Alison Cochrun and Jake Maia Arlow — 'Kiss Her Once for Me' and 'How To Excavate The Heart'

"Dizzyingly adorable and brimming with laugh-out loud humor, Kiss Her Once for Me is the new rom-com gold standard." —Mazey Eddings 

"Arlow is one of the freshest new voices in young adult fiction." —Kelly Quindlen


Third Place Books welcomes staff favorite romance author Alison Cochrun and podcast producer, writer, and bagel connoisseur Jake Maia Arlow to our Lake Forest Park store! Cochrun will be discussing her new queer holiday romance, Kiss Her Once for Me, alongside Arlow's How To Excavate The Hearta sapphic Jewish twist on the classic Christmas enemies-to-lovers rom-com. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.

Copies of Kiss Her Once for Me and How To Excavate The Heart will be available for purchase at the store. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About Kiss Her Once for Me. . .

The author of the “swoon-worthy debut” (Harper’s BazaarThe Charm Offensive returns with a festive romantic comedy about a woman who fakes an engagement with her landlord…only to fall for his sister.

One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.

Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.

Perfect for fans of Written in the Stars and One Day in DecemberKiss Her Once for Me is the queer holiday rom-com that you’ll want to cozy up with next to the fire.

About How To Excavate The Heart. . .

Becky Albertalli meets Casey McQuiston in this sapphic Jewish twist on the classic Christmas enemies-to-lovers rom-com, as college freshman Shani’s internship is interrupted by a whirlwind winter fling.  

It all starts when Shani runs into May. Like, literally. With her mom’s Subaru.

Attempted vehicular manslaughter was not part of Shani’s plan. She was supposed to be focusing on her monthlong paleoichthyology internship. She was going to spend all her time thinking about dead fish and not at all about how she was unceremoniously dumped days before winter break.

It could be going better.

But when a dog-walking gig puts her back in May’s path, the fossils she’s meant to be diligently studying are pushed to the side—along with the breakup.

Then they’re snowed in together on Christmas Eve. As things start to feel more serious, though, Shani’s hurt over her ex-girlfriend’s rejection comes rushing back. Is she ready to try a committed relationship again, or is she okay with this just being a passing winter fling?

Praise for Kiss Her Once for Me. . .

“Cochrun’s cozy second novel is chock full of holiday cheer, pop music, and queer happy endings…Ellie and Jack’s love story is gentle, and readers will appreciate every grand gesture, whether it takes place on a snowy bridge, a ski lift, or even a dingy dive-bar bathroom. A heartwarming queer romance reminiscent of Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas.’”
Kirkus Reviews

“[T]his holiday-themed romance is sure to warm even the coldest reader’s heart.”
Library Journal

“Beautifully tender and delightfully sexy, Kiss Her Once for Me is the holiday romance of my dreams. A cozy, cinnamon-scented hug of a book.”
—Ashley Herring Blake, author of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care


Praise for How To Excavate The Heart. . .

"This dialogue-rich narrative, told from Shani’s simultaneously biting and sincere first-person perspective, expertly conveys two romantically unconfident girls’ hesitancy to act on their feelings despite boundless chemistry. May and Shani’s clever banter, coupled with their myriad relationship ups and downs, make for a cozy and sharply funny confection."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Brilliantly witty, achingly vulnerable, and utterly irresistible, this book will dig its way into your heart and stay there for a very long time.”
—Misa Sugiura, award-winning author of It's Not Like It's A Secret

"One of the cleverest, most insightful voices I've read in a long time. If I wasn't laughing, I was clutching my heart to keep it from shattering. A stellar YA debut."
Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of Today Tonight Tomorrow

Alison Cochrun is a former high school English teacher and a current writer of queer love stories, including The Charm Offensive and Kiss Her Once for Me. She lives outside of Portland, Oregon with her giant dog and a vast collection of brightly colored books. You can find her online at or on Instagram and Twitter at @AlisonCochrun. (Photo credit: Hayley Downing)

Jake Maia Arlow is a Stonewall Honor author, podcast producer, and bagel connoisseur. She studied evolutionary biology and creative writing (not as different as you might think) at Barnard College. She lives with her girlfriend and their loud cat in the Pacific Northwest. Her first novel, Almost Flying, was a Stonewall Honor book and Barnes & Noble Children’s Prize Shortlist selection, and her debut YA novel, How to Excavate a Heart, releases on November 1, 2022. (Photo credit: Torrin Nelson)

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

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