Between a criminal record and the social nightmare of living in an old folk’s home, fourteen-year-old Sabrina Milo has plenty of baggage to carry around. Determined to start over, the last thing she needs is a teenage stalker who’s willing to use both against her, or a graffiti scandal at her new school that sends all eyes in her direction. Cloaked in mistrust, there’s no one to turn to when Sabrina overhears the murder of an elderly woman in the apartment above her own and worse, the killer knows he left behind a silent witness. Sabrina’s only chance of finding the killer before he finds her lies in her criminal past…if she’s willing to embrace it.
When Mom and Dad started throwing around the D word, I never imagined an old folk’s home would become my Post Divorce Relocation. I mean as far as top choices go, it’s right up there with a land fill. The kids at my old school would say this is karma and I had it coming. And, if I’m honest about it, maybe they’re right. But when you add this to having to transfer to a new middle school only a month before summer vacation, well, that’s not just karma. It’s the universe with a serious hate-on for me.
As I step out of my room, I brace for the usual reek of Rub A535 cream and garlic that leeches out of the ancient carpet in the hall. This morning though, the smell is overridden by something even worse. A smoky odor of sizzling ham wafts from the kitchen where Mom is, who is clearly jazzed about sending me off on my BIG DAY.
My mouth waters, betraying me, but my granite-stiff stomach knows better. Eating right now is not a good idea, but I drag myself along the dingy hall anyway, an inmate on Death Row heading toward her last meal.
In the kitchen, Mom glances up from the skillet. “About time,” she says, poking some eggs. “Get lots of sleep?”
I ignore the question. “Three words, Mom: cruel and inhumane. Come on, let me start summer vacation early.”
“I’m done talking about this, Sabrina.” She places a cereal bowl at my elbow. "You're going."