The Romantics

<3 <3 The Romantics is out TODAY!! <3 <3

theromanticsfinal RUN, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore, because The Romantics is officially out today, y'all!

I'm so thrilled that a book so near and dear to my heart is finally in the world. And it's set in Chapel Hill, no less!

Today is the perfect day to share the last love personality type, The Romantic!

love-personality-type-romantic

According to Love, the Romantic is:

One who believes in Love in its finest form and impresses those feelings onto his or her various relationships. May result in scaring off partners, falling for the wrong person, and desperately trying to turn life into a movie with glamorous Old Hollywood actors. May also result in some of the best, most inspiring, and deepest relationships around.

Romantics in the book:

Gael, our main character <3 <3

 

There are too many Romantics in pop culture to count, so I'll detail them in a separate post.

Anyway, thank you all for all your support. I'm over the moon right now!

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P.S. If you're in NYC, join me to celebrate the launch and get your signed copy on Thursday at McNally Jackson in SoHo!

Happy reading!

Leah

 

 

Halloween on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA As many of you know, one of my favorite parts of writing The Romantics was reliving some of my best college days in Chapel Hill. And one of these was definitely Halloween. That's us above doing, IMHO, a pretty amazing hero-and-villain thing. (We were #squadgoals before there were #squadgoals.) I went to Franklin Street that year—and every year—and I will never forget how freaking fun Halloween was in Chapel Hill.

So when I went to write a book set in Chapel Hill, OF COURSE I had to include some Halloween chapters. Without further ado, here is Gael's experience on the very same Franklin Street (edited slightly to avoid spoilers). It includes both the Franklin Street bash and some reference to Cosmic (because no Franklin Street chapter is complete without a reference to my favorite food joint ever):

IT WAS GAEL’S FOURTH HALLOWEEN ON FRANKLIN STREET. The street was packed, as it always was. Each year, students, professors, some high school kids like Gael, and people from colleges nearby descended on the stretch of Franklin that edged the campus. The city estimated about seventy thousand people came each year, making it one of the larger centers of Halloween revelry in the country. As such, people took Halloween quite seriously in Chapel Hill, turning three or four blocks into a giant party packed with people wearing everything from mass- produced costumes of the Party City variety to elaborate group numbers that made you wonder just how much the UNC freshmen were actually studying for their midterms. Gael had been no exception. At the end of September, he’d bought a couples’ costume to wear with Anika, Marc Antony and Cleopatra, but given the Mason-and-Anika situation, Gael thought it was too weird to use it with another girl. (Not to mention, Cara certainly wouldn’t have seen the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton film it was based on.) And so, a quick run to Target this afternoon had resulted in enough zombie makeup for a Walking Dead episode. It wasn’t as elaborate as his usual setup—past costumes had included the dude from A Clockwork Orange (bowler hat, eye makeup, and all) and the Joker from The Dark Knight—but it would have to do.

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Now they were on Franklin, perfecting their jilted zombie walk, while Gael, unbeknownst to Cara, tried to hold it together. Lucky for him, the street offered plenty of distractions. “Can we agree that mimes are creepier than zombies?” Cara asked, as the black-and-white troupe headed off in search of their next target. “One hundred percent yes,” Gael said as a swarm of yellow Minions ran past them. “Come on.” Cara linked her arm through his. “Let’s go this way.” There was a small break in the crowd, where a group of firefighters in high heels had just sauntered through. She let go of his arm and turned to face him. “Having fun?” He nodded forcefully, afraid she’d prod if he didn’t sound convincing. He couldn’t deal with any more serious discussions. Not now. “I’m glad I’m here with you,” Cara said. She shivered and started to rub her arms. “You want my jacket?” Gael asked. She was wearing a long-sleeve white shirt that they’d stained with fake blood, but had left her jacket at the dorm, complaining that it didn’t go with overall costume. She shook her head. “I’m fine.” But her chin was shaking. “Come on.” He started to unzip it. “Uh uh,” she said. “Really, I’m fine.” “Well, come here, then.” He put his arm around her, pulling her close to keep her warm. It was nice. It helped to quiet all the crap running through his head. A gaggle of Angry Birds and evil piggies ran past them, and he realized, suddenly, that this was exactly what he’d wanted, just a couple of weeks ago. Cara nuzzled closer to him. “Thanks,” she said. “Looks like I’m totally unprepared.” “Looks like you are,” he said, a bit robotically. He nodded to Cosmic, down the street. “You want to go get some nachos?” he asked. “Try to warm up a bit?” Cara looked up at him and smiled. “That sounds perfect,” she said. “Just perfect.”

Hope you all are having a delightfully spooky and fun Halloween, wherever you are!

Happy reading and Happy Halloween!

Leah

 

 

The Romantics, my love letter to Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Chapel-Hill-Graduation.jpg So if you've read my books, you know that I have a thing for North Carolina. It's where I went to high school and college, and though I haven't lived there in some time, I still treasure the years I spent there. I've set two books in NC now, but both have been in fictional composite towns, little pieces of places I've loved and been inspired by, wrapped up into something new.

That's why I'm so excited about The Romantics, my newest book that comes out in just over two months from Abrams/Amulet. Because The Romantics is set in my favorite place in North Carolina (and one of my favorite places in the world), Chapel Hill.

If you haven't been to Chapel Hill yet, I'm sorry. You should fix that. Now. And if you have, you know how magical and wonderful it is, the perfect little blend of historical university, quirky college town, and Southern charm. (Seriously, you can see how beautiful it is in the silly graduation shot above. That's us in front of the Old Well, a Chapel Hill landmark.)

Even though it's set in a college town, The Romantics mainly follows Gael, a high school student who lives near campus. As he and his friends explore their hometown, I had the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of my favorite college haunts. Below are just a few ...

Cosmic Cantina: The best Mexican restaurant in the world. Home of the super burrito. The ultimate post-bar dive. Frequented by myself and two friends every Wednesday at midnight for four years. Visited in the book by Gael and his friends almost as frequently.

Franklin Street: Main drag for college students. I don't care how many of my favorite spots close, I will never stop loving this street. And even though Gael is in high school, he's spent his fair share of hours hanging on it, as well.

Hinton James: An abysmal, behemoth dormitory that holds a ton of Chapel Hill freshmen. Colloquially referred to as "HoJo," though most Howard Johnsons are probably a hell of a lot nicer. Residence to Sammy Sutton in the book.

The Morehead Planetarium: A gorgeous planetarium on campus, used mainly by students who want to fulfill their science requirement with something that's not Biology or Chemistry. (Actually, Astronomy was still quite hard for a non-science type like me.) Setting of a fictional first kiss in The Romantics.

Spanky's: One of the fancier restaurants on Franklin (meaning you might have to spend $10-15 for dinner, which is just about highway robbery for a college student). Their steak sandwich, the best thing on the menu (and our hero, Gael Brennan's, favorite food), is just $9.75, though. Seriously, go order it. NOW.

The above list is certainly not exhaustive, so you'll have to read The Romantics to find them all. But if you love Chapel Hill as much as I do, I have a feeling you're going to have fun reading this book.

The Romantics releases November 1. Pre-order it here.