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best friend.
A real-life
The secret



The boy your
dont like.

The rebel with
a cause.

The boy
next door.

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Linus is the brothers best friend

in Finding Audrey.





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This is a work of ction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are
the product of the authors imagination or are used ctitiously. Any resemblance
to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright 2015 by Sophie Kinsella
Jacket art copyright 2015 by artist
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by
Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Childrens Books, a division of
Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon
is a trademark of Random House LLC.
Visit us on the Web!
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools,
visit us at
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The text of this book is set in 12.6-point Walbaum.
Jacket design by Alison Impey
Interior design by Heather Kelly
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition
Random House Childrens Books supports the
First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.


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So now Mum knows what LOC is. And knowledge is power,

according to Ko Annan. Although, as Leonardo da Vinci
said: Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge,
which might apply better to our family. (Please dont think
Im super-well-read or anything. Mum bought me a book
of quotations last month and I ick through it when Im
watching telly.)
Anyway, knowledge is power isnt really happening
here, because Mum has no power over Frank at all. Its
Saturday evening, and hes been playing LOC ever since
lunchtime. He disappeared into the playroom straight after
pudding. Then there was a ring at the doorbell and I scuttled
out of the way into the den, which is my own private place.
Now its nearly six and Ive crept into the kitchen for
some Oreos, to nd Mum striding around, all twitchy. Shes
exhaling and looking at the clock and exhaling again.

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Theyre all computer addicts! she says in a sudden

burst. Ive asked them to turn off about twenty-ve times!
Why cant they do it? Its a simple switch! On, off.
Maybe theyre on a level I begin.
Levels! Mum cuts me off savagely. Im tired of
hearing about levels! Im giving them one more minute.
Thats it.
I take out an Oreo and prise it open. So, whos with
A friend from school. I havent met him before. Linus, I
think hes called . . .
Linus. I remember Linus. He was in that school play, To
Kill a Mockingbird, and he played Atticus Finch. Frank was
Frank goes to Cardinal Nicholls School, which is just
up the road from my school, Stokeland Girls School, and
sometimes the two schools join together for plays and concerts and stuff. Although to be truthful, Stokeland isnt my
school anymore. I havent been to school since February,
because some stuff happened there. Not great stuff.
Anyway. Moving on. After that, I got ill. Now Im going
to change schools and go down a year so I wont fall behind.
The new school is called the Heath Academy and they said
it would be sensible to start in September, rather than the
summer term when its mainly exams. So, till then, Im at
I mean, I dont do nothing. Theyve sent me lots of reading suggestions and maths books and French vocab lists.
Everyones agreed its vital I keep up with my schoolwork

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and It will make you feel so much better, Audrey! (It so

doesnt.) So sometimes I send in a history essay or something and they send it back with some red comments. Its
all a bit random.
Anyway. The point is, Linus was in the play and he was
a really good Atticus Finch. He was noble and heroic and
everyone believed him. Like, he has to shoot a rabid dog in
one scene and the prop gun didnt work on our night, but
no-one in the audience laughed or even murmured. Thats
how good he was.
He came round to our house once, before a rehearsal.
Just for about ve minutes, but I still remember it.
Actually, thats kind of irrelevant.
Im about to remind Mum that Linus played Atticus
Finch, when I realize shes left the kitchen. A moment later
I hear her voice:
Youve played enough, young man!
Young man.
I dart over to the door and look through the crack. As
Frank strides into the hall after Mum, his face is quivering
with fury.
We hadnt reached the end of the level! You cant just
switch off the game! Do you understand what you did, just
then, Mum? Do you even know how Land of Conquerors
He sounds properly irate. Hes stopped right underneath
where I am, his black hair falling over his pale forehead, his
skinny arms ailing, and his big, bony hands gesticulating
furiously. I hope Frank grows into his hands and feet one
day. They cant stay so comically huge, can they? The rest

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of him has to catch up, surely? Hes fteen, so he could still

grow a foot. Dads six foot, but he always says Frank will
end up taller than him.
Its ne, says a voice I recognize. Its Linus, but I cant
see him through the crack. Ill go home. Thanks for having me.
Dont go home! exclaims Mum, in her best charmingto-visitors voice. Please dont go home, Linus. Thats not
what I meant at all.
But if we cant play games . . . Linus sounds ummoxed.
Are you saying the only form of socialising you boys
understand is playing computer games? Do you know how
sad that is?
Well, what do you suggest we do? says Frank sulkily.
I think you should play badminton. Its a nice summers
evening, the gardens beautiful, and look what I found! She
holds out the ropy old badminton set to Frank. The net is all
twisted and I can see that some animal has nibbled at one
of the shuttlecocks.
I want to laugh at Franks expression.
Mum . . . He appears almost speechless with horror.
Where did you even nd that?
Or croquet! adds Mum brightly. Thats a fun game.
Frank doesnt even answer. He looks so stricken by the
idea of croquet, I actually feel quite sorry for him.
Or hide-and-seek?
I give a snort of laughter and clap my hand over my
mouth. I cant help it. Hide-and-seek.
Or Rummikub! says Mum, sounding desperate. You
always used to love Rummikub.

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I like Rummikub, volunteers Linus, and I feel a tweak

of approval. He could have legitimately laid into Frank at
this point; walked straight out of the house and put on Facebook that Franks house sucks. But he sounds like he wants
to please Mum. He sounds like one of those people who look
around and think, well, why not make life easier for everyone? (Im getting this from three words, you understand.)
You want to play Rummikub? Frank sounds incredulous.
Why not? says Linus easily, and a moment later the
two of them head off towards the playroom. (Mum and Dad
repainted it and called it the Teenage Study when I turned
thirteen, but its still the playroom.)
Next moment, Mum is back in the kitchen, pouring herself a glass of wine.
There! she says. They just need a little guidance. A
little parental control. I simply opened their minds. Theyre
not addicted to computers. They just need to be reminded
what else is out there.
Shes not talking to me. Shes talking to the Imaginary
Daily Mail Judge, who constantly watches her life and gives
it marks out of ten.
I dont think Rummikub is a very good game for two,
I say. I mean, it would take ages to get rid of all your tiles.
I can see Mums thoughts snagging on this. Im sure she
has the same image I do: Frank and Linus sitting grimly
across from each other at the Rummikub table, hating it
and deciding that all board games are rubbish and total
Youre right, she says at last. Maybe Ill go and play
with them. Make it more fun.

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She doesnt ask me if I want to play too, for which Im

Well, have a good time, I say, and take out the Oreo
packet. I scoot through the kitchen into the den, and its
only as Im zapping on the telly that I hear Mums voice
resounding through the house from the playroom.
Our house is like a weather system. It ebbs and ows,
ares up and subsides. It has times of radiant blue bliss, days
of grey dismalness and thunderstorms that are up out of
nowhere. Right now the storms coming my way. Thunderlightning-thunder-lightning, Frank-Mum-Frank-Mum.
What difference does it make?
It makes every difference! I told you not to go on those
computers anymore!
Mum, its the same bloody game!
Its not! I want you off that screen! I want you playing a
game with your friend! IN REAL LIFE!
Its no fun with two players. We might as well play, I
dont know, bloody Snap.
I know! Mum is almost shrieking. Thats why I was
coming to play with you!
Well, I didnt bloody KNOW THAT, DID I?
Stop swearing! If you swear at me, young man . . .
Young man.
I hear Frank make his Angry Frank noise. Its a kind of
rhinoceros bellow slash scream of frustration.
Bloody is not swearing, he says, breathing hard, as
though to rein in his impatience.
It is!


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Its in the Harry Potter lms, OK? Harry Potter. How

can it be swearing?
What? Mum sounds wrong-footed.
Harry Potter. I rest my case.
Dont you walk away from me, young man!
Young man. That makes three. Poor Dad. He will so get
an earful when he arrives home
Hi. Linuss voice takes me by surprise, and I jump
round in shock. Like, I literally jump. I have pretty sharpened reexes. Oversensitive. Like the rest of me.
Hes at the doorway. Atticus Finch shoots through my
brain. A lanky, brown-haired teenager with wide cheekbones and oppy hair and one of those smiles like an orange segment. Not that his teeth are orange. But his mouth
makes that segment shape when he smiles. Which hes
doing now. None of Franks other friends ever smile.
He comes into the den and instinctively my sts clench
in fear. He must have wandered off while Mum and Frank
were ghting. But no-one comes in this room. This is my
space. Didnt Frank tell him?
Didnt Frank say?
My chest is starting to rise in panic. Tears have already
started to my eyes. My throat feels frozen. I need to escape.
I need I cant
No-one comes in here. No-one is allowed to come in here.
I can hear Dr. Sarahs voice in my head. Random snippets from our sessions.
Breathe in for four counts, out for seven.
Your body believes the threat is real, Audrey. But the threat
isnt real.


