The Temperature of You and Me | Book Tour & Review

THE TEMPERATURE OF ME AND YOU

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE TEMPERATURE OF ME AND YOU by Brian Zepka Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

About The Book:

Title: THE TEMPERATURE OF ME AND YOU

Author: Brian Zepka

Pub. Date: January 25, 2022

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 416

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, AudibleB&NiBooks (audiobook), KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

Sixteen-year-old Dylan Highmark thought his winter was going to be full of boring shifts at the Dairy Queen, until he finds himself in love with a boy who’s literally too hot to handle.

Dylan has always wanted a boyfriend, but the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia do not have a lot in the way of options. Then, in walks Jordan, a completely normal (and undeniably cute) boy who also happens to run at a cool 110 degrees Fahrenheit. When the boys start spending time together, Dylan begins feeling all kinds of ways, and when he spikes a fever for two weeks and is suddenly coughing flames, he thinks he might be suffering from something more than just a crush. Jordan forces Dylan to keep his symptoms a secret. But as the pressure mounts and Dylan becomes distant with his closest friends and family, he pushes Jordan for answers. Jordan’s revelations of why he’s like this, where he came from, and who’s after him leaves Dylan realizing how much first love is truly out of this world. And if Earth supports life that breathes oxygen, then love can only keep Jordan and Dylan together for so long.

THE TEMPERATURE OF ME AND YOU is the story of first love, and the lengths we’ll go to figure out our hearts. What starts as an electric, chance encounter at a Dairy Queen quickly evolves into a heated romance, a journey of trust and identity, and a ticking clock for survival.

Thoughts:

This was such an awesome, moving read. First love, romance everything you’d ever want.

Reviews:

The Temperature of Me and You catapults the notion of sizzling romance to a whole new fun level with both metaphoric and literal sparks, flames, and superhuman pyro-powers brightly burning in a smokin’ hot story.―Alex Sanchez, author of Rainbow Boys and You Brought Me the Ocean

With so much heart, mystery, and sci-fi intrigue, Brian lit a fire in my soul that had me burning through these pages! Not only will the action have you on the edge of your seat, but the sparks flying between Dylan and Jordan will make you melt.―Jason June, author of Jay’s Gay Agenda

About Brian Zepka:

Brian Zepka was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Brian worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Virginia where he provided support for programs addressing community health literacy and adolescent sexual health. He currently lives in Philadelphia and is a program evaluator for a nonprofit organization focused on chronic disease prevention. The Temperature of Me and You is his first novel.


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Giveaway Details: 

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE TEMPERATURE OF ME AND YOU, US Only.

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21392/?

One

I have four main takeaways from my chemistry test today. First,  the symbol on the periodic table for oxygen looks like the number  of interesting things that happen in my life on a regular basis. The  symbol for sodium, Na, represents my history of romance—not applicable. The symbol for radon, Rn, stands for my thoughts on when  I want a boyfriend—right now. And the symbol for ununhexium,  Uuh, is my response when people ask me if I am going to do something about it. 

The most life altering decision I’ve made in the past year is  to proclaim that I prefer hard ice cream over soft serve as a Dairy  Queen employee. 

Speaking of which, another hour and tonight’s shift will be over.  My friends and I have been talking about chemistry class while I  pretend to wait for customers I not-so-secretly hope won’t show up. 

“The only answer I knew was hydrogen,” Perry says, shoveling  a spoonful of her large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard into her  mouth.

“Well, duh. The symbol for that one is literally just an H,” I say. “You got oxygen too I hope, right?” Kirsten asks. 

Perry rolls her eyes, digging deeper into her Blizzard. “Yeah, I  think. I put Ox for that one.” 

Kirsten smiles and shakes her head. “It’s an O. That’s literally  the easiest one.” 

“What? I thought O was for olerium.” 

“Olerium?” I ask, twitching my head. “Is that even a thing?” “Of course it’s a thing. But it wasn’t on the test,” Perry counters. “Yeah, because it’s definitely not a thing.” 

She laughs. “Are you serious?” Crushed Reese’s Cups line her  bottom row of teeth. Kirsten reaches across the table and puts her  hand over Perry’s mouth. “Close this,” she says, laughing. “No one  wants to see that.” 

“I’m sorry,” Perry says, grabbing a napkin and wiping the corners of her lips. “At this point, who cares? When will I ever need  those elements in my actual life?” 

“Um, this very second as you breathe them in,” Kirsten answers. “So technical.” 

