Friday, January 31, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Welcome to Jenuine Cupcakes
this is my stop on the Something Real Blog Tour!

About the Book
Something RealAuthor: Heather Demetrios
Publication: February 4, 2014
By: Henry Holt
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Winner of the 2012 PEN New England Discovery Award!

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

About the Author
Heather Demetrios, originally from Los Angeles, now lives in Brooklyn and various imaginary locales. She is the recipient of a PEN New England Discovery Award for her debut YA novel about reality TV stardom, SOMETHING REAL (Macmillan/Henry Holt), and is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN fantasy trilogy from HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray), both out in 2014. 

She is currently working on her second novel for Macmillan, a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. When she’s not hanging out with her characters, Heather is working on her MFA in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.


1) You probably get asked this a lot, but what inspired SOMETHING REAL?
I saw a People magazine with Kate Gosselin and her kids on the cover and I had this instant gut reaction, this negative, angry feeling. I felt so bad for her kids, for everything their family had been through (with the messy divorce and all the bad press). I’m not hating on fans of the show—I think there’s a natural, morbid fascination to watching people live their lives on camera. I do, however, have a problem with kids being on reality TV, even if they claim to love it. I think it brings up a lot of issues of consent: do these kids know what it means to give up their privacy? Usually when something makes me angry I write about it. But I also knew this would be a fun book to write—television is exciting and I had a great time exploring the media and pop culture world surrounding my protagonist.

2) I love music almost as much as I love books and I'm always curious about how authors would "soundtrack" their stories and/or characters.  If Bonnie™ Baker's life had a theme song, what would it be and why? What about Chloe?
I love making soundtracks for my books! I post them as playlists on my YouTube channel. I definitely think Bonnie™ would love the song “I Hate Camera” by The Bird and the Bee. But I bet she heard the song “We Are Family” by the Sledge Sisters more often than she wanted to. As “Chloe,” Bonnie™ is older and wiser—she’s not trying to please the camera anymore, so I think her song would be Garbage’s “Not Your Kind of People.” And also Radiohead’s “15 Step.” The first lines, which I use in the book are: “How come I end up where I started? How come I end up where I went wrong? Won’t take my eyes off the ball again. You reel me out and then you cut the string.”

3) What do you hope readers take away from SOMETHING REAL? 
First, I want them to have fun reading the book and to care about the characters. Bonnie™, Benny, Patrick, Lexie™ and all the others feel so real to me now (no pun intended). But I also hope that readers who haven’t really thought about what reality TV might do to the kids and families on it might be more aware of what’s happening behind the scenes. I’d like Something Real to contribute to the dialogue about what reality TV might be doing to our society, but especially to the young people on it. You know, when 16 and Pregnant came out, people were saying that there were actually girls that wanted to get pregnant so they could be on that show. Or do you remember that show a few years ago where people would get plastic surgery so that they could look like a specific celebrity? That’s messed up. I think we have to protect one another, the whole “it takes a village” mentality. I’m not saying all reality TV is bad. But I am saying some of it is and that we need to figure out why we’re watching it and what we can do to give people alternatives to being on shows that strip them of their dignity.

4) Which character from SOMETHING REAL was your favorite to write?
Benny, hands down. I love that boy. He came to me fully formed—voice, backstory, everything. It was like he tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, I’m Benny. Put me in your book.” What draws me to him is that he’s a good person: good brother, friend, boyfriend, son. He’s a nurturer, but he’ll be tough when he needs to be. And he’s what keeps Bonnie™ together. Without him, I don’t think she would have survived. And I mean that literally.

5) Speaking of reality T.V. shows, which show does your life most resemble? SURVIVOR, THE VOICE or CUPCAKE WARS?
Agh! Good question. Hmmmm…I’ve never seen “Cupcake Wars,” but since everything I bake burns, I’m guessing my life doesn’t resemble that. And being an LA girl who’s idea of going out in nature is moving to Brooklyn, I would have to say “Survivor” is out, too (also, it’s a bit ruthless, no?). So, “The Voice.” And, actually, that’s not a bad show to compare a writer’s life to, because you’re always trying to find the voices of your characters and they sort of audition for you, in their own way. And then, of course, my work is always going through a rigorous “judging” process—whether it be my agent or one of my editors, someone is always looking at my work and telling me to go further, be better. Luckily, they’re always kind about it and they’re right most of the time, too. 

