This book is set in the early 90s and I’ve known Terri since then. It’s awesome to see her go from creative writing classmate to published author.
Description from Amazon:
Freshman year is the only thing that just might be more horrific and awkward than middle school, and Drew cannot avoid it. Thankfully, she is not alone and still has her support crew of friends, because some things never change, no matter the setting. Old enemies return and new distractions abound, such as a new crush, even while she holds onto the old, the advent of the grunge music movement, helping to plan a wedding, and the creepy neighbor boy down the equally creepy rural road.
I surprised myself by having Drew meet a new friend in the bathroom. I didn’t plan her; Ally just happened. Surprises in meeting new characters while I write are a unique treat.
As the bell rang, I grabbed the bathroom pass and took off to find sanctuary long enough to hold onto some dignity. I was so confused. I had actually thought Dustin liked me, but he was still infatuated with Alyssa, which I guess is what I was with him. How could I be so stupid? I burst through the bathroom door and checked for feet under the stalls. It appeared to be empty so I grabbed a paper towel and dried the tears I hadn’t realized had formed and dripped down my face.
A sudden cough and exhale came from the middle stall, along with a cloud of smoke rising above it. The door creaked opened and a girl I recognized as a junior from my chorus class stepped off the toilet and out of the stall. “Hey. You’re one of the freshmen in my chorus class, right?”
“Yeah. Drew Hotchner,” I replied, a little too timidly.
“Ally VanHeusen,” she said, extending her hand for a handshake, which seemed an odd gesture for a kid in high school, but I took her hand anyway, and she gave a firm squeeze. “Want one?” she asked, digging out a pack of Marlboros from her purse.
“Nah, I don’t smoke.”
“Yeah, I figured,” she said, gesturing at my homemade “If you don’t smoke, I won’t fart” shirt, “but I thought I’d be friendly, in case you’re a snitch. I thought you were a teacher for sure, the way you flung that door open when you walked in, like it was a sting operation or something. You’re not a snitch, are you?”
“No. No reason to be.”
“Good, Drew Hotchner. I don’t really want to visit the principal, or my chemistry class,” Ally said as she brushed her hair, which hung long and blue-black only on the left and was shaved on the right side of her head. “So, what’s wrong?”
“Umm hmm. I get that you don’t know me and don’t want to tell me anything, but you can, you know. I’m good at listening, and I got no reason to talk to anyone, just so you know.” She unscrewed her purple lip gloss and applied a thick layer over her black lipstick. She took what appeared to be some kind of fantasy novel out of her book bag, threw her jacket on the floor in the back corner of the bathroom, and slouched down the wall.
“So you’re just staying in here?” I asked.
“Yeah. Every day. I hate chemistry.”
“Why don’t you just leave campus then?”
“No ride. I get my license in a few months and I’ve been saving for a car, so I’m just hanging here till then.”
“Drew. Remember, I’m here if you need to talk.”
“Thanks,” I hesitantly replied. With one last glance in the mirror to make sure no tears were evident, I left Ally behind in the bathroom with her book and her cigarettes.
When I arrived back to class everyone was diligently working on reading a new chapter in our photography books and answering questions, or at least they were pretending to look diligent about it. “Are you feeling ok?” Adrienne asked in a low whisper, barely louder than mouthing the words at me.
“I’m fine. Why?”
“You were gone a while and you smell like smoke.”
“I met someone.”
“In the girls’ bathroom?”
“Yeah. A girl. Ally VanHeusen.”
Adrienne just shrugged her shoulders in response. Could it be that I knew an out of the ordinary person Adrienne did not know? She always attracted them. I was too quiet. Oh well- right place, right time, I guess.
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