Perry tries. She really does. And when I say tries, I mean tries  everything she can to not do schoolwork and still pass. Like, when  the three of us got together last night to complete the chemistry  worksheets for our test today, Kirsten and I actually did the work  while Perry spent the night trying to find the answers on Google and  replying to message boards that haven’t been active in five years. 

Unlike Kirsten, who is banking on her good grades for college,  Perry is piling all her hopes into a cheerleading scholarship. She’s  on a regional all-star cheer team in addition to the school team. I’m sure she could do both cheer squads and do well in school at the  same time. But Perry says she would rather be amazing at one thing  than average at a bunch of things. So she chooses cheer over school. 

“Dylan, can you make my Blizzard now?” Kirsten asks, spinning  around in her seat. 

“Here, you can finish mine,” Perry says, slamming her ice cream  onto the table. Her chest rises as she holds in a burp. Kirsten is without a doubt the prettiest girl in the junior class.  And, in my opinion, all of Falcon Crest High School. Me, a skinny  gargoyle who is teetering on okay in the looks department, and Perry,  a confused meerkat who is above average in the looks department  but loses major points for her lack of any common sense and basic  human functionality, are not who you’d expect Falcon Crest’s own  Elle Woods to associate with. 

I lift my arms off the service counter and stand up straight. I  push my hands into my lower back to stretch myself into a normal,  upright human position. 

My elbows are red from not moving once during my shift. To no  one’s surprise, I haven’t had a single customer all night. It’s January  and twenty degrees in Falcon Crest. Even my manager knows how  pointless staying open year-round is because he leaves as soon as I  get here after school. Which, by the way, is probably illegal because  I’m sixteen and operating a store by myself—but I don’t ask questions.  Perry and Kirsten don’t count as customers because they come here  whenever I am working to get free ice cream and keep me company. 

“Perr, next time I’m making you a kid-size because you never  finish what I give you,” I say. 

“How dare you,” she says, squinting at me.

“What do you want, Kirsten?” I turn and walk toward the rattling ice-cream machines, staring at the colorful menu above me  decorated with pictures of ice-cream cones and candy labels. 

“Hey, did Jimmy escape out the back door or something?” Perry  asks. She stands and looks down the hall to the bathrooms. “I’ll just finish Perry’s ice cream,” Kirsten replies, grabbing the  cup from the table. 

“He’s in the bathroom,” I say. Jimmy is an unfortunate soul from  another school who’s been directed here as a possible boyfriend  candidate for me. But my thoughts about that are represented by the  symbol for the element nobelium, No. 

“Yeah, he’s been in there for twenty minutes,” Kirsten says. “He  must really not be interested in you.” 

“Or dropping a big ole you know what,” Perry says, crossing her  arms and laughing to herself. 

“Ew! Stop!” Kirsten shrieks. “I’m eating.” 

“I don’t know why you brought him here,” I whisper. “I told you  I stalked his Instagram and I wasn’t interested.” 

Perry shrugs. “Sometimes people are different in person.  Savanna said he was single and looking, so I’m helping you out,”  she whispers back. “Plus, Kirsten and I agreed you guys would look  cute together.” 

“First of all, I don’t know why we would take a recommendation  from Savanna Blatt. She is mean to all three of us and is most likely  using this to screw us over somehow. He probably has a STD of the  throat or something!” 

“As I am sure you’re well aware, nice boys are in short supply  in this town. You take what we can get.”

“It’s too forced and awkward for me. I’m not in the mood for  Perry Love Connections tonight.” 

“Every day is a day for a Perry Love Connection, my friend.” Perry has made it her personal mission to get me a boyfriend.  But sometimes I would appreciate it if her mission had some standards attached to it. 

“He’s been rude this entire time.” 

“He really has,” Kirsten says, nodding. “He hasn’t even acknowledged me yet.” 

“See,” I say, gesturing at Kirsten. “I can’t date someone who  doesn’t acknowledge my overachieving best friend. If Kirsten can’t  get acknowledgement, then I have no chance.” 

“Ugh,” Perry grunts. “How does it always end up you two against  me? Let’s just see how he is when he gets back.” 

“And how he smells,” Kirsten says with a mouth full of ice  cream. Perry and I roll our eyes in unison. 

The bathroom door clicks, and Perry and Kirsten sit up as if  they were misbehaving. Perry smirks at me while shimmying her  shoulders. 

