Posted on Jun 10th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

 

Book Title: Born of Deception
Author: Teri Brown
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss

Budding illusionist Anna Van Housen is on top of the world: after scoring a spot on a prestigious European vaudeville tour, she has moved to London to chase her dream and to join an underground society for people like her with psychic abilities. Along with her handsome beau, Cole Archer, Anna is prepared to take the city by storm.

But when Anna arrives in London, she finds the group in turmoil. Sensitives are disappearing and, without a suspect, the group’s members are turning on one another. Could the kidnapper be someone within the society itself—or has the nefarious Dr. Boyle followed them to London?

As Cole and Anna begin to unravel the case and secrets about the society are revealed, they find themselves at odds, their plans for romance in London having vanished. Her life in danger and her relationship fizzling, can Anna find a way to track down the killer before he makes her his next victim—or will she have to pay the ultimate price for her powers?

Set in Jazz-Age London, this alluring sequel to Born of Illusion comes alive with sparkling romance, deadly intrigue, and daring magic.

Born of Deception is an interesting sequel to Born of Illusion. We get to journey to England with Anna where she gets to be a traveling magician in a troupe of performers and reconnect with Cole. This is also a convenient cover for her work with a secret underground group. Of course things go awry and members of the society begin to turn up dead.

This book seemed to be a bit of a departure from Born of Illusion, the first book in the trilogy. I wasn’t entirely sure what I expected from it, but it wasn’t really this. While this was an enjoyable read, it wasn’t as fabulous as the first one. I remember reading Born of Illusion and being absolutely enamored with the story, setting and characters. This time around I felt as though everything was a bit worn down and dull.

I think these feelings mostly surround the issues I had with the book in that for a vast majority of the time there wasn’t much action going on. In a way it seemed to be a little junked up with a lot of other things. Anna is traveling but there isn’t a whole lot going on there. We’ve got this weird love triangle of sorts with this new Southern Cowboy persona that just feels a bit too forced. I was really hoping for more mystery and intrigue and this book seemed to be lacking in both.

I still think the premise of the book is wonderful and overall was still very much immersed in the book from beginning to end. I will still probably continue on with the series to see how things play out.

 

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Posted on Jun 10th, 2014 by audra
In these categories book review, Review

Book Title: The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsey Cummings
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow / HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

Life in the Shallows is beyond tough. There is a myriad of dangers to watch out for and Meadow has been trained well by her father to handle herself. Zephyr on the other hand has to do extremely hard work as an orphan of sorts. In typical YA fashion their worlds collide and neither are the same afterwards.

I had a pretty difficult time getting into the book at first, but once I got into a reading groove I was set. Honestly, the book cover really, really turned me off. It’s creepy but it just easily turned me off. I quickly got past that however and immersed myself in another crooked and corrupt book world.

Overall The Murder Complex was extremely fast paced and honestly rather terrifying. I wouldn’t recommend this book for those that may be squeemish around, well, murder. There were moments that I was really unable to read quick enough. I wanted to absorb every letter of every word as quick as possible so I could figure out what the heck was happening. On the other hand, there were moments I wanted to toss the book out the window. One of my biggest pet peeves for books set in the future are when weird curse words are made up. I just simply can’t stand it.

I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series from the library. The Murder Complex was a fun read that really kept my attention. I really enjoyed Meadow and Zephyr and will be looking forward to where the story goes next.

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Posted on May 30th, 2014 by audra
In these categories book review, Review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: Life by Committee
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher Arc

Some secrets are too good to keep.

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

 

In Life by Committee Tabitha’s been living a bit of a double life. There’s school Tabitha who has virtually no friends and her ex-friends continue to make her life miserable. Then there is the Tabitha that spends all night chatting with Joe. She is positively head over heels for her, but the only problem is his girlfriend. He is hesitant to move on from her and be with Tabitha, and she isn’t sure how much longer she can contain their secret relationship. Then she manages to find the Life by Committee, a secret online group that works in a currency of secrets. You tell a secret and you are given an assignment to complete. If you don’t complete the assignment, your secret is no longer safe.

