It’s time to meet the 17th featured author of the SSS! Introducing…Ami Allen-Vath!
Keep calm and make it to prom night—without a legit panic attack.
For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High.
When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.
With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast—as a party of one.
That Time I Went To High School- My Inspiration for LIARS and LOSERS LIKE US
By Ami Allen-Vath
When I opened the word document to begin LALLU, I didn’t have any serious plotting done (or any), so I wrote the opening scene inspired by Teen TV drama and my own high school experience. As I continued and finished it, I realized that a lot of my experiences inspired my book. (Oh no! Oh yes?)
(IMPORTANT: ALL LALLU CHARACTERS ARE WORKS OF FICTION!)
Liars and Losers Like Us is full of TMI. Too much information or too much inspiration? You be the judge!
This post is supposed to be sweet and sassy but I’ll be adding a little funny, sad and awkward because those are my signature moves. (WOMPwomp).
Here are eight sources of inspiration for Liars and Losers Like Us:
ONE: Prom court nominations! When LALLU begins, the main character Bree is stressed about nominations. Her BFF has decided that Bree has to nominate her so she can get a spot on the prom court. Aside from feeling out of place in school/social situations, Bree has anxiety at the thought of even raising her hand. Especially for something like a prom court nomination. This was me. School stuff gave me mad anxiety and I wasn’t much of a hand raiser. Unless, of course, I was 280% sure the answer was right or I had a very funny one-liner that I just couldn’t keep to myself.
TWO: Pretending you don’t care but you so do! We didn’t do prom queen or king at my high school, but we definitely did Homecoming court nominations. We also had Morp, but I don’t like to talk about Morp because the word sounds like the beginning of a barf session. (Go ahead, say it and try to disagree with me.) Anyway, whenever nominations like this happened, I had a crap ton of anxiety. And when I say anxiety, I don’t just mean, “Oh this is a lame situation, I’m too cool!” What I mean is, my heart rate would go up and I’d feel my face getting hot. I’d do my best to use Jedi-mind tricks to keep my face from getting noticeably red. I couldn’t pretend to check my phone back then so I just made pretend notes in my notebook. All the anxious thoughts would run through my brain. My main source of anxiety: I basically knew one was going to nominate me, so I wanted to look totally nonchalant about the whole thing. As if I didn’t care. But let’s face it, if I would’ve been nominated, I would not have minded. At All.
THREE: Okay, I lied. I did get nominated at least once. In real life, as opposed to in LALLU, no one begged me to nominate her as a Prom Queen the night before. But when the time came for the teacher to write down candidates for homecoming royalty, my friend sitting across from me asked me to nominate her and she said she’d nominate me, too. We both raised our hands and gave each other’s names. I felt like such an idiot. Especially when some guy made a comment about it being super lame that we voted for each other. I’m sure my face was burning red. And maybe it was lame, but you can’t blame a girl for trying. (Spoiler: my friend made it! I didn’t!)
FOUR: Confidence! Just kidding…minimal confidence! Like Bree, I was kind of an “in-between” person on the whole popularity scale. But either way, in bigger social situations and in a school setting, I always felt like such an outsider. I had such “everybody’s going to think I suck because I’m awful” feelings guiding me during those years. I was super self-conscious about everything. Is everyone staring at the new zit by my nose? How can I artfully tie this flannel around my waist to hide my butt? (Note: Dealing with a mind-crippling eating disorder is one of the worst ways to do high school btw) I was constantly worried about my inner-anxious voice resembling my outward appearance. When I wrote Bree, I wrote her as the kind of person I wished I could’ve been. Bree still has lots of anxiety and her self-confidence wavers, but I definitely leveled her up.
FIVE: High school crushes. I was one of those girls who had all-body and mind consuming crushes. The “can’t wait till we pass in the hallway, OMG he looked at me, our shirts kind of match today, holy crap there is no way he likes me this is crazy” kind of crushes. (Spoiler: In 10th grade, I eye-stalked one crush everyday but he still has yet to acknowledge my existence. John “Blank”: how dare you?!)
SIX: First love. When the crush leads to the real thing. (not John “Blank.”) The EVERYTHING IS AWESOME kind of first love. The “he is the funniest most handsome most coolest guy in the world we will be together forever as much as that freaks me out” kind of love. (Spoiler: I married someone else!)
SEVEN: Prom! The whole dress buying, the countdown to the big day, and getting ready with friends part of it was awesome. What wasn’t awesome: spending way too much time trying to diet and figure out how to pose so I’d look “not terrible” in prom pictures. (Spoiler: I didn’t know it at the time but I was adorable! And I swear, so are you!)
EIGHT: Amazing friends and a sense of humor. I could NOT have gotten through high school without the very best of friends. I was super close with some amazing girls, my senior year boyfriend, and my sister. I repeat: I would not have made it. High school is high drama enough, but throw in lots of baggage and some crappy secrets I was dealing with (some of which also inspired LALLU) and it was tough. I was depressed most of the time, but I still laughed A LOT. There were so many great times and so much laughter. I am so, so grateful for the people that saw me through those years.
If you made it through my back-to-the-future trip to the early 90s, (I know, I’m old!) then I love you. You’re sweet! And sassy! If you read LALLU, I hope you enjoy it.
Also, to celebrate how awesome Nori and the ReadWriteLove28 blog is, if you preorder Liars and Losers Like us anytime between now and March 15, please email me at amiallenvathATgmailDOTcom with a screenshot or copy of your purchase, and I’ll send you a signed bookmark and bookplate for your copy. (P.S. This preorder giveaway is open INT!!!)
Stay Sweet! Stay Sassy!
Ami Allen-Vath is a MN born writer, living in NJ and has lived in six other states and one country in between. Aside from books (especially contemporary), Ami’s into The Walking Dead, yoga, warm vacations in the wintertime and ice cream in any season. Ami’s debut, LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US, will be released March 15, 2016. You can check out her website, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and like her on Facebook but please ignore her if you see her in pj or yoga pants at the grocery store.
GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY: