Blog Tour: First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano + Interview

Welcome to our stop on First There Was Forever tour for Julianna Romano. This tour is hosted by PenguinTeen.

First There Was Forever
Author: Julianna Romano
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Romance
Released: April 14 2015
Review Source: Dial Books

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door, Juliana Romano's expressive debut is an absorbing and bittersweet story about first love, first loss, and the friends that carry us through it all.

Lima and Hailey have always been best friends: Lima shy and sensitive, Hailey funny and free-spirited. But Hailey abandons Lima to party with the popular kids and pursue Nate, her disinterested crush. As their friendship falters, Lima and Nate begin spending more time together. And before Lima knows what she’s feeling, she and Nate do something irreversible. Something that would hurt Hailey....if she knew it happened.

Lima thinks she’s saving her friendship by lying, but she’s only buying time. As the secrets stack up, Lima is forced to make a choice: between her best friend forever, and the boy who wasn’t meant to be hers.

Lima and Hailey, best friends that are inseparable. High School, the one thing that can end up ripping apart a friendship. Hailey has been in love with Nate for as long as she can remember. Lima has been out of touch with boys for as long as she can remember. When things with Nate become more than Lima bargained for she has to decide whether she wants to live for herself, or live for Hailey.
This book is brutally honest. It doesn't sugar coat things, it allows you to feel what is going on between Lima and Hailey as well as Lima and Nate. There are so many things that Lima is going through, but come on. She is in High School--everything tends to happen when you're a sophomore, and as a teenager it becomes 10x more dramatic. But Romano does a good job at not over-dramatizing what is happening within Lima's life.

You feel Hailey starting to slip away from her when Skyler is in the picture, the girl who is trying to replace Lima. You feel Meredith is the friend Lima shouldn't have, even though she is allowing Lima to step outside of her boundaries. And you know that Nate is the boy that Lima should be with, but you almost don't want it to happen. Knowing what will happen with Hailey. I, myself, in High School was in a familiar situation--although I was Hailey in the equation. So reading this book brought back some memories that would've been better off forgotten. But what made it worse was that it humanized Lima - my unnamed friend, in my case. It showed me what was probably (hopefully) what she was going through, and it made me pity her. All these years and I have been wanting the pity, such as I feel Hailey is wanting. And to have it be shown that really no one deserves the pity, it is what it is. It was weird for me to read, and honestly it made it easier for me to relate to. Romano brought so much to light, and for anyone who's been in a love triangle with their best friend, they should give this book a read.

Like I said, there is no sugar coating. Which makes this story honest, it allows you to feel as if the characters are any other humans in the world. Which is why it was so easy for me to relate to them, mainly Hailey. Because if I were reading a story in which this situation wasn't honest, and as if the characters were super human in which everything would end up fine; I would know, from personal experiences, that this was just not possible.

I was so enthralled in this book that when it ended I read the acknowledgements. I usually only read my favorite authors' acknowledgements, because I want to read who they are thanking. But with Romano, this is - I believe - her first novel (a very well done first novel I might say). So I wasn't purposefully reading the acknowledgements, I just didn't want the story to be done, I wanted it to continue. There's no room for a sequel, there's nowhere for the story to continue onto, but I really wanted to see what would happen next.


You're a published author! How does it feel? 
It’s exciting. My favorite thing about the book being published is knowing that readers, people who I’ll never meet,  have their own relationship to it

How did it feel to get the phone call from your agent? 
Shocking. Relieving. Surreal.

Where did you get the idea to write your book? What inspired you to write? 
Reading was my number one inspiration. I love reading, I love being able to step into another world, and I wanted to try creating a world of my own for other readers to step into it. Plus, I’ve seen so many friendships crumble because two girls like the same guy, or some variation of that, and I felt like really exploring that territory.  I know it’s a really common experience, and a story that’s been told a million times, but I wanted to tell it again from another point of view. 

What message do you want your readers to get from your book?
There’s no such thing as good people and bad people. Be kind to yourself!  

What is your favorite scene in First There Was Forever?
Hard to say, but probably the balcony scene at Hailey’s house, where Lima first realizes she is attracted to Nate. It’s one of the only scenes that has hardly changed at all since the first draft. I’ve always seen it so clearly. I like to think it’s the moment Nate realizes he’s curious about Lima, too. 

What is an unknown fact about First There Was Forever?
The original first line was given to me—unintentionally—by my sister, who is also a writer. We were talking on the phone and she said, “There are so many ways for people to disappoint you.” And it was such a provocative, true thing to say, I was like “that sounds like the first line of a book.” And then I went and wrote “First There Was Forever.” It’s not the first line anymore, but it’s still in there ;) 

Juliana was born in 1982 in New York, New York and grew up in Santa Monica, California. She received a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 2004 and an M.F.A. in Painting from U.C.L.A. in 2008. In 2009, Juliana began writing fiction in addition to painting. Her first Young Adult novel, "First There Was Forever" (Dial Books/Penguin) comes out on April 14 2015. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

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