Title: ALL STRIPPED DOWN
Genre: YA contemporary
Word Count: 58,000
Seventeen-year-old military brat Jamie Barth relies on her “powers of invisibility” to help her pass through life unnoticed. She’s counting down the days until she can have real friends and the normal life she longs for, unburdened by constant Air Force relocations. However, a move back to her mom’s hometown threatens Jamie’s anonymity and shakes her vision of her future.
In Blue Lake, Maryland, school weirdo Mouse Parker notices Jamie despite her attempts at protective camouflage. Mouse sets to work eroding her defenses, and eventually recruits her to his garage band. First, Jamie finds passion in the form of drumming—a talent she never knew she had. Then, Mouse’s ex-sort-of-girlfriend joins the band and Jamie discovers a whole other kind of passion with Rachel.
Despite her intent to keep life on hold until after graduation, Jamie finds herself falling in love, betraying her first true friend in the process, and becoming visible to an increasing number of people. Over a whirlwind summer of love, loss, and music, Jamie must stand up for herself, figure out whom to trust, and learn how to be a friend.
According to Lisa, all I had to do in order to fly under the radar in Blue Lake was: a) shut up, b) play nice, and c) avoid the school weirdo. In other words, nothing I hadn’t already done in five other states. I figured it would be easy to maintain social invisibility for the mere twenty months I planned to be here. But I never expected anything like Mouse Parker.
I’d only been at Blue Lake High about a week when he slid into the seat next to me in Government. Hardly any of the classes here had assigned seating, but everyone returned to the same place each day anyway. Everyone except Mouse. “What are you listening to?” he asked, as we were all getting settled.
I stopped copying down the homework assignment, sighed, and gave him what I hoped was a patient-but-uninterested glance. That particular day, some of his shoulder-length dreads were freshly dyed green. I kind of wondered what his look was about, but not enough to have a conversation with him. “Uh, nothing? We’re not allowed, in class.” I thought about my iPod, imprisoned in my locker till lunch.
“Duh,” he gave a goofy smile and rolled his eyes at me. “But there’s something playing in there,” he tapped his finger on the side of his head. “I can tell.”
“How?” I was mortified. Had I been humming out loud or something embarrassingly visible like that?