Can you really be friends with your ex? Authors Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison are proof positive that it can be done. Former high school sweethearts and current best friends, Ellen and Ivison have co-created their debut YA novel A TOTALLY AWKWARD LOVE STORY a laugh-out-loud, witty, and sexy novel that features a budding as well as semi-floundering romance that is partially inspired by their own relationship. Despite countless moments where they are utterly smitten with one another, Hannah and Sam find themselves in a number of misunderstandings that veer them off course and into tremendously awkward territory. This raucously funny love story comes alive, with Tom writing Sam’s chapters and Lucy writing Hannah’s.
The summer before college Hannah is finally going to find The One. Then again, meeting him in the master bathroom of a house party--definitely not romantic. But for five perfect minutes, she's found him. She just wishes she caught his name, because "Toilet Boy Cinderella" really lacks sex appeal. Sam is over the moon that he met this strange and hilarious girl at a house party. Of course, with his luck, it couldn't last--without knowing her name, he'll probably never see her again, and remain a girlfriendless moony-eyed virgin. Forever. What follows is a summer hell-bent on keeping Sam and Hannah apart. For two people so clearly destined for one another, they sure have a lot of trouble even getting together.
Filled with madcap, hilarious mishaps, and deep romance, A TOTALLY AWKWARD LOVE STORY will have teens and adults laughing-out-loud as they commiserate with Sam and Hannah, and remember their own awkward moments.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?!?
I got a chance to ask the authors Tom and Lucy:
What are your favorite comedies - movies, TV and books - along the vein of your novel?
TV: There's a British series called The Inbetweeners that was a big influence on me in terms of writing the male characters in A TOTALLY AWKWARD LOVE STORY. The Inbetweeners is full of teen awkwardness and sexual mishaps and general hilarity - it's about four teenage boys trying to get girlfriends/have sex/not fail their exams/not get bullied at school. It's brilliant!
BOOK: The book I most had in mind when we were writing A TOTALLY AWKWARD LOVE STORY was probably The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend. If you haven't read this novel - do it immediately! It's a brilliant British book about a nerdy, insecure 13-14-year-old who is struggling with all types of frustration - emotional, sexual, creative - and all the horrifically awkward scrapes he gets himself into. It's basically the Awkward Teen Comedy Bible, as far as I'm concerned.
MOVIE: I am going for Dazed and Confused as the movie (even though it's maybe not STRICTLY a comedy). It's one of my favorite films and there are tons of funny bits in it. But also it's about that weird period of your late teens, where you're leaving school, and growing up and you have to make all these big decisions about life, but you don't really feel ready. Dazed and Confused captures all that perfectly - people feeling insecure about sex and friendship and drugs/alcohol - but still trying desperately to show they're having a great time.
TV: I love Girls. I love how real it is. The characters are older than the ones in A TOTALLY AWKWARD LOVE STORY but the realness is kind of the same. No stone is left unturned in terms of cringe fest coming of age stuff. I love how real the sex is and that is something we wanted to achieve in our book too.
BOOK: Louise Rennison passed away earlier this year and it really hit me hard. She is a huge hero of mine. I think the Angus, Thongs series is one of the absolute best when it comes to portrayals of female friendships and what it is actually like to be a teenager. I re-read them every summer and they still make me howl with laughter.
MOVIE: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (this could also be my book choice too!) It is much dreamier and literary than ATALS but it is about a girl trying to figure out who she is, and Cassandra and Hannah remind me of each other in that way.
Remember to go grab a copy of A Totally Awkward Love Story, bibliophiles!