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Hi, he tries again. Im Linus. Youre Audrey, right?

The threat isnt real. I try to press the words into my
mind, but theyre drowned out by the panic. Its engulng.
Its like a nuclear cloud.
Do you always wear those? He nods at my dark glasses.
My chest is pumping with terror. Somehow I manage to
edge past him.
Sorry, I gasp, and tear through the kitchen like a
hunted fox. Up the stairs. Into my bedroom. Into the furthest corner. Crouched down behind the curtain. My breath
is coming like a piston engine and tears are coursing down
my face. I need a Clonazepam, but right now I cant even
leave the curtain to get it. Im clinging to the fabric like its
the only thing that will save me.
Audrey? Mums at the bedroom door, her voice high
with alarm. Sweetheart? What happened?
Its just . . . you know. I swallow. That boy came in
and I wasnt expecting it . . .
Its ne, soothes Mum, coming over and stroking my
head. Its OK. Its totally understandable. Do you want to
take a . . .
Mum never says the words of medication out loud.
Ill get it.
She heads out to the bathroom and I hear the sound of
water running. And all I feel is stupid. Stupid.

So now you know.

Well, I suppose you dont knowyoure guessing. To
put you out of your misery, heres the full diagnosis: Social


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Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, and Depressive Episodes.

Episodes. Like depression is a sitcom with a fun punch
line each time. Or a TV box set loaded with cliffhangers.
The only cliffhanger in my life is Will I ever get rid of this
shit? and believe me, it gets pretty monotonous.


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Olly is the boy next door

in Everything, Everything.

nicola yoon

Share Your Everything, Everything


FirstInLineReaders #FirstInLine


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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of
the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or
dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright 2015 by Alloy Entertainment and Nicola Yoon

Jacket art by Good Wives and Warriors
Interior illustrations by David Yoon
Childhood diary entry hand-lettered by Mayrav Estrin
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random
House Childrens Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Penguin
Random House LLC.
Excerpt from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupry, translated by Richard Howard.
Copyright 1943 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Copyright
renewed 1971 by Consuelo de Saint-Exupry, English translation copyright 2000 by
Richard Howard. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing
Company. All rights reserved.
Picture from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupry, translated by Richard Howard.
Copyright 1971 by Consuelo de Saint-Exupry. English translation copyright 2000
by Richard Howard. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing
Company. All rights reserved.
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Yoon, Nicola.
Everything, everything / Nicola Yoon. First edition.
pages cm
Summary: The story of a teenage girl whos literally allergic to the outside world. When a
new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything
shes ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-0-553-49664-2 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-553-49665-9 (glb) ISBN 978-0553-49666-6 (ebook)
[1. FriendshipFiction. 2. LoveFiction. 3. AllergyFiction. 4. Racially mixed people
Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.1.Y66Ev 2015
The text of this book is set in 12-point Garamond.
Jacket and interior design by Natalie C. Sousa
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition
Random House Childrens Books supports the
First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.


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CARL A , I SAY, it wont be like last time. Im not eight years

old anymore.
I want you to promise she begins, but Im already at the
window, sweeping the curtains aside.
I am not prepared for the bright California sun. Im not prepared for the sight of it, high and blazing hot and white against
the washed-out white sky. I am blind. But then the white haze
over my vision begins to clear. Everything is haloed.
I see the truck and the silhouette of an older woman
twirlingthe mother. I see an older man at the back of the
truckthe father. I see a girl maybe a little younger than
methe daughter.
Then I see him. Hes tall, lean, and wearing all black: black
T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that
covers his hair completely. Hes white with a pale honey tan
and his face is starkly angular. He jumps down from his perch
at the back of the truck and glides across the driveway, moving
as if gravity affects him differently than it does the rest of us.
He stops, cocks his head to one side, and stares up at his new
house as if it were a puzzle.
After a few seconds he begins bouncing lightly on the balls
of his feet. Suddenly he takes off at a sprint and runs literally six


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feet up the front wall. He grabs a windowsill and dangles from

it for a second or two and then drops back down into a crouch.
Nice, Olly, says his mother.
Didnt I tell you to quit doing that stuff? his father growls.
He ignores them both and remains in his crouch.
I press my open palm against the glass, breathless as if Id
done that crazy stunt myself. I look from him to the wall to the
windowsill and back to him again. Hes no longer crouched.
Hes staring up at me. Our eyes meet. Vaguely I wonder what
he sees in my windowstrange girl in white with wide staring
eyes. He grins at me and his face is no longer stark, no longer
severe. I try to smile back, but Im so flustered that I frown at
him instead.


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dream that the house breathes with me. I exhale and the walls contract like a pinpricked balloon, crushing
me as it deflates. I inhale and the walls expand. A single breath
more and my life will finally, finally explode.


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6:35 AM - Arrives on porch with a steaming cup of
something hot. Coffee?
6:36 AM - Stares off into empty lot across the way
while sipping her drink. Tea?
7:00 AM - Reenters the house.
7:15 AM - Back on porch. Kisses husband good-bye.
Watches as his car drives away.
9:30 AM - Gardens. Looks for, finds, and discards
cigarette butts.
1:00 PM - Leaves house in car. Errands?
5:00 PM - Pleads with Kara and Olly to begin chores
before your father gets home.
10:00 AM - Stomps outside wearing black boots and a
fuzzy brown bathrobe.
10:01 AM - Checks cell phone messages. She gets a lot of
10:06 AM - Smokes three cigarettes in the garden between
our two houses.


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10:20 AM - Digs a hole with the toe of her boots and

buries cigarette carcasses.
10:25 AM5:00 PM - Texts or talks on the phone.
5:25 PM - Chores.
7:15 AM - Leaves for work.
6:00 PM - Arrives home from work.
6:20 PM - Sits on porch with drink #1.
6:30 PM - Reenters the house for dinner.
7:00 PM - Back on porch with drink #2.
7:25 PM - Drink #3.
7:45 PM - Yelling at family begins.
10:35 PM - Yelling at family subsides.


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HIS FAMILY CALLS him Olly. Well, his sister and his mom call

him Olly. His dad calls him Oliver. Hes the one I watch the
most. His bedroom is on the second floor and almost directly
across from mine and his blinds are almost always open.
Some mornings he sleeps in until noon. Others, hes gone
from his room before I wake to begin my surveillance. Most
mornings, though, he wakes at 9 a.m., climbs out of his bedroom, and makes his way, Spider-Man-style, to the roof using
the siding. He stays up there for about an hour before swinging, legs first, back into his room. No matter how much I try, I
havent been able to see what he does when hes up there.
His room is empty but for a bed and a chest of drawers. A
few boxes from the move remain unpacked and stacked by the
doorway. There are no decorations except for a single poster for a
movie called Jump London. I looked it up and its about parkour,
which is a kind of street gymnastics, which explains how hes able
to do all the crazy stuff that he does. The more I watch, the more
I want to know.


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down at the dining table for dinner. My mom

places a cloth napkin in my lap and fills my water glass and
then Carlas. Friday night dinners are special in my house. Carla
even stays late to eat with us instead of with her own family.
Everything at Friday Night Dinner is French. The napkins
are white cloth embroidered with fleur-de-lis at the edges. The
cutlery is antique French and ornate. We even have miniature
silver la tour Eiffel salt and pepper shakers. Of course, we have
to be careful with the menu because of my allergies, but my
mom always makes her version of a cassouleta French stew
with chicken, sausage, duck, and white beans. It was my dads
favorite dish before he died. The version that my mom cooks
for me contains only white beans cooked in chicken broth.
Madeline, my mom says, Mr. Waterman tells me that
youre late on your architecture assignment. Is everything all
right, baby girl?
Im surprised by her question. I know Im late, but since
Ive never been late before I guess I didnt realize that she was
keeping track.
Is the assignment too hard? She frowns as she ladles cassoulet into my bowl. Do you want me to find you a new tutor?


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Oui, non, et non, I say in response to each question.

Everythings fine. Ill turn it in tomorrow, I promise. I just
lost track of time.
She nods and begins slicing and buttering pieces of crusty
French bread for me. I know she wants to ask something else. I
even know what she wants to ask, but shes afraid of the answer.
Is it the new neighbors?
Carla gives me a sharp look. Ive never lied to my mom. Ive
never had a reason and I dont think I know how to. But something tells me what I need to do.
Ive just been reading too much. You know how I get with
a good book. I make my voice as reassuring as possible. I dont
want her to worry. She has enough to worry about with me as
it is.
How do you say liar in French?
Not hungry? my mom asks a few minutes later. She presses
the back of her hand against my forehead.
You dont have a fever. She lets her hand linger a moment
Im about to reassure her when the doorbell rings. This happens so infrequently that I dont know what to make of it.
The bell rings again.
My mom half rises from her chair.
Carla stands all the way up.
The bell sounds for a third time. I smile for no reason.
Want me to get it, maam? Carla asks.
My mom waves her off. Stay here, she says to me.


