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Fift h Avenue, New York
Copyright © by Carley Moore
All rights reserved
Distributed in Canada by D&M Publishers, Inc.
Printed in the United States of America
Designed by Roberta Pressel
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The stalker chronicles / Carley Moore.—st ed.
Summary: Fifteen-year-old aspiring writer Cammie Bliss of Lakewood, New York,
tries to shed her reputation of being a stalker when a new boy, Toby, comes to town,
but learning how to truly relate to others proves to be a challenge.
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[. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. . High schools—Fiction. . Schools—
Fiction. . Best friends—Fiction. . Friendship—Fiction. . Family life—New
York (State)—Fiction. . New York (State)—Fiction.] I. Title.
It’s not like I wanted to be a stalker. No one says to herself, Oh, he’s cute. Let me follow him around, call him every day,
and walk by his house after school so many times that within
two weeks he’ll avoid me in the halls and whisper to his friends
that I’m a freak and that I might be cute, but it doesn’t matter
because I’m a wacko, certifiable, a nut job—one of those girls
who takes things too far, makes a fool of herself, and just doesn’t
seem to care.
Well, I did care. That was the problem. I cared too much and
too fast and I lacked the usual humiliation and embarrassment
barometers that most girls are awarded at birth or, if they are
late bloomers, no later than the end of third grade. It wasn’t that
I didn’t have them. I did, but they always kicked in way too
late—after the damage was done and the boy had been scared
away. Only then, when I saw him in the hallway averting his eyes,
did I realize that I’d gone too far. Then I got embarrassed. I really did, and then I got mad. Mad at myself for doing it again and
for being such a colossally crappy reader of what my best friend,
Rosie, called the signs.
One of the signs that things were a little out of control was
that I’d started to get a reputation. A girl can get a reputation for
all kinds of things: for giving hand jobs and blow jobs, for having sex, for not having sex, for posting too many revealing
pictures on her Facebook page, for studying too hard, for not
studying hard enough, for wearing the wrong bra, or for
not wearing a thong with a certain pair of pants. But a reputation for stalking was a different species altogether. To be called
a stalker in the hallway, to have it hissed at you by co–head
cheerleader Kristy Day, or to have it whispered about you behind your barely turned back as you ran through your scales in
band in the hopes of at least looking like you’d practiced, well,
then you knew you had a reputation and it was getting out of
I didn’t want to be a stalker. It was an accident—a strange
natural compulsion that I wanted to believe I could fi x. Stalkers were scary guys who in movies showed up outside your
window at night. Stalkers required restraining orders and police visits. Stalkers were hardly ever female. Or if they were,
they were adult women who had been horribly wronged by
their married-to-another-woman boyfriends and who had finally decided to get revenge. You know, there were movies about
these women. I mean, they went too far, really too far. Stalkers
were not supposed to be teenage girls. I was not supposed to be
a stalker. But I was, or at least that’s what people in my high
But I wanted to change and I wanted to get better. It was
April of my sophomore year, and I wanted to be a different kind
of girl. Maybe it was something about spring. Maybe I wanted to
make a fresh start because the flowers were in bloom and the
air smelled new and clean. Or maybe I’d had enough. Deep
down I knew I wasn’t totally crazy, and in a lot of ways I was a
normal fifteen-year-old girl who loved English and history
and tolerated math because she knew it was important, who had
exactly one best friend, who worried that her mother worked
too hard, who had a little brother who was a soccer star and an
all-around pain in the ass, who had two cats named Lucy and
Ethel, who wished she had more clothes, who memorized her
favorite scenes from television shows, who was allergic to bee
stings, and who had a hard time saying sorry even when she
I am Cammie Bliss.
I used to be a stalker.
Wanting to change was not enough. I needed some incentive, in the form of a boy.
It was Monday after school, and Rosie and I were wandering
around aimlessly, snacking, and talking. Rosie’s not allowed to
do much outside of school, but today, in a fit of weather-induced
euphoria, she texted her mom that she’d be late. I knew that,
later, she’d have to pay, so I figured we’d better enjoy ourselves.
The air smelled like April should, damp and full of little green
buds. Rosie and I were about to cross the street when we saw
him—the new guy, a new guy in our little dying upstate town of
Lakewood, New York. Not just any guy, but a teenage one.
I lived in one of those small towns where there was a main
street, surrounded by a dead downtown, a couple of plazas, and
one high school. It was the kind of town I might have passed
through on vacation, and said, “Wow, this is cute,” and then about
two hours later exclaimed, “Let’s get out of here.”
There wasn’t a lot to do except people-watch, gossip, obsess,
and, if you were lucky, date. I was not lucky when it came to dating. I didn’t date. I stalked.
A new person in a small town was something of a
phenomenon. You noticed that person right away. No one
moved to Lakewood. Most people moved away from it. The last
person I knew who moved here was Rosie. That was in fifth
grade, and people were still talking about it.
Rosie was uncharacteristically quiet about that time in her
life. I got the sense that, as she often said about the things she
hated, “it sucked.” No one wanted to move anywhere in fift h
grade, especially from Brooklyn to Lakewood, but who got to
decide anything in fifth grade except maybe the color of your
backpack and what kind of sandwich was in your lunch.