6) What is the last book you read that blew you away?
I read all the time and I enjoy so much of what I read, but the phrase “blew you away” really raises the bar. I’d have to go with Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus.” It is a gorgeous book, enormously inventive and so immersive that the whole world falls away as you read it. On the YA front, Eleanor and Park is my go-to from last year. It’s powerful stuff. 
Thanks Heather!

1 Copy of SOMETHING REAL by Heather Demetrios
U.S. Only
Must be 13 years old to enter 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ALA MW 2014 Wrap Up

ALA = American Library Association
MW = Midwinter Conference 
2014 = If you need this explained then I can't help you. ;) 

I road tripped it to Philly with Hannah from The Irish Banana, her cousin Missy and Andye from Reading Teen. We had 4 adults, 7 bags and ONE HUNDRED MILLION CUPCAKES in the car with us. 
Okay, so it was more like 9 dozen cupcakes, but whose really counting?

I got to spend the entire weekend surrounded by books and book people, some I've known for awhile and others I've only met on the interwebz. Always a good time. ALWAYS!

ALA was my second book conference that I've attended and I can honestly say that librarians and other professional book people are WAY more chill than a lot of the attendees at BEA. Everyone lined up in an orderly fashion and there was very little pushing and shoving, it was more like trying to avoid knocking your bag into someone elses. And best of all, no one tried to tackle me! 
The generosity of the publishers was incredible and blew me away! I came home with books I might not have ever considered if it weren't for the recommendations of wonderful people like Christina from Bloomsbury, Annie from HarlequinTEEN and Dina from Disney. 

I LOVED LOVED LOVED being able to deliver cupcakes to the booths! This is something I've wanted to do for a long time but the idea of trekking up to NYC on a bus, or a plane or a train, loaded up with cupcakes just wasn't feasible.

Authors. While there aren't as many as BEA, there were still plenty to get excited about it like Mike Mullin, Rainbow Rowell and Amalie Howard. Tiffany Schmidt, Miranda Kenneally, Em Garner, Liz Norris, David Levitan, and E. Lockhart were there too.

Now for some pictures!
Mike Mullin and Me.

Hannah and I coordinated with Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey covers!
Rainbow Rowell and Me. Total fangirl moment!
Me with the always adorable Valerie Cole.

Epic book scores!

My name and my cupcakes in the Acks of the finished copy of Be With Me by J. Lynn.
Funny story about this picture...
Me: *smiles* Will you be giving away any copies of Be With Me?
Harper Collins': No.
Me: But these are in the book. *holds up container of cupcakes*
HC: No.
Me: Grabs copy, flips to back and points to the page. This is me! *grins excitedly*
HC: *eyes my badge* No.
Me: Well, want a cupcake anyway? They're the flavors from th---"
HC: No.
Me: *takes cupcakes and leaves* ;) 

Some more fun pictures...

 This happened while we were inside the convention center.

When ALA was over, some of us felt like this...
Photo credit: Hannah

 And some of us still had enough energy and to act a fool...(I blame the lack of caffeine.)
Photo credit: Hannah

But soon enough it was time to head home and because we hadn't seen enough snow already, it made another appearance.

 The "Caution" sign was already there and so appropriate. :)

 The car.

Really, is seeing out the back window THAT important?

Or seeing the person next to you? 

 Homeward bound!

 Book Haul

I don't know if I'll do a giveaway like I had originally planned too. 
Why not? Well, because of some uncool stuff that went down this weekend via the Internet. 
All conferences and signings I go to are on my own dime. (Like all the other book people I know.) And giveaways are no different unless sponsored by an author or Publisher. They cost money, sometimes a lot depending on where in the U.S.A. they're going.
So when a total stranger accuses me of being selfish/unfair/mean for posting pictures of the books, pictures well meaning friends asked me to post, it kind of puts a damper on things. 
In fact, it kinda makes me want to build a fortress out of all my books and disappear into it. 
Like this one...

