Eva Des Lauriers on friends to lovers and her debut YA novel, I Wish You Would

"no matter what you’re struggling through, everyone deserves a love story that feels like a Taylor Swift song."

This post was written by, Eva Des Lauriers, author of I Wish You Would.

My upcoming YA romance debut, I Wish You Would, started with a trope. Every avid romance reader has their favorite tropes, and romance writers are no exception. Mine is friends-to-lovers. I’m biased since it is the trope of my own love story, but I also can’t get enough of palpable tension and angst it creates on the page as the foundation between the two friends shift beneath their very feet.

This shift can be especially disorienting when your world is already changing, which it so often does in adolescence. In my years as a clinical social worker, I worked directly with teens who were constantly unmoored by the shifts in their social lives, family lives, and their own sense of selves. They were afraid to be honest, to be vulnerable, to stand out, to be left out. Fear is the undercurrent of so much turmoil in our lives, but especially in adolescence.

Because the best young adult novels take teens seriously—that their problems are real, that their feelings are valid, that being exactly where they are is okay—I try to honor these elements in every story I write. But that doesn’t I couldn’t have a lot of fun with it, too.

The two main characters in I Wish You Would are best friends Ethan and Natalia, are going through a lot. Mental health struggles, family disintegration, social pressures and the kind of big romantic feelings that can be deeply overwhelming. They’re also on the cusp of senior year when so many teens are facing questions of the future like never before. They’re shifting into being autonomous adults in the world and their worlds are cracking open in a big way. You throw falling in love for the first time with someone you never expected to in there, and it’s a lot for anyone to manage.

And they’re not the only ones.


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Their entire senior class comes together for the Senior Sunrise overnight event on the beach and write letters to themselves answering the question what they would do if they were braver. It is often difficult, even as adults, to talk about what we’re struggling with out loud, so I utilized one of my favorite therapeutic tools from social work by having them all write their fears and wishes and secrets down. It provides a space to be brutally honest and truly vulnerable. Particularly because the letters are supposed to be private.

However, my favorite kind of drama ensues when seven of the confessional letters get out after Natalia panics and attempts to retrieve her own confession. Over the course of the twenty-four-hour trip, these private letters wreak havoc among friends and enemies alike as it becomes clear that every character has their own secret, unexpected struggle.

It was so much fun getting to know each and every character on a really deep level to understand what they were hiding and why. As the story came together, it became vital to me that the side characters have just as much to lose and just as much on the line as Natalia and Ethan, and that their secrets are as integral to the story as the main romance.

Because while so many books start with a trope, no good story is one-dimensional. After working with teens for so long, I wanted to depict the layers of what they go through at this really delicate and exciting time in their lives, so that even if we don’t agree with every character, or quite understand them, we hopefully relate to and empathize with them.

While I Wish You Would is at its heart a sweet and romantic story, it also meant to highlight what’s possible when we’re honest with ourselves and each other. That it’s worth it to be brave and to ask for what we want. That no matter what you’re struggling through, everyone deserves a love story that feels like a Taylor Swift song.

I Wish You Would by Eva Des Lauriers, is out 21st May, published by Hot Key Books. Get your copy here.

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