I was really intrigued behind the idea of this book and really wanted to love it. I definitely liked it enough that it held my attention and had me dying to figure out what was going on. There was a lot of elements of Life By Committee that I really loved. Tabitha was a fantastic character and I loved her constant battle with herself, her unique family as well as her current friend and ex friends. As great as everything was, the whole idea of the committee became a bit lackluster after a while. I also had a hard time dealing with the whole issue of her ex-friends. It was resolved in the end for me, but for a long time just made me feel really confused by what was going on with them.

Overall I really did enjoy the odd mix of characters and felt especially drawn to Tabitha and her parents. Their relationship was oddly comforting to me and really kept me hanging onto this book. I felt really bad for Joe’s girlfriend and all the hoops she was jumping through. Their relationship was a little off to me, and I would have liked to have seen a little bit more mental illness awareness going on to offset some of her issues.

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Posted on May 30th, 2014 by audra
In these categories book review, Review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: Exile
Author: Kevin Emerson
Release Date: April 24, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher Arc

Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.

Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .

On sale in April 2014, Kevin Emerson’s EXILE is a witty and passionate ode to love, rock and roll, and the freedom that comes in the moment when somebody believes in you, even if you’re not quite ready to believe in yourself.

 

For a split second I had a hard time getting into this book, and after a nod to Portlandia I was hooked. Kevin managed to blend music into Exile to create an extraordinary start to a trilogy. Summer is a student at the prestigious PopArts Academy, where music and music production is huge deal to everyone involved. Summer runs a band management company and is on the prowl for her next project after her last band and boyfriend were taken away once they signed a record deal.

She sees talent in Caleb, hiding away a bit after his departure from his previous band. Of course he’s a bit dark and mysterious and reveals a secret he hasn’t told anyone to Summer. He’s the son of a legendary dead rocker. There are three rumored tracks that he recorded and never showed anyone before his death so everyone embarks on a scavenger hunt thanks to the clues left by his dad to find these tapes, starting with the first track Exile.

Exile is an ingenious read and Kevin nails every single one of these characters. It was so easy to get lost in this book and really care about each and every book. I really love that he actually recorded some tracks for the book soundtrack, which is just themes so well with this book and is SO good. The characters felt a bit like close friends by the end of the book, and I can’t wait to continue their quest for the rest of the tracks in the next two books.

For more information on the Exile soundtrack, check out Kevin’s website.

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Posted on May 29th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Purchase

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

 

It was just any other normal day. A group of kids from kindergarten to high school were on their way to school when everything went wrong. Their bus is destroyed thanks to crazy hail and the kids are rescued by another bus driver on a mission to keep the kids safe. They have the perfect place to wait out the apocalypse; The Greenway, a mega store akin to Wal-Mart. They are seemingly set until rescue, but of course things start to go awry.

They quickly discover that some of them have an odd reaction to the air. Some turn into crazy rage monsters while others break out in horrible blisters. These kids have to figure out how to navigate this new world hidden away inside the Greenway without any adults when the bus driver leaves to get help.

I had begun to think that this genre had gotten a little played out. Monument 14 broke through those barriers in my mind and had quickly become a favorite of mine. I’m a little ashamed it took me so long to finally read this. I couldn’t wait to go out and buy the second book in the series. I love the action and even the everyday mundane activities within this book. I loved the fights, the make ups and the suspense this book brought. Each character was so well crafted that I just wanted to be right there with them experiencing this (of course not really). Laybourne did an amazing job crafting this world and the characters within.

I really had some reservations going into this book. The thought of a book being entirely contained inside one store wouldn’t keep my attention. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.  Laybourne did a great job pacing the high action moments with the everyday endearing moments. She really sold me on each and every character, which is amazing considering how many characters there really were. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of who is who when there are too many characters in one book, but each one was so distinct without being obviously diverse that it was just such an amazing read.