Image found on Google

On a positive note, some of the books have already been mailed off to bookish friends and a huge amount have been allocated to my local library. 
The rest I plan to read. 


Monday, January 27, 2014

COVER REVEAL: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

Release Date: September 30, 2014
 According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

 Find Rachel Harris Online

UNINVITED (UNINVITED #1) by Sophie Jordan

Author: Sophie Jordan
Publication: January 28, 2014
By: Harper Teen
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
5 Stars!

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

Thank you Harper Teen and Edelweiss for this eARC. 

I've attempted to write this review several times and each time I was ready to hit, "publish", my Internet crashed. I think it's because the government is secretly watching and doesn't want me to tell you just how awesome this book is. 

Too bad, because I'm going to do it anyway...

What I LOVED: Thought provoking, compelling and terrifyingly realistic, UNINVITED left me breathless, on the edge of my seat, and anxious for the next installment! 

As a reader, I loved the strong characters, the action, the suspense and of course the romance. In the span of a few days Davy's entire world is flipped on it's head and the people she thought she could depend on, the ones who claimed to love her, are the first to turn against her. *shakes fist at these people - one I want to punch in the throat*

But Davy is no wilting flower. She's forced into situations that require mental, physical and emotional strength and she rises to the occasion LIKE A BOSS. And then there is Sean O'Rourke who is just... I'm sorry, what was I talking about? Oh. Right. Sean. He's is a carrier too, and even though Davy thinks he's the tall, dark and all kinds of dangerous kind of HTS, I know that HTS really stands for, Hunky Tall Soap-Slingers. You're welcome.

As a Mom, there were a few moments when I had to literally put my kindle down and step away from this book. Why? Because the behavior of some of the adults, the way they reacted, blew my mind. It also made my heart ache for the kids. If HTS were a real thing and someone tried to take my boys away from me, they would have to do it OVER-MY-COLD-DEAD-BODY. 

Final Verdict: I have been a Sophie Jordan fan from the moment Jacinda first took flight in Firelight, but Uninvited is my new favorite! (And Will, I still love you, but you need to make some room for Sean on the Book Boy Shelf.)


Friday, January 24, 2014

Perfect Lies (Mind Games #2) by Kiersten White

Perfect Lies (Mind Games, #2)
Author: Kiersten White
Publication: February 18, 2014
By: HarperTeen
3.75 Stars

Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie's visions of the future can't show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia's first love, Fia knows he's hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other - but that may not be enough to save them.

Thank you HarperTeen and Edelweiss for this eARC. 

Initial Reaction: I don't even...what just happened? (Mind you, this was at 2:30a.m. after I had just finished reading this cover to cover.) 

What I Liked: I wish the cover would have shown up on my Nook because it's brilliant and all of the little squares represent a scene in the story. *squints*

PERFECT LIES picked up where MIND GAMES left off and the story is still told from both Fia and Annie's POVs which I enjoyed. However, the timeline combined with the multiple variations and changes to the outcome thoroughly confused me in that, "This author is a million times smarter than me." way. Fia was my favorite character in book 1 but Annie and Cole were the two who won me over in this book. (Annie's humor helped to offset Fia's cray-cray and wound some much needed continuity into the storyline for me.)
Fia and James' relationship was as unstable as ever and despite my rooting for them, for him especially, I wasn't at all surprised with how things turned out. 

What Left Me Wanting More: So much focus was put onto Adam in book 1 but then by the end of this one, he had faded into the background. I almost wish there had been a epilogue, I wanted to see what happened a few years down the road.

Final Verdict: Unputdownable, mind-twisting sequel.

Review also posted at YABC.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

COVER REVEAL: Breathe For Me by Rhonda Helms

Breathe for Me by Rhonda Helms
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Formats: Paperback, e-book
Isabel’s been cursed since the Middle Ages.

