“A rich, emotionally layered story.....Wonderful.” ―NPR
“This book is like a warm hug filled with all the things I love. I started smiling from page one and couldn’t put it down.” ―Courtney Milan
“Whether your first ice skating romance was The Cutting Edge or Yuri!!! On Ice, you will absolutely love this book. Full of complicated family relationships, sparkling friendships, and a completely delicious romance, Every Reason We Shouldn’t is an uplifting love song to everyone who’s ever lost their way, and then had the courage to find it again.” ―Lindsay Ribar, author of Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
“Sure to take the gold.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will enjoy the well-developed characters, witty dialogue, and cringe-worthy romantic fumbles right through to the awfully neat, but very happy ending.” ―School Library Connection
“Compelling... an obvious choice for fans of classic love stories that play out on the ice, but also for readers looking for a nuanced story of self-discovery.” ―Booklist
Dakota McDonald swore after “The Great Homecoming Disaster” that she’d never allow her romantic life to be a plot line in her parents’ HGTV show again. But when the restaurant run by the family of her best friend (and secret crush), Leo, is on the line, Dakota might end up eating her own words.
Leo Matsuda dreams of escaping his small town Arizona life and the suffocating demands of working in his family’s restaurant, but the closer he gets to his goal—thanks to the help of his best friend (and secret crush) Dakota—the more reasons there are for him to stay.
CHAPTER 2 PART 2
Leo and I walk out the after the meeting and drop our skateboards on the ground.
“Do you have enough? For the deposit?” I say.
“Not yet.” Leo blows air out of his puffed cheeks. “Last weekend was slooooow. I even told Aurora to go home so I could up my tips—don’t look at me like that, she
was cool with it—and I’m still over five hundred dollars short.”
“Then let me give you the difference.” When Leo balks, I say, “Loan, not give you the money then. You have to go. It’s our Tanabata wish.”
Back in early July, I designed an interactive display inside Mat- suda to celebrate the Japanese holiday of Tanabata, the star-crossed lovers’ holiday on July 7. Along with the traditional bamboo and tanzaku—bookmark-like papers people write their wishes on—I created a Milky Way on the ceiling of the restaurant out of my family’s entire collection of Christmas twinkle lights. A local food critic even did an article about it. This gave the restaurant a much- needed boost since business is always slow during the broiling sum- mer months. That’s when Leo and I wrote the go on japan trip wishes on our tanzaku and hung them up.
One small problem—the Matsudas think that Leo and I want to go to Japan after our senior year. Not this year.
“Did you come clean to your parents yet?” I say.
“No. But I’m going to. Soon. Probably. If I can’t make the de- posit, then I’m not going to be able to go anyway. Why create un- necessary drama for myself?”
“Okay, once it is a definite go—and it will be—then you have to tell them. Iwate-sensei isn’t going to let you go if she finds out you forged your dad’s signature.”
“I didn’t forge his name. Dad signed it. He just wasn’t paying attention to what he was signing. That’s why I specifically asked him during monthly inventory.”
“Sneaky but effective. You still coming over?” Leo says as we roll away from school.
“Of course. It’s Matsuda Monday. Plus, I’m looking for some inspiration for my art class project. I’ve got nuthin’ right now.”
“Want me to set up a still life for you or something?” Leo ollies his skateboard onto the metal handrail of the stairs in front of our school and slides down. Meanwhile, I take the wheelchair ramp.
“Show-off,” I say when I catch up to him.
“Or if you need a model, here I am.” Leo flexes as we roll down the sidewalk next to each other.
“Awesome. So, can I tell Mr. Udall you want the human mod- eling job next month? It pays fifty bucks a class.” I can see the cash signs in Leo’s eyes. “We can’t do nudes at school, but you are okay modeling in basically a Speedo, yes?”
Leo hits a deep crack in the sidewalk and stumbles off his board. As always, it only takes a few steps before Leo gets his feet under him again. He doubles back to get his skateboard and hops back on. “Never mind. I’m going to pass.”
“C’mon. It’s an easy $250. At least do my class. Plus, it’s not like I’ve never seen you in a Speedo before. We were on the same sum- mer swim team that one time.”
Season 12, Episode 23: “BBQs and Belly Flops.” My first and last attempt at being on an organized sports team. It’s one thing to suck at a sport. It’s another thing when all of America sees you suck at it.
Leo does an exaggerated shiver. “We were eight, and Beth Roberts called me ‘Chunk’ all summer. I still have bad flashbacks about that.”
It’s true. Up until about eighth grade, Leo was the slightly over- weight kid with glasses. Then puberty finally kicked in, and, bam, he shot up six inches in one year. He still wears his glasses instead of contacts occasionally, but overall, Leo went from Zero to Hero by the time we started high school. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one to notice his transformation.
“Beth is in my art class. Come show up in the Speedo and let her kick herself a few thousand times.”
“I’m desperate for money. But I’m not that desperate.”
The Speedo fantasy stays stuck in my brain all the way to Leo’s house. I blame the Tanabata display I did for Matsuda for creating this problem. Because when Leo and I hung up our tanzaku, we did a pinky promise. What Leo dismissed as static electricity, shorted a fuse in me. The fuse that has always insisted Leo Matsuda is only my friend.
right © 2021 by Sara Fujimura