To be completely honest with you, guys, this is my first review. Ever. I’m a tad nervous, but it’s quite fitting for it to be about Cora Carmack’s LOSING IT. Why, you might be wondering, yes? Well, to answer this question with another question… Have you read the blurb? In case you haven't, here it is:
Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.
Every review of LOSING IT I’ve stumbled across describes with hilarious accuracy Bliss and her craziness, so I thought I’d dig a little deeper. As a genre, New Adult is only emerging and it might still take a long while for it to get proper recognition, so today’s “new adults” don’t have nearly as much representation as teenagers in contemporary literature. Just yesterday I was reading an article about the evolution of YA, and it boggles the mind that what today is such a large market in the literary community, twenty years ago wasn’t even recognized as a genre. In this emerging market, let me introduce you to Bliss Edwards.
She’s very smart, very passionate and very pretty. And she is also what we’d call a late bloomer. The first pages alone are successful at painting us her worldview. And when her blood pressure rises (that would be when we meet Garrick), you are already panting right along with her. The storytelling is that good.
Garrick is a delight. How often have you crossed paths with a male protagonist who is swoon-worthy but also comes across as real? Let’s face it: one of the greatest appeals of current YA novels out there is that they give us the “perfect” fictional boyfriend we are all waiting to find in our everyday lives. I don’t know about you, guys, but I’m personally still waiting. Garrick is this blond British guy, who owns a motorcycle and teaches theatre. Yeah, I know. How much hotter than that can we get, right? There are these little things, though, that make him real. You’ll find yourself rooting for him, and at some points wanting to yell at him: “What the hell is wrong with you, man? Don’t be such an idiot. She’s totally into you!” You’ll be surprised to notice his hotness is barely an afterthought, something that’s in the background but not the center of the story. To me, that’s gold.
My favorite part, by far, is one of Bliss’ moments of utter lack of grace. I don’t want to be spoilery, but it involves alcohol – lots of alcohol. And it feels important to mention this: Bliss’ frequently-mentioned awkwardness is not her being clumsy or having brain-not-engaged moments. She’ll make you laugh with smart thoughts (like when she uses this Shakespeare reference of the ‘beast of two backs’ that’ll make you cry with laughter), and ridiculous excuses that could actually happen (like when she adopts Hamlet… you’ll SO love that cat). And overall just being real.
Also, I love books that make me want to learn new things. LOSING IT is filled with theatre references that serve as metaphors of the romantic entanglements of these two (On that note, you might want to take a look at the play Phaedra). And if you’re not into theatre, you’d still find plenty of situations that will make you swoon.
One quick last thing before I forget… the secondary characters are all pretty amazing, but there’s this guy that takes the cake. In fact, my first thought when I finished reading the book (after my heartbeats slowed down to normal rates, that is) was… What about HIM? I’m not going to tell you his name. But promises have been made *eyeing Cora surreptitiously, except not really eyeing her seeing as we haven’t actually met* that we’ll get his follow up story next year. You’ll want to know. Believe me.
If you’re still not totally convinced LOSING IT is worth reading, I have a very special guest here that, if you’re a hot-blooded creature, will make you reconsider. Let’s all welcome Garrick Taylor to the stage…
Me: First of all, lovely to meet you *handshake*. Tell me a little about yourself, Garrick.
G: Hello Johana, it's lovely to meet you. Well, I'm an actor. Oh, and I'm English. Bliss always says I should lead with that, but I think the accent makes it fairly redundant. Since I was little, I've always loved a challenge. That's what's so great about theatre-- every day at the office is different with a new part to play or a new audience or new obstacles. It makes for a very interesting life, which I suppose is the most I can ask for.
Me: I have a healthy respect for a man that loves a challenge. Speaking of, I've heard some interesting things about Bliss. What can you tell me about her?
G: Ah, Bliss. I mentioned that I love a challenge, right? She's definitely that. I won't pretend I have her all figured out. She's a complex girl and I like that. She's hilarious, but takes life very seriously. She's ambitious, but indecisive. She's very intelligent, but well, in the time I've known her she's certainly made some... interesting choices. She's sexy (even though she always makes this funny face when I say that). From the moment we met, I knew if anything could keep my life interesting, it would be her.
Me: *Stares intensely at him* Oh, my! And what crossed your mind when you found out Bliss' role in your new job?
G: Christ, that was a bad day, wasn't it? Oddly enough, it took me a bit to really figure out what had happened. I stood there staring, coming up with all these crazy reasons that she could be there. When I realized she was a student, I was just gutted. I mean, the night before had ended poorly, but I'd planned to go round to her place after I got off work, see if I could smooth things over. Needless to say, that didn't happen.
Me: You've told me about Bliss, now I want to hear about you. What made you pursue a career in theatre? Did someone influence your decision, or is it just "your call"? Heavens know, it's a challenging path.
G: Now, Johana, are you forgetting how I feel about challenges? *grins* How I became interested in theatre is actually a funny story. I wanted to play rugby when I was younger. My mum is a bit overprotective, so she was appalled. After a few injuries, she got it in her head that she needed to provide me with a more cultured upbringing. She started taking me to plays, hoping the arts would turn me into a proper gentleman. Instead, it turned me into an actor. I'm not sure I've been entirely proper since.
Me: Oh, believe me, I haven't forgotten. I promised my readers we'll discuss some particular subjects. So… Do you cook?
G: I do not, not well at least. Don't be too disappointed, ladies. What I lack in the kitchen, I make up for in other rooms.
Me: Oh my God. I.. I mean.. Well. Thank you for that visual. And who cares, right? There are always delivery services. And how were your first experiences (OMG *blushes*) in America? I mean, in the theatre scene and all?
G: Visuals, eh? I'm a tactile person myself. I learn best through touch. But you asked about my first years in America. Well, I moved when I was 18. It was an adjustment, certainly. A culture shock in many ways, but I loved it. It didn't hurt that American girls love a guy with an accent. My first show was actually The Importance of Being Earnest. I had a leg up there considering I already had the dialect down. I love England, but I'm happy here in the States. Very happy.
Me: And what's your favorite play of all time?
G: Now you've done it. It's your fault if I go on too long. Favorite is a hard thing to pin down. I remember my life in plays-- which stories were most important to me at different times. Over the years I've called many shows my "favorite." Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, Hamlet, The History Boys by Alan Bennett, All my Sons by Arthur Miller, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, and the musical Sunday in the Park with George just to name a few. These days though... I'd say my favorite is Phaedra.
Me: I heard Bliss is doing pretty good career-wise… But what are your plans on the long term?
G: For my career or Bliss? I've got big plans for both I'd say.
Me: I am glad to hear that. It's all about the passion you feel for what you do, no? Any words of wisdom for aspiring actors out there?
G: Approach life the way you would approach portraying a role. Discover what you want, and go after it. Don't give up when your objective isn't met in the first scene. Try harder. Change your tactics. Obstacles make life interesting. If a character were to back down from a challenge, it wouldn't be a very interesting play. The same goes for life.
Me: That's an amazing advice. I'm definitely looking forward to hear more about you, guys. Thank you infinitely for joining me for this interview.
You are very welcome, Johana. It was lovely to meet you.
Now how about that? Still not decided? What are you, a paraguayan trying to decide who should win the elections in America based on your twitter feed? Oh, wait... That's me. Sorry.