Written from an engaging third-person perspective, this book was everything it needed to be; dark, hopeful, mysterious, and intense.”—Review by K.J. Simmill for Readers’ Favorite
At the Ravenwood Oktoberfest, music
came at Jackie from all directions—hip-hop from the roller coaster, rock from
the Tilt-a-Whirl, pop from the Himalaya. Red, blue, and yellow bulbs blinked in
rhythmic patterns; rides spun and jetted outward; and voices screamed and
boomed over loudspeakers. The contrasting movements and sounds clashed in
midair. She wanted to close her eyes and press her palms to her ears.
But she couldn’t.
As they walked down the main path
of the carnival, surrounded by a drove of people, emotions swirled around her
and she couldn’t distinguish one from the other. It was one huge cauldron of
sensations churning inside her.
The camera strap tugged at her
neck, and the camera bounced against her stomach. She wanted to hold the lens
to her eye and shield herself, but she figured she’d trip.
Jason reached for her, like he
wanted to put his arm around her shoulder. But then he hesitated. “You okay?”
She nodded and sucked in a deep
Zeta waved at her from behind a
group of boys in baggy pants and hoodies. “VQ,” she called. Zeta was the only
person who could call Jackie VQ
without making Jackie cringe. Trish was with her. The two of them looked like
total freaks: Zeta in black tights, pointy-toed boots, and a red-and-black
striped sweater, a fuzzy scarf tied around her neck; Trish in a black tutu over
her jeans, a short, black leather jacket, and multiple ponytails sticking out
all over her head.
Nearing the two, Jackie stumbled
and grabbed Zeta’s arm for support. Stung by raw emotion, Jackie pulled her
hand away like she’d touched a hot burner. Zeta was pure electric, switching on
and off sporadically and so fast that she was neither happy nor sad, but
energetically sassy. Trish was usually cool to the touch, her predominant mood:
melancholy. Her mind was like a snowy TV station, the images faint and ghostly.
People stared at the four of
them. Though, usually, not many people ever recognized Jackie with her makeup
and black hair—not many people outside of school, that is. She no longer had to
worry about them tugging on her or touching her. She only had to worry about
what she touched and where she stood.
Every time Trish started to walk
in front of Jackie to get close to Jason, Jackie stepped up her pace and
casually blocked her. When Trish bumped into her, Jackie was stung by Trish’s
anger and unquenched desire.
“Let’s go on the Ferris wheel,”
Zeta said. “Maybe we’ll get stuck on top.”
“Not me,” Jackie said. “I’ll
probably barf. I’m just getting used to being here.”
“I’m hungry,” Jason said.
“Chow sounds good.” Trish caught
Jackie off guard. She crossed in front of Jackie and squeezed next to Jason.
Jason’s eyes widened in terror.
He moved behind Jackie and to the other side so that Jackie was in the middle
Before anyone could make another
move, a woman, with red hair wrapped loosely in a cornflower blue scarf,
stepped in front of them and locked her boney hands around Jackie’s.
“What the…” Jackie tried to slip
her hands free, but the woman tightened her grip.
The woman was tiny, yet
overpowering. Her face was narrow and fox-like. “I know who you are,” she
Jackie knew who the stranger was
too, and she couldn’t pull away. It was like a magnetic force had bound their
The woman’s beady eyes looked
straight into Jackie’s. “Interesting.”
What was weird was, Jackie
couldn’t read her, but she knew the woman was reading her.
Zeta shoved the woman’s shoulder.
“Leave her alone, you psycho.”
The woman’s eyes darted toward
Zeta, allowing Jackie to yank her hands free.
Jason and Trish gathered on each
side of Zeta. The three of them glared at the intruder like guard dogs.
The woman smiled, as if satisfied
that she had gotten what she wanted. She walked away and sat down at a table in
front of a tent with a sign that read, “Psychic Reading $20.”