Spotlight on Cool For The Summer (Dahlia Adler), Excerpt, Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to spotlight Cool For The Summer by Dahlia Adler.
Read on for more about Dahlia and her book, an excerpt, plus an giveaway!
Meet Dahlia Adler!
DAHLIA ADLER is an editor of mathematics by day, the overlord of LGBTQ Reads by night, and a Young Adult author at every spare moment in between. She is the editor of the anthologies His Hideous Heart (a Junior Library Guild selection) and That Way Madness Lies, and the author of many novels, including Cool for the Summer. She lives in New York with her family and an obscene number of books.
Meet Cool For The Summer!
Dahlia Adler's Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.
Lara's had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He's tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he's talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe...flirting, even? No, wait, he's definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara's wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she's finally got the guy, why can't she stop thinking about the girl?
~ Excerpt ~
All things considered, high school’s been pretty good to me. Granted, if ever I get too whiny about anything, my mother will start comparing my woes of not having my own car to her woes of not having her own shoes growing up in Russia, but even in my worst moments of spoiled bratdom, I know that having good friends, decent grades, frequent party invites, and perpetually clear skin makes me one of the luckiest of the lucky.
Sure, my dad’s a disappearing shithead and I didn’t get the pony I wanted for my ninth birthday, but overall, I’d say life’s delivered pretty nicely.
So why is it, when I walk into Stratford High on the first day of senior year, I am immediately reminded of what I don’t have? Why must all six feet three inches of Chase Harding, unreciprocated love of my life, be the very first person I see? Why must he be right down the
hall from the school’s entrance, cracking up guys from the football team, stupid-hot calves on blatant display of stupid-hotness?
How dare, universe. How dare.
“Watch that drool, Rissy. Someone might slip.”
“I was hoping you would,” I reply without shifting my gaze one iota. I don’t need to look up to know that Shannon Salter is speaking. She’s the only one who’d dare to call me Rissy. The only one who could without taking my gel manicure to the eyeball, really.
Still, after another beat, I turn away. Even I know I’m bordering on pathetic.
“I missed you, you bitch,” Shannon says, pecking my cheek. “I hate your tan.”
“You wish you had my tan.”
“Of course I wish I had your tan.” Shannon winds one of my shoulder-dusting butter-colored curls around her index finger and tugs. “And look how cute this hair- cut is! And how blond! How dare you spend the summer at the beach without me.”
“You were literally in Paris, Shan.”
“Oh right, I was.” She smiles widely enough to make dimples pop on her peaches-and-cream-skinned cheeks. “Shit, I am cool.”
She is, unfortunately. Even during this brief conver- sation, randos have dropped little “Hey, guys” in our di- rection, but mostly it’s “Hi, Shannon!” with a wave or a smile, careful not to disturb our post-summer reunion, but eager to start the year off right by cozying up to the most popular girl at Stratford.
As if Shannon’s desperate for new friends.
It was weird spending the entire summer apart. We haven’t done that in years, and certainly not since high school began. But then, my mom had never been asked to accompany her boss to the Outer Banks for the sum- mer. And she’d never dragged her daughter with her, rather than let her stay home alone in Stratford.
It was a summer of firsts.
“So cool,” I confirm, giving her a smooch on the cheek that leaves a coral lip print. “And we’re reunited, so that’s what’s—”
The greeting isn’t a tentative drive-by like the others, and it comes complete with a shadow. A six-foot-three shadow. I am not the squeeing type, but if I were, I’d be shattering some eardrums. “Hey, Harding.” Do I sound too flirty? I might sound too flirty. But the way he’s lean- ing against my locker is definitely flirty, so really, I’m not being weird. “Did you get taller over the summer?”
Okay, now I’m being weird.
“I did, thank you for noticing.” He squints at me like he’s scrutinizing my face. “You look different too, Bogdan.”
“In a good way?”
He flashes me a smile, revealing the crooked teeth that only make him cuter. “In a very good way.”
“That’s what I was just telling her,” says Shannon, looping an arm around my shoulders. “Look at this hot bitch.”
“I am, I am,” Chase says with a grin, but I barely hear him. A ghost is walking through the door of the school. A ghost with smooth bronze skin and full lips and lush
dark waves and amber eyes that I know from experience can convince you to do things you never, ever dreamed you would.
Things you liked. Things you loved. Things you’ve thought about with the lights off every night since.
Why is there a Jasmine Killary–shaped ghost haunt- ing Stratford?
“Yo. Bogdan.” Meticulously manicured nails snap in front of my face. “Where’d you go?”
I blink, expecting my vision to clear, but Jasmine’s still there, a flesh-and-blood being whose face may be partially obscured by a phone, but whose very real ex- istence is as undeniable as the thunderous pounding in my chest at the sight of her.
Where’d you go?
How do I tell my best friend I don’t even know where to begin answering that question?
The air is different in the Outer Banks, but then, every- thing is. The houses are all elevated on slats of wood to prevent destruction by flooding. The main road spanning southward from Sea Level is wide and flat and lonely. Nothing is more than two or three stories, tops. It’s a far cry from the suburbs of New York City and the summer I am supposed to be spending hand- selling books, consuming my weight in frozen yogurt, babysitting the Sullivan triplets, and glaring jealously at
Instagram selfies of Shannon posted from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
It wasn’t a dream summer plan, but it was mine, wrecked the instant my mom swept into our apartment and announced I had a week to pack an entire summer’s worth of stuff. I wasn’t happy about it—any of it—but I’m not eighteen yet and I can’t exactly show up at my dad’s house for the first time in years, begging to be babysat. Instead, I spent a week moping in front of crappy TV, said goodbye to my friends, packed my duffel bag with clothing meant for moping, and we were off.