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage, she made a hasty bargain with a demon, asking for liberation from an oppressive husband-to-be and the excitement of travel. But the demon’s “gift” came at a steep cost. Each time he moves her to a new city, her memory’s wiped. No one can touch her bare skin without injury or even death. And she sees the lifespan of every living being (and is, in fact, immortal herself).
All a constant reminder that she’s different than other teen girls.
But New Orleans seems to accept her as she is. She has friends and a real life in this quirky, hot city. Then Isabel meets Dominic, whose deep soul and strong character draw her to him. Her growing love gives her the courage to confront the demon, insisting the curse be broken. But the demon’s price for freedom is much, much higher than she could possibly give.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Waiting on Wednesday
 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Publication: July 8, 2014
By: St. Martin's Press
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

 I am super excited to read this. I'm also a little scared because I'm afraid I'll be able to relate to it way more than I'm comfortable admitting. 

I'm heading to ALA MW in Philly this weekend and I'm hoping that I get to meet Rainbow Rowell since I missed her BEA and when she came to D.C. last year. 

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan: Chapter 2 Reveal + Giveaway

   I am SO excited that you stopped by today because I have the privilege of revealing Chapter 2 of UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan. This book is fanfreakingtastic and I can't wait for everyone to be able to read it!

A new chapter will be revealed each day this week by another blogger and the Official Trailer will be revealed on Friday.

Chapter 1 was revealed yesterday over at Mundie Moms

UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan
Publication: January 28, 2014
By: Harper TEEN
  Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound |Goodreads

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

Here you go...

U.S. Department of Justice • 
The Federal Bureau of Investigation • 
Criminal Justice Information Reporting Division
United States Crime Analysis
      Year       Population      Homicides     Hts Homicides
 2017        320,494,019       102,209            59,212* 
2019       322,320,103       181,717            98,052*
  2021       332,012,992       234,020           196,015**
*HTS testing yet to become protocol in many state-level jurisdictions. 
**HTS testing fully realized at every state-level jurisdiction.


It was at the start of the year. Before the leaves started to fall and calculus made my head hurt. Before Home- coming. Before Zac asked me out.
The Everton Board of Trustees decreed that all students needed testing. Not such a surprise. Everyone in the country is being tested these days. Dad even started requiring it of all employees at the bank. That’s some bitter irony now.
All advisory periods were sent to the nurse’s clinic. For me that meant leaving the orchestra hall and missing practice time. I think I remember that the most. Being mad about that.

One quick cotton swab in the mouth and it was done. My DNA stuck in a tube.
I think someone joked about Albert Adolfson obviously being a carrier. The Swedish kid is the star of our wrestling team and has serious anger issues. I always suspected steroids, but then the joke became HTS.
Now the joke is me.
Once everyone finds out. That bit of realization makes it hard to breathe. I don’t stay long in the living room with Mom and Dad. I can’t. Dad’s anger. The weird way Mom looks at me. It makes terrible sense now.
And Mr. Pollock with those small, mean eyes . . .
He makes sense, too. He’s part of my life now.
Images fire across my mind. One after another. An endless

flash of killers in their prison jumpsuits. And the victims, the grieving people left behind. The media loves to zoom in on them. I never turn on the television anymore.
I flee to the sanctuary of my room and stare at the pictures of Zac and my friends all over my dresser mirror, wondering how they’ll react. Of course, I’ll have Zac and Tori, but what about the others? Will they still be my friends? I pace, hum- ming an aimless tune, searching for my peace, my solace. Ever since I was a child, music has lived inside me. It lulls me to sleep at nights and calms me whenever I feel anxious. Lyrics and notes trip through my head as I wait for the terrible tight- ness in my chest to go away. For the calm to come. For the panic to fade.
But no matter how much I hum, no matter how much the music plays in my head, it doesn’t happen.
I open my laptop and search for HTS.
I can’t ignore it. I can’t ignore me. No. Not me.
Not me, whatever some stupid DNA test says. My stom-

ach rolls, rebelling at the idea. They might say I am. But it’s not true. It’s not.
It can’t be. 

