Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 55,000
Sometimes you have to freeze everyone out to avoid getting burned.
Sydney’s had seven foster families in seven years. Almost everybody in her life has let her down, including her crack-addicted mother. She knows immediately that she won’t fit into the extravagant lifestyle of her newest family, the Claytons, or their uptight, materialistic daughter, Brooke.
Sydney resents the snobby kids at her school, especially Brooke’s boyfriend, Corbin. Who, in the words of her foster father, is from a good family (wealthy), is athletic (a star), and has a future (will make money). But she can’t help being attracted to Corbin, even while she hates him. When she finds Brooke getting hot and heavy with another girl, Sydney learns the truth—Corbin can barely read or write and is posing as Brooke’s boyfriend in exchange for help in school.
Corbin likes Sydney, but Brooke refuses to let him go because she’s terrified that everyone will discover she’s gay. But even if Brooke breaks up with Corbin, Sydney doubts their relationship will ever work. Because why would the popular rich kid want to be with the daughter of a crack whore? And really… if her own mom gave up on Sydney, how can anyone else ever truly love her?
My ears tingled from the biting wind and swirling snow, but I stayed outside to smoke. The caseworker thought I was nuts, but I liked the cold. It numbed me… relaxed me. Besides, I couldn’t smoke inside—those were the rules.
After finishing a second cigarette, my nerves were calm. Jim pulled up to the curb in a dark Mercedes. Whoa. None of my previous foster families were wealthy. I met him and Lana a week ago, but not their daughter Brooke. Lana had peppered me with questions as if she’d wanted to learn my whole life story that night, but Jim was mostly silent, checking his phone every few minutes. So far I got no bad vibes off them, but that might change once I moved into their house.
As he approached me, Jim opened his mouth. “Good evening, Sydney.” He laid his hand on my shoulder, guiding me inside.
Um, not really, Jim. Kind of crappy outside. Didn’t you notice the blizzard?
Inside, the caseworker stuck out his hand. “Jim, nice to see you again. Nasty night out there, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is. The roads are treacherous. Not much traffic.” Jim stepped toward the front counter where the paperwork lay.
I turned to the front window and stared at the snow blowing down the road. Only the glow from the streetlights was visible in the roaring storm. Everyone else went home long ago and the rest of the building lay silent.