For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
They both have everything to lose.
Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.
Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?
Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.
Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. She now lives and works in Chicago, where she misses the charms and contradictions of the south every day. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV, and works a “y’all” into every conversation. How to Break a Boy is her first novel.
1. What is on your nightstand?
Right now, I have Kiersi Burkhart’s HONOR CODE on my nightstand, which is about a middle class girl who gets into an elite boarding school and arrives excited and desperate to fit in, only to find a pervasive rape culture at the school.
Next up, I have Erika L. Sanchez’s I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER ready to go. I’ve heard the book stars an “unlikeable” female main character and therefore, I am very excited about it. I also just started a comfort reread of HARRY POTTER that I’m fitting in-between new books (please see my twitter/instagram for the questionable ramblings of a person who is In Too Deep).
2. What author would you totally fan?
Courtney Summers is one of my very favorite young adult authors. Her female characters are complex and her writing absolutely cutting – I cannot wait for her new book due out in fall of this year. I was lucky enough to have her blurb WINNER TAKE ALL so my fanning has really come full circle!
And also, JK Rowling, in case that’s not obvious 🙂
3. What makes you cringe?
In fiction? Girl hate. It’s an easy trope to rely on that pits girls against each other. Oftentimes, female characters judge and look down on other girls (if you’ve read/seen GONE GIRL, I think a lot of it comes from “cool girl” syndrome, also known as “not like the other girls”). I think the casual use of girl hate bothers me so much because it enforces a dangerous attitude in our society. That said, I do think it’s important for fiction to tackle these tropes – but I want to see it done in a way that unpacks how damaging and toxic this mindset can be for girls. When I wrote WINNER TAKE ALL, it’s an arc that I thought was important to tie to the main character, Nell, who often feels like it’s her against the world and needed to learn how to let other people in. I love seeing girls have each other’s backs!
On the other hand, the thing that makes me cringe most in real life are scratchy sounds and wet paper *shudder*
4. Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
A little bit of both? I like to have a rough idea of where I’m going when I’m writing so I typically have general set pieces in mind that I need to hit along the way – quite often, I’ll have a very specific scene I’m really excited about to keep me motivated and know that what I’m writing needs to move my characters toward that scene. On the other hand, I often don’t know the specific character beats that will get me from point A to point B so I do a lot of going with the flow in emotional moments, which makes the editing process fun (and by “fun,” I mean difficult and upsetting).
5. Is there a word you love to use?
I’m trying to think of a word more interesting than “just” (I know most of us writers have a “just” addiction). Oh, I know – not a word but a favorite contraction! I love to use y’all in my books to add in some southern flavor and also because it is such a useful world in general to refer to a large group of gender-neutral people. I even managed to get a “y’all all” into WINNER TAKE ALL, which is clearly meant to indicate a large group of y’all.
Here’s my roommate’s dog, Tilly, checking out WINNER TAKE ALL!
Giveaway Details: International
3 winners will receive a finished copy of WINNER TAKE ALL, US Only.
Ends on February 13th at Midnight EST!