My search lasts only a few minutes. The first thing that pops up is footage from the 20/20 feature on HTS. Death row inmates are interviewed by Dr. Wainwright. I listen as they share the horrific accounts of their crimes with the stoic-faced man. Some of them smile weirdly as they recount their trans- gressions. Those curving lips make my skin crawl. A breath shudders from my lips. I’m not them.
I punch fiercely at the keyboard and move to another site. A video of some extremist group brutally assaulting three men . . . three HTS carriers. From the comment feed below, everyone thought they got just what they deserved.
It’s too much. My already churning stomach pitches. The laptop falls from my lap as I dive for the bathroom, retching until my stomach is empty.
After that, I stagger back into my room and pick my lap- top off the floor. Logging off, I set it on my desk and drop back on my bed.
Gradually, sunlight fades from behind my blinds. My phone rings and I glance at it. Zac. I can’t talk to him right now. Not yet. 

I roll on my side and close my eyes, pressing a hand to my lips, smothering the cry that rises up in my throat and seeks escape. But there is no escape. No running from this.
After a while, I breathe normally again and feel like I can face my parents. I have to. I can’t pretend nothing happened. I need them to tell me everything is going to be okay. I need to know the next step. The plan. Sucking in a breath, I open the door. As I descend the stairs, I stop at the sound of Dad’s voice.
“She’s not a carrier. We would know something like that! You’ve seen those monsters all over the TV. The Minneapolis Bomber . . . the Atlanta Day-Care Shooter. We’d know if our daughter is like them!”
I flinch and ease down one more step.
“The kill gene,” Mom says. “That’s what they call it. It can be dormant until something triggers it. They don’t all start out as monsters. . . .”
I sink down on the step and hug my knees, unable to face them after all.
It sounds like Mom believes I’m this . . . thing. A monster waiting for darkness to come so that I can leap out. 
I bury my face in my knees. My shoulders shake but I don’t cry. Don’t make a sound. I’m not a killer. Although if I believe the propaganda, I’m going to become one. It’s just a matter of time. That’s what being an HTS carrier means. At least that’s what everyone says. Apparently, even what my parents believe. Or at least Mom.
“No. It has to be a mistake.” Yes! I latch onto these words. It is a mistake. It is. I hear the clink of glass and guess that Dad is pouring himself a drink. 

“Patrick.” Mom says his name sharply. “You heard the headmaster. He had them double-check the DNA. That’s why it took so long to get the results from the fall. We can’t live in denial. We have to deal with this.”
Dad doesn’t respond. After a few moments, Mom adds, her voice clipped and efficient, “I’ll take her to her appoint- ment with the caseworker tomorrow.”
“Yeah, you do that.” Even from where I huddle on the step, I don’t miss the edge to his voice.
Mom doesn’t miss it, either. “You blame me? Is that it?”
“She certainly didn’t get this damned gene from my side of the family.”
“So this is my fault?” Mom’s voice is a snarl. “It’s recessive. It took the both of us for this to happen! You always have to blame someone anytime anything goes wrong. You blame me for Mitchell and you might as well blame me for our daughter turning out to be a sociopath.”
I gasp.
There’s a loud crash. Dad’s glass hitting the wall or floor. My hands grip the edge of the step, needing something to