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Posted on May 29th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Book Blitz, Society's Bookshelf

GUARDIAN (Proxy, #2) by Alex London
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Hardcover, 352 pages
Publisher: Philomel
Genre: YA / Dystopian / LGBT

The pulse-pounding sequel to Proxy! Inspired by The Whipping Boy and Feed, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger.

People are falling ill—their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure . . . and what he discovers leaves him stunned.

This heart-stopping thriller is packed with action, adventure, and heroics. Guardian will leave you breathless until the final page.

A fast-paced, thrill-ride of novel full of non-stop action, heart-hammering suspense and true friendship—just as moving as it is exhilarating. Fans of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, James Dashner’s Maze Runner, Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series, and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy will be swept away by this story.

 

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Chapter One – GUARDIAN by Alex London

At night, they disposed of the bodies. There was no ceremony, no ritual, no remembrance.

“They’re human,” some argued.

“They were human,” said others. “Now they’re meat.”

“We have to study the infection,” said the doctor.

“We have to contain it,” said the counselor and gave her orders. “Burn the bodies.”

A work detail was tasked with the burning. One by one, in the dead of night, green uniforms with white masks hauled corpses to the pile. The corpses were webbed with black veins, their entire network of blood vessels visible through the pale skin. Dried blood obscured their faces and each had a single hole in the temple by the eyes, where the killing bolt went in. They were put down like livestock, burned like sacrifices.

As the bodies crackled, the doctor watched the flames, her face half in shadow, half dancing in firelight. “I believe there is a cure for this,” she said.

The counselor, standing beside her, nodded, but did not turn to look her way. “Your cure is worse than the disease.”

“You believe that?”

“It’s the truth. Your way is treason.”


“You’re in denial,” the doctor said. “This is going to get worse if we don’t stop it.”

“It’s a new world, Doctor,” the counselor replied. “We can’t turn back the clock.”

“Even to save people’s lives?”

“These”—the counselor gestured at the bodies—“are not people.”

“If it spreads?”

“Is it spreading?”


The doctor watched the young members of the work detail tossing the bodies on the pyre. They moved with the assurance of youth, the kind of attitude that allowed them to stare infection and death in the face and believe it would never touch them. “I don’t know.”

“It is your job to know.”

“I can hardly understand it. The blood turns against the body. Itching, burning. Then, expulsion. Half of them bleed out.”

“And the other half?”

The doctor clenched her jaw. “They haven’t bled out yet.”

“They are in pain?”

“They can’t communicate, but we have to restrain them to keep them from scratching their skin off with their fingernails.” The doctor sighed. “So, yes, they are in pain.”

“Put them out of their misery,” the counselor ordered.

“But, we can still learn—”

“Those are the orders.” The counselor walked away, two green uniforms trailing her into the jungle. The doctor took off her white smock, pulled the blue gloves from her hands with a loud synthetic snap, and stood before the flames. She watched her latest failed experiments turn to smoke and ash in the bonfire, every bit of blood boiled away, with all the information it might have contained.

She had ideas, dangerous to share; but if she didn’t find a way, she feared, this sickness would go further than any of them could imagine. She would record a message in case she failed. She hoped that someone would still be alive to receive it.

Read the Exclusive 3 Chapters from London’s new release, GUARDIAN here: http://bit.ly/SgMw3b 

You can read the short story PUNISHMENT, the PROXY prequel on Wattpad for free right now! Meet Syd, Knox, and Liam (from Guardian) at 15… http://w.tt/1mtouLm

C. Alexander London grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He’s an author of nonfiction for grown-ups (under a slightly different not very secret name), books for teens (as Alex London…see above), and, younger readers. He once won a 12-gauge skeet-shooting tournament because no one else had signed up in his age group. He’s a Master SCUBA diver who hasn’t been diving in way too long, and, most excitingly, a fully licensed librarian. He used to know the Dewey Decimal System from memory.

