Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s debut novel came out a little over two years ago, and we’ve been dying for her to write another book ever since. Titled Firsts, her debut is a sex-positive Young Adult novel about a teen girl who sleeps with the virgin boys in her school, allowing them to get their awkward first time out of the way. Then their respective girlfriends can have a better experience for their first time.
Firsts proves funny, heartbreaking and entirely unique. So we’re thrilled that Flynn’s written her sophomore novel, Last Girl Lied To, which Imprint will release next April. This one is a YA thriller perfect for readers who love authors like Caleb Roehrig (a Paste favorite), Karen M. McManus and Kim Savage. Here’s the scoop from the publisher:
Seventeen-year-old Fiona never expected to become best friends with the girl who randomly got into her car one day after school and told her to drive. She definitely never expected that less than a year later, a raging end-of-summer party she didn’t even want to be at would be the last place she ever saw Trixie. She tells everyone she doesn’t remember much about that night, because the little details she does remember don’t mean anything.
But when the police find what Trixie left at the beach and her disappearance is ruled a suicide, Fiona is the only one who believes Trixie isn’t actually dead—and she’s determined to find out why she wants everyone to think she is. Desperate to uncover the truth, she turns to Jasper, Trixie’s former friend-with-benefits and the only other person who knew her at all, to piece together the dead-end trail of a girl who doesn’t want to be found. But the closer Fiona gets to discovering what happened—and the closer she gets to Jasper—she’s confronted with the reality that Trixie got into her car that day for a reason, and there was nothing random about it.
And the little details—the ones Fiona thought meant nothing—are the only clues Trixie left behind, leading to the unlikeliest place of all. Because the girl Fiona knew better than anyone may have been a carefully constructed lie, and she might have been waiting to disappear the entire time.
We’re excited to reveal the cover, which was designed by Connie Gabbert. Check it out below:
“I’m pretty sure I squealed when I opened the email from my editor and saw this cover,” Flynn tells Paste. “It perfectly encapsulates the dark, mysterious tone of the story, and the smudged lettering gives the illusion that the girl is disappearing or being erased out of her own life. I love that her face isn’t in focus, because appearance and the ways girls change, inside and out, are main themes in Last Girl Lied To. I was immediately left wondering about the girl—who she is, where she’s going, what she’s running from—which is what I hope readers question, too, when they pick up the book. I am so excited to share this story with everyone, and I’m thrilled that it gets to enter the world wearing such a gorgeous cover!”
Imprint also shared an exclusive excerpt from Chapter 1, which you can read now.
When I first met you, that stupid-hot day last September when you jumped into my car and slid down in the passenger seat and told me to drive, you were bleached blond. You had a pixie cut with dark roots, the kind of hair that was less a hairstyle and more a lifestyle. You were wearing too much eyeliner and had a ring in your lip and I never said it out loud, but I thought you were beautiful. Not in the regular way, but in your own way. And that was so much better.
You looked the exact same, day after day. You used to bleach your head every two weeks in your tiny bathroom at home. You asked me to trim your ends for you because you sucked at getting them even.
“My hair has to be short,” you told me. “It’s too damaged to grow out. I wish I had long hair like yours, but some things aren’t meant to be.”
“You can have mine,” I said. “It’s too thick. I hate it.” Really, I would have given you anything of mine you wanted.
Then, right after you graduated, just days after I watched you walk across the stage with your diploma and away from me, you showed up at my house with a stubby ponytail. A stubby, mouse-brown ponytail. I could tell by your smudged hairline that you had just done it yourself.
I barely recognized you.
“I never pictured you as a brunette,” I said.
“I wanted to try it,” you said. “Haven’t you ever just been so sick of yourself that you had to do something about it?”
The next week, your hair was copper, with choppy bangs that you must have cut yourself. You didn’t ask for my help, but I tried not to feel hurt. “It was a spontaneous thing,” you explained. “I saw the dye and just went for it.”
Two weeks later, it was black, with long extensions you said you bought on the internet. “I’m trying new things,” you told me when I finally asked why. “It’s time for a change.”
After that, I didn’t think much about it when you had a new look. Purple hair and streaked hair and bangs and bobs and curls and clip-in pieces. Then you started playing with makeup too, ditching your beloved, sooty eyeliner for false eyelashes and color contacts, and your lip ring for bright red lipstick that got on your teeth. I lost track of which version of you I would see, even though I saw you every single day that summer.
But I didn’t think much about it, because lots of girls do things like that.
I didn’t think much about it.
But I should have.
Because when you disappeared after the party, the police asked me for a description of you. They needed a description because they didn’t have a recent photo. They didn’t have a recent photo because no recent photos of you existed. You stayed out of pictures. You didn’t think you were photogenic.
“I always look weird in front of the camera,” you’d said. “Besides, I’d rather just live in the moment. Why do people feel the need to document everything?”
I should have known you better than anyone.
But when they asked me, I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to stop the room from spinning long enough to picture what you looked like, and I realized I had no idea.
Imprint will release Last Girl Lied To on April 16, 2019.