July 25, 2015

Forever for a Year Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Forever for a Year blog tour! Today I have a fun excerpt from the book to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win your own copy! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Forever for a Year
Author: B.T. Gottfred
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. BYR


When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other.  They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences.  When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time...but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice.

Told in Carolina and Trevor's alternating voices, this is an up-close-and-personal story of two teenagers falling in love for the first time, and discovering it might not last forever.


Chapter 1: Carrie will now be Carolina
It was my idea for us to start using our full names. It was going to help us take ourselves more seriously now that we were starting high school. It’s like I used to be Carrie, this awkward eighth grader, but now I was going to be Carolina, this amazing freshman. Oh my gosh, this sounds so dumb when I say it like that. Never mind.

Wait a minute. Just because I didn’t want to be geeky Carrie anymore didn’t mean Carolina wasn’t going to be a good student. She was. I mean, I was. Obviously. I mean, school was still the most important thing. By far. And if you ask me, I wasn’t really a geek in junior high. I’m super normal. It’s just that other people thought my best friend, Peggy, and I were geeks, so we didn’t really argue with them. Can you even do that? Argue with popular people on how they categorize you? Maybe you can, though it probably would have just made us even bigger geeks in their eyes. Gosh! Why was I worrying about this NOW? It was the first day of high school and I had to get ready! I mean, I was totally ready. I had been waiting by the front door for twenty minutes for Peggy and her sister to pick me up. But, you know, get ready in my mind. Because this year was going to change my life. I just knew it.

So I sat and pictured (“envisioned” might be the better word) how today would go in my head. Except the horrible stuff that happened with my dad earlier kept popping into my brain and I got mad at him again, and suddenly I felt like I was going to cry (again) and if that happened, I was sure my first day would be ruined, which might ruin my entire existence. Wait a minute! I reminded myself that I’m in control, that I’m super smart, that my dad was part of my past, not my future, and then I felt better.

And then I heard the honk. And even though nobody could have gotten out to the car faster than I did, Katherine honked again. Katherine is Peggy’s sister. She’s not very patient. Or nice. In fact, she’s kind of a lunatic. But she has a car, and if I did everything she said, I wouldn’t have to take the bus. And taking the bus is for losers. At least that’s what Katherine said.

By the way, Peggy’s new name is Marguerite. It’s not her new name. It’s on her birth certificate, just like Carolina is on mine, but nobody knows it’s her name. Except me, because we’re best friends, remember? Peggy wouldn’t go by her longer name unless Katherine said it was okay. See, Katherine was a junior, and always tan and really pretty when she wore lots of makeup, and—most important to Peggy (and maybe me)—Katherine was super popular. Maybe the most popular girl ever to go to Riverbend High School. And since Peggy wanted to be cooler in high school even more than I did, Peggy wouldn’t go by Marguerite unless Katherine said it was okay. Which she did.

I would’ve become Carolina no matter what Katherine said. Because I was ready.

*   *   *
“What’s wrong?” Peggy asked as I got in the back seat of the Civic, which Katherine had painted CRAPMOBILE on the side of with nail polish. (I’m gonna have to learn to call Peggy Marguerite in my head, aren’t I?) Anyway, Peggy/Marguerite knew something was wrong even though I had hoped I was over it because Peggy has known me since before time began. (Actually, fourth grade.) I should stop exaggerating for effect. I’m in high school now. High schoolers don’t do that. Maybe they do. I don’t know. But they shouldn’t. They should be mature enough to just tell the truth as it is. Which is what I’m going to do.

I said, “Nothing,” to Peggy. She knew it was not nothing, but she also knew my “nothing” meant I didn’t want to talk about what was wrong right then. I mean, I kind of did, but not in front of Katherine. I wanted to tell Peggy ALL about how my dad had ruined my first/last/only morning before my first day of high school. But Peggy knew to drop it for now, because she’s amazing, and changed the subject.

“Guess what? Katherine talked to her friend Elizabeth Shunton, who’s the older sister of Shannon Shunton, and told her to tell Shannon that she should be our friend this year.”

Katherine, who was driving like a person who thought looking at the road was optional, grinned. “I’m gonna make you two the hottest chicks in the freshman class. You watch. You will love me.”

I smiled at Peggy, pretending to be excited about being friends with Shannon Shunton. Because I was so not excited. Shannon Shunton was the most popular girl in eighth grade, and I suppose she would be the most popular freshman, but I didn’t care about being popular. (Okay, I’m lying! I totally already admitted I wanted to be popular.) But, and I mean this, I don’t care about it if it means pretending to want to be friends with Shannon Shunton. Who is the meanest person ever. She could make you cry just by rolling her eyes at you. How could you be friends with someone like that?

Katherine started giving us a lecture on how we should walk through the halls, where we should sit in the cafeteria, what boys we should talk to (soccer players yes, football players maybe, band members no), and how she knew we were both good students, but maybe we shouldn’t try too hard or it would make us look geeky. This is the dumbest thing ever said. But probably true. This is why I shouldn’t care about being popular! Or boys! Or any of it!

