Hi everyone, today I have the very special honour of unveiling a bonus scene from
! This book was one of my most personal and favourite reads last year, and it’s now been repackaged as part of
series – with a new cover that’s not ready yet, but I’ve been promised by them that’s it’s just as adorable.
Today’s blog tour is just one stop featuring If Only’s cute and sweet YA romances – and if you read on, you’ll see that Bloomsbury is generously offering an ENTIRE SET of If Only books for one lucky reader.
So about Just Like the Movies…don’t be deceived by the romantic cover. This book definitely has romance, but it’s really all about friendship. It’s about finding your best friend soulmate, and how you can make magic when that happens. If you haven’t read it yet, definitely check out the (non-spoilery) scene below, which I think is a fantastic introduction to the book.
Spring semester means two big things in my world: AP tests and the yearbook. Today, yearbook trumps US History and AP Psych.
I work on layouts until the lunch bell, then grab my bag. I might have enough time to look over my review notes and scarf down a sandwich at the same time. I’m halfway out the door when Tricia calls out my name.
“Hey, Lily—I need you to do the Senior Poll today—Jonathan’s sick and Kameron has a student government meeting.”
“Tricia, I was hoping to study during—”
She shoves the clipboard into my empty hands. “It won’t take ten minutes. Get at least twenty senior votes and we’ll break down the ratios later.”
When she spins on her heel and heads back to her desk, I figure I don’t have much of a chance to get out of this. Ugh. Senior Poll. By far, this is the yearbook responsibility I hate the most. You spend a lunch shift going from table to table, surveying seniors on the topic du jour. If you remember the 80s movie, Heathers, (one of Winona Ryder’s best, if you ask me) it’s kind of like that—less morbid, sure, but just as uncomfortable. Like the character, Veronica, I feel totally out of place next to the blond bombshells of my graduating class.
The Molesworth High School cafeteria is a pretty stereotypical reflection of the social hierarchy here. It’s not Mean Girls, necessarily; it’s more specific, more pigeonholed. But people definitely sit by the status they hold: Football Jocks, Girl’s Track Jocks, Mock Trial Future Lawyers, Girls Who Wear More Makeup Than Nicki Minaj, Guys Who Want To Be UFC Fighters, Jazz Band, Marching Band, Pseudo-Rocker-Wannabes . . .
I could go on.
I almost always sit at the last table closest to the door. That’s the Newbie table—for anyone who’s new to Molesworth and hasn’t gotten their bearings. Of course, I’m not a new student. But, when I started sitting here, it was with the thought that maybe I’d meet some new people and make some new friends. Instead, I’ve watched new kids get promoted over and over again to the Cheerleader Table or Academic Team Table or Future Chefs of America Table . . . and I’m still sitting in the same spot. It’s gotten to the point that I spend most lunch shifts in the library—that way I can bypass the humiliation altogether.
Molesworth isn’t the kind of school where kids bully—at least not outright, but they exclude rather than include. They have inside jokes and bonds that are impossible to crack. No one makes fun or laughs or teases. They ignore you until you feel invisible.
Which is why conducting Senior Poll is so hard for me. I’ve got to summon the gumption to ask the most exclusive clubs for enough entrance to get personal. Where are you going to college? What are your plans the summer after graduation? What’s your dream job? All the questions are always about what’s going to happen in the future.
I glance around the cafeteria, trying to figure out who my best target audience is. I know what Tricia would want me to do: go to each table and get a good cross section of answers from a bunch of different people. Sighing, I approach the Student Government table—it’s a good enough place to start, and at least some of these people know me.
“Hey, Mary,” I say, greeting the class treasurer, who’s sitting with a few of the class representatives. “I’m running the Senior Poll today. Mind if I survey you guys?”
“Sure,” she shrugs, taking a spoonful of pudding. “What’s the question?”
I glance down at the clipboard, then clear my throat and look at the table. There are about twelve people staring at me. If I can get them all to answer, I’ll be more than half done.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” I ask.
Mary looks thoughtful. She turns to Kari and Monica, who are sitting next to her.
“That’s, like, totally impossible to answer,” Kari complains. “I mean, who knows where they’ll be in five years? We could be anything: teachers, executives, secretaries. Or, like, President of the United States or something.”
I have a funny feeling that Kari doesn’t need to worry about becoming the Commander-in-Chief, but I bite my tongue.
“It’s just a Senior Poll,” I say. “It doesn’t need to be accurate.”
Mary narrows her eyes a little. “I definitely think I’ll be in medical school. Or law school. One or the other.”
I jot that down, then look at Kari.
“A supermodel, maybe,” she muses. “Or a senator.”
How did this girl ever get voted as a class representative?
“What about famous and rich?” a deep voice suggests.
I turn to see Tommy Lawson, who’s sitting at the next table. His girlfriend, Marijke, is chatting with the rest of the track girls. When she hears his voice, she looks up.
“What?” she asks, looking at Tommy.
