Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blog Tour: Shattered by Aileen Erin @aileen_erin

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Shattered Pack (Alpha Girl #6)

by Aileen Erin
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Ink Monster Books

Summary:



Meredith Molloney never thought she’d find a mate, let alone someone like Donovan Murry—one of the most powerful Alphas alive. Now that she’s no longer cursed and the evil Luciana Alvarez has been taken care of, she thinks life will finally settle down. Boy, has she never been so wrong.
In the middle of the night, Donovan gets a call telling him that his pack has gone to pieces. The news that his second in command has been found brutally murdered has Donovan packing his bags for Ireland, but the last thing Meredith wants to do is leave Texas. She’s heard about how the Celtic Pack are with outsiders. And Donovan has more than a few exes in the pack that will be less than friendly.
Meredith’s never let a few angry wolves stop her, and she’s not about to start now. She’s faced down much worse the past few months. But when she gets there, she finds that it’s not just a few exes who stand in the way between her and her Full Moon Ceremony with Donovan.
Meredith is thrust in to a deadly game of pack politics, one the fey have happily joined in on. When the dust settles, she knows she’ll either have everything that she wants or lose it all.


Buy Links: 
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shattered-pack/id1046680468?mt=11
Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Pack-Alpha-Girl-Book-ebook/dp/B0167DZKVM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489459443&sr=8-1&keywords=shattered+pack+aileen+erin
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shattered-pack-aileen-erin/1122772866?ean=9781943858330
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/shattered-pack
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Aileen_Erin_Shattered_Pack?id=_sGpCgAAQBAJ&hl=en


Alpha Unleashed (Alpha Girl #5) on Goodreads


5 Things You Don’t Know About Meredith

1.     Meredith is a member of the American Wayfarer Pack.
The world is divided up among packs, but Meredith’s is different, mostly made up of Cazadores. When big bads start acting up—vampires, feys gone murderous, leprechauns running amuck—they fly in to save the day. That’s why Meredith is a super awesome fighter. She was trained by her herd of brothers—not to mention the rest of her pack—since she could walk.

2.     Meredith’s pack was against her going to St. Ailbe’s Academy.
Annoying as it is, women in the packs don’t have a ton of independence. Especially in the Wayfarer pack. (Don’t worry. Tessa and Meredith are going to change all that. ;) ) There are only a few women in the Wayfarer Pack. Meredith, her mother, and her nanny Ciara. Which is why Meredith wanted to get out so badly. But the Cazadores wanted to protect her. How could they do that if she wasn’t with them? And don’t get them started about Luciana cursing her… That would never have happened with them watching over her. But even with all the craziness, Meredith was glad she left. She made some amazing friends, learned a lot about other supernaturals, and most importantly, she never would have met Donovan if she hadn’t been at St. Ailbe’s. Who could regret that?

3.     Meredith’s nanny, Ciara, is more like her mom than her bio mom.
Meredith and her mother have never seen eye to eye. So, when Ciara sought refuge with the Wayfarers from the Irish Pack, Meredith clung to her. Now that Meredith is going to be joining Donovan’s notoriously cliquish Irish Pack, she’s going to need Ciara more than ever.

4.     For a while, Meredith thought about leaving the packs behind, going to a human college, and getting a job.
Sure, she was cursed to stay in her human for during that time. Since she couldn’t shift, she was basically human anyhow! Why not give it a shot? Seemed like a real chance at freedom from her overpowering pack. And when everything is going crazy, she still things about it. If she were human, what would she be doing? It’s nice to dream.

5.     Meredith is obsessed with reality TV.
Having never been integrated with humans, she finds it unendingly fascinating. Especially Finding Bigfoot. But really, she’ll watch any of it. She also thinks the fact that E! cancelled The Soup to be one of the biggest tragedies of her lifetime so far. When she’s busy at school, she can’t keep up with it all. The Soup was her way to keep up to date with human pop culture in 30 minutes. If anyone can fix this crime against society, she’d been in their debt. And having a Were like Meredith on your side is a very good thing. So, any takers?

