Scheduled for the first week of December, I will be releasing my new YA novel “Almost 21 Again”. The book is for older teens and features a bit of fantasy, romance and the heartache that comes with growing up. Here is a look at the first few pages of the book.
There are some people in the world who refuse to accept unhappiness. Juliet Arden is exactly that kind of person. When she was in the third grade, she unknowingly cut in line at lunch time, causing her to get her card pulled. Having index cards in different colors, all of which identified a certain amount of mischief, allowed Juliet to bask in her daily good behavior. One day she discovered her card was no longer the serene and obedient color of blue. She was mortified by such an unprovoked revelation. Instead of crying about it, instead of accepting it, she simply reasoned with the teacher. Her level of awareness paired with her calm and persuasive attitude resulted in her teacher rethinking such harsh punishment for such a petty infraction. Her ability to maintain her stellar record of good behavior and excellent grades allowed her the opportunity to visit The White House where she received the President’s Award.
When Juliet was 12, she eagerly donated her time to quite a few volunteer opportunities. She taught the elderly new dance moves, cleaned the animal feces at the local petting zoo and put on puppet shows for ailing children at a nearby hospital. When Juliet was sixteen, she discovered that the most popular boy in school was going to ask her out to homecoming much to the dismay of her best friend, Sally Goodacre, who often walked into walls because she was so distracted by the more-than-high-school good looks of Tommy Dahl. Juliet turned down the invitation with grace, sincerity, and an uncommon maturity while suggesting that he ask Sally. While at the dance, Juliet was surprised to discover Tommy ignoring Sally. Sally instead spent the evening with her and Juliet’ best guy friend, Tucker. Sally and Tucker had a flirtatious good time but after dating for a few weeks, they mutually agreed that what they had was only a friendship. This did, however, lead to Sally meeting Tucker’s neighbor, a local artist who awakened Sally’s own passion and ability as a painter.
While at the dance, Juliet sparked a conversation with Elliott Dennison. Elliot was often picked on for his awkwardly oversized horn-rimmed glasses and undersized jeans that were doubtlessly a hand-me-down from his much shorter, older brother. Juliet decided to date Elliot for a while, which caused Elliot to gain a confidence he never had, allowing him to get into an Ivy League school, where he was considered the smartest and coolest guy on campus. When Juliet was 18, she applied to the top seven universities in the country. Not to her surprise, she was accepted to all seven schools with a full scholarship.
It was the night before her 21st birthday when Juliet sat alone in her dorm room, awaiting a shift she knew to expect, but didn’t know why. The glare of her laptop was the only thing that dimly lit her room. It was not typical for Juliet to be alone, she had plenty of friends and was juggling activities and social events on a daily basis since her first day of college. Awaiting the stroke of midnight, Juliet nervously paced her room like she had so many times before. Trying to keep her mind on other things was nearly impossible and ultimately useless. Her eyes welled up with tears, making it difficult to see the red neon numbers on her digital clock. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
After the Earth predictably rotated, exposing itself to the sun, Juliet’s consciousness remained alert far sooner than she allowed her eyes to open. Instead, she kept them tightly shielded from the outside world. Her pursuit to remain invisible to whatever awaited her failed as a slobbering and aggressive tongue greeted her ear.
“Hi, Bailey,” Juliet squeaked.
“Are you ready for your first day of school Juliet?” A pretty woman, just barely into her thirties, with a messy brunette ponytail, blue striped pajama pants, and a mismatched flannel shirt, stumbled into Juliet’s room.
Juliet nodded, in an overly rehearsed manner.
“I can’t believe my baby girl is starting Kindergarten today, where does the time go?” asked Juliet’s mother.
Juliet shrugged, deciding it was best not to let her mom know this would be Juliet’s fifth first day of kindergarten.