Spotlight on Freaky In Fresno (Laurie Boyle Crompton), Excerpt, Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to spotlight Freaky In Fresno by Laurie Boyle Crompton.
Read on for more about Laurie and her book, an excerpt, plus an giveaway!
Meet Laurie Boyle Crompton!
Laurie Boyle Crompton is the author of FREAKY IN FRESNO (February 11, 2020; HarperCollins/Blink), PRETTY IN PUNXSUTAWNEY (HarperCollins/Blink 2019), ADRENALINE CRUSH (Macmillan/2014, Square Fish/2016), BLAZE (or Love in the Time of Supervillains), THE REAL PROM QUEENS OF WESTFIELD HIGH and LOVE AND VANDALISM (Sourcebooks/2013, 2014, 2017). You can visit Laurie online at lboylecrompton.com
Meet Freaky In Fresno!
Ricki has one goal: save the Starlight Drive-in movie theater from going dark forever. Okay, make that two goals … she may also want a first kiss from her cinema-rescuing partner and major crush, Jake. Lana definitely has only one goal: grow her online makeup channel to keep her momager off her back, even if the posts attract ugly internet trolls.
The two cousins couldn’t be more different, but their opposite personalities come crashing to a head when their aunt gifts the girls a vintage cotton-candy-pink convertible. To share. Ricki wants the convertible for the drive-in’s grand reopening, but it’s the same day as Digifest, a huge event where Lana needs to shine. After a major fight and a minor electric shock while wrestling over the wheel, Ricki wakes up as Lana, and Lana wakes up as Ricki.
Ricki and Lana have only a day to un-Freaky Friday themselves, a task made even more difficult as they try to keep up appearances on Lana’s channel and with Ricki’s hopefully-soon-to-be-kissed crush. But it turns out experiencing a day as each other—with a mini road trip in the Skylark and the Chihuahua wrangling it entails—may be the one thing that help the cousins see each other and themselves more clearly.
From Laurie Boyle Crompton, author of Pretty in Punxsutawney, comes Freaky in Fresno, perfect for fans of Mary Rodgers and Morgan Matson.
~ Excerpt ~
The first thing I notice when I wake up the next morning, before I even open my eyes, is that the soothing smell of mint has been replaced with a thick, fragrant odor. The sickly sweet scent is so dense it actually makes me start coughing.
Why would Nurse Mom dump perfume into my humidifier?
My eyes try to fly open, except . . . they don’t. They’re stuck closed as if they were glued shut while I slept. I manage to get my right eye unglued, but my left eyelid is stuck shut as I look around my room.
Through the haze of sleep, I realize that the smell and gluey eyelids aren’t the only things that’ve changed. The morning light that usually shines from the window to the right of my bed has shifted so now the sunbeams are coming from the window near the foot of my bed. Except that I don’t normally have a window near the foot of my bed.
I squeeze my eye closed again. That must’ve been some very strong medicine Nurse Mom slid down my throat last night.
Maybe that explains the odd sensation of having something heavy resting on my chest right now. I picture Zelda sitting on my front and baring her teeth at my face as she watches me sleep. That Chihuahua is so terrifying, just imagining her on top of me makes me panic and blindly flail at my chest.
Except that my body seems to have shrunk in the night and I’m actually grabbing at air. Where has my chest gone?
My right eye flies back open and I use my fingers to pry at my left. My eyelashes are so stiff they feel like they could draw blood. Panicking, I tug hard on my upper left eyelid, trying to force my eye to open, and my upper eyelashes peel off my eye in one long stream.
I hold up the long strip of lashes and scream like I’ve just pulled an insect out of my eyeball. Which is basically what I’ve done. I drop the multi-legged parasite and slap at it until I’m sure it’s not alive.
Hyperventilating while I look around, I discover that another major thing has changed while I was sleeping. That is: my whole room!
Gone are my posters of Alfred Hitchcock and The Thing, replaced with a series of silver-framed mirrors in all different shapes and sizes. My long shelves, which are normally occupied by realistic-looking monster masks, have morphed into neat displays of makeup on each and every available surface area.
Across from my bed sits an oversized desk with an assortment of large, white lightboxes aimed at a clear acrylic chair on wheels. Stacks of wide compacts are piled high, and white canisters holding bouquets of brushes surround a perfect army of lipsticks standing in creepily even rows.
Instead of blood and gore everywhere, my room is suddenly pink and white and delicate-looking.
I scream in horror.
“MOM!” I call as I begin to hyperventilate.
I hear angry mumbling coming from the next room. I sit straight up in bed and call faster and louder, “MOM-MOM-MOM-MOM-MOM—!”
Finally, thick footsteps come stomping toward my door.
But instead of my mother, Aunt April bursts into the room. Her hair is a snarled mess and her eyeliner is smeared all the way down to her cheekbones.
“What the heck, Lana?” Aunt April is so angry I’m stunned into silence. “It’s insanely early! Unless you are injured, go back to sleep!”
I hug the pink blanket up to my neck and stare at her.
“Are you injured?” she demands.
I shake my head, and she takes a step closer, looking at my face intently.
I wince as she scowls in anger. “You fell sleep without washing off your makeup?”
“What?” I’m so confused.
“What on earth were you thinking, Lana?”
