If you’ve read a number of young adult novels, you’ve likely encountered party scenes. Let’s face it—young people like to party. And no one likes to party alone, so even those who aren’t fond of parties often find themselves dragged along by their friends. Writing a party scene can be a lot of fun because it opens the door for all sorts of potential conflict:
- Characters who normally wouldn’t hang out with each other may find themselves engaged in conversation.
- Parties almost never have adult chaperones, so characters can get away with doing or saying things they wouldn’t be able to in other public settings, like school.
- If there’s alcohol involved, characters may behave in highly unpredictable ways.
And if you’re a fan of angst, what better way to make two seemingly mismatched characters who’ve been denying their attraction for one another come together in the awkwardest possible way, than with a kissing game?
One of the most popular party games (often used with smaller groups of people) is Truth or Dare. Truth or Dare has been around forever. Well, at least since the early 1700s, when it was called “Questions and Commands.” The photo on the left shows me sticking my foot in a toilet, a dare given to me by my friends at a slumber party. Do people still play Truth or Dare? Yes! In fact, check out this Truth or Dare phone app and take the game with you wherever you go. For a list of sample questions and dares, click here. Traditionally, both questions and dares frequently have sexual undertones. I’ve read many novels where teen characters play Truth or Dare. It’s a great way to force a character to reveal his hidden fears or desires and/or do things he would never otherwise do on his own. There’s also a version of the game called Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Kiss, Pash, or Torture:
Truth: You must answer a question truthfully
Dare: You must complete a dare
Double Dare: You and the person describing the dare must both complete the dare
Kiss: You must kiss someone or something in the room
Pash: Similar to kiss, but much steamier (tongue-kissing, groping, etc.)
Torture: Everyone in the room pounces on you and tickles you
Another popular party game is Spin the Bottle. There are many variations of the game, but it’s most interesting if players are not allowed to respin when the bottle lands on a same-sex partner. This video shows a game in full swing. In “Extreme” Spin the Bottle, each time the same pairing is chosen, the couple must kiss for an increasingly longer duration, and if the bottle lands on the person who spins, that person must remove an article of clothing.
And last but not least, there’s Seven Minutes in Heaven, where a chosen pair is locked in a closet for seven minutes, during which time they’re expected to make out. Have any of you ever played kissing games at parties? Let me know in the comments below! In Play Me, I’m Yours, Lucas finds himself at a party where the game is being played, and he’s terrified that he’ll be picked. Not only does he fear drawing attention to himself, but he’s never kissed a girl before, and he’s not sure he’d be able to go through with it. The excerpt below sets up the scene:
“Attention! Attention everyone! It’s time for our first party game.” Several whoops and hollers rose from the crowd as Brian Kim yelled, “Listen up! We’re playing Seven Minutes in Heaven. I’m sure you all know the rules. Ladies, if you want to play, put your name in the jar.”
One of the football players walked around handing slips of paper to all the girls. Lucas watched Trish draw little hearts and a butterfly around her name, kiss the slip of paper, and then drop it into the collection jar.
Donovan groaned. “This game sucks. Like I want to make out with some girl. At least with Spin the Bottle I’d have a decent chance of getting some man-on-man action.”
Trish laughed. “You could always put your name in the jar, D. But I doubt any of the guys here would have the balls to spend seven minutes in a closet with you.”
“Their balls should be so lucky,” he said.
Trish turned to Lucas. “What about you, Boo?”
“Yeah, Lucas,” Donovan said. “Are your balls brave enough to spend seven minutes in the closet with me?”
Everyone in the group turned to look at him. He gulped. He could feel the heat in his face, and knew he was turning red. “Um… I don’t know.”
Donovan snorted. “I’ll be back. Gotta drain the main vein.”
Trish wrinkled her nose in distaste, then dragged Lucas away from the group of kids they’d been talking to. She lowered her voice as she spoke. “I wish you-know-who were here. I would die and go to heaven for seven minutes alone with him.”
Zach Teagan? Lucas would too.
Brian Kim shouted to gain everyone’s attention. “Last call. Everyone have their name in the jar? I’m going first.” He retrieved the jar from somewhere in the crowd and pulled out a name. He waited until the noise died down before reading it aloud. “Lisa Scott!”
The crowd cheered, and Trish said, “Lucky bitch. Brian’s hot.”
Lucas silently agreed, remembering what Brian looked like in swim shorts.
As Lisa and Brian entered the closet, several kids crowded outside the door, trying to hear what was happening inside. Lucas heard laughter and teasing from the crowd but paid little attention to it. His mind raced. Would he be expected to play? He quickly scanned the room, looking at all the girls. Whose name might he draw? What if she refused to play with him? He’d be humiliated. What if she didn’t refuse and he had to go in the closet with her? God, that would be just as embarrassing. He’d never kissed a girl before. What if he was bad at it? Would she tell everyone? What if he went in and then chickened out?
“Trish?” He tugged on her shirt sleeve. “How do they decide which boys are gonna play?”
“The guy who comes out of the closet gets to pick the next guy. Then he chooses a girl’s name from the jar.”
“What’s the matter? Are you nervous? Maybe you’ll pick me,” she said, laughing.
Lucas’s eyes widened.
“Don’t worry, Boo. You don’t have to play. You can pass.”
He breathed a sigh of relief.
“If you decide to pick a name, though, you have to follow through with it. Them’s the rules.”
Lucas considered hiding in the bathroom to avoid being chosen, but he was afraid he’d run into Donovan, and he didn’t want to leave Trish standing by herself. He’d have to wait. He didn’t think Brian would choose him anyway. Brian had never given him trouble before.
“10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1!”
The closet door flung open and out stumbled a disheveled Brian and Lisa. They both had smiles on their faces and were wobbly on their feet. Was that because they were drunk or because they were coming off an endorphin rush?
Brian waved his arms in an attempt to hush the crowd. “Okay, next up… my man, Alex!”
As Lucas and Trish looked on to see who Alex would choose, Donovan returned. “What did I miss?”
“Brian and Lisa,” Trish said, filling him in. “It’s Alex’s turn to pick.”
“And I have to watch? Oh fate, thou art a heartless bitch. If he picks you, I’m never speaking to you again.”
“I should be so lucky,” Trish said sarcastically.
Donovan licked his lips. “I bet I could make that boy come twice in seven minutes.”
Lucas drew a quick breath. No one would do that in the closet, would they?
Across the room, Alex reached in the jar and pulled out a name. He held it under his palm, laying it flat against his chest while he waited for the crowd to settle.
“Ladies! Ladies! Prepare yourselves.” He wiggled his eyebrows and plastered on a goofy smile. Then he looked at the name, and his face fell.
Lucas could tell he’d picked someone he didn’t like.
The murmurs grew louder as people looked around the room, speculating.
Alex scanned the crowd. “Lucas?”
Play Me, I’m Yours by Madison Parker
Published by Harmony Ink Press
Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Liu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and he doesn’t know which is worse. His one comfort in life is his music; he feels unloved by everyone. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.
Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.
Visit Madison Parker’s Website at www.madisonparklove.com for bonus materials including character sketches, piano covers, music videos, and lyrics for songs referenced in the novel.
To celebrate the release of Play Me, I’m Yours, Madison Parker is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win your choice of a free copy of Play Me, I’m Yours or a $10 gift certificate from Rainbow eBooks by leaving a comment below along with your email address. For multiple chances to win, comment at each stop along the tour. Click here for the complete tour schedule. Winners will be chosen randomly on April 23.