Book Title: That Feeling When
Author: S. M. James
Publisher: May Books
Cover Artist: Story Styling
Genre/s: YA, LGBT, contemporary romance
Length: 77,000 Words/343 pages
Release Date: September 16, 2018 (Available now in paperback)
Dance Academy reject, Archie Corrigan, resents the stereotype guy ballet dancers are gay. Because he isn’t. At all. Forced to reassess his life goal at Camp Crystal Cove, it’s by sheer dumb luck he meets Landon Summers, who turns everything Archie was sure of into chaos.
Poor boy turned teen heartthrob, Landon Summers, is the name on everyone’s lips. With his unexpected leap to fame, his agent advises him to keep his bi status on the down low. Not a problem! Until Landon meets Archie.
Their unexpected friendship leads to an inevitable kiss, but their moment is caught in high definition and used as fuel for blackmail. If the truth gets out, Landon’s career could be over, and Archie will be forced to acknowledge the one thing he’s fought to deny.
But how do you go back to your average life once you’ve experienced That Feeling When ... you’re finally happy?
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Landon Summers is into guys. I think he likes you.
And while Meredith didn’t say anything about me, there was something way too
knowing in her look. Everyone else seems too into their own lives to be paying us any
attention, and even when we’re announced winners of the trivia, my celebration doesn’t
crack the surface chill that’s taken over me.
Meredith’s wrapped her arm through mine, and she’s cheering with the others, one hand
in the air.
I’m a week in the past. Watching Landon pull on that stupid costume in the dark. The
spark in his eyes as he thanked me. The brush of his skin on mine.
How was that only a week ago?
Why can’t I go back and enjoy that moment more? Savor my time with him?
Really take it all in, before he went and messed it all up.
I know a lot of ‘adults’ seem to have a real problem with YA. It’s dumbed down, it’s not real literature, the stories are all angsty teenage nonsense.
Whatever. Those people and their opinions used to bother me. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit my writing style is not academic or formal in the slightest (and yes, Archie has a hell of a lot of angst going on). But here’s the thing: YA books are not dumbed down adult books.
YA is full of hope and promise and they are written for freaking teens. The category is not there to please adults, no matter how many fantastic adults may choose to read it.
And the fact these books don’t pander to the ‘high brow’ critiques of adults who think they know better, makes it a sticking point. (I mean, if I had a dollar for every time someone said, “oh you write teen books, so like Twilight?” BLERRRR)
I write YA because I freaking love it.
I love reading literary YA with big words and even bigger metaphors.
I love reading the cute romances where I swear all the characters are walking around with heart eyes.
I love reading the coming of age stories, where the character’s need to ‘find their place’ in the world is so raw and emotional and relatable.
I love the messy characters, the messy choices, the vulnerability that underscores everything. I love the witty dialogue, and chatty narration, and the badass female fighters who dominate just about all the YA fantasy out there.
I love how YA opens the door for real conversations around female sexuality, institutionalised racism, and the toxicity of the internet, but it’s done in a way that’s full of colour and furthers the plot, rather than just attempting to force a message down your throat.
In That Feeling When, I touch on the pressures of stereotypes.
In To Be Honest, I show internalised homophobia and bullying.
But these things aren’t the story. They’re there for the reader to interpret and consider as they wish.
And while teens relate to the struggle to gain control of their lives, adults enjoy they can read a book without the ‘baggage’ they deal with on the daily. Imagine if Katniss had volunteered, but then had to pull out because she couldn’t find a babysitter? Or if Tris couldn’t leave Abnegation because she had a mortgage to pay? What if Simon and Blue couldn’t chat because the Spier’s internet was cut off?
That’s the wonderful thing about YA.
It’s relatable across age groups. It’s got teens reading again. It’s the driving force behind more diverse representation.
So now, instead of letting people’s negative opinions of YA piss me off, I just feel sorry for them. Because they’re the ones missing out.
About the Author
SM James in an Australian author who writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters. While not writing, SM is a readaholic and netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee. Member of SCBWI. Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBT+ characters.
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