Young Entertainment Mag had the opportunity to chat with author Laura Lascarso about new book The Bravest Thing. The Bravest Thing is an M/M romance about two teens in rural Texas–a streetwise city kid and a hunky cowboy–who must overcome great obstacles to be together (to read more about the book see below).
YE: What inspired The Bravest Thing?
LL: I was inspired by three things: a poem by Ocean Vuong called “Trevor,” the popular television show Friday Night Lights, and the Pulse massacre. The novel deals with heavy topics, including homophobia and addiction, but there is a great amount of hope and acceptance as well.
YE: What can the audience take away from the novel?
LL: I hope audiences will have a deeper understanding of how homophobia can destroy individuals, relationships and communities, as well as the healing that can take place when two people care deeply for each other and are able to draw on one another for strength.
YE: What was your favorite Young Adult book growing up and why?
LL: I didn’t have a lot of exposure to YA novels growing up, but I did read just about every Sweet Valley High book published in the late 80’s. By middle school I was heavily into horror, thrillers and sci-fi. Kurt Vonnegut continues to be one of my favorite authors of all time.
Quote from The Bravest Thing: "I'm right here," he says quietly. He's lying on his back on the other side of the bed. He rolls over onto his side and faces me, opens his arms, and I scoot closer so he can hold me. I breathe in his scent. I must be getting better. I can smell again. "Don't go," I beg. I can't do this without him. "I won't."
About the book: High school junior Berlin Webber is about to reap the fruits of his hard work and land a football scholarship—if he can keep his sexuality a secret from his best friend, Trent, and their homophobic coach. Then Hiroku Hayashi swerves into the high school parking lot on his tricked-out motorcycle like some sexy comic book villain, and Berlin knows he doesn’t stand a chance.
Hiroku is fleeing his sophisticated urban scene to recover from drug addiction and an abusive relationship when he arrives in Berlin’s small Texas ranch town. Initially sarcastic and aloof, Hiroku finds in Berlin a steady, supportive friend who soon becomes more. As Hiroku and Berlin’s romance blossoms, they take greater risks to be together. But when a horrific act of violence tears them apart, they both must look bigotry in the face. While Berlin has always turned to his faith for strength, Hiroku dives into increasingly dangerous ways of coping, pushing them in opposite directions just when they need each other most.
Two very different young men search for the bravery to be true to themselves, the courage to heal, and the strength to go on when things seem darkest. But is it enough to bring them back together?
About the author: Laura Lascarso aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society. She lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. Her debut novel, Counting Backwards (Simon & Schuster 2012) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature.
For social critiques, writer puns, and Parks and Rec gifs, follow her on -Twitter: @lauralascarso