Synopsis Excerpt The Follow-Up to Announcing Trouble Launches May 4th! Cover Reveal Coming Soon! About the Book: Mai Senn knows Anthony Adams is no good for her—no matter how hard she might crush on him. She’s valedictorian; he’s a surf bum. She’s got plans; he’s got his art. Complete opposites in every way. Vinegar and baking soda, they once joked. A chemical reaction that bubbled. Yeah, they bubbled. Maybe still do. Good thing Anthony’s got the perfect plan: two weeks to prove just how not good they are together. Whoever can come up with the worst date—something the other will seriously hate, proving how incompatible they truly are—wins. Like taking a snake-phobe to the Reptile House at the zoo (his idea). Or a cooking class where they don’t even get to eat the food (her idea). It’s all meant to help them finally crush their crushes. But it wasn’t supposed to be so hot. Or so fun. And when Mai’s future becomes at stake, will she be able to do the right thing and quit Anthony forever? May the worst date win! SNEAK PEAK! Read on for the first chapter… HOW TO QUIT YOUR CRUSH by Amy Fellner Dominy 1 MAI “If I start taking off my clothes, stop me.” Josie pauses with her hand on the doorknob of Jason’s house. Through the heavy wood door I can hear the thrum of music and the loud chatter and laughter of our graduation party in progress. A rager. I think that’s the correct terminology. I’ve never been to one myself. “Are you planning to take off your clothes?” Josie looks over my outfit. Crisp, sleeveless black button-down tunic with satin trim. Black leggings. Gray booties. “No, but I’ve never had alcohol before.” “How much are you planning to drink?” Jason’s party is officially alcohol-free, but that won’t stop kids from bringing it in. Apparently the students of Cholla High, while not known for high test scores, are geniuses at sneaking in booze. “Enough to feel it,” I say, “but not enough to kill any brain cells. I need them all for college.” “I’m pretty sure you’d have to kill a lot of brain cells before you started peeling off clothes.” Josie wipes at the corner of my mouth. “Lipstick.” She pins me with a suspicious look. I never wear make-up, not even lipstick. With one exception. Her gaze says she knows that and she’s wondering why I’m wearing it tonight. I bought the lipstick this past semester during a momentary blip of recklessness. How else to explain it? Explain him. Anthony Adams. “It’s in honor of graduation. That’s all.” Josie Walters, Best Friend in the Knowable World, was against my crush from the start. Of course, she hated baseball players with a passion. Now she’s madly in love with one. She pushes open the door. Memories greet me along with a wall of sound. We were here two months ago to watch a baseball game. But really so I could stalk my crush. “I’m not getting drunk either,” Josie says. “I’m grossed out by the idea of vomit in my hair.” “So we agree. No undressing and no puking.” “We could stand on a table though,” she says brightly. “Do a sexy dance.” “Do we know any sexy dances?” I’m distracted when someone screams my name. “Josie! Mai!” It’s Cooper Davies. He holds up a hand for a high five. Josie smacks it, and then it’s my turn. Cooper is a Cholla High baseball player and someone I shouldn’t know. “You were awesome today,” he tells me. “She was, wasn’t she?” Josie agrees. I shrug. “It was nothing. A few words I threw together.” Only Josie knows how worried I was over giving the valedictorian speech—how much time I spent writing and rewriting it. But in the end it was a call to action: get off your butt and do something with your life. A message I needed to be reminded of. “You shaved the scruff off your chin,” I say. Cooper runs fingers over his smooth jaw. “It was time.” “It was past time,” I correct with a grin. “The beard was truly hideous.” He’s grinning back when a second shout splits my eardrums. “My Mai!” Tucker Lewis. Another baseball player who has somehow become a friend. I roll my eyes. I should slug him for that greeting but it’s my parents’ fault for naming me Maya. It’s not a terrible name and it commemorates the month of May when they adopted me. But everyone shortens my name to Mai, which sounds like My. I’ve been hearing the My Mai jokes since fourth grade. “Hello, Tucker.” He holds up a fist. “Do we have to punch hands? I’m wearing a ring tonight and it’ll sting.” He laughs and gives me and Josie hugs. “You rocked it today,” he says. “Did us proud.” I wave off the