As you may have seen from the last few weeks, I am obsessed with Small Town Hearts so when I got the chance to host a guest post from Lillie I jumped on it!
Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy.
Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.
And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy.
Guest Post – Intro from Lillie
Hi Lili! Thank you for hosting me on your blog today! So happy to be here 🙂
Everybody else: Hi! I’m Lillie Vale, the author of upper YA contemporary Small Town Hearts. It’s a messy BFF breakup + found family novel taking place in the summer after high school, the last summer 19yo bi baking barista Babe thinks she’ll have before her friends Penny and Chad start college in the fall. She has a somewhat co-dependent relationship with the people she loves, and change has never been a good thing, in her experience, so she’s trying to hold on tight during a time when she has to learn how to let go. Matters are further complicated when her ex-girlfriend Elodie returns to their sleepy Maine village of Oar’s Rest at the same time as a mysterious summer boy shows up to rent Babe’s mom’s cottage on the beach.
Lili and I discussed some possible ideas for what to include in this guest post, and the one that really struck a note with both of us was a memory from before the book begins. Combined with one of my (and Babe’s!) favorite places in Oar’s Rest, Babe’s beloved lighthouse home, I knew that there was one scene I really wanted to write.
The breakup scene between Babe and Elodie, which takes place about a year before Small Town Hearts begins. On page 5 and 292 in the book, Babe remembers the grief of this conversation, and while I didn’t want to write something so sad for this post, I thought it would be a great idea to write a small snippet of how that conversation might start.
I watched her from the window. Unlike every other time, she hadn’t come into the lighthouse straightaway. With her back to me, I couldn’t make out what had captured her attention so completely. Surely it wasn’t our haven of Oar’s Rest below, not when it was the place she was so desperate to leave.
It was summer, so she was in shorts, which wasn’t unusual, but the wind was wicked and dancing, which was. Above, the clouds were moving fast, snuffing the sun completely.
She didn’t know it, but right there on the cliff, where summer wildflowers were peeking out and the grass was more like shag carpet, was one of my favorite spots. It was my thinking place. Somewhere that made you feel alone and together and apart and everything in between.
“El,” I said when I was right behind her.
She must have heard me coming, because she didn’t startle. “Hey,” she said. Her dark brown curls whipped around her face. She blinked and brought her hands to her face as if to pull her hair back, but then let them drop.
“What are you doing out here?” I took her hand, rubbed my thumb over the shivery place where palm met wrist. The place Elodie loved to be tickled with my fingertips for as long as we’d been together.
She jerked her hand back and tried to smooth her hair. Failed.
Then: “Babe, I—” at the same moment I said, “I made you your favorite macarons.”
She snapped her mouth shut. The wind picked up, taking her hair with it.
I slid my finger between my wrist and the black band. “I have a hair tie.”
“It’s too thin for my hair. It won’t go around even once.”
I pulled my finger away. “Oh.”
“Mom wants to go to California next week. Start picking out dorm stuff. I just…I wanted to tell you in person.”
She didn’t have to come all the way up to my lighthouse just for that. I waited. Would she even now, so late, ask me to come with her.
“Babe, you deserve so much bett—”
No. What was she saying? Why wasn’t she meeting my eyes?
“El, wait,” I blurted out. “You said you weren’t ready. Not ready here. But I thought…in California…”
She knew what I’d thought. She’d let me think it.
I wouldn’t fit into her new life. Her new start. It would be too hard. So it was better not to even try.
I pulled on the hair tie until it dug into my skin. Focused on that.
Not on all the words Elodie was saying now.
All the words I didn’t want to hear.
Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
- Print copy of Small Town Hearts
About the Author
Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.
Find the updated tour schedule