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Carla moves to stand behind me, her hands pressing down

lightly on my shoulder. I know I should stay here. I know Im
expected to. Certainly I expect me to, but somehow, today, I
just cant. I need to know who it is, even if its just a wayward
Carla touches my upper arm. Your mother said to stay
But why? Shes just being extra cautious. Besides, she wont
let anyone past the air lock.
She relents, and Im off down the hallway with her right
behind me.
The air lock is a small sealed room surrounding the front
door. Its airtight so that no potential hazards can leak into the
main house when the front door is open. I press my ear against
it. At first I cant hear anything over the air filters, but then I
hear a voice.
My mom sent a Bundt. The voice is deep and smooth and
definitely amused. My brain is processing the word Bundt, trying to get an image of what it looks like before it dawns on me
just who is at the door. Olly.

The thing about my moms Bundts is that they are not very
good. Terrible. Actually inedible, very nearly indestructible.
Between you and me.


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A new voice now. A girls. His sister? Every time we move

she makes us bring one to the neighbor.
Oh. Well. This is a surprise, isnt it? Thats very nice. Please
tell her thank you very much for me.
Theres no chance that this Bundt cake has passed the proper
inspections, and I can feel my mom trying to figure out how
to tell them she cant take the cake without revealing the truth
about me.
Im sorry, but I cant accept this.
Theres a moment of shocked silence.
So you want us to take it back? Olly asks disbelievingly.
Well, thats rude, Kara says. She sounds angry and resigned, as though shed expected disappointment.
Im so sorry, my mom says again. Its complicated. Im
really very sorry because this is so sweet of you and your mom.
Please thank her for me.
Is your daughter home? Olly asks quite loudly, before she
can close the door. Were hoping she could show us around.
My heart speeds up and I can feel the pulse of it against my
ribs. Did he just ask about me? No stranger has just dropped by
to visit me before. Aside from my mom, Carla, and my tutors,
the world barely knows I exist. I mean, I exist online. I have
online friends and my Tumblr book reviews, but thats not the
same as being a real person who can be visited by strange boys
bearing Bundt cakes.
Im so sorry, but she cant. Welcome to the neighborhood,
and thank you again.
The front door closes and I step back to wait for my mom.
She has to remain in the air lock until the filters have a chance


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to purify the foreign air. A minute later she steps back into
the house. She doesnt notice me right away. Instead she stands
still, eyes closed with her head slightly bowed.
Im sorry, she says, without looking up.
Im OK, Mom. Dont worry.
For the thousandth time I realize anew how hard my disease
is on her. Its the only world Ive known, but before me she
had my brother and my dad. She traveled and played soccer.
She had a normal life that did not include being cloistered in a
bubble for fourteen hours a day with her sick teenage daughter.
I hold her and let her hold me for a few more minutes. Shes
taking this disappointment much harder than I am.
Ill make it up to you, she says.
Theres nothing to make up for.
I love you, sweetie.
We drift back into the dining room and finish dinner quickly
and, for the most part, silently. Carla leaves and my mom asks
if I want to beat her at a game of Honor Pictionary, but I ask
for a rain check. Im not really in the mood.
Instead, I head upstairs imagining what a Bundt cake tastes


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Maddy & Ollys story is

to readers everywhere because . . .

t t e rs
and sha
a t li f t s
c e .
T h e ra re
a ll a t o n

f il ls y o u


b es ts el li


er N iv en ,
Je nn if
a u th

[A ]

F re s h , m o vi ng
d eb u t .


us and
l .
L y r i c a IMES


a love story like no other .

David Arnold, author of



everyt hing . . . roma nce, hear t,
and intel ligen ce .
Daniell e Paige, New York Times bestse lling
author of D

Will give you


but terf lies .


Ev ery

n e w e st
is h e r e .
o b s e s s io n
YY o u r

M T V. co

geous writing mes hes wit
original artwork to tell

book deserves
to be loved the way

Madeline Whittier loves her

er,, VA

It remind ed me to
a t w h il e
ed me th
. . . the
a m a z in g
books a
o u r li v e s

e o p le in
s p e c ia l p li f e a g if t .
m a k e , IL

CD_BoysOfSummer_ChapSamp_WEB.indd 27

liste n to my soul .

It will

direct me regard less of how

trappe d I may feel in my life.
Tiffan y, WI


5/17/16 12:28 PM


Sonya Sones

NOVEMBE R 1, 2016

Be the rst to read the

dazzling new novel from
#1 New York Times
bestselling author

Nicola Yoon.

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5/17/16 12:28 PM



Somebody Nobody is the

secret admirer in
Tell Me Three Things.



Juli e B uxb au m




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This is a work of ction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product
of the authors imagination or are used ctitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright 2016 by Julie R. Buxbaum, Inc.
Jacket art copyright 2016 by Getty Images
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of
Random House Childrens Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of
Penguin Random House LLC.
Visit us on the Web!
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools,
visit us at
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Buxbaum, Julie.
Tell me three things / by Julie Buxbaum.
pages cm
ISBN 978-0-553-53564-8 (trade hc) ISBN 978-0-553-53565-5 (library binding)
ISBN 978-0-553-53566-2 (ebook) ISBN 978-0-399-55293-9 (intl. tr. pbk.)
[1. High schoolsFiction. 2. SchoolsFiction. 3. Moving, HouseholdFiction.
4. StepfamiliesFiction. 5. GriefFiction. 6. Los Angeles (Calif.)Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.1.B897Tel 2016
The text of this book is set in 11.5-point Dante.
Jacket design by Ray Shappell
Interior design by Trish Parcell
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition
Random House Childrens Books
supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.


CD_BoysOfSummer_ChapSamp_WEB.indd 30

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Seven hundred and thirty-three days after my mom died,

forty-ve days after my dad eloped with a stranger he met
on the Internet, thirty days after we then up and moved to
California, and only seven days after starting as a junior at
a brand-new school where I know approximately no one, an
email arrives. Which would be weird, an anonymous letter
just popping up like that in my in-box, signed with the bizarre
alias Somebody Nobody, no less, except my life has become so
unrecognizable lately that nothing feels shocking anymore. It
took until nowseven hundred and thirty-three whole days
in which Ive felt the opposite of normalfor me to discover
this one important life lesson: turns out you can grow immune to weird.


CD_BoysOfSummer_ChapSamp_WEB.indd 31

5/17/16 12:29 PM

To: Jessie A. Holmes (

From: Somebody Nobody (
Subject: your Wood Valley H.S. spirit guide

hey there, Ms. Holmes. we havent met irl, and Im not

sure we ever will. I mean, we probably will at some point
maybe Ill ask you the time or something equally mundane
and beneath both of us but well never actually get to
know each other, at least not in any sort of real way that
matters . . . which is why I gured Id email you under the
cloak of anonymity.
and yes, I realize Im a sixteen-year- old guy who just
used the words cloak of anonymity. and so there it is
already: reason #1 why youll never get to know my real
name. I could never live the shame of that pretentiousness down.
cloak of anonymity? seriously?
and yes, I also realize that most people would have just
texted, but couldnt gure out how to do that without telling you who I am.
I have been watching you at school. not in a creepy
way. though I wonder if even using the word creepy
by denition makes me creepy? anyhow, its just . . .
you intrigue me. you must have noticed already that
our school is a wasteland of mostly blond, vacant- eyed
Barbies and Kens, and something about you not just
your newness, because sure, the rest of us have all been


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going to school together since the age of ve but

something about the way you move and talk and actually
dont talk but watch all of us like we are part of some bizarre National Geographic documentary makes me think
that you might be different from all the other idiots at
you make me want to know what goes on in that head
of yours. Ill be honest: Im not usually interested in the
contents of other peoples heads. my own is work enough.
the whole point of this email is to offer my expertise. sorry
to be the bearer of bad news: navigating the wilds of
Wood Valley High School aint easy. this place may look all
warm and welcoming, with our yoga and meditation and
reading corners and coffee cart (excuse me: Koffee Kart),
but like every other high school in America (or maybe
even worse), this place is a freaking war zone.
and so I hereby offer up myself as your virtual spirit
guide. feel free to ask any question (except of course
my identity), and Ill do my best to answer: who to befriend (short list), who to stay away from (longer list),
why you shouldnt eat the veggie burgers from the cafeteria (long story that you dont want to know involving jock jizz), how to get an A in Mrs. Stewarts class,
and why you should never sit near Ken Abernathy (atulence issue). Oh, and be careful in gym. Mr. Shackleman
makes all the pretty girls run extra laps so he can look at
their asses.


