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Nika Grizila

Nika Grizila

Nika Grizila studies language and is a passionate writer, a social butterfly, and in love with travelling, rock, books and running. She has a great interest in relationships between people.

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Be Happy (Even if I'm Not)

A story about two teenagers, their friendship, love, and first times: the good ones and the bad ones.

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Young Adult Romance
Koper, Slovenia
1,000 words
25% complete
5 publishers interested

Synopsis

Be Happy (even if I'm not) is about friendship, love and the tough times a teenager might have. It's about letting go and choosing between right and wrong, though the line between the two isn't always clear and sometimes there might not be a right and a wrong, at least not for everyone involved.

Outline

Nina and Tara are sixteen year old classmates who have been best friends for as long as they can remember. They are exceedingly different from one another. Tara is the calmer one, she has never had a boyfriend, has good grades, and helps a lot at home. Nina doesn’t care much about school, practices street dance, and believes Kurt Cobain is her idol. She has been in two relationships already, regularly drinks and smokes, and fights with her mother whenever she can. But Nina loves Tara, and Tara loves Nina. And, despite their different views and habits, they are making their friendship work. But then they meet Ray, and everything changes.

Nina is always encouraging Tara to get out more, put some makeup on from time to time, and finally meet a guy. But then Nina meets a friend’s friend at some party. His name is Ray, he is eighteen and he is gorgeous. He has a band, he’s in the first year of university and he goes to the gym regularly with his mates. He appears to really like Nina and she likes him just as much. She invites him to a party at her house. She wants to get to know him better and she wants him to meet her friends. She really likes him but she doesn’t want to rush things, she wants to get to know him first. She did the mistake of going too fast with her previous two relationships and she ended up disappointed.

So they all meet at Nina’s house on Saturday. She doesn’t tell Tara or anyone else that she likes Ray, she wants to figure things out on her own first. She's invited too many people, so she doesn’t have much time for Ray. She introduces him to Tara, but then she leaves them alone and keeps running around and taking care of her guests. Meanwhile, Tara and Ray are getting to know each other.

During the first part of the party Ray is looking around, searching for this pretty blonde who invited him, but he only gets glimpses of her and every time she is talking to someone else, mostly to boys. He really likes her and at first he thought she had invited him to get to know him, but now it doesn’t seem so anymore. He thinks to himself that she was probably just being friendly, and apparently wanted to hook him up with her friend Tara since she introduced them and then left them alone to talk the whole night. He likes Tara too. After hours of talking and a few beers he invites her to the cinema.

The party finishes and everyone leaves except Tara who stays and helps with the cleaning. She tells Nina how much she likes Ray and she asks her if she would mind if she went on a date with him. Nina is surprised but she doesn’t know what else to do except to agree. Tara finally likes someone, Ray seems like a good guy, and she can’t say no to her and then go out with him herself, best friends don’t do things like that. Tara means the world to her, so she agrees.

After a few weeks Tara and Ray become an item, and Nina has to deal with it. She’s the best friend, so she has to suck it up and often meet them. She can’t help herself, she still likes Ray, perhaps even more now when she gets to know him better, and despite the fact that he’s dating her best friend.

Tara and Ray are doing good for a while but after some time they start having problems. Tara is always busy and never has time for him, so he begins questioning their relationship. He tries to talk about it with his band mates but guys are really bad at conversations like that, he doesn’t want to tell his mother, so he calls his only actual girl friend: Nina.

They meet and they talk and she makes him feel better. They start to meet more often and don’t tell Tara about it. Nina is scared of how much she likes Ray and she hates herself for not being honest with Tara that night. Ray is more confused than he has ever been before. It seems like his whole body is craving Nina even though he really does care for Tara and thinks she’s a really nice girl. But he did like Nina first, and she is there for him now when he needs her, she’s more present than Tara ever was. So one night they buy some beers and go to a park to drink them and talk and after they get intoxicated they tell each other everything. They figure out that they like each other a lot and that they both made a mistake with Tara.

Nina decides to talk to Tara and walks to her house. But Tara is in a really emotional state and she tells Nina how much she likes Ray and cares for him, and that she’s afraid she screwed the relationship up already. Nina comforts her and gives her advice but doesn’t say what she meant to. Once she realizes how much Tara actually is into Ray, she doesn’t have the courage or the heart to crush her dreams. So she walks straight to Ray’s house after, tells him everything and starts crying in the middle of it all. He hugs her and they kiss.

Nina goes to Tara’s house the next morning and tells her everything. Tara is upset and asks her to leave.

I’m not sure how the story would go on after this. Maybe Nina and Tara would decide that their friendship is more important than anything else and would forget Ray together. Maybe Nina would become Ray’s girlfriend and her friendship with Tara would end. Maybe they would become a couple and Tara would forgive them and then start dating a much older guy, and Nina would be worried about her. There are many possibilities, I would need to get to know my characters better in order to decide which one is the best.

Audience

I think that this book should be read by teenagers mostly, and girls in particular. It's not that it isn't meant for boys or people who are no longer teenagers, but I believe that it would speak to young girls the most.

Author

Nika Grizila loves writing but she is not a published author (yet, hopefully). She does write in her free time but she's still a student with a degree in English and Russian languages and literatures and currently studying translation between the two languages respectively and Slovenian, her mother tongue. She is also fluent in Italian and is currently learning Spanish. Obviously, languages are her passion, as is travelling and getting to know new cultures. But writing is her passion too, even though she doesn't have as much time for it as she would like to, being a postgraduate student. Her dream or, better said, future goal, is to publish a book, hopefully in plural. She likes to write especially about various relationships between people, about their feelings, how they change, about their memories, regrets, ideas and adventures. She gets most of her ideas from her own life and from the places she visits, the people she encounters and the stories she hears from them. She fictionalizes all this knowledge, of course. Nika is a people person which is also why she enjoys her summer job, working as a tourist guide in a famous cave in Slovenia. 

Promotion

I do have an account on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but I've never promoted anything on them because I have never tried to get anything published before.

Competition

1. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, 2002, Viking. About teenage love, true love, family trouble. My book would focus more on friendship than this one does.

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, 2009, Little, Brown, and Company. This one is about love and friendship as well but it's also about the supernatural while mine isn't.

3. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, 2014, Simon&Schuster. About love letters and crushes from the past. I think the themes are pretty similar even though my story doesn't focus on something as trivial as love letters.

4. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, 1999, Piccadilly Press. This book focuses on teenage friendship and love as well but it's meant to be funnier. Mine focuses on feelings more.

5. Eleanor&Park by Rainbow Rowell, 2013, St. Martin's Press. Set in the 80s and describing the love between two teenagers who are of different races and the families of who differ greatly. My novel would be contemporary and wouldn't be focusing as much on family drama as on drama between friends. 

5 publishers interested
Austin Macauley Publishers logo Austin Macauley Publishers

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