Tina Kakadelis
YA Author


Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

Quote of the Day: 08.27.17 Springsteen and the Importance of Rom Coms

Today's song is She's the One. This post is going to be spoilers about my book because this song is intrinsically linked to the book in my mind. I can't separate them. Most of the other songs on the album I have memories that have nothing to do with my book, but She's the One is different.

If you've been living under a rock you're new to this blog, I wrote a YA LGBT novel called Burn Before Reading. It stemmed from my deep love of romantic comedies and the fact that I'm gay. A winning combo if I've ever heard one. But, in all sincerity, the romantic comedy genre is genuinely lacking LGBT movies/books with happy endings. I got so sick of seeing lesbians die or end up sad and alone. So sick that I wrote a book to remedy the problem.

Burn Before Reading is about a girl named Carly Allen and all of the ups and downs that come with her senior year of high school. It's a coming of age story, not a coming out story. Obviously, there's a girl that Carly likes. Things happen and I won't tell you what those things are, but know that they involve a dog with wheels in place of back legs and a One Direction cover band.

(I promise the book is written more coherently than that last paragraph. I'm rereading it now and I think I suffered a minimal stroke??)

Growing up, my favorite part of a teen rom com was the dramatic moment where the main character would say some speech about how much they loved the person they had a crush on. Think Kat's poem in 10 Things I Hate About You or the "I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy" moment in Notting Hill or the boombox scene in Say Anything. Those are the best parts of the movie. The music swells and you know there's a happy ending around the corner.

There's a point in She's the One at the 1:15 mark that sounds so triumphant and sure. And again at the 2:49 mark. Absolutely, positively sure. Even before I wrote the book, whenever I listened to the song, I could picture this song being used at the best part of a teen rom com movie. It's a damn good song to fall in love to.

It’s when you get that shot of the main character sprinting down a hallway or through an airport to get to the one they love. Hopping over subway turnstiles, through TSA security, pushing, shoving. Sure of the world. Surer than their own name.

When the time came for me to write that dramatic romantic scene for my book, this was the song I listened to on repeat. (That's not a spoiler. Y'all really thought I was gonna stand up here and talk about how I'm sick of sad lesbian stories and then not write a happy ending of my own?)

Moral of the story? Life's too short to hate romantic comedies.