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that feels like enough information for now.

and fwiw, welcome to the jungle.
yours truly, Somebody Nobody
To: Somebody Nobody (
From: Jessie A. Holmes (
Subject: Elaborate hoax?

SN: Is this for real? Or is this some sort of initiation prank, la

a dumb rom-com? Youre going to coax me into sharing my
deepest, darkest thoughts/fears, and then, BAM, when I least
expect it, youll post them on Tumblr and Ill be the laughingstock of WVHS? If so, youre messing with the wrong girl. I
have a black belt in karate. I can take care of myself.
If not a joke, thanks for your offer, but no thanks. I want
to be an embedded journalist one day. Might as well get
used to war zones now. And anyhow, Im from Chicago. I
think I can handle the Valley.
To: Jessie A. Holmes (
From: Somebody Nobody (
Subject: not a hoax, elaborate or otherwise

promise this isnt a prank. and I dont think Ive ever even
seen a rom-com. shocking, I know. hope this doesnt reveal some great deciency in my character.
you do know journalism is a dying eld, right? maybe you
should aspire to be a war blogger.


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To: Somebody Nobody (

From: Jessie A. Holmes (
Subject: Specically targeted spam?

Very funny. Wait, is there really sperm in the veggie burgers?

To: Jessie A. Holmes (
From: Somebody Nobody (
Subject: you, Jessie Holmes, have won $100,000,000 from a Nigerian prince.

not just sperm but sweaty lacrosse sperm.

Id avoid the meat loaf too, just to be on the safe side. in
fact, stay out of the cafeteria altogether. that shit will give
you salmonella.
To: Somebody Nobody (
From: Jessie A. Holmes (
Subject: Will send my bank account details ASAP.

who are you?

To: Jessie A. Holmes (
From: Somebody Nobody (
Subject: and copy of birth certicate & drivers license, please.

nope. not going to happen.

To: Somebody Nobody (
From: Jessie A. Holmes (
Subject: And, of course, you need my social security number too, right?

Fine. But tell me this at least: whats up with the lack of

capital letters? Your shift key broken?


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To: Jessie A. Holmes (

From: Somebody Nobody (
Subject: and height and weight, please

terminally lazy.
To: Somebody Nobody (
From: Jessie A. Holmes (
Subject: NOW youre getting personal.

Lazy and verbose. Interesting combo. And yet you do take

the time to capitalize proper nouns?
To: Jessie A. Holmes (
From: Somebody Nobody (
Subject: and mothers maiden name

Im not a complete philistine.

To: Somebody Nobody (
From: Jessie A. Holmes (
Subject: Lazy, verbose, AND nosy

Philistine is a big word for a teenage guy.

To: Jessie A. Holmes (
From: Somebody Nobody (
Subject: lazy, verbose, nosy, and . . . handsome

thats not the only thing thats . . . whew. caught myself

from making the obvious joke just in time. you totally set
me up, and I almost blew it.


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To: Somebody Nobody (

From: Jessie A. Holmes (
Subject: Lazy, verbose, nosy, handsome, and . . . modest

Thats what she said.

See, thats the thing with email. Id never say something like
that in person. Crude. Suggestive. Like I am the kind of girl who
could pull off that kind of joke. Who, face to face with an actual
member of the male species, would know how to irt, and ip
my hair, and, if it came to it, know how to do much more than
kiss. (For the record, I do know how to kiss. Im not saying Id
ace an AP exam on the subject or, you know, win Olympic gold,
but Im pretty sure Im not awful. I know this purely by way of
comparison. Adam Kravitz. Ninth grade. Him: all slobber and
angry, rhythmic tongue, like a zombie trying to eat my head.
Me: all-too-willing participant, with three days of face chang.)
Email is much like an ADD diagnosis. Guaranteed extra
time on the test. In real life, I constantly rework conversations
after the fact in my head, edit them until Ive perfected my
witty, lighthearted, effortless banterall the stuff that seems
to come naturally to other girls. A waste of time, of course, because by then Im way too late. In the Venn diagram of my life,
my imagined personality and my real personality have never
converged. Over email and text, though, I am given those few
additional beats I need to be the better, edited version of myself. To be that girl in the glorious intersection.
I should be more careful. I realize that now. Thats what
she said. Really? Cant decide if I sound like a frat boy or a slut;
either way, I dont sound like me. More importantly, I have
no idea who I am writing to. Unlikely that SN truly is some


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do-gooder who feels sorry for the new girl. Or better yet, a secret admirer. Because of course thats straight where my brain
went, the result of a lifetime of devouring too many romantic
comedies and reading too many improbable books. Why do
you think I kissed Adam Kravitz? He was my neighbor back in
Chicago. What better story is there than the girl who discovers
that true love has been waiting right next door all along? Of
course, my neighbor turned out to be a zombie with carbonated saliva, but no matter. Live and learn.
Surely SN is a cruel joke. Hes probably not even a he. Just
a mean girl preying on the weak. Because lets face it: I am
weak. Possibly even pathetic. I lied. I dont have a black belt
in karate. I am not tough. Until last month, I thought I was.
I really did. Life threw its punches, I got shat on, but I took it
in the mouth, to mix my metaphors. Or not. Sometimes it felt
just like getting shat on in the mouth. My only point of pride:
no one saw me cry. And then I became the new girl at WVHS,
in this weird area called the Valley, which is in Los Angeles but
not in Los Angeles or something like that, and I ended up here
because my dad married this rich lady who smells like fancy
almonds, and juice costs twelve dollars here, and I dont know.
I dont know anything anymore.
I am as lost and confused and alone as I have ever been.
No, high school will never be a time I look back on fondly. My
mom once told me that the world is divided into two kinds
of people: the ones who love their high school years and the
ones who spend the next decade recovering from them. What
doesnt kill you makes you stronger, she said.
But something did kill her, and Im not stronger. So go gure; maybe theres a third kind of person: the ones who never
recover from high school at all.


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Gat is the boy your

parents dont like in
We Were Liars.

e. lockhart



CD_BoysOfSummer_ChapSamp_WEB.indd 39

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This is a work of ction. Names, characters, places,

and incidents either are the product of the authors imagination
or are used ctitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living
or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright 2014 by E. Lockhart
Jacket photograph 2014 Getty Images/kang-gg
Map and family tree art copyright 2014 by Abigail Daker
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by
Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Childrens Books,
a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and
the colophon is a trademark of Random House LLC.
Visit us on the Web!
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools,
visit us at
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
We were liars / E. Lockhart. First edition.
pages cm
Summary: Spending the summers on her familys private island off the coast of
Massachusetts with her cousins and a special boy named Gat, teenaged Cadence
struggles to remember what happened during her fteenth summer.
ISBN 978-0-385-74126-2 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-375-98994-0 (library binding)
ISBN 978-0-375-98440-2 (ebook) ISBN 978-0-385-39009-5 (intl. tr. pbk.)
[1.FriendshipFiction. 2. LoveFiction. 3. FamiliesFiction. 4. AmnesiaFiction.
5. WealthFiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.L79757We 2014
The text of this book is set in 12-point Joanna MT.
Book design by Heather Kelly
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition
Random House Childrens Books supports the
First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.


Lock_9780385741262_5p_all_r4.indd vi

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6/18/14 12:31 PM

5/17/16 12:29 PM


and Gat. Gat, Mirren, Johnny, and

The family calls us four the Liars, and probably we deserve
it. We are all nearly the same age, and we all have birthdays in
the fall. Most years on the island, weve been trouble.
Gat started coming to Beechwood the year we were eight.
Summer eight, we called it.
Before that, Mirren, Johnny, and I werent Liars. We were


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nothing but cousins, and Johnny was a pain because he didnt

like playing with girls.
Johnny, he is bounce, effort, and snark. Back then he would
hang our Barbies by the necks or shoot us with guns made of
Mirren, she is sugar, curiosity, and rain. Back then she spent
long afternoons with Taft and the twins, splashing at the big
beach, while I drew pictures on graph paper and read in the
hammock on the Clairmont house porch.
Then Gat came to spend the summers with us.
Aunt Carries husband left her when she was pregnant with
Johnnys brother, Will. I dont know what happened. The family never speaks of it. By summer eight, Will was a baby and
Carrie had taken up with Ed already.
This Ed, he was an art dealer and he adored the kids. That
was all wed heard about him when Carrie announced she was
bringing him to Beechwood, along with Johnny and the baby.
They were the last to arrive that summer, and most of us
were on the dock waiting for the boat to pull in. Granddad
lifted me up so I could wave at Johnny, who was wearing an
orange life vest and shouting over the prow.
Granny Tipper stood next to us. She turned away from the
boat for a moment, reached in her pocket, and brought out a
white peppermint. Unwrapped it and tucked it into my mouth.
As she looked back at the boat, Grans face changed. I
squinted to see what she saw.
Carrie stepped off with Will on her hip. He was in a babys yellow life vest, and was really no more than a shock of white-blond
hair sticking up over it. A cheer went up at the sight of him. That
vest, which we had all worn as babies. The hair. How wonderful
that this little boy we didnt know yet was so obviously a Sinclair.


