CW Awards

Soooo this week is our last creative writing class *sobs in the corner* and we’ll be having a mini awards ceremony. I’m compiling this list of details about my novella to force you to vote for me make it easier for you to remember what you *might* want to nominate me for.  (I’m not trying to be a narcissistic, but… it’s part of the assignment.)

Title: Subliminal

eh.  I’m not sure what I think of it.  In a way it fits with the mystery and messages in the novella (and it does sound like a sci fi tittle) but I’m not sure how great it is.  In other words, I would love to hear it if you have any better title ideas.

Female Lead: Rowan Atreus (sometimes called Lacey Gorse)

Female Supporting: Rowena Dare or Ella

Male Supporting: Caleb or Chase

Villain: the Aurorans

Setting: Auroran Learning Institute (ALI)

Best Quote: I’m really not sure what my best quote is, but here’s one.

“Recognize yourself?” Ella asks, lowering her book and looking over the scene with thoughtful dark eyes.

“No,” Lacey admits, choking on the word.  She is alone.  She doesn’t even have herself.

Ella sighs.  “That’s all right.  None of us really do.”

If you think another quote is better, then that’s fine.

Opening Line:

“Rowan Atreus wishes her heart would stop beating.”

Closing Line:

“And when it opens, she sees a light.”

Literary Device:  Everything is based on the Aurorans symbolizing society.  Which might make my novella an allegory, but I’m not sure because after finishing English, I sort of deleted the literary device file in my brain. 🙂  So basically my whole novella is a literary device.

Comedic moment:  Well, there was that time when… when… nope, there’s nothing.

Dramatic moment: Chapter ten. >:)  The WHOLE thing.

Suspense moment: I’m not sure… Perhaps when a certain character dies and leaves behind a surprising note.  (if you read my novella, then that hopefully made sense)  But there are plenty of others.

Genre: Fantasy/ Science Fiction


S8: Questions that are Harder to Answer than They Should be

For this week, we answered a short questionnaire about our novellas then did a celebrity casting if we chose to do so.  I wasn’t originally planning on doing the casting but, well… I just had to.  I’ve done more celebrity researching in the last day than I have ever in my entire life. 🙂  

Question 1: What song would be the film score for your story?

I would say “White Teeth Teens” by Lorde.  This song can be interpreted in different ways—and I think it’s meant to be that way—but I feel like the theme of it fits my novel well.

Question 2: What book would be your main character’s favorite?

There’s no book that really jumps out as the answer.  I think she would like to read thought provoking books with themes of survival and self-realization, in which case she would probably like The Hunger Games.  Divergent might also appeal to her because it deals with the idea of categorizing people, although it’s strange to think of her reading dystopian books when she lives in a dystopian world.  Because of her experiences, she would be drawn to books that discuss memory loss, such as The Lost Hero, The Maze Runner, and We Were Liars.

Question 3: What TV shows would they watch?

This is honestly hard for me to answer because I don’t watch a lot of TV.  (I watch exactly one TV show).  Depending on her mood, my main character would either watch all of the popular shows to know what people are talking about, or rebel against all TV.  No, there would be no in between.  Ella would for sure like documentaries.

Celebrity Casting:

Well, here’s something I’m really bad at, since I kind of take pride in not knowing anything about celebrities.  I know next to nothing about these people and chose most of them for the way they look.  As a bonus, I chose a theme song for each character, since I usually think of those anyway.

Willow Shields as Rowan/Lacey:

Unlike most of the others, I’ve actually seen Willow act before and think she could do a good job. She plays Primrose Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.”

Song: “Who You Are” by Jessie J (though I prefer Ed Sheeran’s cover so that’s the one you get.)

Elizabeth Gilles as Rowena:

Yeah, I have pretty much no idea who she is. But the more I look at her, the more she looks the part.

Song: “No Angle” by Birdy (I know it makes NO SENSE now, but trust me, it will.)

