Interview with Samantha Young, author of The Impossible Vastness of Us

Samantha Young is one of my very favorite authors, I’ve read her books for years and every time she announces a new book I get super excited! The Impossible Vastness of Us—a beautifully written, emotional YA novel—is out, and I’m so excited to share my chat with Sam about the book and what you can expect… if you’ve not yet devoured it!

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About The Impossible Vastness of Us

“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.” 

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend, Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful and big enough to change them forever…

From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again.

Interview

Tell us about The Impossible Vastness of Us and how the idea for the story was sparked.

My main character India came to me first, and she really ignited the idea for the rest of the story. I wanted to write about a teen who had seen more hardship than most, a mature, somewhat damaged kid, who thinks she has it all worked out. But she really doesn’t. From there the idea of transplanting her into a world so different from her own, surrounded by kids she’s prejudged for their wealth and arrogance, naturally developed. I wanted India’s story to be a true coming of age story. It’s only as we grow up that we start to see the complexities in people, see our differences and our similarities, and most importantly the many layers we’re made up of. No one’s ever just one thing, and that concept really pushed TIVOU’s plot and character development when India meets Eloise and Finn.

This is your first YA contemporary. What made you want to tackle this kind of story and was the writing process any different for you?

I’ve always loved the theme of coming-of-age and used it in my YA paranormal novels. However, paranormal is so different from contemporary because there is a split in focus between characters and world building. What I love about contemporary fiction is the fact that it’s carried almost entirely by character development and I really wanted to take that into the YA reading level. Mostly because I knew the character development would be much more emphatic in YA than NA or adult because we do change and learn so much as teenagers. Moreover, I knew if I was going to write YA I wanted to tackle issues in the story that was relevant to today’s teens. And although my writing process was the same in that I plotted and planned it the way I would any book, it was different in that the process was much longer. This book required patience and time because it does deal with sensitive issues. I had a number of beta readers who read the novel at different stages in the process. It was extremely important to me that I tell India, Eloise and Finn’s story in realistic but sensitive way.

Could you tell us a little bit about India, Eloise and Finn.

India is my main character and the story’s narrator. She has grown up with little money most of her life, has suffered abuse as a child, and has used popularity in high school as armor against being hurt by anyone again. Ambitious and determined, she feels safest at the top of the social hierarchy and has convinced herself she needs to stay there to stay safe. When her mother moves them across country to join Boston Society, India not only is mistrustful of her new step-family, she finds herself at the bottom of the social ladder thanks to her equally mistrustful stepsister Eloise.

Eloise, like India, has secrets she wants to keep and is terrified India will somehow discover them now that she’s a part of their household. She’s not a natural mean girl but she becomes one to hold India at bay.

Finn is Eloise’s boyfriend. They are the school’s golden couple. Except Finn is guarding not only Eloise’s secrets, but his, even from his girlfriend. Like Eloise he wants to keep India at a safe distance, but when she discovers his secrets all of their defenses start to unravel and an unlikely friendship develops between them all.

What are you hoping readers take away from this story?

I’m hoping it reminds them in as non-cliché a way as possible to look beneath the surface of people. Most people are very good at showing the world exactly what they want it to see, but we’re all never just that one thing. We are incredibly complicated creatures. In today’s world, especially the world of social media, many people are quick to judge, and I suppose I hope TIVOU is a reminder to take a step back and think before making judgments about people. Moreover, TIVOU is a reminder to nurture your friendships. Friendships can be just as important as familial relationships, and in some cases even more so.

What are you working on now and what’s coming next?

I have a few projects on the go at the moment. Another YA for Harlequin TEEN is in the works! Moreover, projects with Berkley romance for more adult contemporary romance, and I’m also self-publishing the first in an adult contemporary romance set in Scotland. More on that soon!

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Review: Every Little Thing (#2, Hart’s Boardwalk) by Samantha Young

Review

Two rivals surrender to desire and fall in love in this wonderfully addictive enemies-to-lovers romance. With Every Little Thing, Samantha Young delivers yet another amazing chapter in the Hart’s Boardwalk series. Every page draws you deeper into Bailey and Vaughn’s story, deeper into the lives of those who inhabit this cozy Delaware town.

In The One Real Thing, as Cooper and Jessica’s story twined together, we met Bailey Hartwell and Vaughn Tremaine, felt the sparks even as non-stop derision shaped their relationship.

Bailey is Hartwell’s princess—a small-town girl content to run the boardwalk’s inn. Vaughn is the impeccably dressed businessman from New York, who also runs a 5-star hotel in Hartwell. Seemingly hard-hearted as compared to Bailey’s spirit and warmth, Vaughn knows a thing or two about relationships gone wrong and he’s vowed to avoid them at all costs… forever. Even though there’s no denying no one gets under his skin quite like fiery redhead Bailey.

But when her life falls apart, Vaughn comes to her rescue. Suddenly, Bailey sees past Vaughn’s icy exterior and defenses shatter, giving way to a night that was a long time coming.

Bliss quickly morphs into heartbreak, however, and Bailey’s contempt for this fine-looking New Yorker turns hotter, sharper than ever.

Both Vaughn and Bailey must let go of the pasts which have haunted them, if they’re to find real happiness with each other.

I assure you—you’ll devour every page. Relish every moment. You won’t stop reading until you reach the very end, when you’ll close the book with a huge smile on your face.

Full of tenderness, fire, sexiness and intrigue, Every Little Thing is everything I hope to find in a romance. I loved this book, love this series and am desperately hoping for more installments sooner than later!

About Every Little Thing

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime….