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Johnny leapt off the boat and threw his own vest on the
dock. First thing, he ran up to Mirren and kicked her. Then he
kicked me. Kicked the twins. Walked over to our grandparents
and stood up straight. Good to see you, Granny and Granddad.
I look forward to a happy summer.
Tipper hugged him. Your mother told you to say that,
didnt she?
Yes, said Johnny. And Im to say, nice to see you again.
Good boy.
Can I go now?
Tipper kissed his freckled cheek. Go on, then.
Ed followed Johnny, having stopped to help the staff unload
the luggage from the motorboat. He was tall and slim. His skin
was very dark: Indian heritage, wed later learn. He wore blackframed glasses and was dressed in dapper city clothes: a linen
suit and striped shirt. The pants were wrinkled from traveling.
Granddad set me down.
Granny Tippers mouth made a straight line. Then she
showed all her teeth and went forward.
You must be Ed. What a lovely surprise.
He shook hands. Didnt Carrie tell you we were coming?
Of course she did.
Ed looked around at our white, white family. Turned to Carrie. Wheres Gat?
They called for him, and he climbed from the inside of the
boat, taking off his life vest, looking down to undo the buckles.
Mother, Dad, said Carrie, we brought Eds nephew to
play with Johnny. This is Gat Patil.
Granddad reached out and patted Gats head. Hello, young


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His father passed on, just this year, explained Carrie. He

and Johnny are the best of friends. Its a big help to Eds sister
if we take him for a few weeks. And, Gat? Youll get to have
cookouts and go swimming like we talked about. Okay?
But Gat didnt answer. He was looking at me.
His nose was dramatic, his mouth sweet. Skin deep brown,
hair black and waving. Body wired with energy. Gat seemed
spring-loaded. Like he was searching for something. He was
contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I
could have looked at him forever.
Our eyes locked.
I turned and ran away.
Gat followed. I could hear his feet behind me on the wooden
walkways that cross the island.
I kept running. He kept following.
Johnny chased Gat. And Mirren chased Johnny.
The adults remained talking on the dock, circling politely
around Ed, cooing over baby Will. The littles did whatever littles do.
We four stopped running at the tiny beach down by Cuddledown House. Its a small stretch of sand with high rocks on either side. No one used it much, back then. The big beach had
softer sand and less seaweed.
Mirren took off her shoes and the rest of us followed. We
tossed stones into the water. We just existed.
I wrote our names in the sand.
Cadence, Mirren, Johnny, and Gat.
Gat, Johnny, Mirren, and Cadence.
That was the beginning of us.


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have Gat stay longer.

He got what he wanted.
The next year he begged to have him come for the entire
Gat came.
Johnny was the rst grandson. My grandparents almost
never said no to Johnny.


SUM MER FOURTEEN, GAT and I took out the small motorboat alone. It was just after breakfast. Bess made Mirren play
tennis with the twins and Taft. Johnny had started running
that year and was doing loops around the perimeter path. Gat
found me in the Clairmont kitchen and asked, did I want to
take the boat out?
Not really. I wanted to go back to bed with a book.
Please? Gat almost never said please.
Take it out yourself.
I cant borrow it, he said. I dont feel right.
Of course you can borrow it.
Not without one of you.
He was being ridiculous. Where do you want to go? I
I just want to get off-island. Sometimes I cant stand it
I couldnt imagine, then, what it was he couldnt stand, but
I said all right. We motored out to sea in wind jackets and


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bathing suits. After a bit, Gat cut the engine. We sat eating pistachios and breathing salt air. The sunlight shone on the water.
Lets go in, I said.
Gat jumped and I followed, but the water was so much
colder than off the beach, it snatched our breath. The sun went
behind a cloud. We laughed panicky laughs and shouted that it
was the stupidest idea to get in the water. What had we been
thinking? There were sharks off the coast, everybody knew
Dont talk about sharks, God! We scrambled and pushed
each other, struggling to be the rst one up the ladder at the
back of the boat.
After a minute, Gat leaned back and let me go rst. Not because youre a girl but because Im a good person, he told me.
Thanks. I stuck out my tongue.
But when a shark bites my legs off, promise to write a
speech about how awesome I was.
Done, I said. Gatwick Matthew Patil made a delicious
It seemed hysterically funny to be so cold. We didnt have
towels. We huddled together under a eece blanket we found
under the seats, our bare shoulders touching each other. Cold
feet, on top of one another.
This is only so we dont get hypothermia, said Gat. Dont
think I nd you pretty or anything.
I know you dont.
Youre hogging the blanket.
A pause.
Gat said, I do nd you pretty, Cady. I didnt mean that the


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way it came out. In fact, when did you get so pretty? Its distracting.
I look the same as always.
You changed over the school year. Its putting me off my
You have a game?
He nodded solemnly.
That is the dumbest thing I ever heard. What is your
Nothing penetrates my armor. Hadnt you noticed?
That made me laugh. No.
Damn. I thought it was working.
We changed the subject. Talked about bringing the littles to
Edgartown to see a movie in the afternoon, about sharks and
whether they really ate people, about Plants Versus Zombies.
Then we drove back to the island.
Not long after that, Gat started lending me his books and
nding me at the tiny beach in the early evenings. Hed search
me out when I was lying on the Windemere lawn with the
We started walking together on the path that circles the
island, Gat in front and me behind. Wed talk about books
or invent imaginary worlds. Sometimes wed end up walking
several times around the edge before we got hungry or bored.
Beach roses lined the path, deep pink. Their smell was faint
and sweet.
One day I looked at Gat, lying in the Clairmont hammock
with a book, and he seemed, well, like he was mine. Like he
was my particular person.
I got in the hammock next to him, silently. I took the pen


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out of his handhe always read with a penand wrote Gat on

the back of his left, and Cadence on the back of his right.
He took the pen from me. Wrote Gat on the back of my left,
and Cadence on the back of my right.
I am not talking about fate. I dont believe in destiny or
soul mates or the supernatural. I just mean we understood each
other. All the way.
But we were only fourteen. I had never kissed a boy, though
I would kiss a few the next school year, and somehow we didnt
label it love.


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Finch is the
rebel with a cause in
All The Bright Places.

Discover More Bright Places At:
#AlltheBrightPlaces #BeLovely365 #YouStartHere


CD_BoysOfSummer_ChapSamp_WEB.indd 49

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This is a work of fiction. All incidents and dialogue, and all characters (with
the exception of the creators of the Worlds Largest Ball of Paint and the Blue
Flash and Blue Too roller coasters), are products of the authors imagination.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright 2015 by Jennifer Niven
Jacket photographs (flowers) copyright 2015 by Neil Fletcher and Matthew
Ward/Getty Images
Hand-lettering and illustrations copyright 2015 by Sarah Watts
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, an
imprint of Random House Childrens Books, a division of Random House
LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.
Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of
Random House LLC.
Excerpt from Oh, the Places Youll Go! by Dr. Seuss, TM and copyright
by Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P. 1990. Used by permission of Random House
Childrens Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random
House Company, New York. All rights reserved.
Visit us on the Web!
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Niven, Jennifer.
All the bright places / Jennifer Niven.1st ed.
p. cm.
Summary: Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet
Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at schoolboth teetering on the
edgeits the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the
natural wonders of the state of Indiana, and two teens desperate desire to
heal and save one another.Provided by publisher
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-0-385-75588-7 (trade) ISBN 978-0-385-75589-4 (lib. bdg.)
ISBN 978-0-385-75590-0 (ebook) ISBN 978-0-553-53358-3 (intl. tr. pbk.)
[1. FriendshipFiction. 2. SuicideFiction. 3. Emotional problems
Fiction. 4. IndianaFiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.N6434Al 2015
The text of this book is set in 11-point Simoncini Garamond.
Printed in the United States of America
January 2015
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition
Random House Childrens Books supports the First Amendment and
celebrates the right to read.


CD_BoysOfSummer_ChapSamp_WEB.indd 50

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I am awake again. Day 6.

Is today a good day to die?

