Sunday, March 4

Is It Love?

Welcome to Teen Fiction Cafe, the place to go to talk about every topic under the sun with some of your favorite YA authors! For those of you who don't know me, I'm Lauren Baratz-Logsted and I wrote several novels in various genres before having my first YA novel, ANGEL'S CHOICE, published in December. I live in Danbury, CT, with my husband, Greg Logsted, whose own first novel for tweens will pub in 2008, and our seven-year-old daughter, whose writing talents put both of us in the shade.

So that's me. With no further ado then, off we go!

In ANGEL'S CHOICE, from the very beginning readers know Angel is in love with Danny Stanton, high-school basketball star. Angel and Danny have a history of connecting at parties when neither is with anyone else and Angel is sure that one day Danny will see the reason for this pattern is that he is in love with her too. Her best friend thinks she's delusional. But when Angel gets in trouble - it's not giving away any state secrets to tell you Angel finds herself pregnant - it's Danny Stanton who becomes one of her biggest defenders. Some readers, looking at this, wonder where the groundwork for it is. Because, it's true, Danny does behave like a jerk towards Angel in the beginning. But I wrote Danny Stanton because I know Danny Stanton. Angel's story is not my story, but I know Danny Stanton very well.

Can I be the only female in the history of the world who has fallen in love with a guy who everyone else is certain cannot possibly return those feelings...and yet...and yet? OK, it happened to me no less than three times during high school and college. I would develop huge feelings for some guy and there would be times when we'd connect and I'd be sure the guy felt something for me other than what my friends thought they saw - that he was using me. And then, sometimes it would take years for it to happen, but eventually there would be one night and a huge revelation.

One of the more spectacular of these instances happened when I was in college. A friend of mine and I met these two guys that were also friends at the same party. The four of us spent the whole night, into the early hours of the morning, hanging out together, getting to know each other and finally pairing off. I was immediately so into this guy. I've always had a quirky sense of humor but this guy got every one of my jokes, even finished them for me, and the mirror image was true too. He'd start some riff and I would just run with it. If I used such phrases at the time, I would have said we were soul mates. When we looked into each others eyes, it was like we totally *got* each other.

But then the next day came and the next and my friend kept seeing the guy she'd met that night while the guy I met had...cooled. Oh, he was still pleasant enough, but it was like he wouldn't be alone with me and, somehow, it came across to my brain that he *couldn't* be alone with me. Still, I obsessed about him. With no concrete evidence that he felt anything remotely for me like what I was feeling towards him, I obsessed about him. And I told everyone about my feelings for him, and my certainty that he returned those feelings, to the point where other people were sick of it. So I stopped talking about it out loud. But inside, I still knew.

Then came the night, long after that first night, when a group of us were out and he was in that group. For some reason, everyone else but us was gone from the table at the same time. Were they giving away free munchies? Did everyone, guys and girls, all have to go to the bathroom at once? Who knows? All I know was, there he was, and there I was, alone, together.

It was quiet at that table for a long moment. He looked me in the eyes and it was like being right back at that first night we met, keying right into each other, and then he started talking. He told me he'd been in love with me ever since that first night, that he wanted to get me out of his head, couldn't get me out of his head, had to get me out of his head, because he still felt the same and it was too big for him, it was too scary, it was bigger than anything he'd ever felt.

I will confess: I wished I'd had a tape recorder with me. Here was validation that I wasn't crazy. My extraordinary love *was* returned. And we did spend the rest of that night talking, living in each other's heads, keying into each other once more. Soul mates. But then morning came and he went back to being the same scared-of-love person he was all along, and that was that. I was done with it. Fool for love that I've always been, even I couldn't bring myself to go on carrying the torch for someone who was too scared of their own feelings, too scared of love to leap. So I moved on. But I still wished I'd had a tape recording of that conversation because, I swear, when I told my friends the next day that I'd been proved right, that he *did* really love me down deep, they all still thought I was delusional. But I knew. And that was at least something. It was nice to know I wasn't crazy, even if everyone else still thought I was.


Thanks for listening. Don't forget to write.


Kelly Parra said...

