The winners are… These 9 authors got real about their first times and now we’re screaming! PLUS win 1 of 3 Holly Bourne goodie bags!

You’ve got to hear these stories!

First kisses are far from movie perfect. They’re awkward, terrifying and half the time there’s way too much drool involved. From not-so-romantic snogs at bus stops and some very awkward ear licking, we’ve teamed up with heaps of your favourite YA authors to discuss their very first lip-locks.

We are celebrating Holly Bourne’s brand new book ‘It Only Happens In The Movies’. In the story, Audrey is totally over love. She’s had her heart broken enough times. But when she gets a job at the local cinema and meets the mysterious Harry, all of that begins to change. It’s not exactly a romance story, though. It’s real life, which means there’s plenty of confusion, pain and awkward kissing.

Like the sound if it? Good, as we’re giving 3 lucky readers the chance to win an amazing Holly Bourne goodie bag. The prize look like this…

And it features the following:

  • 1 copy of ‘It Only Happens in the Movies’ by Holly Bourne
  • 1 Usborne tote bag
  • 1 Usborne YA mini-booklet with a sneak peek at their fab new YA books out next year
  • 1 exclusive early copy of one of Usborne’s top YA books coming out in 2018
  • 1 limited edition ‘It Only Happens In The Movies’ T-Shirt
  • Some amazing pin-badges
  • Holly’s fave snacks including Wotsits and Portlebay Popcorn
  • Tons of other Holly Bourne SWAG

But, before we tell you how to enter, let’s delve into some first kiss stories, shall we?

1. Holly Bourne author of ‘It Only Happens In The Movies’ and ‘The Spinster Club’ series

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I think I’ve mentally blocked a lot of the actual kissing part, but I can remember exactly what I was wearing to the party where it happened. A pink Blondie t-shirt, bleached jeans, gold ballet pumps, and a hell of a lot of eyeliner. I definitely loved that outfit more than the person I kissed.

2. Holly Smale author of the ‘Geek Girl’ series

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I was fifteen, and I had a crush on “the funny guy”: you know, the one nobody else fancied but I thought was hilarious. He made me laugh in Chemistry, and I thought that meant – unlike the jocks – he was secretly thoughtful and romantic and sensitive, despite constant jokes about “the Period Table”. Also, he talked to me sometimes without calling me a geek, which immediately set him apart from every other boy in my year: I thought he was charming and brilliant.

It was my first proper party, and I was terrified. It was all firsts: first time wearing foundation, first time in a party-dress that wasn’t made of velvet, first time with an alcoholic drink, first time my parents were letting someone else take me home. A couple of hours in, I’d just emerged nervously from my quiet hiding corner of an extremely dark kitchen into an even darker living room when the pace slowed and “Two Becomes One” by the Spice Girls kicked in. As if by magic, everyone in the room did as directed: morphing into clammy, pawing kissing couples.

Panicking – nobody wants to be the person standing in the middle of a room full of snogging people on their own – I turned to race back to my hiding corner in the kitchen.

Funny Boy was standing in the doorway.

“Where are you going?” he said, putting drunk arms around me. “Let’s dance.”

So we danced and I kept panicking until – before I’d prepared myself mentally – there was a tongue in my mouth. It was wet and swished and prodded and twirled for a bit and I couldn’t keep up: my whole mouth was starting to ache.

Then – I think – the light abruptly went on, the parents had come home early and we were all being crossly kicked out (“This is what you do when we go to see Cats?”).

I went home in a daze: both delighted (Funny Boy likes me!) and relieved (first kiss is over!) and slightly disappointed (is it always so exhausting and slobbery?). I replayed it in my head all night, and arrived in Chemistry class the next morning: bashful and shy and hoping for some kind of red-faced confession of adoration.

“WEEEEYYYYY,” one of the jocks yelled. “LOOK WHO IT IS. Funny Boy, didn’t you snog the geek last night?”
“Oh gross, what would you do that for?”
“Does she taste disgusting?”
“Man, you’ve reached new lows.”

Face burning, I turned with a sinking heart to Funny Boy: desperate for him to defend me, maybe offer to fight them in a duel.

