Genre: YA Contemporary
Title: IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT
Adeline has been lying to her friends about her abusive home. University means escape, but by severing the strings keeping her in her suffocating small town, she risks losing everyone else in the process.
First 500 words:
It’s June, so I shouldn’t be shivering after ducking out of the club. But it’s too hot inside, with all my classmates crowding around to say goodbye like we won’t be seeing each other all summer. I wrap my arms around myself to fend off the early summer chill while enjoying the light breeze.
“Adeline?” a voice calls out. It’s Nikki. Head cheerleader, president of student council and everything else, she was the most popular girl in school, and my best friend.
“Over here,” I call out, not quite ready to surrender my solitude.
Her tiny frame rounds the corner, dressed in a yellow sundress that highlights her straight, auburn hair. She shuffles over to me. “What are you doing out here? It’s freezing!”
“I just needed some air,” I say, plastering on the persona I know she wants to see. Happy Adeline. Cool Adeline. Completely Fake Adeline.
She falls onto the wall beside me. “I can’t believe we’re done. Like, done done. We never have to go back there again.”
I smile at her excitement, but I hardly share it. High school gave me an excuse to be out of the house all the time and away from Charlie, my older brother, ruling the house now that Dad’s gone and my mother, who never fails to find a fault in me, if she even remembers I’m there. Now, I have the entire summer in that house ahead of me.
“Yeah, it’s pretty crazy,” I say.
“C’mon, Adeline,” Nikki says, her green eyes staring up at me in the dim light of the parking lot. “This is what we’ve been working for all these years. Freedom!”
I lean my head back against the wall. “Freedom,” I repeat. Nikki has no idea what that word really means to me.
“This summer is going to be amazing. Soon the whole gang will be together again!” Nikki continues.
She’s referring, of course, to Jake. He’s the only member of our inner circle who isn’t going to be here tonight since he’s a year ahead of us and is still at university taking extra credit courses. We haven’t seen each other since his last break over two months ago and I’ve started to worry he might have forgotten about us. Or, about me, anyway.
“Yeah,” I say. “It’s going to be great.”
Nikki’s phone buzzes and she checks it discretely, a wide smile spreading across her face. She shoves it back in her purse and takes me by the shoulders so I face her.
“What’s going on, Nik?” I ask.
A car turns into the parking lot and as I squint to see where I’ve seen it before, Nikki turns me back around. She keeps her hands on my shoulders, and her smile is even wider than it was before. “Just, stay here, okay?”
I glance back but I can’t see anything. “What is it?”
A car door slams and Nikki spins me around quickly. "Surprise!" she whispers in my ear.