About the Author
 photo aileen erin_zpsbi8dus8d.jpgAileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd--from Star Wars (prequels don't count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

Author Links:
GIVEAWAY:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review and Interview: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley @robin_talley


15-year-old Aki knows she’s bisexual, but she hasn’t had many chances to put it into practice. A summer youth group trip to Mexico seems like the perfect opportunity to start gaining new experiences, and to test her theory that, in order to live an interesting life, she has to stop thinking and start doing. Aki and her best friend Lori (the only one who knows Aki likes girls) make a pact – they will both hook up with someone three times before they have to go home to their regular lives. It seems like it will be an easy feat when Aki meets Christa, who is older, more experienced, and draws Aki in like a magnet. However, she soon discovers some things are easier in theory than in execution, and Aki must grapple with the highs and lows of many “firsts”, her personal identity and beliefs, and how she fits into her religious family and the world around her.

Our Own Private Universe is a thoughtful look at the search for self that comes with adolescence, complicated by the intersection of race, religion, and orientation. As Aki’s church votes to solidify their stance on topics of gay marriage, immigration, healthcare, war, police brutality, and more, budding activist Aki brings the youth group together for a debate, creating a nuanced discussion of social issues that are currently in the national spotlight.Talley’s raw and honest approach to themes of love, lust, uncertainty, and expectations will resonate with anyone who’s ever been a teenager, and in a genre full of sad stories, Our Own Private Universe reassures LGBTQIA+ teens that they can have a happy ending. At 15, Aki doesn’t have it all figured out, but she has a loving, supportive network of friends, family, and community to help her along the way.

Today we welcome Robin for an interview!

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
I always wanted to write, but for a long time I didn’t think writing would be a viable career for me. When I graduated from college with a Literature degree, I got a job working in communications for a nonprofit civil rights organization, which turned out to be awesome. I wound up doing that work, alongside my writing, for fifteen years, and I learned so much from it.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
This totally depends on the book, and it’s changed a lot as I’ve written more of them. For my most recent books, I might spend 2-3 months writing each draft, and usually there are 2-3 drafts before I send it to my editor. After that, there are probably at least another 3 months of revision. So, adding that up, it would range from 7 months to more than a year, depending on the book.
Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
Right now my wife and I have a toddler and I’m at home with the kiddo on weekdays, so I write mainly during her nap times. I also write at night after she goes to bed, and on the weekends whenever I can.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
I’ve written (and finished) 5 books so far, 4 of which have been published. And I have three works in progress. My favorite book to write was As I Descended, because it was a Macbeth retelling with ghosts, and it was just a ton of fun to spend time in that world (even though I also felt bad, because I had to kill people.)
Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite character that I’ve written has long been, and I think might always be, Sarah from Lies We Tell Ourselves, which was my first published book. I just have so much admiration for Sarah. My heart overflows when I think about her.
Where do you write?  
I have an office at home, and I also do a lot of my writing in the public library in my neighborhood. And I wrote most of my first two books in a variety of D.C. coffee shops. Writing out in public helps me focus, for some reason.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My family thinks it’s pretty awesome that I’m a writer. My parents were both journalists and my sister’s a fellow English major. And my wife is a poet and playwright, and my brother-in-law has an awesome middle grade series called The Virginia Mysteries. So we’re a family full of writers.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
First and foremost ― read. Read as much as you can, in as many different genres as you can ― fiction and nonfiction; YA, adult and children’s; contemporary, mysteries, fantasy, sci-fi, you name it. The more you read, the better a sense you’ll have of what you like, which will be the best way to learn how you want to write.
Are you working on anything now? 
Right now I’m working on my next book, which I’m really excited about. It’s called Pulp, and it’s about the 1950s publishing phenomenon that was lesbian pulp fiction ― these cheap paperbacks with deliberately tawdry covers that were marketed to men and sold in bus stations for 35 cents a copy. They were f/f romance stories, and a lot of them were written by groundbreaking and amazingly talented lesbian writers. My book is about a closeted 18-year-old in 1955 who’s secretly writing one of these lesbian pulp fiction novels and a modern, out-and-proud lesbian teenager who comes across her book more than 60 years later and becomes obsessed with tracking down what happened to its pseudonymous author. Pulp will be coming out in 2018.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
I love this question! I’ve never been to Italy, but it would be awesome to go there, and even better if I could use it for book research!
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Robin! It was so great having you here!
Brooke's Review:
I was excited to receive this book for review. I haven't read a lot of YA books diverse in the aspect of sexuality and I really want to try and expand that horizon.