hang on to, something to keep me from splintering apart. A fingernail cracks under the pressure.
In the distance, I hear the faint ring of my cell phone in my room. Zac calling again. Or maybe Tori.
Mom’s raspy voice drifts to me, quieter now, subdued. “Feel better?”
“No. I’ll never feel better again, Caitlyn. Should I? I just lost my daughter.”
I bow over, clutching my waist, the words a painful blow. I cover my mouth so that no sound escapes. I want to shout that I haven’t gone anywhere. I’m the same girl I was yesterday. I’m no different. But somehow I am. To them, I am. I’m lost. Tomorrow the world will know that, too.
I hear the creak of the French doors followed by my broth- er’s voice. “Hey, what’s for dinner? I’m starved.”
“We haven’t cooked,” Mom snaps. No. No dinner. We for- got about food. “There are leftovers from last night.” I hear glass rattle and guess that she’s digging through the fridge. “Lasagna. Some garlic bread. I’ll warm some up. Sit down. We need to talk. . . .”
I rise and lightly tiptoe back to my room, not wanting to hear the inevitable conversation.
When they tell Mitchell that his sister’s not who they thought she was. That girl is gone and never coming back.
Sleep eludes me. Zac stops calling around midnight. I lie in bed, a song whispering through my head, fingers laced over my stomach as I stare up at the ceiling. My eyes are dry as bone. Strangely, I haven’t cried even though it feels like I lost everything. My head spins against the backdrop of an aria, thoughts racing through everything that’s happened, every- thing that’s going to happen. Zac will still be there. My real friends. They won’t change because they’ll understand that I haven’t.
Anxiety gnaws at me as I try to process how everyone will react. I remind myself that it’s just a few months until graduation when everything was going to change anyway. But then that leads to thoughts of the future, college. I’ve been expelled. What now? Will my new HTS status prevent me from going to Juilliard? I groan and rub my hands over my face. I don’t know. Don’t know anything anymore. Except what I am. What I’m not. Not a killer.

A knock sounds at my door and it pushes open. My brother stands there. “Hey.”
He looks like Mom. Brown eyes and dark hair. I’ve got the eyes but lighter hair. Like Dad. My father is mostly gray now, but when he was younger he had blond hair. Mom met him when he was lifeguarding at the country club. She said he looked like a young Brad Pitt. Whoever that was.
Mitchell wears his hair long and shaggy. Not because of any style he’s going for. He’s just too lazy to care. Staring at him now, I know Mom told him. He knows.
I force a smile. “Guess you’re not the family troublemaker anymore, huh?”
“Shut up,” he says without heat. He digs his hands into his pockets and walks into my room. Dropping his slender frame down on the bed beside me, he announces, “It’s crap. You know that. No one can predict the future. Your future.”
Sitting up, I cross my legs and drag a pillow into my lap. “There’s something to it. Why else are they testing people? You see the news? Some states even have special camps—”
“Yeah. Like ass-backward states. Not here.” He shakes his head. “You’ll see. In a few years, they’ll say HTS is all bogus. Some doctors will come up with something to discount the validity of it and all that.” He waves a hand like he’s swatting a fly. His gaze captures mine.
I want to believe that. Really I do. That in a few years, maybe even sooner, all this will be a bad memory. 

He leans onto his side. “There are a lot of bad people out there, Dav. These are dangerous times. People are scared. And when people are scared they need to feel in control. HTS lets people feel like they still have control against all the bogeymen out there.” He squeezes my arm. “No way are you one of them. Anyone can take a look at you and see that.”
I nod, his words feeding me hope. “In the meantime, I’m uninvited from Everton.”
“Everton sucks. I tried to get kicked out of that place but Dad kept getting me back in.”
I roll my eyes and laugh. It feels good.
He gently nudges my shoulder. “Hey. You’ll be fine. Every- one loves you. You’re, like, perfect—”
I sigh. “Mitchell. I’m not.”
“I’m serious.” His brown eyes look earnestly into mine. “This will all blow over.”
“I just want my life to stay the same,” I mumble into my pillow. “Or at least continue according to plan.”
It was a great plan, too.
“I know.” He rolls onto his back and stares up at the ceil- ing. “But nothing ever stays the same, Davy. You just have to adapt. . . . Show them this HTS is all a load of shit.” He laughs brokenly. “I mean, if anyone in this family is a carrier, it should be me. I’m the screwup.” 

Suddenly, my phone rings again. I stare at it for a moment, waiting for it to stop ringing. I guess Zac isn’t ready to give up on me yet. Hopefully, that won’t change once he knows the truth.
“You’re going to have to tell him. Better if he hears it from you anyway. He’ll understand.”
I nod and squeeze my pillow tighter like I can crush all my fears and the ugly reality of this day. “I know. Tomorrow.”

Chapter 3 Reveal on 1/22:  Good Choice Reading
Chapter 4 Reveal on 1/23:  One Upon A Twilight
Chapter 5 Reveal on 1/24:  A Good Addiction
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