By Mary Twomey
Published: November 15th 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Best friends Jack and Yani do everything together. After Yani’s thirtieth birthday party, however, she decides to leave town on a spontaneous vacation to visit all the sites of the young adult fiction novels she loves, hoping that when she returns, she’ll have buried the secret flame she has for Jack.Forced by his friends to go on a road trip to track down Yani, Jack learns a lot about his best friend by reading the novels she’s been obsessed with. From vampire hunting in Forks to searching for wizards in Florida, Jack confronts his greatest fears –that he just might love Harry Potter…and perhaps, Yani.
" "What do you think of this?" Yani asked Jack as she keyed the last sentence into her beat-up laptop.
He glanced over as she corrected her posture, still amazed that she could concentrate amidst the constant state of disarray her apartment was in. "Is it finished?" he questioned warily. He'd just dug through her mountain of books and found his groove in the couch that he'd been perfecting for three years. He was not about to give up his favorite spot for anything.
"Like, finished finished?" he clarified. Her huffed response told him that she was rereading her blog for any other errors. He heard the unsteady clacking as she second-guessed a word she'd typed. Jack grinned, shaking his head. "Doesn't sound like it."
"Oh, just get over here. Candysnob.blogspot.com belongs to you, too."
"Yeah, but it's your turn to write on it. Plus, your idea means you do half the blogging," he reminded her.
"The candy bars were your idea," she responded, her argument always ready.
"My idea to try a new candy bar and rate them was a great one. Yours was to turn it into a blog, i.e., a chore. Still loving your contribution?" He raised an eyebrow, daring her to admit defeat.
"Please stop using 'i.e.' in sentences. You know it makes me feel inferior." She turned to glare at her friend when he responded by chuckling. "Your idea, if you call it that, has made us zero dollars. Mine has made us twenty-seven dollars this month alone. More than enough to pay for your nougat addiction." Yani shook her head. "Nougat," she mumbled under her breath, as if the word itself tasted bad in her mouth. "Here's what I got. I'm pushing submit, so if you've got an opinion, now's your chance."
"Opinion?" Jack questioned in a falsely innocent tone. He rested his head back and closed his eyes to claim the couch as his territory. "Read it to me. I don't feel like getting up."
"Fine. 'To all my fellow candy enthusiasts, chocolate lovers and aspiring non-food critics, this blog is dedicated to you. This month Jack and I are revisiting the Zero bar. The Zero bar boasts of white fudge coating over a nutty nougat. The wrapper is pleasing to the eye. The name is ominous, if not humble. However, the taste is nothing if not unremarkable. In our quest to find the perfect unsung hero of candy bars, the Zero bar falls far short of the desired perfection...'"
"You said 'perfect' already. You can't say 'perfect' and 'perfection'. It's re-redundant." He shifted on the cushion, and one of Yani's books he'd tried to fend off slid toward him and poked his knee with the corner of the hard spine. He frowned and moved it to the top of the teetering pile on the floor by his feet. "How many stacks of books do you need? The couch, the floor, the counter, the table..."
"Fine," Yani said as she tossed her black hair over her shoulder, ignoring his criticism about the placement of her precious books. "The Zero bar falls far short of the desired... pleasure factor."
"Nice. Although, that sounds mildly erotic."
"Alright, then you come up with something."
Jack sighed as the second book crept its way toward him menacingly. He stood and reluctantly meandered to Yani, giving up his claim on the one available couch cushion. "Just hit 'synonyms'. There. Flawlessness. 'The Zero bar falls far short of the desired flawlessness', which it did. You should just put 'terrible'. Why is that not an accurate description?"
"It had a good aftertaste. That's got to count for something. How about this? 'Upon opening the package, the bar smacked of high fructose corn syrup and stale nougat.'"
"Vicious," he smirked, shaking his head. "Do you need me for this, Peaches? I've got a date tonight, and so do you."
She tried not to smile and give away how much she secretly liked the nickname. "You mean do I need someone standing over my shoulder correcting my grammar? No, not since the sixth grade. You're the one who insisted on reading everything before it's submitted."
"I think we both agreed on that after the infamous 'their' and 'there' debacle," he reminded her.
"Are you ever gonna let me live that down?" she whined. "I was tired! It was after Frank and Kelly got home from the hospital with Hannah. I'm allowed a mistake every now and then."
"Not when you're co-blogging with an English major. You have a degree, too! You should be ashamed, making a third grade mistake like that in front of the e-world. What would Mrs. Hasenoffer say?"
"She was my fifth grade teacher, so, ha!" Yani retorted, backspacing uncertainly.
"I gotta run. I'm stealing an apple."
Yani called over her shoulder distractedly. "Well, just take one, not the whole..."
Jack escaped just before she finished her sentence, carrying the bag of red produce. He walked the four feet across the hall to his door and turned the knob, shutting himself in his apartment with the contraband. "
Tips for the Novice Writer
Be a finisher. Yep, it’s hard. But finish what you set out to do. Pick a realistic timeframe and stick to it. Eat all your broccoli, mow the lawn, finish your book.