Blog Tour: The Smartest Girl in the Room by Deborah Nam-Krane, guest post, giveaway, reviews
The Smartest Girl in the Room Series: The New Pioneers, Book One Author: Deborah Nam-Krane Published: March 29th, 2013 Word Count: 85,...
The Smartest Girl in the Room
Series: The New Pioneers, Book One
Author: Deborah Nam-Krane
Published: March 29th, 2013
Word Count: 85,000
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit
Content Warning: Brief references to adult situations and minor adult language
Recommended Age: 14+
Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she's going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily's ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She's going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn't the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she'd cross the line for would do the same for her?
"Is there some reason you want to keep me jacked up tonight?"
He leaned forward and put his face in his hands. "I like talking to you, and I want to do it as much as I can."
She held his eyes for a moment. "Alright, but you can’t expect anything I say in another hour to make any sense."
An hour and a half into their conversation, she indeed lost her train of thought and stared at him. He made a goofy face and she laughed. "You caught me."
"What were you thinking?"
"That I didn't enjoy myself this much the last time I stayed out this late."
"The last time? How late did you stay up?"
"At least until two."
"Then we're staying until three, for sure."
"Only if you get me another cannoli."
"Consider it done." He took a deep breath. "And who were you with?"
"Another girl." She paused. "Another heterosexual girl."
"Hmm. And how old were you?"
"I can’t picture you up past your bedtime at that age."
"At that age, I could have done anything I wanted to as long as I didn’t get picked up by the police."
"Ah, you were one of those lucky kids with permissive parents."
"Just one. My parents were divorced by then, and the psychotically strict one left me with the pathologically lax one."
"Sounds like a good deal."
"I thought so too, for the most part. Of course, I did question it when there wasn't any food in the house."
Mitch laughed, but Emily's expression didn't change. "I'm sorry," he said, sitting up. "Food was always readily available in my house."
"Well, I never starved."
"That must have been rough."
Emily shrugged. "Even when there was food, I tried to avoid being around my Mom that year. That was when she married my stepfather, and it didn't matter if I was there or not. I was a non-person."
"No, you weren't." He took her hand. "And you're not now."
She squeezed back, and he held on tighter. "I wish I could trust you, but you're sort of exhausted and tired and who knows what you're going to say?"
"Then you're going to have to let me say these things when I'm awake."
"Yeah? Sorry, but I'm not going to believe you about anything until you get me that second cannoli."
They talked until the café closed at three. The charm of an early fall evening was over. It was just cold now. Emily leaned against a building next to the restaurant, rubbing her hands together. "Okay, buddy. It’s three o’clock, there are no trains for a few hours and we’re out in the cold. What do you have in mind now?"
Mitch leaned over her and put his hands on her shoulders, then gently rested his chin on her forehead. She put her hands on his chest, just to keep warm, of course. "Better?" he asked.
"Oh, much." She tilted her head up to look at his smooth neck then hugged him. "But I don’t think anyone is going to let us stay here all night."
"Are you always like this?"
"Talkative? Yes, it keeps me amused."
"You seem like you’re worried someone’s going to send you to the principal’s office."
"And I suppose that’s served me well, because even during my darkest hours that never happened."
"Hmm. And I'm sure that made you a lot of friends."
"Some friends aren't worth having."
"So were you friend-free or just friend-less?"
"Mmm hmm," he started playing with her hair. "And were all of them girls?"
"Once I grew out of my gnome-state, I did manage to acquire a few friends of the Y-chromosome persuasion."
"Just a few?"
"And most of them were just friends."
"How many weren't?"
She looked up and he backed away. "Why do you ask?"
"Typical insecure guy stuff. I like to know who I'm being measured against."
"I think you're projecting. How am I doing in comparison to everyone else?"
"You are in a class all by yourself." He cleared his throat. "What about me?"
She took his hand. "Suffice to say, my taste in high school was so bad that, for the most part, Joe Welles would have been a better boyfriend."
"The most part," he repeated. "So who's my competition?"
She looked down for a moment. "He sort of doesn't count. Really, he was just a friend, and in some ways he wasn't even that."
"Oh, that's so much worse."
She shook her head. "It's not."
"Then why does he even get considered?"
"Because he was there for this one moment when everything seemed like it was as it should be and I wasn't alone." She smiled at the memory. "The starry night."
"There were a lot of stars?"
She giggled. "No, but I saw them anyway."
He came closer. "So how am I stacking up so far?"
"I haven't questioned my place in the world once tonight."
"So I'm the male version of Zainab. I guess that's a start."
"Zainab's great," she whispered, "but she doesn't make me see stars."
He moved in closer still. "Em-"
She put her fingers over his lips then smiled impishly. "No. This is sort of perfect right now."
"Anyone ever tell you you're a tease?"
"Anyone ever tell you you're impatient?"
He put his hands around her hips. "So how long do I have to wait?"
She suddenly remembered Drew. "Someone from my favorite class is having a party on Friday. Or he knows someone having a party-"
"Oh, it’s a he. Your favorite person from your favorite class?"
Emily started giggling. "No, I don’t think so. He’s kind of a dork."
"I write some legislation with Joe and suddenly you think I’m all about dorks?"
"Ah, but if you come to the party, you’ll also get to be with me. And, sorry, I cannot promise the same if you choose Joe."
"Then I would love to come to your friend’s party next Friday."
"It’s a date then."
"It’s another date."
Mitch letter to Emily
This has got to be the hundredth time I’ve written to you. Well, no, not really. When I was in Ireland, I thought about you all the time, and I thought about how far away you were. I thought I’d call you, and then I thought you’d hang up on me. (I guess I always imagine you doing that.) I could probably figure out an email address and send you a letter that way, but I’m sure you’d delete it before you could open it. So I thought I’d send you a letter, and I imagined you opening it and smiling when you read that I was sorry and I couldn’t wait to get back to you. But then I realized that you wouldn’t really be happy to get a letter from me, and if you saw who it was you’d probably toss it into the trash rather than open it.