“She’s doing the Senior Poll,” he says, pointing at me. “I was just throwing out my answer: famous, rich, a couple Grammys, huge house, a half dozen cars . . .”
His voice trails off, as if he can’t think of anything else someone would want. Marijke stares at him for a second.
“Anything else?” she asks.
He shrugs. “Nothing off the top of my head.”
No one in the vicinity misses the hurt look on Marijke’s face and I wince a little inside. As much as it sucks to be an outsider, I’m not immune to the fact that it isn’t always easy on the other side of things. Everything’s a trade off. I may not know where I’ll be in five years, either—but at least I’m not in love with someone who doesn’t know if I’m going to be a part of his future.
I think I’d rather be in the outer circle with my heart intact than in the inner circle with a broken one.
I stare at Tommy, waiting for him to recognize what he’s missed in his description of his future. He looks back at me, eyes blank.
I send an elbow to his side, soft enough to be a joke but hard enough to hurt a little. I can’t disguise my expression though: the pain in my eyes is no joke. Finally, holding his side with a grunt, Tommy seems to get what I’m hinting at.
“Obviously Marijke will be by my side the whole way,” he amends, looking up at the girl with the clipboard—what is her name? Laura? Lisa?—and gives a dazzling smile. “She’ll be the first person I thank during my acceptance speeches. Besides God. And my grandma.”
I close my eyes for a second, wanting to pretend I wasn’t an afterthought. Then I look over at him and force a smile.
“Thanks, baby,” I say, stroking his arm. “You’re the best.”
“How about you, Marijke?” Laura/Lisa asks. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“With Tommy, obviously.” I think for a second. “Heading to the summer Olympics, maybe.”
Tommy slings an arm around my shoulders and squeezes. “That’s my girl. Shoot for the stars. Dream big.”
I warm under his praise, despite the niggling voice in the back of my head— that my Olympic dreams are “stars” to reach for, whereas Tommy’s Grammy Awards are a future reality. When he leans in, though, I let myself melt under his kiss. He is the best kind of kisser, not that I have a ton of experience. But Tommy’s kisses always make me forget the negatives in favor of his yummy, soft lips. He’s the best kind of distraction.
“I’m gonna go sit with the guys, love,” he says, moving his lips to my cheek before standing up. “I’ll see you after school?”
“Sure,” I say with a nod, watching him move across the cafeteria to where his bandmates are throwing orange peels at each other. As he saunters between tables, I watch the eyes of girls—all grades, all types—watch his strong stride and confident smile. I know just how much they want to feel Tommy’s killer kisses. I shake my head and turn back to my sandwich. Which is when I notice that Laura/Lisa is staring at me.
“What?” I snap, my tone a little more defensive than I intend.
“Nothing,” she shakes her head. She walks away, but I recognize the look on her face. It isn’t one I see all that much, so I know it when I see it—it’s pity. It’s the look of someone who sees right through my façade. The look of someone who knows I’m hanging onto Tommy by my fingernails.
I think I might hate Laura/Lisa. I’m kind of glad I don’t know which one is her real name.
I turn my attention back to the lunch table, where Jocelyn is telling us about how her boyfriend, Owen, asked her to the prom last night. Owen’s a pretty private guy, so I think we’re all surprised that he rented advertising space on a movie theater screen. When Jocelyn sat down to see the most recent Paranormal movie, up popped a picture of Owen, smiling shyly, and holding a set of cue cards. Jocelyn shows us a picture on her iPhone where he’s displaying a card that says, “Will you go to prom with me?”
“It was so incredibly romantic,” she says breathlessly. “And the best part is that it’s over now. I mean, I was dying to find out the way Owen would ask me. But now that it’s done, I can focus on my dress and my hair and all the fun parts of prom. Not the stressful parts.”
A couple of the other girls are nodding; most of my teammates have already been asked. Beth glances over at me and raises an eyebrow.
“Nothing from Tommy yet, I gather?”
I shrug and try to look unfazed.
“Not yet. But Tommy’s a planner: I’m sure he’s got something killer up his sleeve. He’s just waiting for the perfect moment.”
Beth nods and resumes eating her sandwich. I let the conversation spill and froth around me, attempting to smile in all the right places and laugh at all the others. But, inside, I’m doing what I do best: I’m strategizing.
I want Tommy to ask me to prom. And I want him to do it tonight.
It’s not that I want to steal Jocelyn’s thunder, but the movie theater idea is pretty genius—and since Tommy’s taking me to the old revival theater tonight, I’ll bet with a little encouragement I can persuade him to make his move while we’re downtown. The fact that we’re even going there is a romantic gesture: there’s a showing of one of my favorite movies, Titanic, playing for one night only. Not to mention the fact that Tommy isn’t shy like Owen; he’s ballsy and kind of in-your-face in the best way. He likes to be the center of attention. I think he’d love the idea of making a spectacle of his Prom Proposal.
And I’m not above telling him how to do it.
Um, reading that scene just made me want to read the book all over again. I LOVE LILY & MARIJKE.