Title: Always Second Best
Author: Elodie Nowodazkij
Series: Broken Dreams #2
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Release Date: October 13, 2015Summary:
Sometimes being first isn’t what you expected.
Seventeen-year-old ballerina Emilia Moretti is tired of always being second best. And she’s going to prove the world she deserves to be first. In her upcoming School of the Performing Arts showcase. In the eyes of her birth parents. And in the heart of the guy she loves. She spends hours rehearsing, hours dreaming about becoming number one, hours imagining how her entire life is about to change. But when nothing goes the way she planned, she’ll need to realize what it really means to be first.
Eighteen-year-old Nick Grawski doesn’t want to follow Daddy Dearest’s rules any longer. He’s going to prove he’s meant to be a dancer—not a lawyer—and he is not going to stay away from Em just because his father demands it. He needs to show Em that—this time around—he’s there to stay and that he won’t break her heart again. Even when her world goes down to shit, even when he finds out his dad may have been trying to protect him all along, even if being there for one another is harder than falling in love.
ALWAYS SECOND BEST is a novel of hope and heartbreak and broken dreams. It’s a novel about falling in love and discovering that being first isn’t always what matters.
Svetlana gives me a reassuring smile as I enter the room. “You got this,” she whispers and I nod, but my muscles feel all tight and it’s like I have tunnel vision. I can only see the faces of the judges, the way their eyes glance over me. They are sitting on chairs in front of the scene. They lean toward each other for a few seconds. They whisper “Natalya” several times and “fantastic” and one of them smiles as if he’s discovered water in a desert. Of course, Natalya impressed them. As I knew she would. Nata is the best dancer at the school; I’m only crossing my fingers I maybe reached her level, or that some sort of miracle will happen.
I should really stop believing in fairy tales.
“Welcome, Emilia Moretti,” the director of the school says, and I smile at the judges. The room feels bigger somehow today, but at the same time more oppressive. Maybe it’s their eyes on me, the way they smile. The former prima ballerina of the American Ballet Company nods, but she purses her lips in an I-have-much-more-important-places-to-be or we’ve-seen-the-best, what’s-the-point way.
I ground myself. I’ve been judged many times before. I won’t pretend they’re naked. I won’t pretend they’re not there. I’m going to give it my all, give it my best and show them that I’m worth it.
There’s a familiar smell of wood and window cleaner. We’re the first ones to audition so the room still smells as it does every morning.
Images of the summer flash back to me: how my body became one with the music, how I let my guard down, the pain I felt when my birth mother pushed me away, the happiness I felt when I was with Nick. How at ease. I hold on to those emotions instead of pushing them away like I usually do. Those emotions are my anchors.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes,” I reply.
And I am.
The music invades me and as I turn into a pirouette, I let the story become who I am, I let myself becoming Sleeping Beauty.
I let myself believe once again.
THE SCARY MOMENT BEFORE HITTING PUBLISH
As a self-publisher, I get to decide when my book is ready. I get to hit the “publish” button. But it never gets easier. And in my view, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Because being nervous in this case means that I care about the book, and I care about their journey. And yes, I need to work on being less anxious, but sometimes I also need to embrace it.
Emilia and Nicholas—Em & Nick—are two characters who are close to my heart. And letting them go in the world could probably be compared to when our parents let us go out of the door on that first day of class. They know it’s not going to be all pink and happy and laughter. But they are also convinced that we deserve the best.
Well, ALWAYS SECOND BEST going out of the door, getting ready for the world, and I know Em & Nick will not only receive praise and love but there’s a big part of me that crosses my fingers that most of the world falls in love with them. Just like I did.
Part of the pre-order process on Amazon is that you need to upload your book 10 days before and in the self-publishing world, everything usually comes out faster, and I’m always scared out of my mind that maybe I should have just re-read it one more, maybe I should have just ask somebody else to give me feedback, maybe I should have scrapped the entire thing. And I’m the only one making that decision at that moment in time. (well, I do reach out to my friends in freaked out text messages or GChat for reassurance and they rock :P)
I keep my head high and my “delete” finger in check and I re-read the comments, and I make sure my little book is ready for all kinds of weather: for the negative reviews storm, for the positive reviews blue skies, for the “I loved this story” rainbows…
And I make sure I’m ready for that to: reaching out to friends, getting a hug from my husband, eating chocolate, watching a movie, going out, reading…
And then I hit “publish”…
And today, Always Second Best is available around the world.
And I cross my fingers you enjoy it at least half as much as I love it.
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Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she'd never lose her French accent. Now she lives in Maryland with her husband, their dog and their cat.
She's also a serial smiley user.