Dylan O’Brian as Chase:

He was the first person that came to mind. At first I wasn’t sure, but now I can really see him in the role.

Song: “Monster” by Imagine Dragons

Haley Tju as Ella:

My options were pretty limited on this one. There aren’t a lot of Asian actresses out there! Or at least ones young enough for the role.

Song: “Am I Wrong” by Nico Vinz

Halston Sage as Bonny:

Her eye color isn’t the same as the book, but besides that she looks a lot like how I pictured her.

Song: “Popular” from Wicked (I’m not sure if this is the best song, but I couldn’t think of something better.)

David Huttlestone as Caleb/Leo:

And here is one of my favorite actors ever! I’ve been picturing him in the role for a while. (Even if his eyes aren’t green.)

Song: “Misguided Ghosts” by Paramore

S7: Assignment Gone Wrong

It’s the time of the week when we all post our assignments at the last minute!  With this sandbox, we were supposed to write about our main protagonist or antagonist in our novella giving a speech.  I did, well, you’ll see…

With sweating hands, Lacey drags her feet to the front of the room, trying not to look at the seated students who will soon be her audience.  She doesn’t want anything to do with this public speaking class, but an Auroran teacher told her it would be a good idea, since everyone should have to step out of their shell.

Keeping her hands steady, Lacey glances down at the speech they gave her to deliver, then meets the expectant eyes of the audience.  None of them take notes of any kind, and most don’t appear as if they plan on paying attention.  They are here to learn how to speak, not to listen.  Clearing her throat, Lacey reads the words planned for her.

“There was a time all of you inhabited the Outskirts, a place dominated by anarchy.”  Out of the corner of Lacey’s eye, she sees a boy doodling on the edge of his paper.  They’re not interested, since they’ve all heard this information before.  Discouraged, she presses on, explaining how the only communities in the Outskirts had tyrants for leaders, the adverse living conditions, and the overall lack of any hope.

“That is why the Aurorans gathered young people to take the Evaluation.”  Lacey pronounces each word with precision.  Although her audience doesn’t care, there’s an Auroran sitting at the back of the room, watching her with a hawk-like gaze and taking notes on her performance.  “With the world in the state that it’s in, our hope lies with the next generation.  Thus, the Aurorans selected the most talented young people the Outskirts have to offer in order to prepare them to take positions of leadership and bring change when they come of age.”

That doesn’t make sense, she thinks as she continues.  They expect next to nothing of us today, yet they expect us to change all of the world’s problems tomorrow.  Problems we didn’t cause.

After giving a tirade about the improved living conditions for students, Lacey reads the conclusion.  “At Auroran Learning Institute, we all have the opportunity we deserve.  Everyone is treated equally and given complete freedom.”

Lacey drops the paper, immersed in her own thoughts.  She doesn’t notice the next person standing up to read the same speech.  “That isn’t true,” she mutters.

“What?” a person from the audience asks.

“That isn’t true,” she repeats in a louder, bolder voice.  A few heads snap up.  “How are we free?  We can wear whatever we want, so long as we wear what they tell us to.  We can do whatever we want, so long as they approve of it.  We can be whoever we want to be, so long as it fits the mold they have planned for us.”

Lacey keeps talking, growing faster and louder with each sentence.  She can’t stop herself.  “Why am I taking this class?  Not because I want to, but because they think I should speak out more.  They force the timid to talk but not the loud to listen.  Is that being treated equally?”

There isn’t a single person in the room not paying attention now.  “And what is the point of the Evaluation?  To put people in boxes and categories, to decide who deserves the better treatment.  Then those of us who are lucky enough to be categorized as good enough have all the expectations to fulfill and orders to carry out.

“Our lives may have been horrible before, but are we happy here?  None of you will honestly answer that because we aren’t allowed to! We–”

Before Lacey can say another word, she feels a cold hand wrap around her wrist like a metal shackle.  She whirls around to find their Auroran supervisor standing over her, a blizzard of fury in his eyes.  “That would be quite enough, Miss Gorse.”