 

He doesn’t anymore.

While traveling as a journalist, he watched television in 23 countries (Burmese soap operas were the most confusing; Cuban news reports were the most dull), survived an erupting volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a hurricane on small island in the Caribbean, 4 civil wars (one of them was over by the time he got there, thankfully), and a mysterious bite on his little toe in the jungles of Thailand. The bite got infected and swollen and gross and gave him a deep mistrust of lizards, even though it probably wasn’t a lizard that bit him.

Although he has had many adventures, he really does prefer curling up on the couch and watching some good television or reading a book. He enjoys danger and intrigue far more when it’s happening to somebody else.

He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Posted on May 27th, 2014 by audra
In these categories book review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: Guy in Real Life

Author: Steve Brezenoff

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Source: Edelweiss

From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, an achingly real and profoundly moving love story in the vein of Rainbow Rowell and John Green, about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don’t.

This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other’s lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn’t belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren’t in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.

As a self-described fanatic of most things nerdy, I thought I would devour Guy in Real Life. In St. Paul, Minnesota Lesh has a chance encounter with Svetlana and their relationship unravels throughout the book. It was a cool setup, but then the story unfurled itself and I began to get lost a bit among the words. I began to question if I was into nerd culture enough to really appreciate this book.

Brezenoff to me nailed the teen emotion, angst, frustration and voice wholeheartedly. Getting to experience life’s troubles to teens through the eyes of these teens took me back a bit to what my growing up experiences were. Having that connection to the kids in the books was probably the only thing that brought me to the glaring part I could not connect with- the chapters with Svvetlana. Yes, Svvetlana with two v’s- this is the character that Lesh has chosen to play in his online RPG. Having chapters devoted to online game play was an interesting concept but I thought it was cumbersome and made this book very disjointed to me.

While I had issues with the RPG chapters, the rest of the book unfolded beautifully. Both Lesh and Svetlana are both tragic and beautiful characters in their own ways. Like I said previously, watching the characters go through some tough issues was really touching to read. Brezenoff didn’t shy away from topics such as teen drinking, online safety, bullying and more. I absolutely love when authors don’t shy away from topics like these, as it makes it feel more real. Not to say I have anything against books that don’t include these, but in comparison to my teen years, it just feels more realistic.

If you’re into nerd culture (especially if you like RPG games) Girl in Real Life is for you. If not, you may or may not have some issues with the chapters from the viewpoint of the RPG character. Regardless, this is still a fantastic read that really brought me back to the mindspace I was in growing up.

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Posted on May 24th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Uncategorized

Want to watch The Fault in Our Stars or If I Stay with Ally Condie? Now you can!

Support the Robison Wells Indiegogo campaign and Ally Condie will take you to one of the movies with you plus a friend! Kleenex included!

Posted on May 18th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: Unforgotten
Author: Jessica Brody
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Source: Edelweiss

Some memories are better left forgotten… 

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.

Unforgotten whisks us away to the 1600’s where Sera and Zen are trying to blend in as best they can without leaving a trace of themselves in the history books for Diotech to discover them. Of course this only works for but a short time considering Sera has barely adjusted to life  outside of Diotech let alone in the time when being accused of witchcraft is as much a threat at Diotech is. So naturally Sera’s cover is blown and actually needs Diotech in order to get out of the mess she’s in.

From there it’s a wild ride throughout different points in time with Sera trying to safe not only herself, but also Zen who has now come down with an awful sickness that is threatening his life. Sera comes across some familiar faces in the future that I don’t want to spoil for you but I absolutely adored the concepts presented in this book. Brody put together such a solid plot that has been carried out flawlessly in both Unremembered and now also in Unforgotten and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us in the third book.