This book touched on so many important aspects teens face. It not only touched on sexuality but also on things such as friendship, healthcare, sex, activism, and religion. So many aspects of the book are relevant to what teens face now in our society. Aki became a relatable role model for teens. The struggle to balance all that life throws at them is overwhelming.

The book also gives us a very diverse cast of characters: black, white, latino, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian. So many different aspects of diversity rolled into one book. It was nice to see this as I do think we need more diversity in our literature.

I will say there is quite a bit of drama in this book. I'm far removed from being a teenager and I do think such drama does truly exist. I just felt like it was overplayed a bit. I also was disappointed in all the time the main character spent worrying about not going to music school but we never really see it addressed outside of her own thoughts and worries. I believed this would become a central part of the book, since it seemed this was who she was for so long. But, alas, it did not.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and one I think younger teens or even upper middle schoolers would relate to and get a lot out of. It shows teens who are not afraid to question who they are and to realize being what mainstream society has deemed "different" is really not that different after all. I applaud the author for reaching outside of the text book YA box and giving us something with a little more depth when it comes to showing diversity in characters.

About the Author:Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves (September 2014), What We Left Behind (October 2015), As I Descended(September 2016), and Our Own Private Universe (January 2017), grew up in Roanoke, Virginia. A Lambda Literary Fellow, Robin now lives in Washington, D.C., with her wife, plus an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice. You can find her on the web at www.robintalley.com or on Twitter at @robin_talley.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Blog Tour: Queen of Geek by Jen Wilde @jenmariewilde


Queens of Geek
Jen Wilde
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
Three friends. Two love stories. One convention.
Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
Queens of Geek, an empowering young adult novel by Jen Wilde, is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

You can go anywhere in the world to study any culture, but you must live there for a month and abide by their rules. Where would you go?

Right now, I’m on my first trip to New York City and it’s unlike anywhere else in the world, so I’d choose here. There’s a buzz here, an electricity that draws you in like a magnet. It truly is the city that never sleeps, and there is always something to see or do or explore. Being in Manhattan, I feel like I’m in the centre of the universe. And in a lot of ways, New York City is the centre of the universe. It’s an economic leader in the world, with everything from Wall Street to news network headquarters hugely influencing the rest of the world. Whether it’s in finance, journalism, art, fashion or publishing, industries from every corner of the globe look to New York to guide them forward. It’s also one of the most diverse cities in the world, with hundreds of languages spoken and an array of different cultures that all come together to make New York truly special. Politically, New York is one of the most progressive cities in the United States – something not to be taken for granted in such tense and divided times. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why, as a queer, disabled woman, I feel like I can be myself here. In a lot of ways, I feel like I fit in better here than I do back home in Australia. There’s an energy here that I’ve never felt before, like the city is alive with activity and magic. The people are wonderful, the buildings touch the sky and the lights never stop shining. In saying all that, I’m very aware that I have a lot of privilege to be able to experience the wonder of the city without the serious concerns many Americans have right now. That’s the thing about being an outsider looking in, you never truly see the whole picture.


Author Bio:
Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl with a penchant for coffee, books and pugs. She writes YA stories about zombies (AS THEY RISE), witches (ECHO OF THE WITCH) and fangirls (QUEENS OF GEEK). Her debut series reached over three million reads online and became an Amazon bestseller.
When she’s not writing, Jen loves binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix, eating pizza, traveling to far away places and going to conventions in Marty McFly cosplay.
Jen lives in a sunny beachside town in Australia with her husband and their cheeky pug, aptly named Heisenberg.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blog Tour: Birthright by Jessica Ruddick @JessicaMRuddick

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 photo birthright cover_zpsehldwhyt.jpgBirthright
by 
Jessica Ruddick
Genre: YA Supernatural
Release Date: March 20th 2017

Summary from Goodreads:


How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?