Great post, Lauren, and very touching! I guess I've felt that way a time or two in school. I remember huge feelings for another boy, but they just weren't returned. It would always take a long time to get over my feelings, but life went on and I think that's the most important lesson for me. :)

Simone Elkeles said...

I had a boyfriend in high school and we had a major love affair. He was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, and transfered that addiction to me. He was my everything, we'd planned out our marriage and even had our kids' names picked out. Two years later when he relapsed and cheat on me, I couldn't believe that it broke us up. I wanted that recovering addict again, that addiction still transfered to me. When he went back to drinking/drugs, I was an afterthought. But I never could stomach the fact that his feelings for me would turn off. I guess a little part of me, fifteen years later, still wants him to love me.

It's a little different from your story, Lauren, but that "love" part is still the same.

~Simone Elkeles

christa said...

Great post. Great blog. So glad you're here.

stephhale said...

I've had several Danny's in my life. Luckily about ten years ago I found myself a Warren. There will never be another Danny! :)
Great post!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks for all the great comments, peeps!

Sara Hantz said...

I haven't had your experience exactly, Lauren. But i have had strong feeelings for a guy I dated for a short while that seemed to last forever....

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Lauren-
Yup, been there- done that!
Great post!

TinaFerraro said...

Lauren, this post resonated with me so much that I ordered your book today! Can't wait to read it.


Lisa Asanuma said...

I did all through high school. What made it worse was that he went to a different school, so not only did my friends think I was reading too much into things, a lot of them also probably doubted whether or not he existed! LOL But in the end it was kind of the same way, while I know he did have the feelings for me, he was never going to act on them, and freaked out when I acted on them, so I got tired of it, and let him go.

Sometimes I still think of what might have happened if he hadn't been so impossible, though. He had tons of potential, and having somebody around who really believed in him could have been really great for him, but he never let it happen, and I had to let it be his problem, not mine.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Lauren. I seem to have always liked/loved men who were, for one reason or another, unavailable to me. Since junior high, up till now, and I am 51, so we are talking some major pathology I guess. Don't know what my problem is, but you are right about one thing. It never works if they are too scared to show their feelings. C'est la vie. Life goes on, obladi, oblada. (I loved Angel's Choice, btw! :o) LisaMC

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

I'm loving eveyone's comments, even the ones that are kind of sad.

Lisa A, sometimes it's tough not to think of what might've been.

Anonymous Lisa MC, I'm glad you loved Angel's Choice, but don't despair your pathology: 51 is not to old, because no age is too old, to learn to love and be loved by a good guy.

Tina, thanks so much! I thought I saw my Amazon ranking exhale! :)

Lisa Asanuma said...

I'm not sorry it didn't work out, though! Which is one good thing. :)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...


bevrosenbaum said...

What I like most about your story, Lauren, is that it proves we all have powerful instincts. Most often, we don't trust them. You knew something was going on, you knew what this guy was feeling, beyond all evidence. He couldn't deal with his feelings--that's another story, and it's good this didn't work out, under the circumstances--but you knew exactly what he was feeling. Yay, you! Believe in yourself, girls. Trust what you know in your gut...

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Bev! Of course, there have no doubt been times in my life when I was highly delusional...only not about this. :)

Nadine Dajani said...

Hey there,

Chiming in a bit late here, but I couldn't resist. The hardest fall for love I've ever taken - whether in my teen years or adult life so far - was for an impossible guy. He was impossible on so many levels in would've made your head spin... hottness factor, geography, politics, ulterior motives, you name it. Opinions were and still are divided: the romantics amongst my friends are persuaded he really did love me, and the realists still roll their eyes when they catch me wondering. But having moved on and loved again (though never quite the same way), I still think there was something there, and not just crazy infatuation.

... I FINALLY got my hands on How Nancy Drew Saved my Life in Miami recently and I'm in the middle of it. I loved the Maureen Dowd connection at the beginning! She's great. I'm also really enjoying the definite Jane Eyre-ish voice!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thankds, Nadine, for adding your voice to our chorus and for enjoying my crazy Nancy/Jane book! :)

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