The Season of You & Me
by Robin Constantine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 10th 2016
by Robin Constantine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 10th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Disability
Cassidy Emmerich is determined to make this summer—the last before her boyfriend heads off to college—unforgettable. What she doesn’t count on is her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, instead of being poolside with him, Cass is over a hundred miles away, spending the summer with her estranged father and his family at their bed-and-breakfast at the Jersey Shore and working as the newest counselor at Camp Manatee.
Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with your date at prom. One miscalculated step and Bryan’s life changed forever—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. This is the first summer he’s back at his former position at Camp Manatee and ready to reclaim some of his independence, in spite of those who question if he’s up for the job.
Cass is expecting two months dealing with heartbreak.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither of them is expecting to fall in love.
Hello Robin! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.
Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about The Season Of You & Me?
The Season of You & Me is a dual perspective, contemporary romance set in the fictional beach town of Crest Haven, NJ. As the story opens, Cassidy, still reeling over her recent breakup, decides to spend the summer with her father and his family at their bed and breakfast on the Jersey shore. A fresh perspective and new job as a camp counselor sounds like the perfect way to put her ex behind her, but once in Crest Haven, she realizes it’s not as easy as it sounds.
At Camp Manatee she meets Bryan, who is returning to his former position as camp counselor after a spinal cord injury. Bryan is ready to prove that being in a wheelchair won’t hold him back from enjoying his life. Worried parents and overly concerned friends do a number on his confidence, but he’s determined to regain his independence on his own terms.
Cass and Bryan become fast friends and team up for the camp scavenger hunt. While neither one of them is looking for romance, they can’t deny their growing feelings as the summer progresses.
How would you describe the characters in The Season Of You & Me, Cassidy and Bryan? What would you say are their best qualities?
Cassidy knows that wallowing in her heartbreak isn’t healthy and has the ability to laugh at herself when she’s being overdramatic. She’s also a loyal friend, adoring big sister, and loves to build up those around her.
Bryan is determined, fun-loving, has a great sense of humor, and a bit of a wild streak. He’s also kind and likes to help others.
How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?
The inspiration for the story (as in most of my work) came from several different places. Years ago, I stayed in a bed and breakfast with brand new owners. The stay was a comedy of errors – pipes freezing, some rooms too hot, some rooms ice cold, and they didn’t know how to handle it. In the morning, they were in the breakfast room with their young son, and one of the other guests asked him how he liked living in the bed and breakfast – and it was obvious he didn’t. My brain took a snapshot of that moment and tucked it away. I wasn’t even seriously writing at the time, but I thought it would make an interesting story. Fast forward to when it was time to submit a proposal for my third book – I handed in something completely different, sort of a cozy mystery for YA that my editor didn’t really connect with – so we brainstormed, and my editor asked me if I’d consider writing a character similar to Jason Street. (Friday Night Lights…for those of you like me who hadn’t seen the show at that point.) I told her I’d consider it. As an author you always want to challenge yourself, but I wasn’t sure I was the right person to write a character with a disability. I wrestled with it for a while – then one day I was with my family at the mall and we saw this sports car screech into a handicapped parking spot. It was so loud that lots of people turned to look, and you could almost feel the collective thought bubble “Does this guy even know that’s a handicapped spot” but when the door opened, the guy put together his wheelchair in about thirty seconds and went off with his companion. It was kind of an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me in the sense that I questioned why I was surprised that the driver of a sports car had a disability. Then I knew I had to do the book and that’s how I approached Bryan’s character – I kept saying – okay, show me what you can do and took it from there.
Tell us your favorite quote from The Season Of You & Me.
“I came to Ocean Whispers to forget about a boy, not fall for one.”
Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?
One of my favorite scenes is when Cassidy and Bryan go on their first outing to find a clue for the camp scavenger hunt. Cass has her guard down because at that point she believes that Bryan is seeing someone. Since she doesn’t think anything romantic will happen between them, she’s totally herself, silly and fun and even a little flirtatious. I also liked coming up with artisanal ice pop flavors.
If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for The Season Of You & Me – Which one would you pick?
Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?). Who would you pick to play your characters?
That would be AWESOME. This is always tough for me because actors who portray teens are usually in their 20s and 30s and beyond the awkward/gawky years. For Cassidy, I pictured someone like Amy Teegarden, pretty but down to earth with a no BS attitude. For Bryan – I think it would be great to cast a disabled actor, someone like Peter Mitchell who’s both cute and edgy.
Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read The Season Of You & Me (specific music, snacks…)?
Sitting poolside or on the beach with the sound of the ocean as background “music” would be perfect. Fresh pressed lemonade or your favorite cold beverage with lots of ice. And food…hmmm….nothing greasy that will mark the pages or make smudges on your e-reader screen :).
There’s also a bit of heartbreak for Cassidy in this story. And it’s common to go through experiences similar to Cassidy’s. What advice would you give to anyone who’s in Cassidy’s situation?
I know it’s something we always hear – ‘give it time’ – but it’s the truth. I think Cass makes a wise choice putting distance between herself and Gavin. It’s hard to simply let go of strong feelings for someone – they don’t just disappear when you break up. They linger and the smallest thing can trigger memories that might feel great to think about, but are ultimately painful because the relationship is over. Of course not everyone has the luxury to get away, but I would say (and I wish someone had said this to me!) to invest in yourself. Do what you need to do – cry if you have to, go out with friends, stay in, get a new hobby. Try to realize that you’re better off alone than sticking with a person who doesn’t value you.
And who’s in Bryan’s situation?
From a purely physical standpoint, there are definitely relationship issues that would come up for Bryan that while I can empathize with, I’m not qualified to dispense advice about. But I would say to seek someone out who could discuss those issues. There are a lot of resources and forums online for those with paraplegia – so know that you are not alone.
As for someone who finds they are attracted to someone who’s in the throes of a broken heart – take it slow. Don’t push anything but don’t be afraid to bring up their past relationship either. Allow the person space, and don’t take it personally if they still seem hung up on the other person – strong feelings take a while to get over. Be a friend, but if at any point you feel like you’re being taken for granted, it’s fine to pull back. And just as I said above – if things aren’t working, realize you’re better off on your own than with a person who doesn’t value you.
What would you say is the best thing about falling in love? What “signs” would you consider irrefutable to say that someone is falling in love?
I think when you’re first falling in love you begin to appreciate the little moments of beauty in the world. A sunset, the smell of flowers, a stolen kiss. The things the rest of us who aren’t in those first throes usually deem corny. (For the record, I don’t think any of that is corny – bring it!!) Some irrefutable signs for me would be 1) casually tossing your crush’s name into every conversation. 2) thinking about that person a lot 3) smiling at the mere mention of his/her name.
What’s next for you?
I’m in the midst of plotting a new dual perspective contemporary! Taking it back to a coed private school setting…and that’s all I can say at the moment.
Thank you so much for everything, Robin!
Thank you for hosting me!!!
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Robin Constantine is the author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction. A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Robin likes to spend her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, eventually, but not without a lot of peril, angst, and the occasional kissing scene. She loves swoony books, flip-flops, dark chocolate and the full moon.