Ava Parks would have killed for an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker—she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death. A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether she likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda.

While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way around, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.


Birthright can be purchased at any of the following retailers:

Kobo

Excerpt:
As soon as I opened the front door, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and a tingle ran down my spine. The scent of cinnamon filled my nostrils. It was like having those little candy Red Hots shoved up my nose. Dread in the form of a knot settled in the base of my stomach.
Xavier.
Xavier was…I wasn’t sure what he was. Was he the descendant of a fallen angel like me? Was he an angel himself? Or was he something else, something more sinister?
He certainly looked it. He certainly acted it. He exuded evil.
He was lounging on our couch, his arms spread out over the back of it and his right ankle propped on his left knee. His black hair was slicked back, and he’d grown a goatee since the last time I’d seen him. As usual, he was dressed in a black suit with a red tie, what I mentally referred to as his “villain suit.”
I couldn’t believe he was the same man who used to read me bedtime stories and tuck me in when my mom had to work nights.
A smile stretched across his face and his black beady eyes watched me enter the room. The only thing that could possibly make him more snakelike was if a thin red forked tongue flitted out of his mouth.
I’d be less surprised than if a hippo flounced around my living room in a pink tutu in true Fantasia style.
My mom sat stiffly on a chair across from him. It was our home, but Xavier was in control here. Her eyes met mine, and she shrugged her shoulders slightly. She had no idea why he was here either. We hadn’t expected him for at least a couple more months.
“Welcome home, Ava,” Xavier said. “Why don’t you have a seat?”
“No, thanks. I’ll stand.”
He chuckled. “Suit yourself.”
Xavier took a moment to inspect his cuticles, as if he weren’t in the middle of our living room, as if we weren’t waiting for him to say whatever it was he came to say so he would leave again. I’d say he was oblivious to the effect he had on us, but that wouldn’t be true. He knew, and he relished it.
I crossed my arms over my chest. “What do you want?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Is that any way to treat a guest in your home?” He looked at my mother. “You should really teach her better manners.”
I laughed bitterly. “Calling yourself a guest implies that you’re wanted here.”
“Ava,” my mom said, her tone sharp.
Xavier just threw his head back and laughed. “No, Mary, let the little vixen spew her venom. I like it. It’s honest. Honesty is underrated in society today, don’t you agree?”
I glared at him.
“I have your next assignment.”
My glare faltered as I fought to keep the air moving in and out of my lungs. An assignment from Xavier meant the blood of an innocent would be on my hands again.
When I said I worked for the Grim Reaper, that was oversimplifying it a bit. There’s actually more than one. Think about it—with all the people who die every day in the world, how could there possibly be just one?
The particular Grim Reaper I worked for was special, though. He collected souls that were worthy of being angels. It was my job as a seeker to find those souls.
How’s that for an after school job?
“Forgive me, Xavier, but isn’t it a little soon?” my mom said quietly. “She hasn’t even had a chance to get settled in her new school.”
He glanced at her before returning his attention to me. “She can handle it. Besides, it’s time.”
“But her last assignment was just last month!” my mom protested. “Are you sure—”
“I’m very sure.”
I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. The knot of dread in my stomach exploded, seeping into the rest of my body. I breathed deeply, desperately trying to keep control. The last thing I wanted was to lose it in front of Xavier.
“How long do I have?”
“Two weeks.”
Two weeks. I had two weeks to put a plan into motion that would change lives irrevocably.
My classmates’ faces popped into my mind. I hadn’t bothered getting to know anyone or even learning names. I told myself it was easier that way, easier being a relative term.
But did any of them have a white aura? When I was at school, I always blocked them out. Otherwise, the barrage of auras became a colorful assault on my senses. School was difficult enough as it was. I didn’t need the added distraction. Moving around so much had left gaps in my education, so even though I was pretty smart, I perpetually struggled to maintain decent grades. Why I even bothered anymore was a mystery, though. I would probably end up a waitress just like my mother. It was hard to develop a career or even think about college with our transient lifestyle.

