Lovesick? We recommend falling in love with someone fictional…

St. Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate romance and all things lovey-dovey. Here at OUP, we’re feeling the lurrve and revelling in the romance of some of our teen titles: Seeking Crystal, Firelight, and Rachel Riley. We thought you might like to share the loving…

It started with a kiss

9780192793515_SEEKING_CRYSTAL_CVR_OCT12Let us begin with the excitement of a first kiss and head to Seeking Crystal by Joss Stirling for some tantalising tonsil tennis. Here comes a first kiss for two savants, Xav and Crystal, destined to be together, but who first have to get past the stage of despising each other to such a level of hatred that we all know ultimately leads to them being a perfect match. Their first kiss comes on the set of a film, where they have been directed in their roles as extras to act the part of lovers.

This time I promised myself I’d resist Xav’s spell and notice Steve Hughes going past but then Xav’s lips touched mine and all other thoughts fled. His kiss was incredibly soft and tender.

Tingles ran from my mouth and down my spine, radiating to every inch of my body. My bones seemed to melt and I could do nothing but hold on to him with that perfect point of contact joining us. Cold dry ice whirled around my ankles. Warm arms enfolded me, keeping me upright. A hand cradled my head in just the right position to deepen the kiss, lips exploring, touching the curve of my jaw, the column of my neck. I was so enthralled that I had not even heard James shout ‘cut’.

Is this all how on/off screen romances begin? Just a note to any casting agents or directors out there, if you ever work on a film of Seeking Crystal I am more than happy to audition for the part of Crystal should you have Bradley Cooper cast as Xav. (Oh come on, it’s Valentine’s Day, a girl can dream.)

The heat of the moment

9780192756510_FIRELIGHT_CVR_SEP12Sometimes just a look is enough to spark a ‘moment’. Take Jacinda in Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Jacinda is a draki, a descendent of dragons with the power to shift into human form. When, in dragon form, she meets Will, a draki hunter, she knows she should avoid him at all costs. But Will stirs something deep within Jacinda, as we see in the following extract where Jacinda first sees Will when in her human form.

He leans against the lockers, taller than everyone around him. Twirly-hair Brooklyn plays with the hem of his shirt, shamelessly leaning into him, glossy lips moving nonstop. He smiles, nods, listens as she chatters, but I sense that he doesn’t really care, that he’s somewhere else . . . or wants to be. Just like me.

I can’t look away.

Honey brown hair falls over his brow carelessly, and I remember it darkly wet and slicked back from his face. I remember the two of us alone in a cave, his hand on mine and that spark that passed between us before his face became so stark and angry. Before he vanished.

Tamra sighs beside me and twists around to see. ‘Ah,’ she murmurs knowingly. ‘Yummy. Too bad though. It looks like he’s got a girlfriend. You’ll have to set your sights on someone else—’ Facing me, she gasps. ‘Jace! You’re glowing!’ That jerks my attention back. I glance down at my arms.

My skin blurs in and out, shimmering faintly, like I’ve been dusted with gold. The draki in me stirs, tingling, yearning to come out.

Steamy stuff. Forbidden love has never been hotter. Quite literally.

Admiration from afar

9780192794512_RACHEL_RILEY_MY_SO_CALLED_LIFE_CVR_JAN13If you need a hint or two in how to attract the attention of someone that you have longed for from afar, then please don’t take Rachel Riley’s advice. In My So-Called Life by Joanna Nadin, Rachel believes she has found the key to bonding with her current fixation, Justin, through a shared love of chocolate.

Wednesday 19 January

Scarlet has tracked Justin down to Mr Patel’s opposite the lower school gates. He goes there with Jack at lunchtime. Under interrogation from Scarlet, Jack has disclosed that he buys a Coke (full fat) and a Snickers. I am going to start eating Snickers to bond with him. I hope I am not allergic to peanuts. Ooh, if I was, though, he could heroically give me mouth to mouth when I collapse on Mr Patel’s sticky lino.

Thursday 20

Went to Mr Patel’s at lunch and bought a Snickers, right in front of Justin and Sophie. But it turns out I am not allergic to peanuts. For a minute I thought I might be because I went all red and started coughing, but it turned out that a peanut had lodged in my throat. Sad Ed hit me on the back and the peanut flew out onto Sophie Jacobs’s pink puffa. Sophie said, ‘Gross, you loser’; Justin flicked the peanut on the floor for Sophie; Jack smiled and said, ‘Nice one, Riley’; and I stood there with Snickers dribble running down my chin. It was not the bonding moment I had hoped for.

And it is on this slightly odd dribble filled note that I wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day and hope that you find a way to say I love you to that special someone that involves something less dramatic that getting a peanut stuck in your throat!

Written by Nicola Atkinson, Marketing ManagerNicola pic