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Courtney Summers - Cracked Up to Be

Courtney Summers - Cracked Up to Be

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Published by: pummyg on Dec 05, 2011
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02/21/2014

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 Cracked Up To Be
By
Courtney Summers
 
 
To Lori Thibert, for inspiring me as a reader,writer and a person (TG4E),and to my family, for everything(and then some)
 
Acknowledgments
This book would not be off of my computer and on shelves without: Amy Tipton, my agent, andSara Goodman, my editor. Amy works tirelessly on my behalf—never failing to be awesome while shedoes it—and her passion and savvy makes me glad she’s in my corner. Sara’s keen insights helped meshape this novel into the best it could be, and her thoughtfulness and sense of humor made writing it avery cool experience to boot. Amy’s and Sara’s enthusiasm for and belief in this novel made all thedifference. To those fantastic folks at St. Martin’s Press who worked hard to turn these words intosomething that could actually be held, thank you.This book would not have been written in the first place without: Susan and David, Megan andJarrad—thanks for the title, Meg—Marion and Ken, and Lucy and Bob. My family. Words fail toadequately express the ways they inspire me and how much their love, support and encouragement hasmeant. These wonderful people heard it all: Josie B, Whitney C, Ashlee C, Ursula D, Mehmet E, Lynn E,Kristen F, Tiffany G, Fiona H, Tristan H, Kim H, Marcia J, Carina J, Veronique M, Shaina M, Carly P,Alicia R, Jessica S, Lori T, Kelvin T and Briony W. Thanks for yer friendship, bbs. Thanks to Brad Sucksfor the use of his music. Finally, special thanks to: my seventh-grade teacher, Mr. Kelly, my bloggingbuddies and the Blueboards.
 
 
ONE
 
Imagine four years.Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses,countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars—every day, a turf war—six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do herecounts.High school.“No, seriously, Jules, just feel around in there and tell me if you have one—”“Fuck off, Chris—”“And tell me where it is, the
exact 
location.”“You’re disgusting!”“Hey, Parker!”He reaches out and grabs me by the shoulder. I shrug, shrug, shrug him off.“Fuck off, Chris.”He’s been on about the G-spot for, like, a week.“Don’t fail me now, Parker. Where is it?”
Cosmo
, December ‘94. The Sex Issue. Came with a map and everything.”“Hell yes! I knew I could count on you.” He points at me, grinning, and then the grin falters and hesays, “Wait. You bullshitting me?”I make him wait for the answer because I’m bullshitting him.“Chris, I respect you too much to do that.”“That’s so sweet. You look good today, Parker.”“You bullshitting me?”“I respect
 you
too much to do that.”I look like shit today for a variety of reasons, but let’s start with the muddy running shoes on myfeet. Running shoes are expressly forbidden to wear with the school uniform, but damned if I know wheremy dress shoes disappeared to between now and yesterday. And then there’s my uniform skirt, which hasa mustard stain on the front because I can’t do something simple like make a sandwich for lunch withoutscrewing it up. I plucked my rumpled polo shirt from my bedroom floor and I guess I could’ve brushedmy hair if I’d wanted to forgo the bus ride and walk all ten miles to school, but supposedly if I miss anymore classes I could maybe not graduate, and if I have to spend another year in this concrete block—“Shoes, Parker!”Principal Henley’s got her arms crossed and her eyebrows up. I bring my hands together like I’mappealing to God. I might as well be.“One day only, Mrs. Henley. See, I got up really late and I couldn’t find my dress shoes and Iwas
so
worried about getting here on time—”“And the hair—”“Can be brushed,” I say, smoothing my hand over the tangles.“You’re due at the guidance office in five minutes.”“Oh, joy,” I say. Her eyes flash and I smile. “No, really.”Her eyebrows go down. It’s good, but not as good as when I got away with everything. I elbow my

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