Hey everyone! Today I want to introduce author Caela Carter, who not only had a brand new book come out on June 3, but also is on the blog with a new cover for the paperback release of Me, Him, Them, and It.
I asked Caela (you heard me–I asked her) to appear on the blog with her book today because My Best Friend, Maybe is a book about friendship–and friendship gone askew! I love friendlove books, and so when I read the blurb about this one, I just had to get it on the blog. It also has a nifty cover, and is now available for purchase on Amazon!
Read on for a blurb and a really exceptional excerpt from both books. Thanks so much, Caela!
MY BEST FRIEND, MAYBE
Colette has been bored and lonely ever since her best friend, Sadie, dumped her the summer before they stared high school. She tries to be perfect for everyone left in her life: her parents, her younger brothers, her church youth group, even her boyfriend, Mark. But Colette is restless. And she misses Sadie.
When Sadie tells Colette that she needs her old friend to join her on a family vacation to the Greek Islands, one that leaves in only a few days, Colette is shocked to hear their old magic word: need. And she finds herself agreeing.
Colette tries to relax and enjoy her Grecian surroundings but it’s not easy to go on vacation with the person who hurt you most in the world. When the reason for the trip finally surfaces, Colette finds out this is not only a fun vacation. Sadie has kept an enormous secret from Colette for years…forever. It’s a summer full of surprises, but that might be what Colette needs.
My jaw drops. I hadn’t realized it. But Sadie’s right—I’m the one who ditched her at the party. “I-I’m sorry…” I stammer.
“Why would you do that, Colette?” she demands, again wielding my full name like a weapon. “You could have at least said good-bye.”
I stare at her.
She sticks out her hip, her fist jammed into it. “Were you too embarrassed to be seen with me in front of your perfect friends? Too embarrassed by the red in my hair or the way I don’t think a B is a moral sin?”
That’s it. I drop the bike and charge at her. “Sadie, it was one party.” I hate that my finger is jabbing the air the way my mother’s does when she’s correcting my brothers. “I ditched you for one party and I’m sorry if you were lonely or worried or late or whatever.” My voice makes each of these adjectives long and high like a snotty girl and even though I kind of hate myself right now it also feels almost fun, to be honest, to let it out, to be so…right. “But it was only one party. One Party. It’s nothing compared to—”
“To what?” Sadie demands.
We’re face-to-face now, a foot away from each other. The twilight burls her features but I can still see the angry sharpness in her blue eyes; the wind whips her hair around like it’s angry at me, too.
I almost back off. I almost apologize and go inside. I’ll call her tomorrow and say I’m not going to Greece with her. I’ll stop dealing with this. Forget that stupid promise.
But even as my brain is planning this retreat, my mouth opens and the words escape so quietly I think the wind will whip them away: “You ditched me everywhere.”
“What!” she screams.
I shrug. “It was one party,” I say. But maybe to her it wasn’t. But maybe I don’t care.”
I stand to turn. when her voice comes back it’s not pouty or angry anymore. It’s curious. “Is that really your version of what happened?” she asks.
When I look at her again, the wind has blown her entire head of hair straight up so that she looks like she’s crowned with gold-and-red spikes. And for the first time I realize there might be another side to this story. Another side I need to know.
So I asked Caela to tell us a little bit more about My Best Friend, Maybe, and here’s what she had to say:
#1 comment I’ve gotten from readers:
“I want to go to Greece, now!”
My favorite things about writing this book:
I loved exploring what happens when you have to parcel your personality into little bits and pieces in order to make everyone happy. Sadie and Colette and Mark and Louisa and Rose are all very different, but they all do this in one way or another. And those consequences propelled the story.
The hardest thing about writing this book:
It was a challenge to focus on religion in this way. I wanted to be open-minded to all sides. I wanted to show different consequences (both positive and negative) of growing up in a family with a strict ideology.
ME, HIM, THEM AND IT
So the paperback version of this one was just released, and so we decided this would be a cool time to feature Caela’s last book, Me, Him, Them, and It. What a title! Read on for a blurb and excerpt.
ME is Evelyn Jones, 16, a valedictorian hopeful who’s been playing bad girl to piss off THEM, her cold, distant parents. HIM is Todd, Evelyn’s secret un-boyfriend, who she thought she was just using for sex – until she accidentally fell in love with him. But before Evelyn gets a chance to tell Todd how she feels, something much more important comes up. IT. IT is a fetus. Evelyn is pregnant – and when Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn has no idea who to turn to. Can a cheating father, a stiff, cold mother, a pissed-off BFF, and a (thankfully!) loving aunt with adopted girls of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow?
He’s holding my wrist, not my hand. He pulls me to the basketball hoop and we sit on the driveway beneath it. People can see us, but they won’t hear us. It doesn’t matter. No one ever suspects Todd would be with an ugly string bean like me. He drops my wrist as soon as he realizes he doesn’t need to drag me. There are two inches between us. Not even our clothes are touching. The baby took Lizzie’s voice and Todd’s hands. I could kill it.
“You shouldn’t drink that,” Todd points to the warm red cup I’ve been carrying for hours.
“It’s ok,” I say. “I’m…I’m taking care of it.”
Todd nods. Tell me not to. Tell me to stop and I will. Tell me you will love it, you will love me. Or even just it. Tell me it can live in your house where there are actual people and sometimes laughter. Tell me you’ll hate me if I do this. Tell me, and I’ll have it.
“I still don’t think you should drink that,” he says.
“I’m not, actually.” I hold up the cup so he can feel how warm the beer is. Jacksonville August has turned it from frosty to hot chocolate.
“I have a question,” he says.
“Shoot,” I say. I feel calm for the first time all week. Sad, but calm. My heart is beating normally. No devil things are playing with a punching bag inside me. My blood is still flowing. My head is still connected to my neck. Everything will be back to normal soon.
“How do you know it’s mine?”
Why didn’t I know he would ask that again?
He sees the hurt dancing on my face or something because he says, “No, Evelyn. I didn’t mean it like that. I believe you. Just…how do you know?”
Screw it. I’ll tell him the truth. Todd and I are done with our pretend relationship anyway, so I’ll spit it out. “I’ve never done it with anyone else.”
“Unprotected you mean?”
“No. At all.”
He nods. “Me neither.”
What? “You don’t have to say that.”
What about Am—?”
“I haven’t. Not anyone. I didn’t even kiss her. It just never felt right.”
Half my heart flies to the sky like it’s finally allowed to fall in love, but the bigger half is being crushed beneath Todd’s practice cleats because this is actually a break-up disguised as a love song.
#1 Comment I’ve gotten from readers:
“It made me cry!” Especially “It made me cry in an airport/on the subway/somewhere generally uncomfortable.” Whoops!
My favorite thing about writing this book:
It’s about family. I loved exploring different kinds of families from Evelyn’s fairly standard mom-dad-kid family to Aunt Linda’s mom-mom-kid-kid family to Maryellie’s Mom/Grandma-Kid/Mom-Boyfriend/Dad-baby/grand-baby family.
The hardest thing about writing this book:
Believing in it enough to finish.