Eeep! It’s two months ’til STAR CURSED comes out!
To celebrate the two-month mark, I’m going to give stuff away!
But first – a little snippet from STAR CURSED!
Rilla jumps up onto her bed. “I know you don’t want to be here. Everyone knows you don’t want to be here. You hardly hide it. But it’s almost December—you’ve been in New London over a month now. Can’t you make the best of things?”
“I am! I’m trying,” I insist, stung.
Since healing Mei two days ago, I’ve been shifted out of botany—the one class I loved—and into advanced healing. Mei’s been partnering with me for lessons and keeps asking me to play chess with her during afternoon tea. Rilla’s made a point of sitting with me during meals and in the classes we share, though it would certainly be easier—and more fun for her—to sit with other chattering, laughing girls instead of the one who barely speaks.
Have I ever thanked them for their pains?
“Are you really?” Rilla echoes my thoughts, her tone uncharacteristically tart. She rubs a hand over her cheek, dusted with freckles that remind me of Finn every time I look at her. “I don’t mean studying magic and delivering food to the poor; I mean making this your home. Just look at your side of the room!”
Oh. I notice, suddenly, the difference between hers—the yellow quilt with uneven stitches covering her bed, the novels and mugs and dresses scattered everywhere—and mine, which is barren. I never sent for my rose-patterned rug or Mother’s watercolor painting of the garden. I never even unpacked my spring dresses. I tell myself it’s because I don’t want to take up too much space—but is it, or do I just want to be prepared to pack up and leave at a moment’s notice?
“I’m trying to be your friend, Cate. But half the time you act as though I’m some pesky fly you’d like to swat. You never ask how my day was. You’ve never even asked me how I came to be here!”
The complaints pour out, a litany against me, and I’m staggered. Rilla is so relentlessly good-natured; I had no idea she’d noticed my rebuffs, much less was hurt by them.
“I defend you, you know, when the other girls say you’re proud and standoffish. So does Mei. But you’ve got to start making more of an effort.” Rilla swings her legs off the edge of her bed. She’s wearing a new dress today—a yellow brocade with enormous orange gigot sleeves, an orange taffeta bow at the breast, and orange chiffon ruffles at the hem. It looks well on her. Did I think to tell her that? I get so caught up in my lessons, in missing Maura and Tess and—
“Perhaps sometimes I just want to be alone for five minutes! Perhaps I have more important things on my mind than who got a new dress, or what mean thing Alice said today,” I snap, hunching my shoulders and hugging the book to my chest.
Rilla’s face flushes. “That’s not all I care about, and you know it—or you would, if you ever bothered to talk to me. We all know how bad things are getting, but we don’t have to dwell on it every single second. It wouldn’t kill you to have a little fun, sometimes.”
“Perhaps,” I whisper, undone by the disappointment in her voice.
Now to the giveaway:
A signed ARC of STAR CURSED
An ARC of Sara Zarr’s THE LUCY VARIATIONS (comes out May 7) (’cause she’s one of my all-time favorite authors, and I love the way she speaks about craft and making a creative life)
An ARC of Rick Yancey’s THE FIFTH WAVE (also comes out May 7) (’cause it’s edited by Amazing Editor Ari and has even Kirkus saying “Nothing short of amazing” O.O)
This contest is only open to the US until 4/26 at noon, BUT I’ll be having an international giveaway next week!