I imagine you would. I wouldn’t blame you if you did.
I’ve been back for a little while now. You know that- you saw me that day. That day I saw you. I have so much to say and ask you. Are you okay? What the Hell happened with Joe? I know what he did and I know what you did, but you looked much worse than he did. (Although, I will add, it looks like you have some right hook.)
You looked at me like you were angry at me. Was what happened with him- with Zainab- my fault? I swear to you, if I had known, I would have done everything in my power to have stopped it. You know that, don’t you? You don’t think I’m some kind of…monster, right?
I followed you, Em. I wanted to tell you these things and tell you how sorry I was for everything. It only took me a few seconds to run down those stairs, but those were some of the best seconds of my life because I knew you were going to be downstairs waiting for me.
You were downstairs, but you weren’t waiting for me. I wanted to kill that guy you were hugging. No, you weren’t hugging him, were you? He was holding you, and you were crying. He was telling you it was going to be okay, and you needed to hear that from someone.
Am I one of the things that’s going to be okay? Would you have listened if I had said it?
I’m so sorry. I didn’t have a chance to tell you about Ireland. No, that’s wrong. I had a chance, but there were so many other things I wanted to talk about with you. Screw that- I should have told you about my grandmother, because I think you would have understood why I had to go. It’s just that when I was with you I didn’t have to go Ireland. I had to be with you.
And that’s why...God, I really hate myself when I think of Kyra. Do you know why I did that? Was it so obvious you could see it from across an ocean? It was a mistake, my mistake. But that part is done, for whatever it’s worth.
This is a stupid idea, isn’t it? It’s one more thing you’re not going to read. What should I do? You’re smart- you’d know. Would you talk to me? No, you wouldn’t. But maybe Zainab could convince you. You know, I’ve been meaning to call her anyway…
I’m not going to send this now, but when I do, I hope you know that I’m yours,
A brilliant novel that would make you rethink the chick-lit genre… in a good way!
(first published in July)
Hotness factor: PG-13 (you're safe)
Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she's going to get it. When the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily's ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She's going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn't the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she'd cross the line for would do the same for her?
That blurb doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the things that happened in this wonderful book (great head rush!). And because I don’t want to scream spoiler alert, I’ll try to do the same. I haven’t been nineteen in over a decade and so being nineteen in the age of texting, a mobile, iPad…seems foreign to me. But Deborah captured the innocence and the “I don’t jack about life but I so think I do” feeling perfectly with Emily. I could see the red flags, she, Emily, missed. She, Emily, makes us respect her drive and purposes in life but not always understand them. That being said, Mitch even with all he’s done or has failed to do, stays my favorite’s character. I’m a sucker for good three dimensional male characters and Mitch is a fantastic example of it.
The Smartest Girl In The Room made me think about a time when everything was possible or at least I thought it was, my early twenties. It made me think about when I first met my best friends and how much they still mean to me decades later. It made me think about youthful mistakes, blossoming loves… Bottom line, it made you think.
And after all a chicklit that makes you think, how can it not be a wonderful thing read?
The Family You Choose
Series: The New Pioneers, Book Two
Author: Deborah Nam-Krane
Published: September 10th, 2013
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit
Synopsis: Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough? The Family You Choose is Book Two in The New Pioneers Series.
(First published in September)
Yes! Yes! Yes! Family sagas genre is back!
5 stars! (and more if I could)
Hotness factor: Less is more... (wink)
Disclaimers: I received an advanced review copy but this in no way affected my review.
The second installment or should I say season of The New Pioneers Series, my favorite new show (check out the awesome cast), is focusing on Emily's friend Miranda Harel and her...family. Right at the beginning when the word guardian appeared on the page and I thought, a 23 year old still living with her legal guardian? Nineteen century style novel, those men always ended up marrying her ward...right? Oh but there is another man living with them, Michael and he has been making Miranda's life a living hell. You know what they say when a boy always picks on a girl. He lacks sociable skills...
The trouble is that from the first book we already know Micheal is very bad news. I mean, awful bad news, unmentionable news... Deborah didn't hold any punches when she created this one. Do you still have some nails left? Mine are all gone!
But there's always more to story and trust me it will keep you guessing on the edge of your seat, screaming at your Android phone/iPad/kindle/book, questioning your own life's choices and starting long conversations maybe even a few debates. Poor Miranda, she's a few years older than Emily was in the first book but her friends and I had to question her judgement a lot...not like they're doing any better themselves! (SPOILER)
The Family You Choose is a more complex book than its predecessor. It's written beautifully and it has so many great characters. The ones you root for (Richard, Richard!!!), the ones you just love to hate (Alex, Alex!!!), the ones who still haven't learnt their lesson (Mitch, Mitch!!!), the Mother Hen (Zainab, Zainab!!!)...
But don't take my word for it, join the movement and let's spark a little debate about old money, old families and their old dirty secrets! Yes, I love this book!
About the Author
Deborah Nam-Krane was born in New York, raised in Cambridge and went to school in Boston. You’re forgiven for assuming she’s prejudiced toward anything city or urban. She’s been writing in one way or another since she was eight years old (and telling stories well before that). She first met some of the characters in this story when she was thirteen years old, but it took two decades- and a couple of other characters- to get the story just right. In 2012 she wrote the History section of her sister Suzanne Nam’s Moon Thailand (Moon Handbooks). A blogger since 2006, she can be found in a number of places. Please check http://writtenbydeb.blogspot.com for more information and to join her mailing list.
$10 electronic Amazon Gift Card
Giveaway is International.