Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 88,000
Paranoid schizophrenic Alex Ridgemont has bigger things to worry about than what's real and what's not--like convincing her mother she knows the difference between the two.
Medications never worked for Alex. Instead she trusts her ability to ignore her delusions, because that ability is the only thing keeping her out of the mental hospital. Hopefully, a fresh start at East Shoal High, where no one knows her condition or the fiasco that got her kicked out of her last school, will be all she needs to keep up her completely-not-crazy façade.
Except delusions don’t care that Alex has good grades, perfect attendance, and her first-ever real boyfriend, Miles. And it doesn't help that East Shoal comes with its own demons, like the old gym scoreboard that’s rumored to be possessed. When Alex hears the scoreboard talking, she isn’t surprised--until someone else starts talking back. Someone who's supposed to be normal. And someone who's determined to either have Miles or destroy him.
Now, the only thing scarier than facing her delusion is not knowing if revealing it would save her some pain or get her sent straight to the Happy House. And riding on the line is her opportunity at a new life and a chance with Miles—the only person who might understand everything.
My mother used to take me grocery shopping with her on Sundays, but only under the threat of death by guillotine if I asked for anything that wasn't on her list.
Two realizations about this came to me when I was older, the first being that I couldn't ask for anything we didn't need because we were, as the government puts it, "at the poverty threshold," and the second being that my mother didn't have the resources to procure a working guillotine.
Back then, she sometimes had soft moments when she'd buy me a Yoo-hoo and smile at me and be all motherly. I loved those Yoo-hoos, not only because they were probably the most delicious drink ever conceived by man, but because they meant my mother still cared whether or not I was happy.
While she went to go get Dad's favorite pork chops from the meat counter, my mother left me at the lobster tank. Until the day Blue Eyes showed up, Lobsters fascinated me like no other creature could. Everything from their name to their claws to their magnificent red had me hooked.
My hair was that red, the kind of red that looks okay on everything but people, because a person's hair is not supposed to be red. Orange, yes. Auburn, sure.
But not lobster red.
Every Sunday when my mother left me at the tank, I'd take my pigtails (an appropriate hairstyle at the time, and I refused to wear anything else), press them up against the glass, and stare the nearest lobster straight in the eye.