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Posted on May 16th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Blog Tour




THE PARADOX OF VERTICAL FLIGHT by Emil Ostrovski

 

Release Date:
September 24, 2013

Hardcover, 260 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Contemporary / Realistic Fiction / Tough Issues / Suicide

What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old philosophy student, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma’s house? 

This debut novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.

On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn’t spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma’s house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. 

Even this one.

 Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth.

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My phone rings, but I don’t get up.

In my dream, the teacher hands out frogs, living frogs, and lectures: “Frogs produce smaller air bubbles than humans, who in turn produce smaller air bubbles than llamas. We find this out by drowning the species in question, of course.  Please drown your frog and make sure to measure the diameter of its air bubbles, rounding to the nearest significant digit.  Tomorrow
we’ll measure the bubbles produced by our lab partners, and the day after that, the students that are left will move on to the llamas.”  It makes no sense at all, but so it goes with my dreams.  Some people dream of epic heroes’ quests, of saving the universe from a great evil, and I get dreams about the differentiation of air bubbles across species.


Around nine I roll myself into a sitting position, finger the gunk out of my eyes, examine it for a moment, and then launch it across the room to where I don’t have to immediately deal with it.  My roommate’s snores filter down from the top bunk.

My cell is on my desk. The blinking red light of a missed call flashes across the room. Damn. I missed Bob. I try calling her back, but she doesn’t answer. She’s always losing her phone, misplacing it; broke it a few times from chucking it, because she couldn’t get the idiotskaya electronica to work.

I call my grandma “Bob” because I’m too lazy to bother with the alternatives; namely, “Babushka,”“Baba,” and “starypur,” the Russian version of old fart. Bob has Alzheimer’s, and it’s my birthday, so her call means today’s one of those days, or maybe just one of those moments, a flash, when she remembers me.

Partly to distract myself from the guilt, but mostly out of habit, I turn on my computer and wait for Windows to load.  I don’t capitalize “god” but I always capitalize “Windows.”  I spend much of my life in front of a screen, plugged into the matrix, looking through a Window into my virtual life.  Still waiting on a black dude with a name that sounds like a drug to show up and teach me kung fu, though.

I log in to Facebook and I’m so depressed I want to laugh. Fifteen Facebook friends have wished me a happy birthday so far. I’ve never really cared about birthdays, honestly—I mean, it’s just another day—but to see all these people, most of whom I don’t know or in a few years won’t remember, wishing me a happy birthday makes me feel like I should care. Like it should be a special day, like it should mean something.


I think I hate Facebook.

I lean back in my chair and stare out the window. When I’m thirty years old, will I still get a bunch of people I don’t know wishing me a happy birthday? Will that number dwindle over the years? Will, year by year, some people who’ve forgotten me remember and some people who’ve remembered me forget? What’s the point of it all, for any of us, if that’s the way it goes—if the way it ends is with me logging into Facebook at ninety years old, bald and fat and wearing a diaper and not remembering how to get to the toilet, which is why I’m wearing a diaper in the first place, and seeing, what? Fifteen people I don’t know wishing me a happy birthday? And each of my fifteen with fifteen of their own, on and on, a miserable network of Happy Birthday Facebook wishes connecting the entire world, the entire human race, until one day we nuke ourselves and it all goes black and there are no more happy birthdays for anyone.

Sometimes I get like this, depressed I mean, but I’m not one of those crazies, you know, a danger to themselves and others, nothing like that. Never even contemplated suicide, though in a few seconds I will be contemplating jumping out a window. It’s hot—eighty, maybe more; my T-shirt’s wet on my body, and it feels more miserable than it has any right to for a May morning in our great moose- infested state of Maine. I wheel over to open the window, slide it all the way up. I have to stand so I can reach the screen, to slide it down into place. Instead I stick my hand out.

