Monday, November 20, 2017

2018 Most Anticipated Event - Winner Take All

I am thrilled to be kicking off my 2018 Most Anticipated feature today! I love getting to showcase some amazing authors and their awesome sounding upcoming books. I hope you find a few to add to your own 'to be read' list for next year during this event.

I am happy to kick off this year's event with a book by Laurie Devore. I was pretty much sold after reading How To Break A Boy. I was even more excited when Laurie teased that this novel was going to deal with a toxic romance. I loved how she wrote the toxic friendship that was the focus of her debut novel, so I am excited to see how she'll tackle this toxic relationship.

Winner Take All is set to deal with 'obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection' as per its synopsis and I, for one, cannot wait. When toxic relationships (friendship or otherwise) are written well they can be useful to learn from, and show the complexities of the connections we build with people.  

The Goodreads synopsis offers a pretty tantalizing tease of what you can expect from this book. It seems that Laurie is sticking with her tradition of writing complex female characters who are, dare I say it, unlikeable at times. This pleases me because I think we need more of those in media (be it books, television, movies, etc).
For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.

For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.

They both have everything to lose.

Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.
I expect gender roles, particularly double standards in how women and men are seen for the same behaviour, to be heavily discussed with this novel and I cannot wait for those conversations to happen.

Laurie was, once again, kind enough to agree to a Q and A that I hope will pique your curiosity about this book even further, and put it on your radar for 2018.

1 What gif sums up Winner Take All? 

This very specific Veronica Mars quote that I think is great!

2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

It would be a bitter cocktail for sure! Probably something fairly close to an Old Fashioned. I’m thinking whiskey, bitters, a cherry for a little bit sweet/sexy. Maybe make it an Old Fashioned float with some ice cream to represent the summer vibe of the book.

3 Share something that helped inspire your main character (a movie, a picture, anything that helped form who they are)

So, I’m going to cheat on this a little because my main character was pulled from a lot of different places but the number one piece on inspiration for the main relationship and feel I wanted to capture between the two characters is Taylor Swift’s music video “Style.” I love everything about it, from the song lyrics to the bizarre back and forth between the two main characters of the video - especially the way they’re clearly trying to resist something they both want.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel.

Since I already talked about Style (and the video aesthetics are very important there!), here’s a couple more:

“The Way I Loved You” by Taylor Swift - inspired the original idea of this book
“Stand Still, Look Pretty” by The Wreckers - Nell, the main character’s song
“Fallen” by Casey Donahew Band - Jackson, the love interest’s song
“You Ruin Me” by The Veronicas - the perfect plot betrayal song
“Power” by Little Mix - a friend who was reading this book sent me this song and I love it for Nell and Jackson's relationship

5 Your first book was about a toxic friendship. This novel is about a toxic relationship. What is your fave toxic relationship (or friendship) from either TV, books, or movies?

I love the complexity of toxic relationships! There’s an element of obsession in both of these relationships as well that adds a certain codependency that makes it so hard to either break out of the relationships or evolve into a healthier relationship. I also liked playing with it in a relationship between a boy and a girl this time instead to two girls.

6 What 2018 release are you most anticipating?

A couple of 2018 books I’m really looking forward to:

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Winner Take All?

“I can’t stop staring at the back of Jackson Hart’s head.”

Anyone immediately think of Taylor Swift's Getaway Car when Laurie mentioned an Old Fashion being the drink to represent this book? I totally did (even if the song doesn't really fit). Also, how great is that playlist? I love it!

Winner Take All releases January 30, 2018 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer.

You can also follow Laurie on Twitter, visit her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

What are some of your favourite toxic relationships (romantic or otherwise) in books, television, or movies? What ones do you think were done right, and what ones were harmful? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book on my 2018 Most Anticipated List!

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