Welcome to the What I Like About Me Blog Tour!
by Jenna Guillaume
Below is one of those spare scenes, which I’m very nervous to share in public because a) no one has ever read it before and b) it’s quite different to the finished product! While Maisie adores movies in What I Like About Me, in this very early draft, reading was much more of a passion for her, and I played with the idea that Beamer was the kind of guy who secretly read Jane Austen. For the record: I still think he’s that kind of guy. And though this scene got lost pretty early on in the first draft and it low-key makes me cringe now, I do like the way it emphasizes that there is more to Beamer than meets the eye—just like there is in the final book.
Beamer sat on the bed and leaned back on his hands. His shirt rode up a bit, revealing a strip of tanned skin. He patted the empty space next to him. I sat on the floor.
“Well, Maisie Martin, what are we going to do with ourselves tonight?”
“Why do you say it like that?”
“Like we’re going to be doing something.”
“What, you don’t want to do anything?”
“It depends on what you mean by do.”
Beamer’s eyes locked on mine with a mischievous glint. I stood up and walked over to the bookshelf.
“Anything good to read?”
“You want to read?”
“Believe it or not, Beamer, some people actually enjoy reading.”
“Believe it or not, Maisie Martin, some people actually enjoy other things, too.” He was right behind me now, and I could feel his breath on my neck.
“Hey, I love this one.” I grabbed Sense and Sensibility off the shelf and slipped around him, perching on the bed. “Although I was kinda bummed when Willoughby and Marianne didn’t end up together. I mean, he’s so handsome and charming and she loves him so much. And then he has to marry someone else and it breaks her heart.”
I was babbling and I didn’t know why. It’s not like Beamer would have any idea what I was on about.
“He doesn’t have to marry someone else, he chooses to.”
I looked at Beamer in surprise.
“How would you know?” Beamer was not exactly the Jane Austen type.
He just stood there for a second, staring at the floor.
“My gran loves those books,” he said finally.
“Oh. So you haven’t read it?”
“I didn’t say that!”
“So you have?” I felt like I’d fallen into a weird alternate universe. I’d always thought Sebastian probably read classic literature in his spare time. Every time I read a book I loved, I immediately wanted to discuss it with him and hear his thoughts. He was such a deep thinker and I knew we’d have this amazing connection if we ever actually got a chance to talk. If I ever actually worked up the nerve to talk to him. But it was too late now. He was with Anna in the next room doing god knows what, and I was here. With Beamer. Who apparently had read Sense and Sensibility?
“Have you read it?” I said again, since Beamer hadn’t answered me the first time.
“Yeah, I’ve read it,” he said, flopping down next to me on the bed. He looked unhappy to admit the truth. He would think it was embarrassing to read Jane Austen.
“And what did you think? I know it’s probably not your cup of tea.”
“You wouldn’t really know what my cup of tea is, would you, Maisie Martin? For the record, it’s English breakfast with milk and one sugar.” The weird tension I hadn’t realised I’d been feeling in my chest eased a little bit as I saw the smart arse Beamer returning. “And I’ll have you know Sense and Sensibility is my third favourite Austen. Ferrars is a bit of a drip, but Brandon is alright.”
His third favourite Austen? He had to be bullshitting me. Was he trying to make fun of me? Anna always laughed at me if I ever talked about this stuff, so I avoided it. I should have done the same with Beamer. But screw him. If he was going to play this game, I could too.
“Brandon is a bit of a creep. He’s so much older than Marianne, and the whole thing where she looks like his long-lost dead love? Like, issues, much?” Let’s see what he had to say that.
But Beamer’s face was serious again, as he looked down at the floor, hesitating for once before opening his mouth. “He… he’s her best friend. She can just be herself with him, and he accepts her for who she is. And when Willoughby breaks Marianne in to a thousand tiny pieces, Brandon is there to pick up every last shard and put her back together. He makes her whole again.”
I stared at Beamer, speechless. I really had been sucked into an alternate universe. Who was this guy? This guy who read Jane Austen and spoke about it like he gave a damn and who was looking at me now with an intensity in eyes that I’d never seen before.
I willed myself to get up and put the book back on the shelf. This bloody book that had sucked us into some kind of wormhole. But I couldn’t move. Couldn’t look away from his face. His infuriating… adorable face.
April 7th – A Dream Within a Dream
You know all those movies where teenagers have, like, THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES? This vacation is probably not going to be that.
The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing over vacation is entering a beauty pageant. Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone. Not when her Dad is AWOL and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie’s already shaky confidence. And especially not when her best friend starts flirting with the boy she’s always loved. But Maisie’s got something to prove.
As she writes down all the ways this vacation is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back.
Jenna Guillame’s American debut features a plus-size protagonist with a compelling, funny, and authentic narrative voice. This relatable and charming novel about friendship, confidence, and self-love will draw readers in as Maisie’s realistic emotional journey unveils the importance of embracing one’s body and celebrating one’s self.
About the Author
Jenna Guillaume was the editor-at-large for BuzzFeed Australia, where she wrote about pop culture, identity, feminism, social media, and, most importantly, Chris Hemsworth’s biceps. Previously, she worked in the features department of Girlfriend magazine in Australia, writing about everything from bullying and body image to bad kisses and boy bands. She also contributed to Girlfriend Life Hacks, an essential guide to navigating a girl’s completely-awkward-but-totally-awesome teen years. Guillaume lives in Australia. Visit her website at jennaguillaume.com.
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