Suspenseful, passionate and gripping, E. J. Squires's contemporary paranormal YA romance brings you on a highly entertaining adventure that you will want to continue on forever. Winner of the SILVER MEDAL in the 2014 Readers' Favorite annual International Award Contest--Category YA Paranormal Romance.
The day is sunny and ridiculously humid, even for Florida. We get into the SUV and my mom secures her seat belt, turns the engine on, lowers the volume of Mr. Tchaikovsky—her favorite—and faces me.
“You have to be more careful, Sonia,” she says with a look of utter disappointment if I’ve ever seen one: teeth clenched, glaring eyes, head cocked to one side, right eyebrow raised. It’s a look I hate and will do almost anything in the world to avoid.
We just left the principle’s office and it went a little something like this: I was blamed for the fight with Savannah even though she’s the one who’s been bullying me all year. Savannah didn’t get any punishment at all—I think Principal Jenkins has a thing for her—even though I was the one who ended up with a bloody nose and the only thing I did was spit in her face. Anyway, so I was sentenced to ten hours of weeding the school’s premises with a guy named Anthony (probably some plant geek), starting Monday. Not looking forward to it.
“I’ve already spoken to you about not letting your saliva come in contact with anyone else,” my mom says angrily.
And she has. One day at lunch, I asked Lisa, a friend I had in third grade, if she’d share her brownie with me. She said no, but let me take a sip of her juice instead. After that, she gave me the brownie, and every day until she moved away two years later, she would bring me some kind of sweet treat to school. Finding it strange, I told my mom about it and she said I ‘must never share my drinks with anyone’ (same angry tone). That was also the week I got the no-kissing-until-I-turn-eighteen lecture from both of my parents.
Apparently, when my saliva comes in contact with a person, they’ll do whatever I want them to—or something like that. My mom has the same ability as me, but she refuses to tell me exactly what it is or where the ability comes from. I’m starting to think we’re just freaks of nature—unnatural and potentially dangerous misfits. And what’s worse, lately, I find myself obsessing about how I can make others do what I want, even though I know deep inside that it’s not the right thing to do. I wish these urges would just go away or I wish my mom would tell me why I’ve recently developed such strong urges, and how to get rid of them.
“I know, but Savannah’s been bullying me all year and I just couldn’t take it anymore!” I say in my defense.
Savannah’s one of the meanest girls at our school, and recently I’ve been the target of all her attacks. Her actions against me started off small—petty pranks that were quite easy to disregard, like the tacks she put on my chair and the garlic she smeared in my locker. It was a while ago, but my locker still smells, and I'm careful now to always check my seat before I sit down. I can’t prove that it was her that did this to me, but every time I check my chair for tacks in algebra class, I see her smug little smile in the back of the room. Lately, her attacks have escalated. Every night for a week, she called my house and left a message on the voicemail, saying that she had seen my dad at the mall making out with another woman. My dad died eighteen months ago and she knows it. I can't fathom why anyone would be so cruel.
All year, my best friend Ashley said I should go to Principal Jenkins and tell him about what Savannah’s doing. She’s always encouraging me to fight back, ‘for the sake of bullied kids everywhere,’ as she puts it. Ashley has been my number one supporter when it comes to hating Savannah, and I’m really grateful for her. The reason Ashley is so tough is that another girl bullied her mercilessly, and she quickly learned to stand up for herself—and others—almost a little too much. Ashley can be as sweet as an angel, but will rapidly turn into a demon if anyone mistreats those she cares about. Last time Savannah pulled my hair, Ashley snuck behind her in the lunch line and cut a chunk out of Savannah’s hair. Ashley proceeded to warn Savannah that if she ever touched my hair again, she’d follow her to her house and shave the rest of her hair off while she was sleeping. I laughed when I heard that, but then I got a little worried on Savannah’s behalf, thinking that Ashley actually might do it.
Like Ashley, I’m convinced that Savannah’s cruelty toward me has to do with her ex-boyfriend asking me out. Tyson has asked me out a few times, but I always decline. I don’t want to date him, since he’s made out with nearly half the girls in our school, girls just like Savannah. Status seems important to Savannah, and she certainly had that when she dated Tyson, the quarterback of our football team. Savannah probably thought she could wrap him around her little finger and have him swear fidelity to her, but he quickly lost interest and moved on, asking me—a complete nobody—out instead.