Cover Reveal: MELT WITH YOU by Jennifer Dugan
Cover reveal! From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a sweet and salty queer YA rom-com about two girls on a summer road trip in an ice cream truck.
Fallon and Chloe used to be best friends. But last summer, the girls hooked up right before Chloe left for college, and after a series of misunderstandings, they aren’t even speaking to one another. Now, a year later, Chloe’s back home from school, and Fallon is doing everything in her power to avoid her. Which is especially difficult because their moms own a business together—a gourmet ice cream truck where both girls work.
But when their moms have the opportunity to make a presentation to some venture capitalists in Texas—something that could seriously expand their business and solve all their money problems to boot—it’s up to Fallon to work a series of food truck festivals across the country. But she can’t do it alone, and Chloe is the only one available to help. As tensions heat up again between the two girls, will Fallon be able to keep her cool?
Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak peek!
Cover artist: Jeff Östberg; @jeffelicious on Instagram
Cover/jacket design: Kelley Brady
“We’re getting low on the cookie dough, Mom,” I say, scooping out my thirty-seventh ice cream cone of the afternoon and passing it to her.
“I’m sorry the what?” Mom gives me a look as she passes the cone to the next person in line. She adjusts the pinstripe hat on her head, careful not to unleash her wavy brown hair—complete with a lone patch of gray she calls her skunk stripe—and crosses her arms, waiting.
I roll my eyes. Right, she’s going to make me say it. She always makes me say it. I clutch my hand to my heart and tap my eyelashes together dramatically. “I’m sorry, Mother. I meant we’re getting low on I’ll Never Let Dough.”
“Much better.” She laughs. “I’ll text Carmen to run some over. She’s at the lab anyway.”
Carmen is my mom’s best friend. They met in seventh grade and have been joined at the hip ever since. About five years ago, when they both found themselves divorced single moms trying to work around school hours, they decided to take a risk on a rickety old ice cream truck.
Only instead of the usual melty Spider-Man pops and ice cream sandwiches, they took Carmen’s experience as a “tastemaker” at a gourmet candy shop and my mom’s experience in marketing and combined it with both of their obsessions with romance movies. The result: Love at First Bite, a small-batch ice cream service that operates solely out of this truck and a rented “lab space” at a local commercial kitchen.
Which means instead of cookies and cream, it’s I Like Your Boots, and instead of plain vanilla, it’s Just Whelmed Waffle Cone. But what they’re most famous for is Beauty and the Feast, an “aggressively chocolate ice cream swirled with French vanilla and a dash of citrus, topped with a blue-and-yellow homemade macaron and an assortment of red rose petal sprinkles.”
“I think this one’s for you, Fallon,” Mom says, gesturing toward the window. I lean over the freezers, grinning when I see my best friend, Jami, on the other side.
“Hey! I thought you had a lesson today,” I say, wiping my hands on a rag. The ice cream might be off them, but the sticky-sweet cream scent will cling to my skin for days. There are worse things, I guess.
“Yeah, I cut out a bit early,” Jami says, biting her lip. Her long blond hair is pulled into a low ponytail, and she’s still in her riding clothes: tight tan pants and high black boots with sturdy heels. The Lion King tank top she scored from Target last week sort of ruins the classy motif she’s got going from the waist down, though.
“You can do that?” I raise my eyebrows. Jami takes her riding lessons very seriously, so this is wildly unlike her.
“Kinda.” She winces. “I told Stefan I had really bad cramps, and he got so uncomfortable he practically threw me out of the barn.”
“Sounds about right.” I laugh. Some people are so weird about periods. Like it’s this deep, dark, gross thing and not a regular occurrence for, like, a lot of the population.
“Can you take a break?”
I glance at my mom, who nods. The line has died down enough now that she should be able to handle it.
“So, Chloe’s home,” Jami says when I step out the back of the truck.
I sigh, pulling off my hat and shaking out my hair—wavy brown like my mom’s but with more frizz than shine—and hop up onto one of the empty picnic tables behind the truck. The ground around it is littered with cigarette butts from all the random food service workers who park their trucks here, depending on the day. I guess this is our version of a break room; not that I spend much time back here. There’s no cover from the sun, and being whiter than white, I tend to burn in five seconds flat. Jami follows me, sliding onto the bench and eyeing me nervously.
It’s not that this was unexpected. Chloe just finished her freshman year out in California. I knew eventually she had to come home. You can’t stay at college forever, I guess.
This is where I probably should mention that Chloe happens to be Carmen’s daughter—yes, the same Carmen who co-owns Love at First Bite with my mom.
And also that Chloe used to be my best friend.
And then more.
And then nothing.
Oh, and did I mention Chloe also works here?
We’re a big fan of this illustrated cover trend. Check out 28 of our favorites from this year!