praise, but I secretly love it. “Did you actually listen to my speech?” “Are you going to test me?” “Yes. What was the best part?” “The end?” He raises his eyebrows and laughs as Cooper high fives him. With their curly brown hair and constant smiles, the two could be brothers. “Kidding,” Tucker says. “It was good. I listened. I told my whole family we’re buds. Me and the smartest kid at Cholla. What are the chances?” “Mathematically? A number less than zero.” His eyes widen dramatically. “They make numbers less than zero?” “Oh, child.” I shake my head as Tucker laughs again. The most improbable part is that it all started because of me. None of us would be talking to each other now if not for a game of pool chicken and the hottest set of biceps I’ve ever seen. Biceps that I wisely broke it off with weeks ago. “You wore your ugly shoes!” Garrett Reeves appears in all his blond-hair, blue-eyed beauty and pointing a cheesy finger gun at Josie. She tries to hold back a smile, but it’s a weak effort. She is indeed wearing the ugliest pair of clunky, rubber-soled sandals ever. Garrett seems to have a thing for them. Frankly, I don’t get it. But it’s hard not to smile at the gooey looks they exchange. He wraps his arms around Josie’s waist and lands a kiss near her ear. Tucker and Cooper cry, “Dude!” and “G!” as if they didn’t just see him at the ceremony two hours ago. There’s laughing and bro hugs, which include chest thumping and fist bumps to the back. I lean closer to Josie. “Guys are very strange. They say hello by smashing their chests together.” “Girls should try it,” a new voice chimes in. “Equality and all.” And here he is. My breath hitches for just a second. Mr. Biceps in the flesh. Anthony Adams appears by my side, smile flashing, brown eyes teasing. His dark hair is a tangle of messy waves, much too long…and even softer than it looks. My fingers twitch in memory. I still can’t believe I tugged that hair to bring those lips closer. Oh Lord. I blink away the thoughts, and the past. Anthony was my first crush—and so completely wrong for me I still can’t believe I stalked him around school. He checked absolutely no boxes on my list of Necessary Qualities in a Boyfriend. And I still went weak in the knees every time he flashed his dimple. It never made sense—as Josie kept reminding me. But it was a crush. Crushes aren’t sensible. They’re meant to be a little wild and a lot of fun. And that’s what it was. Right up until I came to my senses. It’s been over now for more weeks than it lasted, and thankfully Anthony and I are on friendly terms. “We’ll consider the idea,” I say. “Right along with groin scratching, and one-nostril snot blowing.” “It’s called a farmer’s blow.” “There’s a name for it?” His smile widens and there’s that dimple in his right cheek. Fortunately, I am now fully immune. I lock my knees just to prove that I can. Then Tucker takes hold of him and the thumping and bumping ritual starts all over again. “Come on,” Garrett finally says. “The party’s outside.” I’m relieved when Anthony stops to say hello to someone else. We may be friendly but it’s still awkward. Embarrassing, even, when I let myself think about it. A flush prickles under my skin. I sat in his car one night in early April and instructed him on the history of French kissing, originally called the “Florentine Kiss.” Then I insisted I wouldn’t like it. Then he proved me wrong. Very wrong. The air feels good on my heated cheeks and I breathe deeply, glad to be outside. The backyard has its own speaker system and the music follows us. There’s a wide swath of grass covered in chairs and folding tables and more tables along the back fence with coolers and snacks. “Cheetos!” I say, spotting the orange bags. Josie laughs. My parents are health freaks, and I had my first Cheeto this semester. It was love at first bite. We weave through the crowd to a table Garrett has saved for us. Fairy lights twinkle and the pool water is an ever-changing color thanks to a strobe ball someone attached to an overhanging tree branch. People are clumped in groups around the backyard. I see my own clump—the science nerds and math geeks. I make a detour and accept more congratulations from Avi and Jasmine. Next to Josie, they’ve been my closest school friends. We’ve eaten lunch together nearly every school day for three years and have promised to stay in touch, but will we? Mom and Dad keep saying college is where I’ll make my lifelong friends. They tend to be