Title: Going Under by S. Walden
Publisher: Penny Press
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Length: 346 pages
Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.
Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.
(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and an explicit description of sexual violence. Please take the content warning seriously.)
“I’m totally excited!” Gretchen squealed as we walked, arms linked, up the sidewalk to Tanner’s house.
Yes, I felt guilty for lying to my dad. It wasn’t Olivia’s house. There’s no Olivia anyway. But I thought it would sound better if the party were being thrown by a girl and not an immature boy. Tanner was just that. An annoying, loud, overbearing football player from my old high school who insisted on being popular whether people wanted him to or not. I think he was only accepted into the club because he had parents who traveled a lot, thus opening his house to the most over-the-top, alcohol-infused, sex-crazed parties in the city. It amazed me that not one of them had ever been busted by the cops.
“What’s there to be excited about?” I asked. “These parties are obnoxious.”
“Whatever, Brooke. You loved them last year.”
“Yeah, that was last year,” I said. “God, I don’t want to run into anyone I know.”
We pushed through the front door and nearly toppled onto Stephanie.
“Oh my God!” she screamed, throwing her arms around my neck and choking me.
“Steph.” I know I sounded less than enthusiastic, but I just couldn’t pretend anymore.
“I was so hoping you’d come tonight!” she replied, pulling away and looking me up and down. “You look so pretty!”
I did look pretty. I wore dark blue skinny jeans with a gray sequins top and alligator pumps. My very first pair of closed-toe heels. I bought them immediately after Beth’s funeral, and I made sure there was nothing sad about them. Not a hint of black. They were purple instead. I wore my hair in a messy chignon at the nape of my neck to show off my mother’s wedding earrings—the diamond studs. I felt confident and sexy.
“Thanks. I love your dress,” I replied. “It’s really cute.”
Stephanie looked down at her outfit. “I know, right?!” She grabbed my hand and pulled me into the living room. “Look who’s here, everyone!”
“No no,” I said, shaking my head and tearing my hand out of hers. “No one needs to know.”
I smiled nervously and looked around. Thankfully no one heard Stephanie or they didn’t care. The music was turned up to the max, and half the partiers were already wasted. There was an uneasy energy bouncing about the room, like a huge fight would break out at any moment. I didn’t like it, or rather my spirit didn’t like it. I could tell because my heart fluttered and thumped, and not to the beat of the song.
I turned around assuming Gretchen had followed me into the living room. I assumed wrong.
All About Ryan
My sister told me she laughed her butt off at that part in the book—the part where Brooke gets drunk. I wanted it to be silly and lighthearted to take away from some of the heaviness in the novel. I mean, good grief. If the entire novel were like Chapter 20, who on earth would read it??
But back to gorgeous and strange Ryan. It’s official. The ladies love him, and many of you were a little mad you didn’t get more of him in the book. In my defense, I will say that Going Under was not meant to be primarily a romance. In fact, I purposely wrote the romance as a side item. This did not make for completely happy fans. You were semi-happy, but not all-the-way happy. 🙂 So here’s me making it up to you. I’m giving you a little inside information on our leading man that hopefully will allow you to forgive me in some way for not featuring him on every page. xo
Full name: Ryan James Foster
Born: September 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina at WakeMed
Astrological Sign: Libra
Stats: 6’2”; 180 lbs; brown hair; blue eyes
Favorite food: Steak fajitas
Favorite music: The Smashing Pumpkins, specifically their Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album. (His older cousin turned him on to ‘90s alternative rock.)
Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones
Activities: surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding (he’s really hot when he snowboards), swimming, making out with Brooke
Favorite book: The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Favorite movie: Snatch (Hey, what do you want me to say?)
College degree: B.S. Business Finance
Current job: Finance manager for a chain of local skateboard and skateboard supplies stores in Chapel Hill, NC
Idiotic move in college: Hosted a “hurricane party” at a friend’s place half a mile from the beach. These are popular parties during hurricane season in Wilmington, NC, and they really piss off the local authorities. No one was hurt, but a lot of college students got wasted and then naked. Ryan only got partially naked.
Biggest regret about Brooke: Not getting out of the car. He drove to NC State to see Brooke her freshmen year. He sat in the car in front of her dorm. He waited for hours and finally saw her walking towards the dorm entrance. And he wanted to go to her, but he was afraid. So he watched her swipe her key card, open the door, and disappear from view. He wouldn’t see her again for two years.
Sweetest Moment: Marrying Brooke. Simple. No fuss. A courthouse. The important people. A beautiful woman in a little white dress. Saying “I do.” And the next installment in their great big adventure.
~Broke his arm three times when he was in elementary school and middle school.
~Had braces twice: once in fourth grade and then again in seventh because he never wore his retainer.
~Played center forward in soccer until he messed up his knee.
~Pledged a fraternity in college and then quit.
~Turned down a make-out session with a girl in his freshmen composition class. Told her he was already committed to someone else.
~Became inseparable friends with Alyssa from philosophy. She was the only one who could stomach his incessant talk about Brooke.
~Wears one contact in his right eye to give him monovision (one eye sees distance and one eye reads up close).
~Does pushups every day.
~Tried vegetarianism for a week at the insistence of his friend, Charlie. Missed his steak fajitas too much to commit for life.
~Wants to give Brooke babies as soon as possible.
Okay fans. If that didn’t placate you, I will be collecting questions about Ryan during the tour that I will answer at the end. You have to email me to ask a question (please limit them to two), and I will post all the questions and answers by June 9. Sound good?
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about it.
I *heart* Ryan Giveaway
1. signed paperback copy of Going Under
2. $20 Game Stop gift card
3. Lana Del Rey’s single “Video Games”
4. Playstation 4 decals
5. Skateboard stickers
6. “Gamers Embrace” T-shirt
7. Ryan’s love letter to Brooke
To follow the rest of the tour, please click HERE and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the blog tour schedule.