Welcome, Lauren and congratulations on your new YA, Her and Me and You!
First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.
Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred–and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred–and something about Adina–that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world, no matter the consequences.
Lauren Strasnick is a graduate of Emerson College and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) MFA Writing Program. Her firstnovel, NOTHING LIKE YOU, was published by Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster in Fall 2009. Her second book, HER and ME and YOU, another S&S teen title, will hit shelves this October.
I met Fred first.
At a party on Orchard Ave. that Charlotte Kincaid took me to.
Him: “Need a beer?”
Me: “I’ve already got one.”
“Well, drink up,” he instructed. He was pale and skinny and who wears Docksiders and corduroy? “When you’re ready I’ll get you another.”
Charlotte and I stood shoulder to shoulder chomping pretzels and watching the drunk crowd rock. Charlotte nursed her canned Bud Light and I picked at a pebble of salt wedged between my two front teeth.
“Right.” You’re new. No question mark.
I’d been in Meadow Marsh a week. I missed home. And Evie. And Charlotte Kincaid would never be Evie. She was soft-spoken and smelled like baby powder and dryer sheets. She had none of Evie’s charm or spark.
“Let’s sit,” Fred suggested.
“I’d rather not.”
Charlotte shot me a look, then wandered away. Where was she going? Bathroom? Food foraging? “I want to be alone,” I told him, downing the rest of my beer and grabbing another out of the six pack on the floor by his feet.
“You’re at a party.”
I felt my face flush, then twisted the top off the bottle and shoved the cap in my coat pocket.
“You don’t really want to be alone...”
True. I wanted to be with Evie. Or home with Mom and Dad watching crappy TV. I took a bitter swig of beer and handed the bottle back. “You want the rest?” It was time to go.
“Nice meeting you,” I said. I pulled my hat from my bag.
“Wait – you’re leaving?”
“Do me a favor? If you see Charlotte Kincaid, tell her I walked home?”
“You can’t walk – it’s pitch black and freezing.”
“I’ll be fine,” I said. “My grandmother’s place is like, half a mile away.”
“You live with your grandma?”
In fact, no, Grams was dead. But I’d just moved twenty-eight miles with my unhinged mother to my grandmother’s place in Connecticut. Because my favorite parent, Dad, had done some very bad things with a paralegal named Caroline.
“Hey -- ”
I pulled on my hat and headed for the door.
“Alex,” he mouthed. “I’m Fred.”
“Fred, right.” I was walking backwards now, toward the foyer. “What’s with the Docksiders, Fred?”
He looked down then back up. “You don’t like my shoes?”
I smiled, turned, and reached for the door.