right about everything, but I’m not sure about this. Especially not when it comes to Josie. But she’s always felt more like family than friend. I make my way back to her with a bag of Cheetos in hand. She’s waiting for me with a huge grin and a clear plastic water bottle that I’m pretty sure isn’t full of water. “You ready?” *** Three hours later, I’ve discovered that vodka and Sprite does not inspire me to take off my clothes. It does, however, inspire Tucker to stand on a table and yell, “Giddyup!” I have no idea why. Someone else I don’t know is wearing a baseball jock on his head. I shudder. Does he have any idea where that thing has been? I’m glad I stopped at one cup and very glad that jock-wearing boy and Tucker won’t be driving anywhere—there are designated drivers and everyone has relinquished car keys until it’s time to leave and they’re judged able to drive or not. The temperature has cooled down. May evenings are still nice in Phoenix and the breeze feels good on my sweaty neck. Josie and I danced with a crowd of girls, creating moves that should never be repeated. I’m sorry now I never went to a school dance. It was fun even if I don’t have any rhythm. However, I am a genius at beer pong. I’m undefeated for the fourth time when Josie and Garrett pull me aside. “Can you get a ride home?” Josie asks. Garrett drops an arm over her shoulder. “I’m kidnapping her.” “No way.” I plant my hands on my hips. “What’s the ransom? I’ll pay it.” Garrett smirks. “All your Cheetos.” I turn to Josie. “I’ll miss you.” She laughs, but there’s also a sudden shine of tears in her eyes. We’re not saying final goodbyes tonight, but we will be soon. Too soon. “I’ll be fine. I’ll get a ride from Jasmine,” I say. We hug and she squeezes me just as hard as I squeeze her. I’ll be leaving for California in a couple weeks for a summer program at the Marine Science Center before I start at Pomona College in the fall. Josie’s going to college in- state. I’ll see her when I come home, but there won’t be time for many trips. Not with a double major in microbiology and environmental science. Not if I’m going to get all A’s at the fifth highest ranked college in the country. Which I am. The work ahead fills my mind and saps what little energy I have left. The day is finally catching up to me. The valedictorian speech. Graduation. Dinner with Mom, Dad, both sets of grandparents, and my brother, Ethan, who flew here to surprise me and goes back to Harvard on Monday. I know my parents will be waiting for me when I get home. There will be an early breakfast tomorrow with everyone. We’re not a family who sleeps in after a party. We’re not a family who goes to parties. Time to leave. Onward and upward. My first and potentially only rager now over. And I didn’t even vomit in my own hair. A success, I think. I head for the house to find Jasmine. But ten minutes later, I’m wandering through the backyard again. I stop by Andrea, Steph, and Cassie. “Have you guys seen Jasmine?” “She left a while ago,” Andrea says. “I saw her leaving with Avi.” “Oh.” That stops me short. “She was going to give me a ride home.” “She left you?” Anthony says. He came up behind me so silently, I jump. I breathe in the warm soapy scent I remember too well and shift back. “I might have forgotten to tell her she was giving me a ride.” “I’ll take you.” He shrugs. “Drew the short straw tonight, and I’m one of the DDs.” He shows me his cup. “Straight Sprite.” “Oh. That’s okay. I can call my dad.” His eyebrows quirk. “It’s not a big deal, Mai. But you have to wash your hands first. The last time, you left Cheeto dust all over my dash.” The last time. That would have been when I broke it off with him. His brown eyes say he’s remembering it, too. His smile is amused—letting me know it’s no big deal. But then he’s always relaxed about everything. Mr. Chill. He actually called himself that once. It’s one of the things that would have irritated me about him. I don’t do “chill.” I do ambitious. Driven. Focused. Except for a few short weeks when I lost my head over Anthony. Even now, that smile of his stirs me up. The gleam in his eyes makes my pulse kick harder. He makes me want to say yes to things that I have absolutely no good reason to say yes to. Instead of sensibly calling my dad or looking for another DD, I find myself lifting my chin and saying, “Okay.” Then I lick each one of my fingers and hold them up. “All clean.” I head for the front door, his laughter following me.