What if I jump? What if I jump, now? I don’t want to die, but getting hurt would be kind of nice, you know? Like two years ago, when I got my appendix out. Everyone from class sent Get Well cards and Tommy skipped school to spend a day with me playing video games in the hospital. Yeah, that’s selfish, but remembering your friend because he almost kicked it is just as selfish.

I turn away from the window. The attention would last a couple weeks, max. Then everyone would go back to their own lives and everything would be the same.  But unlike when I got my appendix out, I might be crippled for life.

I walk on over to my desk, pull open a drawer, shuffle through video game boxes and CDs and pencils and pens and a worn pink eraser I never use but bring to school every quarter anyway.   I grab the bottle of pills, sit back down on my chair, and stare at the bottle.  Painkillers.  From a few months back, when I got into a fight with a fence over the arbitrary authority by which it goes about the supremely arrogant task of delineating space.  The fence won the tiff, but, fractured ankle aside, I like to think I’ll win the war.  I set the painkillers on the desk, and check under my bed. That’s where I keep my water, but there isn’t any left, so I stuff the pills in my pocket.

“Hey,” comes my roommate Alan’s I’m-still-three-quarters-sleeping voice.

I spin round.  “Hey,” I say, too loud.

He frowns at me, head about three inches off the pillow, and says, “Feel like I wanted to say something to you.  But I forget. I’ll remember.”

“That’s all right.”

“Jack,” he says, suddenly concerned.  “It is a Saturday, right?”

“Yeah,” I say. “No worries.”

“Phew,” he says.  His head drops back down. Almost every Saturday Alan groggily asks me if it’s really the weekend—like he can’t quite believe it himself.  He’s a nice guy, Alan, as nice a roommate as you could hope for, but we don’t really do anything together aside from, well, sleeping together. .It’s just that kind of a relationship.

I have my hand on our doorknob when–voices in the hall.  When they’re gone I nudge the door open and head for the bathroom. A guy’s in the shower, singing something about how we’re meant to be together in a voice that he really should keep a firm leash and a choke collar on if he insists on taking it out in public.

I set the bottle of pills on the shelf below the mirror. My reflection has a zit coming up on his forehead. It hurts to touch. He squeezes anyway, and bites at the inside of his lip. It explodes; a bit of yellow-white pus hits him in the eye and slides down, down, like a tear.

How many pills will kill me and how many will almost kill me? That is the question. It’s a fine line, probably. I open the bottle, look inside, and frown. Pull the cotton ball out.


I turn on the faucet. And hold my hands under the warm water.  Close my eyes.  Breathe.  Breathe.  I’m about to down my first pill when my cell rings. Once, twice, three times. The guy in the shower stops singing.



My breath catches when I see the number.

 

 

May 12th Unconventional Librarian – Guest Post
May 12th Buried in Books – Review
May 12th The Compulsive Reader – Review
May 13th The Bookish Confections – Review/Excerpt
May 13th Books with Bite – Review
May 13th Bibliophilia, Please – Interview/Guest Post
May 14th What a Nerd Girl Says  – Review/Interview
May 14th Live to Read – Review
May 14th The Happy Booker – Review/GP
May 14th Kaidans Seduction – Review
May 14th LRB Guest Post – Review
May 15th Escaping One Book at a Time – Review
May 15th Alice Marvels – Review
May 15th Scott Reads it! – Review
May 16th DanaSquare – Review
May 16th Paranormal Book Club – Guest Post
May 16th Books Complete Me – Review
May 16th The Society – Review/Playlist
May 16th Book Loving Mom – Review


“I’m twenty-three.

Rather than give you a witty, self-deprecating account of the trials and tribulations of my twenty-three year old, suburban, upper-middle class, went-to-a-girl’s-liberal-arts-college life, I’ll admit that I haven’t really done anything much worth reading about.

So in lieu of providing you with my biography, I will recommend that you read Desmond Tutu’s.  Here.  

Why Desmond Tutu?

Well, I’ve always liked his name.”

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