Cover Reveal: THE BREAKUP LISTS by Adib Khorram
Love is more complicated than “boy meets boy” in bestselling author Adib Khorram’s sharply funny new romantic comedy, set in the sordid world of high school theater. The Breakup Lists is coming to shelves April 2!
As a techie–a stage manager, a lighting guy, a jack-of-all-theatrical-trades– Jackson Ghasnavi is not a fan of the spotlight. And he isn’t too fond of romance, either, ever since his actor ex-boyfriend decided he was too cool to date a techie freshman year.
Jackson’s sister Jasmine, on the other hand, loves love. It just doesn’t love her back. But luckily for her, Jackson is always waiting in wings when she gets her heart broken, ready to cheer her up with a breakup list cataloging of all her ex’s faults.
Enter Liam Coquyt: senior, swim captain, hot white boy—and the surprise lead in the fall musical. Even more surprising than how incredible Liam is on the stage is how much Jackson likes spending time with him off it.(Not that Jackson is falling for him. Liam is probably –no, definitely–straight.) So why is Jackson crushed when Jasmine sets her sights on him? And why does the idea of eventually drafting breakup list for Liam feel impossible?
Scroll down to see the cover, and remember to preorder your copy!
Cover art by Be Fernandez
Cover design by Kaitlin Yang
When Riverstone High School was originally built, it didn’t include the second level with the Little Theatre; that got added on as an expansion in the 1970s. There are still weird hidey-holes in the catwalk, from where they connected the new part of the building to the old; most were drywalled up, but some were left with covers instead. I open the panel—a thin sheet of aluminum or something—and gesture Liam inside.
It’s dusty and small, just enough room for the two of us to sit inside, shoulders pressed together. I pull the panel closed, shutting us in darkness.
My whole side is pressed up against Liam, and I try to lean away so we’re not touching so much, because otherwise I will hyperventilate and die and that will definitely not be up to code.
But the sharp points of nails that weren’t completely filed off keep poking me, so I’m trapped against Liam’s firm side.
The air is getting hotter, Liam’s body heat turning the tiny space into an oven. He shifts against me and whispers something in my ear. I jerk away before he can cause any feedback in my hearing aid; not only is it painful, but it might give us away.
I pull my phone out and open the Notes app.
Don’t do that!!!!
He takes my phone and types:
Sorry. Are you ok?
How long do we stay here
Until Dr L gives the all clear
It can cause feedback
I text Dr. L to let her know we’re trapped. In the dim blue glow of my phone, I can make out Liam’s face a little. His mouth is pinched, and his blue eyes are wide. He looks . . . frazzled.
I hand him back the phone. His hand shakes slightly.
I’m a little bit claustrophobic
He’s shaking next to me. If he doesn’t stop, he’ll give us away, and that would be terrible.
Not only for the trouble we’d get in with Mrs. Bashir, and possibly messing up the fire marshal inspection, but because of the rumors. Two guys caught hiding in the catwalk? No one ever comes up here except for shows or—legend has it—to hook up.
Would people think we hooked up? My armpits sweat. Jasmine would kill me if people thought that.
Liam drums his fingers against his knees. I put my hand over his, give it a squeeze, and he lets me take his hand to calm him.
Holding Liam’s hand is a mistake.
His hands are big. The one I’m holding is clammy, but smooth, soft enough to make me self-conscious of my own calloused palms and fingers. I wonder if swimming did it for him or if his hands are just naturally perfect like the rest of him.
As I squeeze his hand, he relaxes, his whole body softening against my side, and I can’t breathe.
The floor shifts beneath us slightly. The heavy stomp of boots reverberates in my butt. I lock my phone to make sure no light spills out from the hidey-hole. But now I’m alone in the dark. With Liam.
Last year I was plugging in an old PAR and got electrocuted. That might be too strong a word: It was a tiny zap, and it didn’t hurt me, but it made my skin buzz and my tongue feel fuzzy.
I’ve got that buzzing again, but it’s not electricity.
It’s Liam. Liam’s hand in mine. Liam’s shoulders pressed up against me. Liam, who likes to tuck in my tags, and beg for shmoodies, who offered to help just because I looked like I needed it.
Liam, who worries no one sees him, but who sees me just fine.
And I wonder if I’ve been wrong this whole time, and maybe he’s not so straight, and maybe he could like someone like me. Even though he’s him and I’m basically a background character.
What if every time he touches me, every time he waits around after rehearsal, every time he haltingly fingerspells a word because he knows how tired I get listening and guessing and reading lips all day, he’s trying to tell me something. Something more than just “we’re friends.”
My armpits are sweating so hard I worry the fire marshal will notice a puddle. Should I say something?
What if I’ve read him all wrong?