Good Reading for YA looks at the rom com She Gets the Girl by RACHAEL LIPPINCOTT and ALYSON DERRICK. Join us as we delve into the writing duo behind this book, the importance of LGBTQ+ representation, pride month and an extract.
Pride month is celebrated each year in June to honour the 1969 Stonewall riots, which marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws against LGBTQ+ Americans. Today, celebrations ranging from workshops, events and marches are held across the world to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and advocate for the larger movement for equality.
She Gets the Girl was written with young queer readers in mind. For co-authors and real-life partners, Alyson Derrick and Rachael Lippincott who is the author of other notable books such as The Lucky List, and the co-author of All This Time and Five Feet Apart, it was important to them to write a book in which their own experiences were reflected. Growing up, they both felt that queer stories were underrepresented in mainstream media, and it wasn’t till adulthood that they really began to see queer stories in mainstream film and literature.
Whether it’s your sexual orientation, your cultural background, or your economic situation – seeing yourself reflected in your favourite television program or book is paramount in validating your sense of self and experiences.
So with that in mind, Rachael and Alyson created an exciting new YA rom-com novel (think She’s All That but queer) that’s already a New York Times Bestseller and TikTok sensation.
The novel follows two college students Alex and Molly who are each dealing with their own girl problems. Molly is a reserved and awkward girl who is in love with someone she is yet to talk to. While Alex is the opposite, she’s headstrong and confident but has recently been dumped.
When their two worlds unexpectedly collide, Alex devises a plan to help them get their respective love interests to fall for them, but they ultimately begin to fall for each other.
Co-authors Rachael and Allyson each wrote from a character’s perspective, with Allyson writing Molly’s chapters and Rachael writing Alex’s. This enabled them to channel their own feelings and experiences and in turn we see their own love story intersect with their characters, lending the story an authentic voice.
Ultimately, She Gets the Girl is an exciting and memorable read that ticks all the essential rom-com requirements and highlights how you can find love in the most unexpected of places.
Every single person in this room is looking at Natalie Ramirez.
The hipster dude clutching an IPA like it’s his firstborn son. The girl wearing a faded Nirvana shirt that screams Urban Outfitters. Brendan, the bartender, too distracted to realize he’s made not one but two rum-less rum and Cokes. All of them have their eyes glued to the stage.
I finish wiping up a few water rings clinging to the counter and throw my white bar towel over my shoulder, craning my neck around the sea of people to get a better view.
The stage lights cast an odd purplish hue over everything. Her face is outlined in shades of lilac and violet, and her long black hair shines a deep burgundy. I watch as her hands move up and down the neck of the guitar without so much as a second glance, every fret memorized, the feel of the strings ingrained in her fingertips.
Because while all eyes are on her, Natalie Ramirez is only looking at me.
She gives me a small, secret smile. The same one that gave me butterflies five whole months ago, when her band first performed at Tilted Rabbit.
It was the best performance I’ve seen in the three years I’ve worked here. Being a small local venue, we’ve had our fair share of Alanis Morissette wannabes and weekend warrior cover bands. There was a guy just last week who tried to go full Neutral Milk Hotel and play a saw for an hour straight, the sound so screeching that everyone except my coworkers and his girlfriend left the building.
To be honest, between the iffy music, the weird hours, and the less-than-ideal pay, the turnover rate here is pretty high. I’d have quit ages ago, but … my mom needs money for rent. Plus, I do too, now that I’m leaving for college.
And I guess it’s all right. Because if I had quit, I wouldn’t have been there that night five months ago, and I wouldn’t be here right now, catching Natalie Ramirez’s gaze from behind the bar.
My stomach sinks as I realise this is the last time I’ll hear her play for a while, and even though I try to push that feeling away, it lingers. It sticks around through saying a final farewell to the ragtag crew of coworkers that let me study at the bar on school nights, through waiting for Natalie to get done with her celebratory drinks backstage before her band goes on their first-ever tour next week, and through the two of us veering off to spend my last night here at home exactly how I want to spend it.