“Watch . . . he won’t talk to me,” Kirsten blurts at the last second.  Perry smacks her arm, shooting her a look. 

Jimmy rounds the corner from the bathroom hallway and plants  himself next to the service counter. I take a few steps away from  him toward the other end. Perry smiles. It’s quiet for a few seconds. 

He’s so out of place. Even if I did like him, he would never mesh  well with the three of us. He looks like a church boy who just came  from Sunday service or something. He’s wearing thin, slip-on brown  leather shoes that I swear my dad also owns, khaki pants, and a button-up shirt that’s tucked in. Meanwhile, my shaggy, curly hair  is reminiscent of a tumbleweed, and ice cream is splattered across  the front of my shirt and arms. Kirsten’s long brown hair rolls down  her back in knotty waves. Perry’s blond hair is tied on the top of her  head into a baseball-size bun with a polka-dot scrunchy. They are  both wearing leggings, sneakers, and their cheerleading hoodies. 

“Did you want anything?” I ask, tapping my fingers on the counter. I want to fling a spoonful of hot fudge at Jimmy to mess up his  clean-cut image. 

“Nah, I’m good,” he says. “Did I hear you guys talking about  chemistry?” 

I don’t respond. Instead, I stare at Perry, raising my eyebrows,  and wait for her to say something since this is her guest after all. “We were,” she says. “We had a test on the periodic table and  had to match all the elements with their symbols and stuff. Dylan  over here aced it. Didn’t you, Dyl?” She smirks. 

“We did that stuff, like, freshman year at my school,” Jimmy  says. 

I resist the urge to roll my eyes again. “I thought it was fine,” I  say. “I don’t know about acing it, but I didn’t bomb.” “I aced it,” Kirsten says. 

“Nice, man!” Jimmy exclaims. I jerk my head back at his enthusiasm. “Right on.” He extends his arm and puts his palm up. I scan  it with my eyes, tracing the lines on his skin. He leaves it in the air  for what I’m assuming is a high five. 

I want to melt into a puddle like a vanilla ice-cream cone, be  washed up with a mop, wrung out, and never be seen again. Kirsten  and Perry’s lips curl in, ready to burst from laughter knowing I’m going to have to partake in this bro moment. I take a few steps  toward him, because he’s too far from me to reach, and lightly tap  his palm with mine, inwardly cringing. My teeth are clenched. “Thanks,” I say, clearing my throat. 

He inspects his palm, then wipes it on his pants. I must’ve left  some sticky residue on his hand. At least the interaction wasn’t a  total waste. 

Perry lets out her laughter in the form of a burping grunt. “Yikes,” Jimmy says to me. “Not hard to see why you did better  on the test than those slobs.” He laughs to himself, then taps my  arm with the back of his hand. 

“I said I aced it,” Kirsten says, squinting at him. Jimmy ignores  her comment. 

I retreat on to my phone, wondering how long this guy is going  to stand here for. 

“Oh!” Perry gasps. “Our newest paint-by-numbers kits just  shipped.” 

“Yay!” Kirsten squeals. “Right on schedule.” 

We try to complete a new paint-by-number piece each season.  We just completed our Christmas-themed canvases last week. But  we finished past our deadline, or rather Kirsten’s deadline, and  didn’t get to see the finished products before the holiday. As a result,  Kirsten forced us to order our spring kits earlier than expected so  we wouldn’t fall behind again. 

“You can’t just paint on your own?” Jimmy asks. “You need little  numbers to tell you were to put a color?” He laughs. “No, actually, I don’t need the numbers,” Perry snaps. “It’s just  more relaxing that way. I’d like to see you try.”

“Doesn’t mean you’re actually good at painting.” 

“What the—” Perry stands. 

I clear my throat. “I need to start cleaning up to close the store,”  I lie. “Everyone should probably go.” I exhale. 

“What?” Perry asks. “But we—” 

I slice my neck with my hand and glance at Jimmy. She nods. 

“Good idea. I can wait around after everyone leaves if you want?”  Jimmy asks. 

I blush. “Um, no, it’s okay. Closing the store takes a while,” I lie  again. “You don’t have to stand here that whole time.” He nods. “Here, take my number.” 

“Uh,” I start. I stare at him, my mouth hanging slightly open. “Your phone?” He shakes his phone in his hand. 

“Right.” 

I pull my phone from my pocket and punch in my code. He says  his number for me to save, but I type 555-555-5555. 

“Got it. I’ll text you mine,” I lie again. 