Riverbend High School, which most kids call The Bend, came into view as we turned right past the bank onto Kirby Street. It looked huge. Peggy (I mean, Marguerite) and I came here most of July for soccer camp, but it was empty during the summer, like a ghost school. But now we were pulling into the parking lot and there were so many cars and kids, and they were so tall, and looked like they were thirty years old even though they could only be four years older than me. My stomach started eating my insides. This is what happens when I get nervous. My stomach becomes an alien and eats all my organs and I almost die. Yes, I exaggerated, okay! I’m sorry. Gosh.

“Now, Carrie,” Katherine said, turning back to me as she parked.

“Carolina,” Peggy said. A big mistake.

Katherine’s face jumped two feet in the air as she screamed: “YOU MAKE YOUR FRESHMAN DORKS CALL YOU THAT; I CALL YOU WHATEVER I WANT, PEGGY! PEGGY! PEGGY! PEGGY! OKAY, PEGGY?”

See? Lunatic. But she was my best friend’s sister and my ride. So I listened as she began again.

“Carrie, listen to me. My ugly sister Peggy hit the jackpot the past four months, in case you didn’t notice.” Katherine pointed at Peggy’s boobs. Which had grown from super small to SUPER huge in 114 days. It was amazing. Like when you add water to a scrunched-up straw wrapper, but not that fast. Obviously. We started measuring them every day, laughing like it was the funniest thing ever, until one day she cried from her back hurting and I cried because I was still flat. Peggy slunk down in the front seat, her face becoming one big freckle of embarrassment. Katherine continued, “And she still has skinny legs. She doesn’t quite get it even though I’ve told her, like, every day, but every dude with a penis, even the gay ones, are gonna stare at her, want to talk to her, ask her out, and kiss her just so they can reach up her shirt. Trust me, I know this, and this is so true. But your boobs are still small and you dress like a boy, so we are going to have to come up with a thing to make boys like you. I can’t put my reputation on the line for you if you aren’t willing to make boys like you. So I’m thinking you should learn to talk dirty. Like they do in porn. Guys love it. This college guy, Nick, would go nuts when I would say certain stuff. And they’ll never expect you to talk like that, because you’re such a goody-good girl. It will make them see you as someone new. So I want you to learn to say things like, ‘I get turned on thinking about you.’ So go ahead and say that right now.” (Except she didn’t say “turned on”; she said something so embarrassing I don’t want to even think it.)

She beamed her big saucer eyes down at me. Making me feel one inch tall. And like she stole my ability to talk even though she wanted me to say something. No, no, no! I was not going to say that ever. I’d walk to school. I’d even take the bus! Ugh. I hate Katherine. Hate her. Hate her. Hate her.

“Say it or I’ll know you’re a big waste of my time and you’ll stay a loser like you were in junior high.”

I didn’t care. I’d be a loser. Life is one hundred years. High school is only four.

“Don’t be a loser, Carrie!”

Ugh. This was so unfair! “I get turned on thinking about you.” Except I said it her gross way. I know I said I wouldn’t, but Katherine is crazy and sometimes you have to do what crazy people say or they get even crazier. And, OBVIOUSLY, I know what it means. I’m a teenager and there’s this thing called the stupid internet.

“Good job,” Katherine said, grinning as she looked at herself in the mirror. Pouting her lips and narrowing her eyes like movie stars do on red carpets. She continued, “Marguerite and Carolina, yeah? Okay. Okay. I got your backs. Let’s rock this.” She swung open her door. Peggy and I slinked out of the car and fell in line behind her as she marched us toward the northeast entrance. (And I know I’m supposed to call her Marguerite! I’m sorry, okay? I had a really difficult morning.)

Wait a minute.

Wait. A. Minute.

I was starting high school.
And… yeah… I’m crazy but can pretend really, really well I’m not. Sort of what I feel about everybody. (Except for the people who can’t pretend they’re not crazy. You know who you are. Actually, never mind, you probably don’t.)

Anyway, here’s some stuff I’ve done to help me feign sanity:

Wrote and directed the play, “Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**holes” that has played over four years in Los Angeles and Chicago and just made its Off Broadway premiere at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre. Los Angeles Times said: “Seldom have I been a part of a more enthusiastic and vocal audience. Brad T Gottfred’s play about young couples stumbling through the minefield of codependency taps a universal nerve.”

Wrote, directed, and executive produced the feature film “The Movie Hero” which played at over 20 film festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards including First Prize at the Rhode Island Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival.

My first play, “Marry, F**K, Or Kill” was called “a guilty pleasure for veterans of the single life” by the Los Angeles Times. It went on to an Off Broadway premiere in the fall of 2011.

First web series “Sex and Love Conspire to Destroy the World” was released by MyDamnChannel in 2013.

My first-ish novel, “Forever for a Year”, was released in July 2015 by Macmillan/Holt. (Biography & photo taken from author's website.)

Author Links:
 Giveaway: (1) Hardcover copy of FOREVER FOR A YEAR - Open to US only!


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