This is something I ask myself in the morning when I wake
up. In third period when Im trying to keep my eyes open while
Mr. Schroeder drones on and on. At the supper table as Im
passing the green beans. At night when Im lying awake because
my brain wont shut off due to all there is to think about.
Is today the day?
And if not todaywhen?
I am asking myself this now as I stand on a narrow ledge six
stories above the ground. Im so high up, Im practically part of
the sky. I look down at the pavement below, and the world tilts.
I close my eyes, enjoying the way everything spins. Maybe this
time Ill do itlet the air carry me away. It will be like floating
in a pool, drifting off until theres nothing.


CD_BoysOfSummer_ChapSamp_WEB.indd 51

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Jennifer Niven

I dont remember climbing up here. In fact, I dont remember much of anything before Sunday, at least not anything so
far this winter. This happens every timethe blanking out,
the waking up. Im like that old man with the beard, Rip Van
Winkle. Now you see me, now you dont. Youd think Id have
gotten used to it, but this last time was the worst yet because I
wasnt asleep for a couple days or a week or twoI was asleep
for the holidays, meaning Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New
Years. I cant tell you what was different this time around, only
that when I woke up, I felt deader than usual. Awake, yeah, but
completely empty, like someone had been feasting on my blood.
This is day six of being awake again, and my first week back at
school since November 14.
I open my eyes, and the ground is still there, hard and permanent. I am in the bell tower of the high school, standing on
a ledge about four inches wide. The tower is pretty small, with
only a few feet of concrete floor space on all sides of the bell
itself, and then this low stone railing, which Ive climbed over
to get here. Every now and then I knock one of my legs against
it to remind myself its there.
My arms are outstretched as if Im conducting a sermon
and this entire not-very-big, dull, dull town is my congregation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I shout, I would like to welcome you
to my death! You might expect me to say life, having just
woken up and all, but its only when Im awake that I think
about dying.
I am shouting in an old-school-preacher way, all jerking
head and words that twitch at the ends, and I almost lose my


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balance. I hold on behind me, happy no one seems to have noticed, because, lets face it, its hard to look fearless when youre
clutching the railing like a chicken.
I, Theodore Finch, being of unsound mind, do hereby bequeath all my earthly possessions to Charlie Donahue, Brenda
Shank-Kravitz, and my sisters. Everyone else can go f--- themselves. In my house, my mom taught us early to spell that word
(if we must use it) or, better yet, not spell it, and, sadly, this has
Even though the bell has rung, some of my classmates are
still milling around on the ground. Its the first week of the
second semester of senior year, and already theyre acting as if
theyre almost done and out of here. One of them looks up in
my direction, as if he heard me, but the others dont, either because they havent spotted me or because they know Im there
and Oh well, its just Theodore Freak.
Then his head turns away from me and he points at the sky.
At first I think hes pointing at me, but its at that moment I
see her, the girl. She stands a few feet away on the other side
of the tower, also out on the ledge, dark-blond hair waving in
the breeze, the hem of her skirt blowing up like a parachute.
Even though its January in Indiana, she is shoeless in tights, a
pair of boots in her hand, and staring either at her feet or at the
groundits hard to tell. She seems frozen in place.
In my regular, nonpreacher voice I say, as calmly as possible,
Take it from me, the worst thing you can do is look down.
Very slowly, she turns her head toward me, and I know
this girl, or at least Ive seen her in the hallways. I cant resist:


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Jennifer Niven

Come here often? Because this is kind of my spot and I dont

remember seeing you here before.
She doesnt laugh or blink, just gazes out at me from behind
these clunky glasses that almost cover her face. She tries to take
a step back and her foot bumps the railing. She teeters a little,
and before she can panic, I say, I dont know what brings you
up here, but to me the town looks prettier and the people look
nicer and even the worst of them look almost kind. Except for
Gabe Romero and Amanda Monk and that whole crowd you
hang out with.
Her name is Violet Something. She is cheerleader popular
one of those girls you would never think of running into on
a ledge six stories above the ground. Behind the ugly glasses
shes pretty, almost like a china doll. Large eyes, sweet face
shaped like a heart, a mouth that wants to curve into a perfect
little smile. Shes a girl who dates guys like Ryan Cross, baseball
star, and sits with Amanda Monk and the other queen bees at
But lets face it, we didnt come up here for the view. Youre
Violet, right?
She blinks once, and I take this as a yes.
Theodore Finch. I think we had pre-cal together last year.
She blinks again.
I hate math, but thats not why Im up here. No offense if
thats why you are. Youre probably better at math than I am,
because pretty much everyones better at math than I am, but
its okay, Im fine with it. See, I excel at other, more important
thingsguitar, sex, and consistently disappointing my dad, to


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name a few. By the way, its apparently true that youll never use
it in the real world. Math, I mean.
I keep talking, but I can tell Im running out of steam. I need
to take a piss, for one thing, and so my words arent the only
thing twitching. (Note to self: Before attempting to take own life,
remember to take a leak.) And, two, its starting to rain, which,
in this temperature, will probably turn to sleet before it hits the
Its starting to rain, I say, as if she doesnt know this. I
guess theres an argument to be made that the rain will wash
away the blood, leaving us a neater mess to clean up than
otherwise. But its the mess part thats got me thinking. Im not
a vain person, but I am human, and I dont know about you,
but I dont want to look like Ive been run through the wood
chipper at my funeral.
Shes shivering or shaking, I cant tell which, and so I slowly
inch my way toward her, hoping I dont fall off before I get
there, because the last thing I want to do is make a jackass out
of myself in front of this girl. Ive made it clear I want cremation, but my mom doesnt believe in it. And my dad will do
whatever she says so he wont upset her any more than he already has, and besides, Youre far too young to think about this,
you know your Grandma Finch lived to be ninety-eight, we dont
need to talk about that now, Theodore, dont upset your mother.
So itll be an open coffin for me, which means if I jump, it
aint gonna be pretty. Besides, I kind of like my face intact like
this, two eyes, one nose, one mouth, a full set of teeth, which,
if Im being honest, is one of my better features. I smile so she


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Jennifer Niven

can see what I mean. Everything where it should be, on the

outside at least.
When she doesnt say anything, I go on inching and talking.
Most of all, I feel bad for the undertaker. What a shitty job
that must be anyway, but then to have to deal with an asshole
like me?
From down below, someone yells, Violet? Is that Violet up
Oh God, she says, so low I barely hear it. OhGodohGodohGod. The wind blows her skirt and hair, and it
looks like shes going to fly away.
There is general buzzing from the ground, and I shout,
Dont try to save me! Youll only kill yourself! Then I say,
very low, just to her, Heres what I think we should do. Im
about a foot away from her now. I want you to throw your
shoes toward the bell and then hold on to the rail, just grab
right onto it, and once youve got it, lean against it and then lift
your right foot up and over. Got that?
She nods and almost loses her balance.
Dont nod. And whatever you do, dont go the wrong way
and step forward instead of back. Ill count you off. On three.
She throws her boots in the direction of the bell, and they
fall with a thud, thud onto the concrete.
One. Two. Three.
She grips the stone and kind of props herself against it and
then lifts her leg up and over so that shes sitting on the railing.
She stares down at the ground and I can see that shes frozen
again, and so I say, Good. Great. Just stop looking down.


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She slowly looks at me and then reaches for the floor of the
bell tower with her right foot, and once shes found it, I say,
Now get that left leg back over however you can. Dont let go
of the wall. By now shes shaking so hard I can hear her teeth
chatter, but I watch as her left foot joins her right, and she is
So now its just me out here. I gaze down at the ground one
last time, past my size-thirteen feet that wont stop growing
today Im wearing sneakers with fluorescent lacespast the
open windows of the fourth floor, the third, the second, past
Amanda Monk, who is cackling from the front steps and swishing her blond hair like a pony, books over her head, trying to
flirt and protect herself from the rain at the same time.
I gaze past all of this at the ground itself, which is now slick
and damp, and imagine myself lying there.
I could just step off. It would be over in seconds. No more
Theodore Freak. No more hurt. No more anything.
I try to get past the unexpected interruption of saving a life
and return to the business at hand. For a minute, I can feel it:
the sense of peace as my mind goes quiet, like Im already dead.
I am weightless and free. Nothing and no one to fear, not even
Then a voice from behind me says, I want you to hold on to
the rail, and once youve got it, lean against it and lift your right
foot up and over.
Like that, I can feel the moment passing, maybe already
passed, and now it seems like a stupid idea, except for picturing
the look on Amandas face as I go sailing by her. I laugh at the