“Sweet.” He gives me a head nod and walks past Kirsten and  Perry without saying anything. 

“Bye!” Kirsten screams. She turns her attention back to me.  “What a rude boy.” 

“Well, I don’t like him,” Perry proclaims, throwing up her hands. “I would hope not,” I say, and fling a straw at her. “That was  your pick. Thanks for putting us through that.” 

“You better have some self-respect and not text him,” Kirsten  says. “I’ve taught you better.” 

“I’m not going to. I didn’t even type in his number.”

“Oh, you’re a player,” Perry says, winking. 

“Shut up. I can’t deal with you guys anymore.” 

“His shoes were so weird,” Kirsten says, crossing her legs. “If  he was going for classic vintage, he completely missed the mark.” “Right? He looked like an old creeper,” Perry says. She straightens her back. “Oh my gosh.” Her eyes widen. “What if he is a creeper  and gets mad when you don’t ever text him and he stalks you and  kills you? Remember that school assembly we had where the cop  talked about that girl who was killed by the guy who found her  through social media?” 

“Are you kidding, Perry?” I ask. “Why would you say that?” What if he is though? It could totally happen. He knows where  I work and go to school and could probably figure out where I live  from my Instagram. Maybe I need to make my account private. “Calm down. He’s not,” Kirsten says, dismissing the claim with  a hand wave. “Savanna said she knows his family.” “Next time you see Savanna, tell her I’ll handle my love life from  now on,” I say. 

“What love life?” Perry asks. 

“My potential love life.” 

“It has great potential,” Kirsten says. 

“Thanks, Kirsten. I think so too.” 

“I don’t. You’re ugly and smell bad!” Perry yells, smiling. I laugh and scoop a pile of rainbow sprinkles into my hand, then  chuck them at her. She screams and runs to the other side of the  store. I keep throwing them as she tries to dodge. Kirsten remains  seated. She wipes the sprinkles that landed on the table into her  hand, escorting them carefully to the nearest trash can.

“Are you done?” Perry asks, brushing the sprinkles out of her  hair. 

“Yes, because I realize I have to clean this up now.” I thrust my  hands on my hips. 

I get the dustpan and broom from the closet and sweep up the  sprinkles. 

Kirsten stands. She clears her throat before speaking while her  facial expression morphs into a look of concern. “Dylan,” she says  in her announcer voice. 

“Here we go,” Perry mumbles. 

Kirsten is dead-set on being a news anchor or TV host of some  sort in her future life. I’ve done more mock interviews for her than  I can count. 

“Many people would be hurt after another lost chance at love,”  she continues. Her tone drops two octaves. She enunciates each word  slowly. “How are you coping right now?” 

“By considering myself lucky I lost that chance,” I say. Kirsten  inhales. But before she can get out another word, I keep talking.  “Can you guys go now for real?” I ask. “I want to finish cleaning  and get out of here.” 

“Fine,” Kirsten says, returning to her normal voice. Her shoulders dip. “Please text us when you’re done.” She pulls her keys from  her hoodie’s front pocket. 

Kirsten is the only one out of the three of us who has her license,  and I’m pretty sure she enjoys making everyone aware of it. Her car  keys have enough key chains, rings, and bracelets to fill every accessories store in the Philadelphia area. 

“See you tomorrow,” I say.

They leave, and I finish sweeping the floor. I wipe the counters,  tables, and the ice-cream machines. I refill the napkins, straws,  spoons, syrups, and candies. I empty the register and put the money  in a pencil case in the safe in my manager’s office. The entire cleaning process only takes about ten minutes because there were no  customers today. We close at 8:00 p.m. and it’s 8:10 p.m. I’m ready  to go, but as usual, my manager is nowhere to be found when it’s  time for him to lock up the store. 

While I’m waiting, I start picking at a piece of the plastic counter  that’s chipping off. I think about how it’s made of atoms and how  atoms are made of protons and electrons. How do people even come  up with this stuff? 

My favorite elements we had to memorize were californium  and americium. Mainly because they were super easy to remember,  but also because the people naming them were so over it they just  picked some obvious name. Like, what if I discovered an element  here at Dairy Queen? My teacher said elements are everywhere. I  could name it oreoanium. Although, that kind of sounds like some  weird sex thing people would rap about. 

The door clicks open. My daydreaming is broken at the perfect  time before my mind wanders any further into picturing various sex  positions involving Oreos. 

I look up, expecting to see my manager, but it’s someone else.

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