“Who’s that?” Rosie asked as I stepped into the crosswalk.
She was about two feet ahead of me, digging into her customary after-school bag of cashews.
“Where?” I said, looking up at the constellation of letters on
the marquee of the old shuttered movie house that sat majestically in the center of our not-so-originally-named Main Street.
They spelled out, rather cryptically: good luck, kids.
“That guy,” Rosie said, pointing, and lowering her voice as
I caught up to her. “Over there, by the movie theater, under the
I looked to my right and saw him. He was cute. He had shaggy
messy-but-perfect brown hair, a strong nose and chin, a pair of
dark-framed glasses, your requisite straight jeans, and a series
of elaborately layered shirts. He was out of place, a little too
stylish and smart for Lakewood, and he was looking up at the
movie marquee like it was supposed to make sense.
Before I could stop myself, I started to fantasize. I went
through my usual string of inappropriate emotions: fear, lust,
like, love, and obsession. I instantly imagined us as a couple,
walking hand in hand down a leafy autumn path, wearing
matching sweaters or lying on a petal-strewn bed simultaneously making out and sending each other clever texts. Not cool.
“Oh my God, he’s so cute,” I whispered to Rosie, who finished off her bag of cashews and crumpled it up in her hand.
“He’s not my type,” Rosie clarified. “But I can see why you’d
like him.” Rosie didn’t talk much about guys. I suspected it
was because she wasn’t allowed to date. She mostly crushed on
celebrities and guys she met on religious retreats with her
family—guys who were safe.
“What if he comes over here?” I clutched at Rosie’s arm
nervously. We were now on the corner, a little over ten feet away
from him. “What will we say?”
I lived in a constant state of fear that I would say something stupid to a boy because for pretty much my whole life I’d
only said stupid things to boys.
Rosie shook off my hand (not unkindly) and said, “Relax.
He’s probably lost. He doesn’t look like he belongs in Lakewood.”
He approached the dusty windows of the old ticket booth
and made a little cup with his hands to see into the theater.
Who knew what was in there? It was a vault for the ancient
history of our town. The theater had been closed for fifteen years.
My mom said she went to the last screening when she was pregnant with me—she doesn’t remember the movie but she does
remember eating an entire large bag of popcorn by herself.
Rosie took out her phone and pretended to scroll through
her incoming calls. “Look like we’re doing something else,”
she said to me, and shot me one of her pull-yourself-together
looks. I got those a lot from Rosie. They didn’t usually work.
I grabbed for my phone and pretended to do the same, but
I could feel him coming closer. Instead of pressing the incoming calls button, I accidentally called my mom. I clicked End
before she picked up, but I was sure she’d call me back.
“Hey, do you guys live here?” he asked, putting his hands
in his jeans pockets. Up close, he was still cute. He had green
eyes and long lashes and a small smattering of freckles on the
bridge of his nose.
Rosie looked at me. I knew she expected me to take the
“Yeah,” I said, and then froze. I couldn’t think of anything
else to say. A couple of awkward seconds passed before Rosie
came to my rescue.
“Do you live here?” she asked. “We’ve never seen you around.”
“Yeah, I mean, sort of,” he said. He sighed and looked
around as if confused. “I moved here yesterday, but I haven’t
accepted living here. I haven’t been to school yet either. I figured I’d start in the next day or two.”
“It takes a while to get used to living in such a small place,”
Rosie answered, staring at me the whole time.
I continued not speaking, but I did manage to smile. I
smiled a lot actually, more than must have seemed natural because he turned to me and said, “You’re happy, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I guess I am,” I said, finally managing to spit something out, not really caring if it was true or not.
“That’s cool.” He paused as if unsure of what to say next.
“I’m Rosie, and this is Cammie.” Rosie pointed at herself and
The three of us stood there for a couple more seconds before Toby turned toward the old theater. “Someone really
should restore this. It would make a cool art cinema.”
“Good luck with that one,” Rosie said. She hadn’t meant it
to, but it came out sounding rude. We’d both lived in Lakewood for too long. We had a hard time imagining that it could
change or make room for something artistic or cultural.
If Toby was hurt, he didn’t show it.
“Hey, you never know.” He shrugged. “Well, I’m supposed
to get some stuff for my mom. I stopped to look in the window.” Toby walked to a parked car. “See you at school, I guess.
There’s only one high school in this town, right?”
“Yep, only one,” I said.
“See you,” Rosie added.
“Are you guys juniors?” Toby asked, turning back around
and away from the car.
“Sophomores,” Rosie said.
“I might have English class with you. I’m behind in some
of my credits, and everything is messed up because I’m transferring at this weird time of year.”
“Yeah, it is a weird time to start at a new school.” Rosie
spoke for both of us again.
He nodded and got into his car.
I continued to smile blankly. When he drove away, I was
still smiling and staring after his car.
“Cammie!” Rosie was annoyed. “Snap out of it.”
I knew she was exasperated with me, but I didn’t care. I’d
found it. I’d found him. I’d found my reason to change.