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Jennifer Niven

thought. I laugh so hard I almost fall off, and this scares me

like, really scares meand I catch myself and Violet catches
me as Amanda looks up. Weirdo! someone shouts. Amandas
little group snickers. She cups her big mouth and aims it skyward. You okay, V?
Violet leans over the rail, still holding on to my legs. Im
The door at the top of the tower stairs cracks open and my
best friend, Charlie Donahue, appears. Charlie is black. Not
CW black, but black-black. He also gets laid more than anyone
else I know.
He says, Theyre serving pizza today, as if I wasnt standing
on a ledge six stories above the ground, my arms outstretched, a
girl wrapped around my knees.
Why dont you go ahead and get it over with, freak? Gabe
Romero, better known as Roamer, better known as Dumbass,
yells from below. More laughter.
Because Ive got a date with your mother later, I think but
dont say because, lets face it, its lame, and also he will come up
here and beat my face in and then throw me off, and this defeats
the point of just doing it myself.
Instead I shout, Thanks for saving me, Violet. I dont know
what I wouldve done if you hadnt come along. I guess Id be
dead right now.
The last face I see below belongs to my school counselor,
Mr. Embry. As he glares up at me, I think, Great. Just great.
I let Violet help me over the wall and onto the concrete.
From down below, theres a smattering of applause, not for me,


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but for Violet, the hero. Up close like this, I can see that her
skin is smooth and clear except for two freckles on her right
cheek, and her eyes are a gray-green that makes me think of fall.
Its the eyes that get me. They are large and arresting, as if she
sees everything. As warm as they are, they are busy, no-bullshit
eyes, the kind that can look right into you, which I can tell even
through the glasses. Shes pretty and tall, but not too tall, with
long, restless legs and curvy hips, which I like on a girl. Too
many high school girls are built like boys.
I was just sitting there, she says. On the railing. I didnt
come up here to
Let me ask you something. Do you think theres such a
thing as a perfect day?
A perfect day. Start to finish. When nothing terrible or sad
or ordinary happens. Do you think its possible?
I dont know.
Have you ever had one?
Ive never had one either, but Im looking for it.
She whispers, Thank you, Theodore Finch. She reaches
up and kisses me on the cheek, and I can smell her shampoo,
which reminds me of flowers. She says into my ear, If you
ever tell anyone about this, Ill kill you. Carrying her boots,
she hurries away and out of the rain, back through the door
that leads to the flight of dark and rickety stairs that takes you
down to one of the many too-bright and too-crowded school


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Jennifer Niven

Charlie watches her go and, as the door swings closed behind her, he turns back to me. Man, why do you do that?
Because we all have to die someday. I just want to be
prepared. This isnt the reason, of course, but it will be
enough for him. The truth is, there are a lot of reasons, most
of which change daily, like the thirteen fourth graders killed
earlier this week when some SOB opened fire in their school
gym, or the girl two years behind me who just died of cancer,
or the man I saw outside the Mall Cinema kicking his dog, or
my father.
Charlie may think it, but at least he doesnt say Weirdo,
which is why hes my best friend. Other than the fact that I appreciate this about him, we dont have much in common.


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You are wanted.

You are loved.

Illustrations 2016 Shutterstock

See the truth inside 10.4.16

New from

New York Times bestselling author of #HoldingUpTheUniverse
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Oliver is a
real-life Prince Charming.
in Off The Page.


Jodi Picoult
Samantha van Leer



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This is a work of ction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the authors imagination or are used ctitiously. Any resemblance to
actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright 2015 by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Interior illustrations copyright 2015 by Scott M. Fischer
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Ember, an imprint of
Random House Childrens Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
Originally published in hardcover with additional artwork in the United States by
Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Childrens Books, New York, in 2015.
Ember and the E colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.
Visit us on the Web!
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request.
ISBN 978-0-553-53559-4 (tr. pbk.) ISBN 978-0-553-53558-7 (ebook)
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Ember Edition 2016
Random House Childrens Books supports the First Amendment
and celebrates the right to read.

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Ive been waiting my whole life for Oliver, so youd think another fteen minutes wouldnt matter. But its fteen minutes
that Oliver is alone on a bus, unmonitored, for the rst time,
with the most ruthless, malicious, soul-sucking creatures on
earth: high school students.
Going to high school is a little like being told you have to get
up each morning and run headlong at sixty miles an hour into
the same brick wall. Every day, youre forced to watch Darwins
principle of survival of the ttest play out: evolutionary advantages, like perfect white teeth and gravity-defying boobs, or a
football team jacket keep you from falling prey to the demons
that grow to three times their size when they feed on the fear
of a hapless freshman and bully him to a pulp. After years of
public school, Ive gotten pretty good at being invisible. That
way, youre less likely to become a target.
But Oliver knows none of this. He has always been the center

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of attention. Hes even more undeveloped socially than the boy

who enrolled last year after nine years of being homeschooled
in a yurt. Which is why Im actually breaking a sweat, imagining everything Oliver could be doing wrong.
At this point, hes probably ten minutes into a story about
the rst dragon he ever encounteredand while he might think
its a great icebreaker, the rest of the bus will either peg him as
the new druggie in town, who puts shrooms in his breakfast
omelet, or as one of those kids who run around speaking Elvish,
wearing homemade cloaks, with foam swords tucked into their
belts. Either way, that kind of rst impression is one that sticks
for the rest of your life.
Believe me, I know.
Ive spent my entire school career as that girl. The one who
wrote VD Rocks! on all her second-grade valentines and who
literally walked into a wall once while reading a book. The one
who recently reafrmed her subterranean spot on the socialstatus totem pole by accidentally punching out the most popular girl in school during swim practice.
Oliver and I make a fabulous couple.
Speaking of which . . . I kind of still cant believe we are one.
Its one thing to have a boyfriend, but to have someone who
looks like he just stepped out of a romantic comedywell, it
doesnt happen to people like me. Girls spend their lives dreaming of that perfect guy but always wind up settling when they
realize he doesnt exist. I found minebut he was trapped inside a fairy tale. Since thats the only world hes ever lived in,
acclimating to this one has been a bit of a challenge. How he

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came to be realand mineis a long story . . . but its been the

biggest adventure of my life.
So far, anyway.
Delilah! I hear, and I turn around to see my best friend,
Jules, barreling toward me. We hug like magnets. We havent
seen each other all summershe was exiled to her aunts house
in the Midwest, and I was totally preoccupied with Olivers arrival. Her Mohawk has grown out into an Egyptian bob, which
shes dyed midnight blue, and shes wearing her usual thick
black eyeliner, combat boots, and a T-shirt with the name of
her favorite band du jour: Khaleesi and the Dragons. So where
is he? she asks, looking around.
Not here yet, I tell her. What if he called the bus his
trusty steed again?
Jules laughs. Delilah, youve been practicing with him the
whole summer. I think he can handle a fteen-minute bus ride
without you. Suddenly she grimaces. Oh crap, dont tell me
you guys are going to be Gorilla-glued together, like BrAngelo,
Jules says, jerking her head toward Brianna and Angelo, the
schools power couple, who seem to have an uncanny ability to
be making out on my locker at the exact moment I need to get
inside. I think its great that you have a hot new boyfriend, but
you better not ditch me.
Are you kidding? I say. Im going to need your help. Being
around Oliver is like when youre babysitting a toddler and you
realize the entire house is a potential danger zone.
Perfect timing, murmurs Jules as Olivers bus pulls up to
the front of the school.

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You know how there are some moments in your life when
time just slows down? When you remember every minute detail: how the wind feels against your face, how the freshly cut
grass smells, how snippets of conversation become a dull background buzz, and how in that instant, theres only the beat of
your heart and the breath that you draw and the person whose
eyes lock with yours?
Oliver is the last one to step off the bus. His black hair is
rufed by the breeze. Hes wearing the white shirt and jeans I
picked out for him, and an unzipped hoodie. A leather satchel
is strung across his chest, and his green eyes search the crowd.
When he sees me, a huge smile breaks across his face.
He walks toward me as if there arent three hundred people
staring at himthe new kidas if it doesnt matter in the least
that the popular girls are tossing their hair and batting their
lashes like theyre at a photo shoot, or that the jocks are all sizing him up as competition. He walks as if the only thing he can
see is me.
Oliver wraps his arms around me and swings me in a circle,
like I weigh nothing at all. He sets me down, then gently holds
my face in his hands, looking at me as if he has found treasure.
Hello, he says, and he kisses me.
I can feel everyones eyes on me, their mouths gaping.
Not gonna lie: I could get used to this.

