of a winner (by hand) and the winner will receive a $15 AMAZON GIFT CARD!
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
Blurb of The Weekend Bucket List:
High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.
There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?