“Umm, no I didn’t,” he declared loudly. “Are you all mad? Why the hell would I kiss that?”

Except they’d all seen him, so he yelled “I WAS DRUNK” at the top of his voice. “YOU CAN’T BLAME SOMEONE FOR WHAT THEY DO WHEN THEY’RE DRUNK.”

So that was that: my first kiss.

And I never laughed at any of Funny Boy’s jokes again.

3. Alwyn Hamilton author of the ‘Rebel Of The Sands’ trilogy

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We were in the latter years of elementary school. A friend’s parents were having a dinner party for a bunch of the parents from school. Because we were all in the same class, the kids came too, about a half dozen of us maybe. We hung out upstairs, while the parents were having dinner downstairs. As it was getting late, we started to get impatient for dessert. One of the boys suggested that he and I go question the adults about when we might be getting cake. So we went downstairs. But before we got to the dining room, he pulled me under the staircase and asked if I wanted to “play kissing tag but without the tag”. It was such a weird way to ask that it took me a second to decipher that. When I finally did, I said yes. We kissed. Then we totally kept our poker faces and went to ask the adults about dessert.

4. Non Pratt author of ‘Truth or Dare’, ‘Remix’ and more

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Technically my first kiss was perfect. A walk down a leafy cycle path on a cold, crisp November’s night – my friend who’d set us up walking well ahead with her boyfriend leaving me with the boy who was about to kiss me… We stopped, already huddled closer “for warmth”, then went in a little closer. No nose smooshes, no clashing teeth and both of us had been sharing a pack of Polos so top marks for fresh breath. Sure it was weird and wet, but it was exciting. I liked the kiss. It’s just a shame it was with the wrong person: for both of us. He fancied my friend and I fancied his, as if we were in the first act of a Shakespearean comedy. Fortunately by the final act, everything had jiggled around and the second person I ever kissed was 100% the right one – and that made the kissing A LOT better.

5. Kiran Millwood Hargave author of ‘The Girl Of Ink & Stars’ and ‘The Island At The End Of Everything’

I was thirteen, and the best looking guy in my Stagecoach (I know) class asked if I wanted to go to the cinema. I was teased for being chubby, geeky, braces-wearing, and frizzy fringed, so knew it couldn’t be a date, but still my parents weren’t comfortable with me sitting in a darkened room with a boy they didn’t know. They said he could come over to watch a film instead. We snuck up to my bedroom and he suggested we play a game: kiss coin. Heads I kiss him somewhere on his body, tails vice versa. Even after he suggested this, I assumed it must be as friends, so I kissed him on his elbow, foot, forehead…it wasn’t until he won the toss and kissed me on the lips that I realised he might actually fancy me. It was a pretty good kiss, though a little washing-machine-y. I was just screaming in my head – I couldn’t believe this beautiful boy was kissing me. We dated for a year. Never underestimate the allure of braces and frizzy fringes!

6. Laura Steven author of ‘The Exact Opposite Of Okay’

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My first Proper Kiss (i.e. with tongues, the universal benchmark for Proper Kissing) took place when I was 14, with a guy called Mikey at a school disco. We did an awkward shuffley slow dance and then he went in for the kill. I remember being overwhelmed at the sheer volume of saliva involved in the process – it was like Niagara Falls gushing directly into my mouth. Any more and it would be approaching waterboarding territory. And his tongue was probing around like the world’s worst dental examination. 0/10 would not recommend kissing Mikey.

7. Maggie Harcourt author of ‘Unconventional’ and ‘The Last Summer Of Us’

Movie first kisses always include The Meaningful Pause: that split-second where two people look at each other and apparently decide via telepathy that yes, kissing is happening. Wow, do the movies lie.

We were at a bus stop, waiting for his bus. It was raining, but not in a particularly romantic way: more a sort of constant, pelting sheets of rain way. I’m sure he said something nice or funny but all I can remember is the voice shouting: “How do I know if he wants to kiss me? Is there a signal or something?” inside my head. And then – suddenly he was leaning towards me, and I could see his lips parting… and I was so panicked at having missed The Signal that I jerked forward because that seemed like a good idea.