Dun dun dun.  On that lovely note, I’m ending my sandbox.  I’m not planning on putting this in my actual novel, but I hope you gained more insight on the conflict I’m trying to develop.  If you’re reading my novella, I’d appreciate it if you give me feedback on how well I’m portraying this conflict.  (You can tell me I’m failing completely.  It’s okay.  After all, this is only my first draft.)

Sandbox 6: The Mind of an Auroran

Here is the sandbox that you have all been waiting for  you get to read this week. 🙂  I rewrote Chapter 1 from the perspective of *drum roll* an Auroran.


One week.  Her time is up.  Clutching her clipboard to her chest, the Auroran walks to the prison’s door.  They told her to watch out for this one.  She can be too smart and strong for her own good.  A rebel.  But no matter.  A week in isolation should have done the trick.  The Auroran punches in a code, and the door opens.  The student sits in fetal position, on the breaking point though not yet broken.  Good.

The student’s head lifts up to examine the Auroran with wide brown disbelieving eyes.  “Come with me,” the Auroran orders.

The student peels herself off the floor.  “Come?  I’m leaving?”

The Auroran resists the urge to roll her eyes.  For the smartest young individuals in the Outskirts, the students sometimes asked the most infuriatingly simple questions.  “Yes.  Up now.  We don’t have all day.”

While the student eyes her suspiciously, the Auroran jots down a few notes.  Untrusting.  Confused.  Take advantage of the latter quality.

            “Are you my imprisoner or my liberator?” the girl asks.

Amused by the question, the Auroran smiles and answers, “Both.”  Then she turns and walks down the hall.  The girl will follow.

“Where are we going?” the student asks, stumbling behind.

“Save your questions for later.”  When they reach their destination, the Auroran turns to face the bewildered student.  “I’m going to explain everything to you in a condensed, brief manner, so it would serve you well not to interrupt.  Your name is Lacey Gorse.”

The student steps back.  “No.”

Again, the Auroran finds herself wanting to roll her eyes in annoyance.  Uncooperative.  Some hint of identity left, she jots down“I told you no interruptions.  Your name is Lacey Gorse.  Your past was bleak with a grey future, so when the Aurorans offered you a chance to take the Evaluation, you readily accepted.  Since you scored among the top twenty percent, you earned yourself a place at the Auroran Learning Institute, commonly known as ALI.  Your results are here.”

The Auroran makes pauses her recital to hand the student her Evaluation results.  They were impressively high, especially considering they had to take away any points for emotional strength.  If the results reflected her true performance…

“What’s the Evaluation?” the student asks.

“An accurate measure of beauty, intelligence, personality, creativity, and strength.  You just completed the final part.”

“The prison… and the memory loss was part of a test?  Does that mean I can have my memories back now?”

The Auroran ignores the student’s hopeful stare as she recounts the planned response.  She was told to expect questions like this.  “The prison was a test of emotional strength, yes.  The memory loss I’m afraid was an unfortunate side effect.”

“Why… how did it happen?”

There’s one question the girl will never receive an answer to.  “I’m afraid I don’t have time to explain.”  The Auroran checks the timer on her electronic board.  “When that door opens in thirty seconds, you will begin your life at ALI.”

“What do I do there?”

The Auroran bites back a sigh.  Why can’t the students understand their only job is to finish their childhood then take their place as world leaders, mending all the problems the previous generation left behind?  Instead of voicing her opinion she says, “You learn.  You live.  You’re liberated.”  The door opens.  “Come now.  The assembly is waiting.”

She walks up to the front of the stage, undeterred by the students’ expectant and confused stares.  “Students of ALI.  Today Lacey Gorse will be joining you.”  They’re surprised, of course.  No one prepared them for this to happen, because the Aurorans had only recently determined that Lacey would be able to join their number.