It’s a little humiliating staying in the guest suite of my mom’s boss’s huge beach house, but at least it has a small second bedroom for me with an incredible view of the Atlantic. Declan Killary, CEO of Decker Industries, either did something very right in a past life, or does a lot of terrible shit in this one.
It only takes half an hour for us to get settled before we’re summoned to the kitchen—or at least my mother is. I tag along because what on earth else am I supposed to do?
Plus, I’m hungry.
Thankfully, Mr. Killary is generous with the contents of his fridge, basically telling me to go to town before turning to my mom for the rundown of his schedule for the night. You’d think it’d be pretty chill, given he’s at his vacation house, but by the time I tune out in favor of celery and peanut butter, he’s already been advised of three conference calls, given a set of renovation plans to review for his Dallas office, and told he has a date at 10:00 p.m. at a wine bar in Kill Devil Hills. I pretend
not to hear the last part. It’s gotta be embarrassing for a seventeen-year-old to overhear that your secretary makes your romantic social plans, but if he’s noticed I’m still in the room, there’s no indication.
I concentrate extra hard on picking up as much peanut butter as possible.
They’re going over tomorrow morning’s schedule when a whirlwind sweeps into the kitchen in a blur of long black curls and longer tanned legs. It whooshes right past me to the fridge, nearly whacks me with the door as it pulls out a coconut water, and lets out a moan loud enough to shake the walls as it—she—takes a long sip.
I’d think she hadn’t noticed anyone in the room at all, but then she complains, “It is so fucking hot outside. I need to jump in the pool.” And then she looks right at me with the closest thing to golden eyes I’ve ever seen. “Who are you?”
“Manners, Jasmine,” says Mr. Killary. “You remem- ber my assistant, Anya?” He gestures to my mom, who looks completely unfazed. “This is her daughter, Larissa. They’re staying with us this summer. Didn’t your mother tell you?”
She shrugs. “I might’ve been tuning her out at the time.” At least she’s honest. “You have a bathing suit?” she asks me.
I do, though I have a feeling it cost about five hundred dollars less than whatever Jasmine’s about to put on. “Yeah.”
“Great. Let’s go.” She walks out of the kitchen, coco- nut water in hand, leaving me no choice but to follow.
I kind of hate her on sight. You can tell she’s the kind of girl who always gets what she wants. And she makes me hate myself a little too, because I’ll be as suscepti- ble as everyone else who wants to make her happy. You don’t spend three years as Shannon Salter’s right-hand girl without learning how to spot these personalities faster than you’d spot the perfect jeans at Nordstrom Rack, and it never gets less annoying to make their acquaintance.
I love Shannon, but I get enough of being second place during the school year. I really don’t need to spend my summer that way too.
But a pool is a pool and if I’m going to be stuck here all summer, I’m sure as hell gonna get an epic tan.
It takes me longer than it should to choose between my favorite gingham bikini and a hotter but more bor- ing pink one—do I want to show off my fashion sense, or my genetically blessed waist?—and I end up go- ing with the former. Of course, Jasmine wears a tiny patterned metallic thing that’s infinitely cooler than mine and shows off a body with both curves and mus- cle tone, because that’s what her kind does. I just sigh and dive in.
To her credit, she doesn’t try and chat with me too much. There’s no session of picking the interloper’s brain and assessing their threat level. So maybe she isn’t exactly Shannon. She even whips out an actual novel, which Shannon would never, ever do.
I don’t know how to feel about this.
Before I know it, I’m the one making conversation.
“Reading for school?”
Her eyes stay on the page, but she lifts the book enough for me to see she’s definitely not doing a summer reading assignment, unless she goes to an extremely liberal school that assigns graphic novels instead of clas- sics by dead white guys. Which she might, since she’s outclassing me on everything else.
“Cool. I read for fun too.” Did I actually say that? Please tell me I did not say that. Next thing I’m going to be pouring my heart out about my five hundred deleted attempts at writing a romance novel. “I didn’t even know your dad had kids,” I continue, hating myself for babbling while Jasmine makes it clear she’s not inter- ested in conversation.
“Kid.” She tilts her face up at the sun, glare reflect- ing off the shades of her designer sunglasses. “Just me. I live with my mom in Asheville. You did know he was divorced, didn’t you? Or did you think your mom was banging a married man?”
Lordy, she is a Type. But I am used to Types. I can handle Types. “I did know, and they’re not banging. But if you’re looking for a partner in crime for a Parent
Trap–style summer, you’re out of luck.”
Her perfect white teeth flash in a smile. “God, I can’t imagine anything worse.” She sits up and I think she’s looking at me, but it’s impossible to tell through her mirrored aviators. “I’ll take a designated driver for a party tonight, though. It’ll be a good one. I promise.” Inviting me to the pool and a party in the first hour we meet? Either Jasmine is way more of a people person
than she lets on, or she’s really lonely. It doesn’t really matter. I know nobody here and have no choice but to accept the invitation.
But here’s the thing I learned about Jasmine that day: her promises are always, always for real.
Cool For The Summer
By: Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: May 11th, 2021
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