Do I have any Young Adult Contemporary fans here? Lauren McKellar is a blogger, leading editor in her industry, internet personality and now an author! I’m excited to share this book with you.
Although I’m not reading so much YA these days as—sadly—I’m over that age group this short novel will appeal to teens and the fans who love this genre; I can feel the vibe from what I’ve read.
I was in a club somewhere in Melbourne. People were crowding in all around me, girls in short skirts and guys in shirts and jeans that looked a little too tight for comfort. The floor was sticky, the place smelled like sweat and cheap perfume, and it was late — after two in the morning, for sure. They’d be closing soon.
‘Having fun?’ Mum handed me yet another clear glass packed with ice and pale-coloured liquid. I nodded and slugged back the sweet vodka she’d just gotten me from the bar.
‘Great! Happy 16th birthday!’ Mum clinked her glass against mine. Celebrating was her favourite thing to do.
A security guard walked past us and nodded. He recognised us from the line. We were always on lists at the door now that Dad had made it big time. I didn’t had to worry about being checked for ID or sprung for under-age boozing. Times were good.
‘I think that boy over there thinks you’re cute.’ Mum strained her voice to be heard over the loud rock music pumping through the sound system. She pointed to a tall guy who was standing by himself just near the bar. I had to squint to see him, but he looked a little older than me, maybe ten years or so. His blue chequered shirt contrasted perfectly with his peroxide-tipped hair. He was cute, even though his body was swaying out of time with the music. Perhaps he’d had one too many addictively vodkas, too.
‘Should I go talk to him?’ I hadn’t hung around guys that much, especially older ones. A few of Dad’s roadies had tried to get close to me, but they were immediately chased off by him before anything could happen. I was a little nervous.
Mum had no such hesitation. She charged through the crowd and launched herself at Peroxide Guy. Throwing her beautifully manicured fingers around his shoulders, she dove into attack mode.
‘Hi there, cutie. Let me introduce you to the most fabulous girl in the world — the amaaaaazing Amy!’ As Mum said it, she threw her hands in the air, and I started laughing. The guy did too. He moved closer.
‘Hi, Amy,’ he leered, checking me out openly before kissing me on the cheek. His lips felt warm. I felt warm. I felt desirable and I liked it.
We stood there for a few minutes, drinking in each other’s appearances. Peroxide Guy wasn’t ugly, but he wasn’t exactly cute, either. He had little wrinkle lines around his eyes, the kind that Dad had, and I wondered again about his age.
‘Can I help you two gorgeous ladies with anything?’ He smiled, showing an orderly array of slightly brown teeth. He smelled like cigarette and bourbon.
‘You can, actually,’ Mum started.
‘No, don’t, I —’
‘We noticed you checking her out,’ Mum yelled, oblivious to my protests. ‘So why don’t you go ahead and kiss her like you mean it?’
It was a horrible, horrible moment: the music stopped, and everyone turned to look at the woman yelling at the guy to kiss the girl ‘like he meant it’. I hated that the girl in question was me.
Then Peroxide Guy was grabbing my face and I forgot all about it as he kissed me. It was wet and sloppy and thankfully quite short, but long enough to get the crowd cheering. It didn’t feel real. This wasn’t happening to me.
And then the kiss was over, and we were just standing there. I let out a nervous laugh, scraping my tongue against the back of my teeth to try and get the taste of stranger out of me.
The lights flickered on, and people filtered out the door. The guy who’d kissed me looked even older now, and I noticed his nose was a little red. What had I done?
‘Come on, Amy. They’re closing up.’ Mum grabbed my hand and led me out of the club, the boy staring at us both as we left. He grinned and gave a little wave as we walked away. I guess this was just a typical night for him.
I felt sick. Was that really my first kiss? I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand to remove the saliva from my face. I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and clean my teeth.
‘Aren’t you going to thank me?’ Mum asked. ‘Surely no other mum would be cool enough to help her daughter get picked up!’
‘Thanks.’ My voice were soft and lacked heart. I knew that it was technically cool, and that my old friends from school would have been envious.
I just wished it hadn’t been so wet.
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About Finding Home
Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit…
When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain.
The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.
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About the Author
Lauren McKellar is a writer and reader of Young and New Adult books. Her debut novel Finding Home is out now, and can be bought from all your usual eBook sites (links available here). She also works as a freelance editor for novels for all age groups and you can chat to her on twitter or facebook any time you’d like.
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