Name: Kendal Muse
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Marley Pace has resigned herself to life in Blackrock. It’ll mean spending her senior year in self-imposed homeschool exile, but she doesn’t mind. After the way her summer ended, she figures she deserves it.
All she wants is to prove she can stay out of trouble. Living in a sleepy Florida beach town should make that easy, but then she discovers the Preserve, an eroded stretch of beach hidden behind dense woods and a chain-link fence. She barely steps inside before the Sinclairs, Blackrock’s most troubled family, warn her to stay away.
Normally, an order that direct would only pique her interest, but this time she couldn’t agree more. Besides hating the ocean, there’s something about that place, a feeling that crawls up her arms and legs, and she has no intention of going back—until she finds the box hidden in her attic.
Her own past is tied to the Preserve in ways she never could’ve imagined, and Marley wants answers. If she can’t get them from her mother, she’ll get them from the Preserve, even if it means getting caught between the Sinclair version of a rock and a hard place.
Paul, the oldest and a notorious hothead, wants her to stay away from the Preserve and his family, or else. But his sister doesn’t seem to agree. Samantha is the Sinclair everyone whispers about, the subject of all the worst family rumors, and what she wants, more than anything, is Marley’s help.
The first time I saw Samantha Sinclair, I was using the pay phone at the Blackrock Corner Market. I shouldn’t have known who she was—we’d only been in town a few weeks—but the way people were watching her, it was obvious.
I was standing in the back getting my usual stares and whispers, the same ones I got any time I dared use their relic of a pay phone, though by now I was used to it. What I wasn’t used to was the way every gaze shifted when she walked in.
My cousin had been telling me stories about the Sinclairs for years. They were supposed to be a three-piece-set, rarely seen out of each other’s company, but today her brother and sister weren’t with her. Alone, she looked like any other surfer on their way home. There was a window next to the pay phone, and I’d watched her park out front, a surfboard fastened to the top of her little blue Nissan. She could’ve been anyone, but she wasn’t.
People had a way of staring at you when they’d spent time talking about you behind your back, and it was no different with Samantha. I knew that look because I’d gotten it plenty myself, but there was a little something extra in hers. Apparently, the stares were worse when people also thought you might be crazy.
I hung up before Calvin’s machine could answer; these days I had it down to a science.