I squared my shoulders and looked Xavier in the eye, faking the bravado I lacked. “I guess I’ll see you in two weeks.”
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 photo jessica ruddick_zpsdwg6u2v3.jpgAbout the Author
Jessica lives in Virginia with her college-sweetheart husband, two rambunctious sons, and two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs. Since her house is overflowing with testosterone, it’s a good thing she has a healthy appreciation for Marvel movies, Nerf guns, and football.

Author Links:
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Excerpt: Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain

About Confessions of a High School Disaster
(Part of Chloe Snow's Diary)

In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.

I’m Chloe Snow, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.

On the plus side, I got the lead in the musical!

On the down side…

1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing).
2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane.
3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, the most popular senior guy, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner.
4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay.
5. Oh, and my mom moved to Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.

Mom tells me everything is copy. So I’m writing down all the horrible things that happen to me in this diary.

This is the worst year of my life so far, unless maybe it’s the best.

Excerpt:

Monday, August 10 
Mom’s gone. Not forever, obviously. For 4 months at the most, she said. 

She came in here all shaky, with swollen eyes, and pressed her forehead into my forehead. Her breath smelled like pad thai. She was like, “Please know how much I love you.” We both cried. She explained everything: she’s going to Mexico to work on her novel. She knows it’s sudden, but she also knows I’m mature enough to handle a little surprise. We’ll be in touch all the time. We can Skype and chat and talk on the phone whenever we want. Maybe I can go visit her. 

She gave me her blue and white porcelain rabbit, which I’ve always loved, and a journal, and said, “If there’s one thing I want you to remember, it’s the importance of creating memories.” I don’t really want to remember this, actually. Plus I already write in this diary every day, but it seemed rude to tell her that. 

Tuesday, August 11 
Dad made me breakfast before he went to work: banana pancakes, bacon, and a strawberry smoothie. He sat there watching me eat. So did Snickers. I never give Snickers food from the table, but he never stops hoping. 

“This is really good,” I said. 

“You don’t have to finish it,” Dad said, but I did, because he looked so sad. 

“Don’t worry,” I said. “It’s not for very long.” 

He unscrewed the blender from its stand. He wasn’t looking at me. 

“She has to work on her novel,” I said. “It’s impossible to get anything done here. She needs a room of her own.” 

He laughed, but not a real laugh, and said, “Right.”

Wednesday, August 12 
Things I love about Dad:
1. His dad jeans
2. His crinkly eyes
3. He sends me cat videos 
4. He never yells 
5.  He still wears the fugly brown tie I got him for Father’s Day when I was 8 
6. He knows all the words to every eighties song 
7. His dad smell (peanuts and limes)

Thursday, August 13 
I try to forget that I’m starting high school in a few weeks, but sometimes the fact rushes into my mind and I get sweaty with fear. 

However bad it is, it can’t be worse than junior high. My theory is, they put the 2 most evil grades in 1 building to keep them from infecting everyone else with their awfulness. Basically all I did in junior high was text, straighten my hair, add to my Benedict Cumberbatch shrine, and worry about how to be more popular. Thinking about it makes me cringe. 

I want to be different in high school. Like a new person. 

And I want to make out with someone. It’s so humiliating that I’m a kissing virgin at this advanced age. Everyone halfway normal in my grade had their first kiss at, like, age 10. I’ve never even gotten a peck on the cheek (I’m not counting my parents or Uncle Julian). And the longer I go un-smooched, the more freakish I feel. If I graduate high school without being kissed, I’ll be too embarrassed to kiss anyone during college, and then I’ll most likely die without ever even getting to second base. Something has to change fast. This I vow: I will kiss a guy before New Year’s Eve. Or maybe it’ll happen on New Year’s Eve. OK, this I vow: I will kiss a guy before New Year’s Day. Vow taken. 

Friday, August 14 
Before Dad left for work, he said, “Don’t just sit online all day, OK, kiddo?” so I invited Hannah over, and we went to the pool. She put on SPF 1 billion because she’s so pale she’s basically light blue. She wouldn’t shut up about how scary the first day of school will be. Finally, to get her to stop, I told her my mom left for Mexico on Monday. She gasped. 