Series reading order

Each book can be read as a standalone, but recommend reading in order

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Review: The One Real Thing (#1, Hart’s Boardwalk) by Samantha Young

My Thoughts

The perfect blend of sexiness, feels and romance—
a perfect start to a series you won’t want to miss.

4halfstars

Synopsis

Sep-06Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts…

 While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life.  Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations.  But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her.

Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for….

My Review

Samantha Young has this amazing way of delivering a story with just the right amount of feels, lightness, romance and sexiness that hooks me every single time. Her books are a pleasure to devour, a joy to escape to time and time again. With this first book in the exciting new Hart’s Boardwalk series, she’s managed to create a set of interlaced stories and characters I can’t wait to learn more about. They all live in a small, idyllic Delaware town, where secrets run deep and a longing for a simple, peaceful life keeps them together on the Boardwalk.

In The One Real Thing, we meet Dr. Jessica Huntington and Cooper Lawson, whose lives collide by chance one rainy afternoon. Theirs is a scorching tale of serendipity and second chances, of learning to bury old hurt and old guilt in order to open themselves up to a happily ever after.

Jessica had been living an empty, solitary life, filled only by memories she wanted to forget. But one day, while at work at a women’s prison, she finds old love letters that touch her deeply. The letters had been written by a deceased inmate whose life had been shaped by bad choices and truths withheld, to her one true love, whom she had seemingly betrayed and lost. So moved by the words she’d read, Jessica uses her vacation time to visit Hart, Delaware, to deliver these decades-old letters in person.

Fate struck hard when Jess runs into bar-owner Cooper Lawson.

Cooper had loved and lost, betrayed by his wife and his best friend. Now divorced, he didn’t think he was ready for any kind of relationship, but when he met the beautiful doctor from out of town, familiar tingles foretold that something—someone—special was right in front of him.

Before long, Jess and Cooper are incapable of ignoring their intensifying emotions. But problems are all around them… Jess is only there for three weeks, Cooper’s ex is determined to get him back and worst of all, the past comes barreling down to threaten their fledgling relationship.

Nonetheless, with every day that passes, Jessica falls more in love with this place, with the people, and with a man who is intent on keeping her in Hart and specifically, in his bed.

There’s more to Jessica than she lets on, however, and she may be the person to sabotage her own happiness if she can’t open up and share the demons she hides in her past.

I loved Jess and Coop’s story. It had just the right amount of all the right things and I was thoroughly addicted from the very beginning. I also loved the town and the characters introduced. There’s just so much to build on, so much to experience, and I couldn’t be more excited about what the series promises. Samantha Young has struck gold again.

Reading Order

Each can be read as a standalone.

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Review: Moonlight on Nightingale Way (#6, On Dublin Street) by Samantha Young

My Thoughts

Sexy, emotional, addictive and a wonderful finale to an amazing series.

4halfstars

Synopsis

moonlight on nightingale way coverLogan from Echoes of Scotland Street is back with his own smoldering story, as the New York Times bestselling On Dublin Street series returns…

Logan spent two years paying for the mistakes he made. Now, he’s ready to start over. He has a great apartment, a good job, and plenty of women to distract him from his past. And one woman who is driving him to distraction…

Grace escaped her manipulative family by moving to a new city. Her new life, made to suit her own needs, is almost perfect. All she needs to do is find her Mr. Right—or at least figure out a way to ignore her irresistible yet annoying womanizer of a neighbor.

Grace is determined to have nothing to do with Logan until a life-changing surprise slowly begins turning the wild heartbreaker into exactly the kind of strong, stable man she’s been searching for. Only just when she begins to give into his charms, her own messy past threatens to derail everything they’ve worked to build…

My Review

What a perfect, heartfelt finale to a much-loved series. I can remember reading On Dublin Street for the first time and falling in love with Joss and Braden, and now, so many stories later, with characters like Liv, Shannon, Jo, Hannah and Ellie, we finally get the story of Logan (whom we met in Echoes of Scotland) and Grace. I loved how Logan and Grace’s story delivered so much emotion. There is a lot of addictive angst, a lot of feels in their back stories, the situations they face, the burgeoning emotions they feel for each other. I thought the plot was very well paced as the story alternated between internal and external struggles, giving us deeper insight into each protagonist. In this case, both Grace and Logan have not had it easy… have not had the support they needed from their family. They’ve each had to become someone else to survive experiences that marred them deeply. But before they shared emotions, and way before they shared a bed, they couldn’t stand each other.

Logan MacLeod was a womanizer. A bevy of women screamed it so, as Grace could attest. She was Logan’s neighbor, and every scream of ecstasy pounded through her walls as she tried to work late into the evenings. One day she had enough, and when she confronts her playboy neighbor, she didn’t expect him to be so alluring, good-looking…. and wholly frustrating! As a result, a wonderfully antagonist relationship ensues.

Grace has been looking for a man to love, who will love her, but she keeps colliding with the worst of them. Meanwhile, Logan has a past that has made him a different man, clinging to women as a way to escape everything inside. Yet, the only thing they know about each other is every insulting comment slung each time an untimely encounter happens. But one day, Grace is there when a life-altering bomb is dropped and she’s swept up in a heartbreaking situation, helping Logan in a way she never would have expected.

Their story is filled with so much hurt and heartbreak, misunderstandings and misconceptions, but also so much rightness, love and acceptance. Samantha Young did a great job setting up a story with great balance between sexy and sweet, romance and angst, humor and heartbreak. I couldn’t put it down and many scenes got to me in a way I didn’t expect emotionally. The end was bittersweet bliss, but the perfect finale for such a great series. I look forward to reading more of what Young will throw at us next.

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Reading Order
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