A young adult novel @65,000 words
KEYNOTE: After her older sister gets sent away to rehab, good girl Carolena Gold steps out of her sister’s shadow and unleashes her inner Standout—infiltrating Student Government, starting up Open Mic nights, and writing poems that turn into songs for the guy she likes.
The first last straw was at the beginning of the summer before ninth grade, when Becca made out with Liam on my bedroom floor. I lay on my bed in the dark, staring up at the ceiling with my ear buds in, listening to my music cranked up to top volume to block out their sucking sounds.
She asked if they could come over to my house, since my parents weren’t strict, and if I could be a buffer zone because, “You know, Carolena, it’s hard to be alone with guys—they want so much.”
Sadly, I didn’t know this, but I said yes, because I liked to pretend that nothing bothered me, even though everything actually did. Since when had Liam O’Rourke become a contender in her book-of-a-thousand guys? I asked her, “Why Liam?” Her answer: “Because he’s there.”
Had Becca ever stopped to think that maybe I, who had an as-yet unwritten book of guys, liked him first? Well why would she, when I’d never mentioned that small fact to her or anyone else?
The second was what happened with Rachel, and how my parents didn’t trust me enough not to lie to me.
Later, I would realize that the “Rachel thing” had been the last last straw—the moment I decided, even without fully realizing it—that I was sick of being a doormat. That I wanted to be the one opening doors and stepping in, not the one being stepped on.