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(book intended for 15+)
Seventeen year old Sinta Allen has one objective, to get from Tallahassee, Florida to her mother in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Seems simple enough right? Wrong. Hostile aliens have invaded Earth—and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we’re losing the fight. While the aliens bring devastation and destruction and take people away to God knows where in their spaceships, Sinta, along with some of her classmates must rely on their survival instincts, a little luck and each other if they want to survive the venture across the country. The last thing she needs is for Wade, her school friend and Jason, her rescuer, to distract her along the way.
“Please mom,” I say, whining. “I really don’t want to go.”
“Sinta, you know I love it when you help me out, but this conversation is getting old. We’ve been going round and round like this for months. You’re going, end of story.” She pulls into an empty parking space and turns off the car. “I’ll help you with your things,” she says, popping the trunk.
Feeling defiant, and with nothing else to lose, I cross my arms and don’t move. She opens her door and gets out. I hear her saying good morning to some of the other parents and kids, but I don’t budge.
I recognize the kids passing my car with their bags either in their hands or over their shoulders. Some look my way and smile. Some even wave enthusiastically. All are in grades below mine. With this being my senior year, I don’t expect many others from my class to be here. Like I told my mom, band camp isn’t needed for anyone’s college application, especially since most of us seniors applied for college last summer or during the beginning of first semester. Besides Mia and Ian, I expect to be hanging around a bunch of younger kids.
Through the side mirror I see my mom coming up to my door. I quickly lock it. Childish? Yes.
She raps on the window and, when I don’t answer, she raps again, this time faster and harder. When I still ignore her she leans closer to the window. “For the love of God, if you keep it up I will unlock this door and drag your skinny tail out and strangle you in front of everyone here and still make you get on that bus.”
My mom has never hit me before, she’s full of threats and they usually prove empty. I turn to see her glaring daggers at me.
The look on her face says that she intends to do as she said and more. I open the door and step out and around her. I grab my duffle and sleeping bag from the trunk and head to the bus.
“Aren’t you going to at least kiss me goodbye?” she yells out after me.
“I can’t. I need to hurry. I don’t want the fun to start without me.”
Without turning I raise my hand in the air, saying bye. Of course she’ll be mad for a little while, but then she’ll start missing me. I’m her only daughter and she forced me to go on a trip I didn’t want to take. I think by tomorrow afternoon she’ll be calling the camp to check up on me.
I set my things next to the other bags on the ground by the side of the bus and climb the stairs. I only stop briefly to see if Mia has made it yet.
She and Ian are huddled in a back seat, kissing.
Lovely. The fun is starting already.
I walk down the aisle, passing ninth and tenth graders. Closer to the back are the eleventh graders and, taking up the last three rows, the twelfth graders. Myles Jackson or MJ as he’s called and Shayla Day have a seat across from Mia and Ian. Seeing MJ surprises me, because he’s a jock and the number one football prospect from Michigan. He doesn’t need band camp to go on any application. Michael and Aaron take up another seat, with MJ’s best friend Eric and his girlfriend Melissa across from them. Then there’s Daniel and Andrew taking up a seat, and across from them is an empty one.
“We saved you a seat,” Mia says, pulling her mouth away from Ian’s long enough to talk and breathe.
“Thanks,” I say sliding into it. I put my ear buds in and pull the hood of my Huron Band sweatshirt over my head.
Just as soon as I close my eyes I feel the dip in my seat. Opening one, I peek to catch a glimpse of Wade Hill squeezing into the seat next to me.
“Sorry, Sinta,” he says, after settling in. “I asked Mrs. Franklin for my own seat but she told me there wasn’t enough room. Mrs. Burgess told me to sit next to you, since you’re so skinny.”
I close my eyes. This is a punishment.
I hear the creak of the door closing and, after a few minutes, the bus begins to move.
“Testing, testing,” Ms. Burgess’ voice projects over the loud speaker. She’s the new young teacher who just started teaching at our school this year. “How about I sing everyone a nice little lullaby to get you all to sleep, hmm?
Oh. My. God.
“Can someone please tell her she isn’t auditioning for American Idol,” I mutter.
Wade laughs. His meaty arm brushes up against mine as he does.
Let the fun begin.
A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.
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