I met Oliver inside a book. Last year, I got obsessed with a kids
fairy tale that I found in the stacks of the school libraryin

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particular, with the prince who was illustrated throughout the

pages. Now, lots of readers crush on ctional characters, but
mine turned out to be not so ctional. Oliver wanted out of his
book, where every day was the same, and into a life that didnt
have such a rigid plotline.
We had a bunch of failed attemptsincluding one involving a magic easel that reproduced him in the real world but
at as a pancake, and a brief period of time where I got sucked
into the book and found myself swimming with mermaids and
fending off a deranged princess who fancied herself in love with
Oliver. Our last-ditch attempt to get him written out of the
story included a covert trip to Cape Cod to nd the author of
the book, Jessamyn Jacobs, who had written the story for her
son, Edgar, after his dad died. As it turned out, Edgar was a
dead ringer for Oliver, and just the replacement we needed in
the book for Oliver. For the past three months, Edgars been
living in the fairy tale, and Olivers been living on Cape Cod,
impersonating himAmerican accent, teenage moods, twentyrst-century clothing, and all. After weeks of persuasion, Oliver
nally convinced Jessamyn to move here, to New Hampshire,
so he could be with me.
Oliver and I walk down the hall, where girls bunch together,
jockeying into position to take a Snapchat sele; bros try to
jam a shipping containers worth of sports gear into a locker
the size of a carry-on suitcase; cheerleaders gaze at themselves
in their locker mirrors, putting on lip gloss in slow motion, as
if theyre starring in their own Sephora commercial. Suddenly
two nerds zoom down the hallway, clutching stacks of books
to their chests, careening off bystanders like human pinballs.

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Oliver nearly gets mowed down in the process. Is there a re?

he asks.
No, we only have fteen minutes till class starts. To a nerd,
that means youre already a half hour late. I glance down the
hallway. They run everywhere. All the time.
I can feel everyones eyes on my back as Oliver and I pass. As
we move through the crowds, I purposely bump into him every
so often. I do this so I can make sure hes really here. You have
to understandIm just not a lucky person. I never win a rafe;
every penny I come across is tails-up; my last fortune cookie
said Good luck with that. This is literally a dream come true.
Suddenly I realize that Oliver is doing the queens wave as we
head down the science wing. I grab his hand and pull it down.
These are not your subjects, I whisper, but when he threads
his ngers through mine, I completely forget to be frustrated.
Before I realize what hes doing, hes pulling me around a
corner, into the narrow hallway that leads to the photography
lab. In a delicate choreography, he spins me so that my back
is against the wall and his hands are bracketing me. His hair
is falling across his eyes as he leans forward, lifts my chin, and
kisses me.
What was that for? I ask, dizzy.
He grins. Just because I can.
I cant help smiling back. Three months ago, I never imagined that I could even reach out and touch Olivers hand, much
less sneak away during school for a secret kiss.
The terrible thing about falling in love is that real life always
gets in the way. I sigh, taking his hand. As much as Id like to
stay here, we have to get you to class.

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So, Oliver says. Whats my rst task?

Well, I reply, taking the printed schedule out of his hand.
EDGAR JACOBS, it reads, startling me. Its hard for me to remember that Oliver is masquerading as someone else; how difcult
must it be for him? Your rst class is chemistry.
Um, not quite. More like potions.
Oliver looks impressed. Wow. Everyone here hopes to be a
Only the ones with a death wish, I murmur. I stop in front
of a bank of lockers, matching the number to the one on his
schedule. This is yours.
He tugs on the lock, frowning at the numerical puzzle of the
combination. Then suddenly he brightens and, out of nowhere,
pulls out a dagger and hacks it against the metal.
Oh my God! I shout, grabbing the knife and stufng it
into my backpack before anyone else can see. Do you want to
get arrested?
Im really not that tired, Oliver says.
I sigh. No knives. Ever. Understand?
His eyes icker with remorse. Theres just so much here
thats . . . different, he says.
I know, I empathize. Thats why youve got me. I take off
the numeric lock, using the code on the back of Olivers schedule, and replace it with a padlock whose combination is ve
letters. Watch, I say, using my thumb to roll the wheels until
they spell E-D-A-H-E. Everyone deserves a happy ending.
I think I can remember that. He grins and backs me against
the lockers. You know what else I remember?

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His eyes are as green as a summer eld, and as easy to get

lost in.
I remember the rst time I saw you, Oliver says. You were
wearing that shirt.
When he looks at me like that, I cant even remember my
name, much less what Im wearing today. I was?
And I remember the rst time I did this, he adds, and he
leans in and kisses me.
Suddenly I hear a voice over my shoulder. Um, a boy says.
You guys are kind of draped across my locker?
Oh God. Ive become BrAngelo.
Immediately I shove Oliver away and tuck my hair behind
my ears. Sorry, I mutter. Wont happen again. I clear my
throat. Im Delilah, by the way.
The kid jerks the metal door open and looks at me. Chris,
he says.
Oliver extends his hand. Im Oli
Edgar, I interrupt. His name is Edgar.
Yes. Right, Oliver says. That is my name.
I feel like I havent seen you before, I say to Chris.
Im new. Just moved here from Detroit.
I just moved here too, Oliver replies.
Oh yeah? Where from?
The kingdom of
Cape Cod, I blurt out.
Chris snorts. She doesnt let you talk much, man. Where
are you guys headed?
Edgars got chemistry with Mr. Zhang, I say.

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Cool, me too. Ill see you there? Chris shuts his locker
and, with a wave, walks down the hall.
Oliver watches him. How come hes allowed to wave?
I roll my eyes. Its 8:15 a.m. and Im already exhausted. Ill
explain later, I say.
I have enough time to drop Oliver off at his chemistry classroom before I have to head to French. As we turn the corner, Jules slips up behind us and links her arm through mine.
Guess who broke up, she says.
Oliver smiles. This must be the famous Jules.
Reports of my awesomeness are usually underrated, Jules
answers. She gives Oliver a once-over and then nods and turns
to me. Well done.
Im kind of in a rushIm trying to get him to Zhangs
room before the bell rings, I explain.
Trust me, you want to hear this. . . . Allie McAndrews and
Ryan Douglas?
Oliver looks at me, questioning.
Prom queen and king, I explain quickly.
He looks impressed. Royalty.
They think they are, Jules agrees. Anyway, they broke up.
Apparently being faithful comes as easily to Ryan as Shakespeare.
Having been in Ryans English class last year, I know thats
saying a lot.
Speak of the devil, says Jules.
As if were watching a soap opera, Allie turns the corner,
anked by her posse. From the opposite direction, simultaneously,

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Ryan swaggers down the hall. We bystanders freeze, holding our

breath, waiting for the inevitable train wreck.
Oh, look! What a rare sighting, Allie says loudly. A manslut in the wild! Her girls giggle in response.
Ryan looks her up and down. Did you eat all your feelings,
At that, Allie propels herself at him, claws out. Just in time,
a kid steps between themJames, the president of the LGBT
Alliance, who has his own bow tie business and runs conictresolution training for student mentors. Walk it off, girlfriend,
James says to Ryan, who shoves him into the wall.
Back off, fairy, Ryan growls.
Before I realize whats happening, Oliver is no longer standing next to me. Hes heading straight for Ryan.
Oh crap, Jules says. You had to date a hero?
But Oliver rushes past Ryan, moving toward James, whos
now sprawled on the ground. He extends a hand and helps
James up. Are you all right?
Yeah, thanks, James replies, brushing himself off.
This is good, this is really good. Oliver has created the best
reputation possible. Everyone is looking at him as if he is a
Including Allie McAndrews.
Oliver puts a hand on Jamess shoulder. Fairies here are
much bigger than I expected, he says, delighted.
For a moment, time stops. Something ickers across Jamess
facedisappointment. Resignation. Pain.
What happens next is so fast I can barely see it: James pulls

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back his arm and socks Oliver hard so that he falls backward,
knocked out cold.
Oh yeah. This is gonna be a great year.
I y to Olivers side, crouching down. By now the crowd has
scattered, afraid of repercussions. I help him sit up; he winces
as he leans against the wall.
Let me guess, Oliver mutters. Fairy means something different here?
But I cant answer, because when I look at him I see it: the
trickle of black from his nose, the stains on his white shirt.
Oliver, I whisper. Youre inking.


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Then one day
you reached onto
a shelf,
and out of
all the books
in the world, you chose this one.
Now, dont
get mecovers
wrong. Its not
as if youre
not important.

the moment you opened this tale, your mind awakened the characters. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does
it really fall? If a character sits in a book and no one reads it, is he
truly alive? As your eyes moved across the pages, as you heard the
story in your head, the characters moved for you, spoke for you, felt

for you.
So you see, its quite difcult to know who owns a story. Is it the

ackkett photoograp
a h 2014
20 Get
ty Ima
s/ ng-g

writer, who crafted it? The characters, who carry the plot forward?
Or you, the reader, who breathes life into them?
Or perhaps none of the three can exist without the other.
Perhaps without this magical combination, a story would be
nothing more than words on a page.

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