I usually do review & excerpts posts here, but I just had to include this super sweet, lavender-purple cover that I adored upon laying eyes on it. Finding Perfect is a new YA romance by Entangled Crush. Read on for all book details, info on how to win a $25 Amazon gift card, and other goodies by Kendra C. Highley as well as to find out what the author’s favorite teen movies are plus an excerpt. And then, resist buying.
Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley
For “Perfect Paige” Westfeld, today is “D” Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents’ expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she’s worked for goes up in flames.
Ben Franklin (yes, he’s related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he’ll be happy to tutor Paige—if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.
It’s the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient—and utterly imperfect—attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it…
Enter here for a chance to win $25 Amazon gift card and signed FIND PERFECT and SIDELINED bookmarks as well as a signed copy of SIDELINED (US only)
Kendra C. Highley’s favorite teen movies
Being a newbie to writing a contemporary YA romance, but a long-time fan of teen movies with a romantic bent, I thought I’d share my five favorite teen movies:
5) Pride and Prejudice (The A&E version)
Does this really count? I think so, since Lizzie was only twenty when her epic romance with Mr. Darcy began. Plus, Lydia? Scandalous, silly Lydia? Only fifteen and proof that even two hundred years ago, some teen girls are seriously boy crazy. The angst and the tension and the miscues between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy are superb. It even made my 12 year old daughter sigh. Oh, and the pond. Collin Firth, I tip my hat, sir. Jennifer Ehle was delightful as Lizzie—lovely, sharp tongued, and independent.
Based on this list, Michael Cera might be emerging as my unlikely favorite leading man. Truth is—he picks great movies. Juno is a unique and quirky love story about a girl who got pregnant by her friend the very first time they had sex. The love story comes into play with them becoming closer while they cope with this big change. Juno (a remarkable Ellen Page) also makes the decision to give her baby up for adoption and that’s a love story, too. The line, “She never really belonged to us,” makes me cry every single time.
3) Some Kind of Wonderful
Okay, if you’ve only indulged in Say Anything as your 80s teen movie, you missed a few. One of my favorites isn’t one you usually see on lists, though. Some Kind of Wonderful is a crazy-amazing look at the divide between popular/rich and unpopular/working class. John Hughes wrote it, and his touch shines through. If you took Pretty in Pink, gender flipped it, and gave it the ending we really wanted—there you have it. It’s gloriously acted by Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Lea Thompson. Key line: “You look good wearing my future.” Swoon!
2) Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist
This might be all about the casting, but the adventure of running around NYC, looking for a band leaving clues about where they’ll perform, is also an achingly sweet love story. The scene in the recording studio? Wow. Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are adorable together and the whole movie makes you feel like your greatest moment is right there, waiting.
1) The Breakfast Club
This movie stands up. It’s amazing how well it stands up. I saw it first when I was 13. I remember it so clearly (I was home with strep and thoroughly miserable)— it made me feel like someone got me. Someone understood what school, what teens, were like. And, come on, Bender and Claire (Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald)? That chemistry oozed off the screen. It was the perfect opposites attract, rich girl/bad boy romance. I watched it recently and swooned all over again. Oh, sure, the kids don’t have iPhones and who does Saturday detention anymore, but the essence of it is still…perfect.
How about you? What are some of your favorites?
Ben rocked from foot to foot, then said, “Want to come in? I mean, it’s not much, but—”
“I’d love to!” she answered in a rush, before he could change his mind. He raised an eyebrow and Paige almost laughed—he and Zoey could play Eyebrow Battle Royale when they went out. A wave of cold washed over her. She had to stop thinking about how this would all end, otherwise she’d make herself sick. “Well, are we going in or not?”
Looking nervous, he let her in a side door near the carport. The first thing she noticed was the house smelled like… “Brownies? You have brownies? For real? Where are they? Can I have some?”
He hung his keys on a hook by the door and turned to her, smiling. “My mom usually cooks stuff before she goes to work. We can go look.”
They went through a tiny utility room—more like a hallway—into a small, clean kitchen. The rest of the room, because it was all one room, had a little dining table and a living area with a sofa and a TV. Paige took all that in with one quick glance, then zeroed in on the baking pan on the range. Speechless, she merely pointed and gave Ben a single, pleading look.
By now he was laughing. “If I’d known you had a brownie fetish, I wouldn’t have worried so much about bringing you home.”
He pulled the foil off the pan and cut her a big square. The first bite was heaven. “Ohhhh my God. Mmmm.”
“Okay, so fetish was the right word. You sound a little like a porn soundtrack.” He cut a brownie for himself. “What, you don’t eat brownies at your house?”
“No.” She had to eat another bite before explaining further. Heavenly bliss on a napkin. “My mother, in addition to being randomly rude—I’m so sorry for the way she acted, by the way, because she was a total bitch. No idea what her problem was. Anyway, she’s a health fiend, and an all-organic champion. No junk food is allowed in the house. When Mom bakes, it’s low-fat, gluten-free, and non-GMO. She wouldn’t even let me buy something good at my own bake sale today. I have to buy candy bars on the way to school and hoard them in my locker if I want a fix.”
“Wow…that sucks,” he said emphatically before popping the rest of his brownie in his mouth.
She nodded, too drunk on chocolate to bother answering.
His expression softened, and he reached out to brush her cheek. Goose bumps covered her arms and she gulped down her brownie. “What is it?”
He leaned forward, looking down into her eyes, before smiling. “Crumb on your cheek.”
She flushed head to toe, not sure if she was embarrassed or something else. Good God, she needed some air. Their faces were inches apart. All she’d have to do was lean forward and tilt her mouth up and they’d kiss. Would that bother him? Scare him off? He swayed closer to her and his hand drifted from her face to her shoulder.
No, to hell with worrying about it. She wanted him to kiss her. She turned her face up to his, and their lips were a breath away from touching. He stared down at her, mouth slightly open, and any second now, any second and he would kiss her. Any second…
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