This just in!! A new cover! Woo Hoo!! School's Out 4-Ever looks awesome ;)
Here's a little excerpt that comes early in the book. (I don't want to give too much away! ;) )
Kaylee's first breakfast at Barclay Hall:
Kaylee stared at the white tablecloth, wishing everyone would go back to ignoring her. The chatter began again as three cooks pushed carts of food between the long trestle tables, passing out stackable covered plates. The durable plastic appeared totally out of place beside the glass goblets and fine silver.
A freckled-faced girl, straight brown hair pinned to one side with a sparkly butterfly barrette, sat across from her. She fussed with her napkin, opening it, spreading it, then adjusting her food and moving her cup to the North Pole of her plate.
Beside her, a dark haired girl with piercing blue eyes chuckled. "Good idea, Nancy. Don’t spill on the tablecloth again. I would hate to see you earn another demerit."
Nothing friendly in that teasing tone, nothing at all. Blue-eyes leaned back to give the white-garbed cook room to serve her, then lifted the lid straight up and handed it back. Kaylee hurried to imitate her and nearly upset her glass of orange juice.
Several girls gasped. Whatever happened if they spilled something or dropped food on the tablecloth was something Kaylee decided she didn’t want to discover.
"Be more careful," the dark-haired girl said low, her smile bright. "And don’t stop smiling. Keep smiling, and you can say whatever you like, if you’re not in earshot of the dementia sisters. I’m Destiny, by the way. I’m in for joy riding, which is totally lame because the guy said I could take his car. He totally backed out when he found out I was underage. What about you? What are you in for?"
The way she grinned the whole time she talked was so weird. More weird was doing it herself. "I guess… just vandalism and stuff."
"Really?" Destiny shrugged. "You must have had a tough judge."
Not a judge, Kaylee thought, father. Dad had chosen this place for her and she was beginning to think juvie and jumpsuits might have been a better idea. The more she looked around at the girls, the more fear and misery she saw behind all their smiles. Desperation, like a grinning skull, lurked beneath their smiles and perfectly styled hair.
Snippets of thoughts came to her. A girl counted down the weeks until graduation and hoped she won’t be stuck in summer school. Another girl wanted her mother to help get her out. Another wanted to live with a cousin. One younger girl prayed for deliverance from the dark in a high-pitched panicky way. Nearly all thought of running away.
What have I gotten myself into?
When her gaze fell on the girl who’d applauded so sarcastically, she almost dropped her forkful of pancake. From beneath a mop of pitch-black hair, she stared as if she knew Kaylee listened to the thoughts around her.
Concentration broken, the voices rushed in on her, growing into a roar of clamoring minds all wanting her help. She wanted to run screaming from the room. Her hand shook as she reached for the small glass of water beside her plate. Careful not to slosh, she focused on swallowing, on the sensation of liquid going down her gullet and into her twisted stomach. She set the empty glass down and, eyes closed, mentally shut imaginary access panels to every voice, like a video game puzzle one had to solve to beat the level. With every silenced voice, her fear receded. Everything would be okay…
"Ladies do not sleep at the breakfast table." Miss Deanna jabbed the handle of a flashlight between Kaylee's shoulder blades. "Sit up straight and open your eyes."
She did as she was told and lifted her fork, but the flashlight came back with such force, she knew a bruise would form there. What the heck did she want?
"What do you say when someone helps you?" Miss Deanna asked.
"Thank you," Kaylee said.
"Thank you to whom?"
"Thank you, Miss Deanna."
The woman tugged on her blazer sleeves and smiled. "You’re very welcome."
She moved on and Kaylee exhaled.
"Told you to just keep smiling. What are you, sick or something?" Destiny asked. "You know your dormie, Allison, she got sick before you got here. She said something in her room made her sick. What’s going on in your room?"
Smiling while trying to talk was so annoying, but she didn't want Miss Demon-anna poking her with the flashlight again. "I’m fine. Just… nervous I guess."
"It was Tracy, wasn’t it? I swear the looks that girl gives would make anyone want to throw up. They say she’s a lesbian and into witchcraft. I think she’s just pathetic." Her smile broadened as she glanced at the sarcastic girl. "Don’t let her get to you, even if she stares all weird at you. She’s harmless. Just a loser with no friends."
Tracy watched her intently, smiling in a way that made her skin crawl.
She ate a pancake to hide a scowl. All around her others maintained forced smiles. This was so sick, so twisted. What the heck kind of school was this?
Profound Reality by Juliana Aragon Fatula
9 hours ago