The result? He accidentally knocked my glasses off and into a puddle on the ground, and I closed my eyes and somehow managed to land a very delicate, super-romantic and massively overthought kiss… right on the edge of his eyebrow.

8. Katherine Webber author of ‘Wing Jones’

My first-first kiss on the lips was an innocent, closed mouth, two second smooch in an alley behind a playground during a game of truth-or-dare. It was with my closest guy friend at the time, who I’d known since I was seven, and in front of a group of our friends who provided a soundtrack of “oooooh!” It was incredibly unromantic but also rather sweet.

My first proper kiss (you know, a FRENCH kiss) was, appropriately, in a dark movie theatre! A friend and I were interested in two guys who were friends, so we arranged a “date” at the movie theatre. We were too young to drive ourselves, and my mom would have never let me go on a date with a boy (I was around 14 at the time) so my friend and I concocted an elaborate scheme to go to the movies with these boys without our parents knowing. I don’t remember the movie at all, I just remember the boy I liked leaning over and kissing me during the credits. An open mouth kiss! And I kissed him back, and then, because I had read too many romance novels, I started LICKING HIS EAR. He was understandably weirded out and not-so-subtly leaned away from me. And we never kissed again.

9. Melinda Salisbury author of ‘The Sin Eater’s Daughter’ series

My first kiss was terrible. I was fifteen, and dead certain no one would ever want to kiss me. It felt as though I was the last person in the world – certainly in my year group – to be kissed. Everyone else was kissing all the time, from what I’d heard. One boy, two boys. Boys fought over them, boys asked them on ACTUAL DATES. (It was all very heteronormative, at least on the surface). It didn’t help that I went to an all girls school and my hobbies were hanging out with my Nan, and reading books – not activities known for their Kissing Scenario Potential.

Until one night, me and my friend put down the books we’d been reading silently together to go to the shop and get snacks. WHERE WE MET BOYS.

Actual boys. Our age. Two of them. Two of us.

The boys asked us what we were doing and my friend – with preternatural foresight casually said. “Nothing.”

I would have said “I’m on chapter fifteen and it is about to go off, so… bye.”

Thank God for friends.

The boys then asked if we wanted to swap some of our Rainbow Drops for some of their Dairy Milk (not a euphemism).

Somehow we ended up walking around the block with them three times, separating into pairs, me with one, my friend with another. There was no talking. No ‘getting to know you’ chat. We didn’t even ask each other what schools we went to.

As we were about to complete our fifth go around of the block, the boy I was with stopped, and said the immortal words:

“Do you want to get off with me?”

I shrugged, and then he was kissing me. Very, very badly.

You would think as someone new to kissing I wouldn’t know what was bad, but believe me, I knew. It was almost as though he’d generously decided to give me a step-by-step guide to terrible kissing. Washing machine tongue, mashing lips, rictus grip on my upper arms. Despite having eaten chocolate he still tasted of cigarettes. And after a very strict two minutes, he pulled back, wiped his mouth and ran off to catch his friend.

And me and mine went home, carried on reading our books, and I didn’t kiss anyone else for a solid year.

It was better that time.

Enter the competition…

To win a Holly Bourne ‘It Only Happens In The Movies’ goodie bag, enter your details into the following form. Please note that you need to do all three steps to be in for a chance of winning the prize.

The competition will close 12th November 9pm and the winners will be contacted shortly after. Unfortunately it’s UK only. Good luck!

Start reading ‘It Only Happens In The Movies’ by Holly Bourne…

I wasn’t expecting candles.

They lit the whole cinema – tea lights, the stout white candles you get in churches, thin ones stuffed into candlesticks. My skin itched in their heat.

I blinked and shook my head. “What the hell?”

Then I saw Harry.

He looked so damn proud of himself. His hair sticking up at every angle, his hands sheepishly in his pockets, head cocked, his teeth bared in his trademark smile. The flickering light made him look like a hologram.

Continue reading…

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Written by Emma Matthews

Emma is a freelance journalist at MP.

When she’s not writing articles for Maximum Pop!, you’ll find her attending gigs, geeking out over the latest beauty products and reading feminist literature. Hermione is her favourite Harry Potter character - obviously.

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