Aunt April’s look of disgust makes my insides wither. I hold the blanket tighter around my neck. Why is she acting like I’m Lana? She must be drunk.
“I can’t believe you’d risk a breakout the night before Digifest! Seriously, Lana. Your complexion is our livelihood.” She spins on her heel to leave. “Go wash your face!” Aunt April slams the door and I hear her footsteps marching all the way back down the hallway.
I have so many questions right now.
Looking around at the photos and pictures on the walls, I know I’m in Lana’s bedroom, although I barely recognize it without the Ghost World movie poster and underground comic décor I remember from the last time I was here.
Now, in addition to the elaborate vanity table, Lana’s room is littered with strategically placed mood candles and bland, semi-inspirational wall art. Her shelves are packed with glass perfume bottle sculptures, and a giant, glam, old-Hollywood-style light-up mirror is centered like a holy icon.
I get the willies so bad I have to jiggle my arms to fend them off and give a shuddering “Aaaaaaaaghblahblah” as I shake my head to clear it.
I have zero clue what I’m doing in Lana’s bedroom. And why did Aunt April freak out over face washing instead of me being in her daughter’s bed? And if this is all some elaborate prank, then where have my boobs gone?
I clutch my new A cups and have a terrible thought.
Or worse, I’ve taken possession. Which means I’m the evil one.
My mind whirls with horror movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing, but in those situations I’d just be some monster or alien right now and my body wouldn’t have changed at all. This is more like the opposite, where only my body has changed.
The horror movie Thinner comes to mind, where a guy makes a wish to lose weight and then can’t stop, but I’ve always been extremely body positive and would never wish away my C-plus cups. Besides, even that poor Thinner guy’s curse had a more gradual weight loss effect. I seem to have dropped at least fifty pounds overnight and even my rib cage feels like it just . . . shrank.
I think of the voodoo that put a dying murderer into a three-foot-tall Chucky doll in the cult classic Child’s Play. But as crazy as things seem right now, even I know that’s too far-fetched. I’m not into voodoo, also not a murderer. And I may be small now, but I’m hardly doll-sized.
I eye the desk covered with perfectly arranged bottles and brushes and recognize it as the spot where Lana films her makeup videos. I creep out of bed and make my way toward the vintage glam mirror dramatically framed with round light bulbs.
The heaviness in my chest gets even worse when I stand up and hug one arm tightly around my mini-middle. I reach up to rub the eye that didn’t peel apart in my hand but feel a sharp eyelash and immediately drop my hand back down.
As I approach the waist-high desk, I push the rolling acrylic chair out of the way and brace myself. This is it.
Without looking, I reach over and click on the light bulbs, take a deep breath, and wait a beat before moving so I’m facing the brightly lit mirror.
I’m disoriented for a moment because instead of my own reflection, I see a very realistic and lifelike image of Lana.
She’s a complete mess, but she looks hyper-realistic. Like, when I blink, she blinks her lopsided, crazy-looking lashes, and when my mouth falls open in shock, Lana’s lipstick-smeared mouth does the same exact thing in the mirror.
We both close our mouths and give a gulp. Numbly, I raise a hand to wave, and the wild-looking Lana reflection waves back at me.
I think of the powerful jolt the two of us got in the Skylark back at the drive-in while Freaky Friday clips flashed onscreen. I fully believe that the Starlight Drive-in is magic, and that Aunt May’s pink Skylark is an ultra-special vehicle, but none of this can be real.
I lean forward and the Lana in the mirror leans closer too. The heaviness in my chest shifts to a sense of hopelessness. Out loud I say, “This isn’t happening,” and Lana’s lips move with mine.
I reach up to touch my face, which is when I notice my nice, strong, functional hands have grown long, manicured nails overnight. I give my left hand a few shakes, as if that will release the foreign pink nails from my fingers, but they’re a part of my new, graceful-looking Lana hands.
The hopeless feeling in my chest expands like a balloon until it reaches my head.
This is real.
And that is when my legs give out a little.
In desperation, I grab for something to hang on to. But the clear acrylic chair I lunge for rolls away and I’m left grabbing at a waist-high display of small bottles.
The room starts to go dim as my flailing arms send lotions and creams sailing in every direction.
Bottles explode as they hit the floor, and the cloying scent is released into the air in fragrant waves that grow more and more overpowering.
I can’t breathe.
My mind swirls as I fall to the floor, gripping a bottle in each hand.
I struggle to hang on to consciousness:
How did I wake up in Lana’s bedroom as LANA?
And what is the deal with this heavy feeling in my chest?
Why do I feel so hopeless and depressed right now?
Actually, scrap all of that:
Can I please, please, please just be dreaming right now?
Maybe if I close my eyes and rest a minute, I’ll wake up among the comforting gory masks and horror-show movie posters of my own bedroom.
And with that thought, the screen of my mind flickers and goes completely dark.
*Published with permission from HarperCollins/Blink
Freaky In Fresno
By: Laurie Boyle Crompton
Publisher: Blink Publishing
Release Date: February 11th, 2020
One winner will receive a copy of Freaky In Fresno (Laurie Boyle Crompton) ~ US Only
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The cover is cute, and the storyline sounds like a lot of fun. I would likely connect as my little hometown had an outdoor drive-in which actually lasted into the late 2000s! Best wishes.