“It’s not a big deal,” I said, irritated. 

“It seems like kind of a big deal.” 

I put my sunglasses on. 

She said, “What’s going on with her and your dad?” 

“Nothing. She’s working on her novel. That’s it.” 

“Chloe, I’m so sorry.” 

“Ugh! Don’t be sorry! She’s writing, not dying.” 

I know I shouldn’t be mean to Hannah, but she seriously drives me insane. The more intense and touchy-feely she gets, the more I turn into a block of ice. 

Saturday, August 15 
I pulled all my boxes of fall and winter stuff out of the closet, and I. Hate. Everything. It all says, “I have no identity of my own, so I’m going to wear the most generic clothing possible in a desperate quest to blend in.” My flowered sneakers from Hannah I love. The rest I would burn if I could. 

I need a makeover. No, not a makeover—that sounds like some gross magazine. I need to dress like the person I really am. Which is . . . what? Hipster. Hippie. Stoner. Emo. Preppy. None of those.

Sunday, August 16 
The first thing I do in the morning, lying in bed, before I’m all the way awake, is check everything on my phone. I don’t even want to; it feels like I have to catch up on what happened while I was asleep, so I don’t fall behind. I’ve tried to do a phone cleanse before, but the longest I’ve lasted is 3 hours. I don’t understand why it feels so good to click while you’re doing it and so disgusting after you’re done.

Monday, August 17 
I just talked to Mom!!!!! It wasn’t for very long, because her phone was dying. She’s in a small town with cobblestone streets and a bullring. She rented a 1-room apartment that looks out on a courtyard.

“I miss you like crazy,” she said. 

“I miss you, too!” 

“I can’t wait to show you my place, babe. There are these Argentinean kids staying downstairs from me, and they have drum circles under my window 24/7. This morning, a stray cat showed up on my doorstep. She’s orange, with 1 white paw. Doesn’t that seem lucky?” 

I asked if she wanted to talk to Dad, but she said she had to go find cat food before the stores closed, and she’d call him later. 

At dinner, I told Dad everything Mom said. He nodded and smiled. He looked like he had a migraine, but when I asked him if he wanted an Advil, he said he was fine, just tired. 

Tuesday, August 18 
Things I love about Mom:
1. Artistic 
2. Did yoga before it was cool 
3. Genius writer 
4. Lets me skip school all the time to hang out with her 
5. Lets me watch and read whatever I want, because you can’t shield your children from the world; you have to introduce them to it
6. Beautiful 
7. Compliments me a lot

Wednesday, August 19 
Hannah’s mom drove us to the mall. She was wearing a pink short-sleeved cardigan and cork wedges with pink straps. On the way there, we talked about Hannah’s older brother, Brian, who just left for his first semester at Dartmouth, which according to Mrs. Egan is the best school in the world. 

“I’m telling you, Chloe, it’s all about the family dinner. Eating together as a family is scientifically proven to raise your SAT score, did you know that?” 

Hannah hissed, “Mom.” 

“Oh, honey,” Mrs. Egan said, looking at me in the rearview mirror. “Hannah told me about your mother.” 

I gave Hannah a look of death. 

“She’ll be back in December,” I said. “Of course she will!” 

I refused to talk to Hannah in the mall until she bought me a soft pretzel and a Diet Coke. Even then I was being a total B. I went to all the stores with her, but I wouldn’t try anything on. I sat in the armchairs they put there for boyfriends and husbands and pretended to fall asleep. 

Even when Mom was here, we didn’t have family dinner. Usually Dad would make something for him and me, and we’d eat while Mom worked upstairs. Then she would eat carrots and hummus standing up at the kitchen counter. She can’t be on a regular schedule, because she’s an artist. I’ll do way better on the SAT than Brian. He’s the kind of guy who says “She’s driving with Mike and I” because he thinks “I” sounds fancier.

Excerpted from CONFESSIONS OF A HIGH SCHOOL DISASTER © Copyright 2017 by Emma Chastain. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

About the author

Emma Chastain is a graduate of Barnard College and the creative writing MFA program at Boston University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children. BECOME A FAN

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