Monday, November 23, 2020

2021 Most Anticipated - A Better Bad Idea

It is one again the most wonderful time of the year! It's time for me to kick off my annual most anticipated event. Each year I spotlight the books that I am eager to get my hands on in the upcoming year in hopes it'll put them on your radar as well.

I debated about hosting this event at all this year. I didn't want to bother authors during what is already a stressful time. I wasn't sure if anyone would even be interested in hearing about these books right now. Ultimately I decided that we could all use a little joy and something to look forward to in the future.

This year I am starting with a book whose author has been included in this event previously. She writes complex female characters and storylines that are equally layered. 

Her newest involves a dead girl, a match, and two broken characters at its core.

The first book included in the event is Better Bad Idea by Laurie Devore.

The Goodreads synopsis is intense and I expect the book be a captivating page turner.
Laurie Devore's new YA novel is a searing look at a forgotten girl who has no good choices left, but one better bad idea . . .

Evelyn Peters is desperate. Desperate for a way out of McNair Falls, the dying southern town that’s held her captive since the day she was born. Desperate to protect her little sister from her mother’s terrifying and abusive boyfriend. And desperate to connect with anyone, even fallen golden boy Ashton Harper, longtime boyfriend of the girl Evelyn can never stop thinking about ― beautiful, volatile, tragically dead Reid Brewer.

Until a single night sends Evelyn and Ashton on a collision course that starts something neither of them can stop. With one struck match, their whole world goes up in flames. The only thing left to do is run―but leaving McNair Falls isn’t as easy as just putting distance between here and there and some secrets refuse to stay left behind.

A reckoning is coming . . . and not everyone is getting out alive.
Elements of this scream Bonnie and Clyde to me, even though I don't quite think that is what Laurie is going for here. I think it is just the idea of two people on the run together.

Laurie has very kindly, agreed to answer a few questions about the book and her writing of it.

1 Describe A Better Bad Idea in three words.

Burn it down.

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

Like my first two books, this novel relies heavily on southern culture, so I'd probably borrow the flavors from one of my favorite lines: "Imagine someone who looks so attainable but so beautiful all rolled up into one and a voice laced with southern in the best way possible, clipped vowels and forgotten syllables, dipped in bourbon and peaches and honeysuckle." :)

3 You write complex, nuanced, and often flawed female characters. Some people may call them unlikeable female protagonists. What makes it important to you to write these types of characters? 

Thank you for asking the question this way! It's interesting--the more books I write, the more tired I find myself growing of the phrase "unlikeable female characters." While it's certainly a useful shorthand in terms of communicating the kind of protagonist readers are getting for marketing purposes, I really like to think I'm writing books about interesting characters and they may or may not expand a reader's empathy. The truth is, I don't care if readers like my characters! Awful, I know. I--like many YA authors, I'm sure--write about teenage characters because it's a time when you are still deciding who you're going to be and often that means messing up in big, awful ways that feel life-ruining at the time. My books so often tend to be about characters who need to forgive themselves for their past mistakes to move forward, and the truth is I find that relatable--not unlikeable.

4  What is one song that made your playlist while writing this book? 

I think it's a sign of how much music inspires my writing that I could give you a hundred different answers for this. But, for the sake of simplicity, this book was actually named after a song (the song went perfectly with the book, so I included it as a title option when we were throwing them around and it stuck): "Better Bad Idea" by Sunny Sweeney.

5 What 2021 release are you most anticipating? 

I've already read one of my most anticipated reads, The Project by Courtney Summers, which is a wonderfully tense novel about two sisters and their involvement with a cult. Some other books I'm really excited about: Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley, Anna K: Away by Jenny Lee (had so much fun with the first one!), and She's Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard.

6 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of A Better Bad Idea. 

"Reid Elaine Brewer, 17, of McNair Falls, passed away on October 11, 2018." 

I need to try that ice cream immediately. It sounds delicious and exactly like something I would enjoy in the south. I also love her thoughtful, and thought provoking, answer about the female characters that she writes.

A Better Bad Idea releases March 16, 2021 but is available for pre-order it right now from any retailer. Consider it an early present to yourself.

You can find out more about Laurie and her books by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2021 most anticipated list. 

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