We are thrilled to reveal the cover for A Girl Called Shameless, the sequel to Laura Steven’s explosive debut novel, The Exact Opposite of Okay. In this special feature you can also feast your eyes on an exclusive extract from the upcoming book!
A Girl Called Shameless is another tale of feminism, friendship and foofers from our hilarious heroine, Izzy O’Neill. In this book, things get serious for Izzy as she takes action and becomes the voice of a movement for change (with rude jokes a plenty along the way). It’s a book that will have readers crying with laughter and wanting to take to the streets and shout, perfect for fans of Louise O’Neill, Holly Bourne, The Bold Type, Dude and Moxie.
Author Laura Steven says ‘I seriously couldn’t be more in love with this cover. It’s so fierce and unapologetic, which perfectly mirror’s Izzy’s life-affirming journey into becoming a revolutionary. Real talk: this book took a pound of flesh from me. So many of the themes I explore are mined from personal experience: how to forgive, how to redeem, and whether there are any situations in which those things are impossible. How to embrace growth and change in yourself while still preserving what makes you, you.’
‘How to fight for what you believe in without letting that fight swallow you whole. Even though I’ve never fallen victim to a sex scandal, it’s a deeply personal book, and I hope it resonates with readers the way it does with me. Having a cover that feels both as powerful and as intricate as the book itself means so much. I am genuinely not sure what I’ve done in this life to have been so truly blessed by the cover gods, but long may it continue!’
Read on for the cover, synopsis, and an exclusive extract of A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven.
About A Girl Called Shameless
It’s been two months since eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neil was slut-shamed in a national scandal. As well as coming to terms with the fact that thousands of people have seen her foofer – Izzy is juggling high school, writing a screenplay and figuring out what to do next with her life.
When another girl’s nude photos are leaked, Izzy and the Bitches Bite Back team decide to take action to make revenge porn illegal. They’re taking the fight all the way to the top… and won’t let anyone bring them down.
It’s time for the shaming to stop.
A Girl Called Shameless publishes on 07 March 2019.
A Girl Called Shameless – Exclusive Extract
The singular upside of the whole sex scandal fandango is the absurd surge in subscribers to our weird, poorly directed sketch comedy. We’re a few hundred YouTube fans shy of breaking 10,000, which is all kinds of bonkers.
Today’s sketch, penned by yours truly, is about an army of sex dolls who become self aware and seek revenge on their creepy owner. Social commentary with dirty jokes = my M.O.
This time, I’ve written a speaking part in the sketch for our new 13/10 excellent human of pal Meg, who has never acted before but has always shown a massive interest in our YouTube channel. She was actually a fangirl before we became friends, which is all kinds of sweet. Even though she was unsure about participating to begin with, I candidly filmed her chatting to Ajita, and she ended up loving the way she looked on camera – and didn’t hate the sound of her own voice as much as she expected to. So she agreed to be our newest actress, and proceeded to text me five times a day over the holidays asking exactly how a sex doll would pronounce the word vagina.
We’ve also managed to recruit most of the girls from theater to play crazed sex dolls, and freshman Fern Fournier – a ridiculously beautiful French-Japanese girl with awesome stage makeup skills – has agreed to give everyone a Crazed Sex Doll makeover. I did try going to the Mac counter in town and asking if they’d be up for the challenge, but apparently Crazed Sex Doll, while a name of one of their overpriced lipsticks*, is not a makeover style they’re familiar with.
[*Not really. It’s that artistic license thing.]
So now there are twelve of us on the makeshift set in Ajita’s basement. Fern has set up a mini makeup station beside the pool table, and is currently working her magic on Meg – who also loves makeup, and is chattering excitedly about contour palettes. The rest of the girls are changing into matching costumes we cobbled together from the drama department at school. I’ve even put special touches to them with off-cuts of the tin foil I used to giftwrap Carson’s Christmas gift. [Let it never be said that I’m not thrifty. I’ll be making underwear out of the stuff before you know it.]
The only downside of no longer being friends with Danny is the fact he was the sole provider of fancy filming equipment. Ajita managed to find some basic tripods and collapsible reflectors online, but we’re sorely missing the expensive camera and array of microphones. So we’re just having to make do with Ajita’s parents’ DSLR.
Ajita and I are in the process of moving the sofa to make room for an army of sex dolls to assemble. From the corner of the room, Meg’s girly giggle cuts through the sound of eight sex dolls running lines. [Another one of my strange sentences that doesn’t give off a great impression if you take it out of context.] Ajita shoots a weird look over to where Meg and Fern are fawning over a new shade of lipstick, then fluffs a cushion slightly aggressively.
“You okay?” I ask, quietly as I can – which is easier said than done when you have the voice of a malfunctioning foghorn.
Jaw gritted, she rearranges a fallen cushion, not meeting my eye. I’m pretty sure if you listen closely enough, you’ll hear the sound of Ajita grinding her teeth down into bleeding stumps. [That was an unnecessarily brutal mental image.] “Yeah. It’s just… I don’t know, dude. You could’ve asked me before you wrote Meg such a big part. It’s meant to be our joint sketch show, you know?”
This is not what I was expecting. Like, at all. And to be honest, it kind of rubs me the wrong way. Why would I need to ask her permission to have Meg in a sketch with us? I’ve always written all the material for our skits. Writing isn’t her thing, and she’s never shown an interest in it before. Is she acting weird now that the show has kind of taken off because of all the media attention on me? And she wants to feel like she still has equal control?
I don’t know. This level of pettiness is pretty out of character for her, and I’m on the brink of calling her out when something stops me. Something oddly guilt-shaped. Because after everything that Ajita forgave last semester – after I accidentally outed her to the entire world and she welcomed me back into her life with open arms – I have no right to feel mad at her over a tiny niggle like this. So instead of prodding her for an explanation, I say, “Okay. Sorry. Next time, I’ll ask you first.”
At this point, Meg comes over to where we’re sitting, pops the brakes on her wheelchair, and asks, “Do I look okay?”
Ajita paints a falsely bright smile on her face, worlds away from the agitated expression of three seconds ago. “Do sex dolls have regional accents?” She says it with the exact inflection of “is the Pope a Catholic?” as though phrasing a rhetorical question, except in this instance, there is no clear answer.
About Laura Steven
Laura Steven is an author, journalist and screenwriter from the northernmost town in England. She has an MA in Creative Writing and works at a non-profit organisation supporting women in the creative arts. Her TV pilot, Clickbait, was a finalist in British Comedy’s 2016 Sitcom Mission. The Exact Opposite of Okay is her first book for young adults.
The Exact Opposite of Okay is a hilarious, groundbreaking young adult novel for anyone who’s ever called themselves a feminist . . . and anyone who hasn’t. For fans of Louise O’Neill, Holly Bourne and Amy Schumer.
Izzy O’Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by . . .
Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off – but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It’s the Exact Opposite of Okay.
Bitingly funny and shockingly relevant, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a bold, brave and necessary read. For readers of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Doing It by Hannah Witton and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.
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