“Now we know you thought no one else would be joining, but these are unusual circumstances,” the Auroran continues, silencing the crowd.  “You also need to know that Lacey has unfortunately experienced amnesia, which may cause some trouble to her adjustment, but we’re sure we can leave her in your care from this point on.”

There.  Her job is done.  The Auroran walks off the stage and through the door, ignoring the new student’s desperate eyes following her.  She feels no guilt.  If the student was incapable of taking care of herself, she wouldn’t be where she is now.  Even if she is an anomaly.

S3– Auroran Learning Institute

When I read what this week’s Sandbox was, I actually started laughing.  We were supposed to create a flyer advertising the setting in our novella, which is a little strange for my novella since it’s in a dystopian setting.  Then I got the idea of making it a  propaganda flyer…






IMPORTANT: About my novel project

Because I am the most paranoid and arrogant person in the world, I think that everyone wants to steal my novel or something of that sort.  Thus, I have joined the bandwagon and created a second blog specifically for my novel.  You can find it here.  Note: It is a private blog, but I will let you in if I like you if you are a member (or honorary member) of Ms. Gaines’s creative writing class.


Chapter 1—Be

 Well, sorry that this is a little late, but here’s the first chapter of my novel.  Thoughts and suggestions would be much appreciated!  Note: Only the first chapter will be posted on this blog.  The rest of the novel will go on another blog that I have not created yet, but I’ll be sure to post the link.

Summary: Rowan is injected with a poison that takes away her memory.  Although she tries to fight it, she eventually falls unconscious.  When she comes to, she’s in a steel prison cell without any memories.  After five miserable days of imprisonment, a mysterious woman gives her the name Lacey Gorse and takes her to her new home.

Rowan Atreus wishes her heart would stop beating.  Not to die.  No, she’s clawed her way through too much to give up now.  Though with each treacherous thump, the larcenous substance courses through her veins, making her wish it would just.  Stop.

But her heart won’t stop, or even hesitate for a breath.  How could it, in a moment like this, when the power of the truth is in Rowan’s head but is about to be snuffed out?  When she’s strapped down to a metal table, ominous machinery and lab equipment looming on all sides?

She thrashes against her restraints, making her heart hammer like a bird desperately throwing itself against the walls of its cage.  There’s no use.  The serum is doing its work; the darkness is coming.

Rowan fights back despair as she begins to accept the inevitable.  She’s going to forget.  She’s going to lose all she is so they can mold her into what they want.  Black specks dance in her vision, telling her there’s little time left.  As her consciousness slips away, she holds onto the truth with all the feeble strength she has left.

Then the darkness takes over.

Cold.  That’s the first sensation she feels.  When she blinks, her eyelashes brush the hard steel floor.  She sees grey, grey and a tendril of something sandy colored.  Only when she pushes herself up does she realize the sandy tendril is hair, her hair.  Groggily, the girl forces herself to look around.

She’s surrounded by nothing but steel.  Four steel walls, a steel floor, and a steel ceiling.  Prison, she realizes through her daze.  She’s in prison.  The girl slumps against one of the steel walls.  Now why, why would she be in prison?

That’s when she realizes.  She has no idea who she is.  The agonizing awareness pulls a gasp from her throat as she makes a frantic move to face the wall.  Who is she?  Where is she from?  Why is she here?  The girl rubs the steel surface of the wall with all her might, hoping to get a clearer reflection.  Could it spark a memory?

Though after all her attempts, the inexorable wall yields only an obscure shadow, nothing that brings the slightest hint of a memory.  The girl hits her fist against the wall and puts her head down with a sob.   Is there more to life than this oblivion and exile?  Will there ever be?  She has neither a memory nor a friend to tell her otherwise.

Leaning her back to the wall, she lets out an anguished scream.  But no one hears.  She is entirely alone, all of her torment locked inside of her.  This torturous truth causes her to collapse inside of herself, welcoming darkness’s cold embrace.

It’s Day Three now.  Day three and she still knows nothing.  Or she assumes it’s been three days.  She can only count days by the lights.  Every night the light in her cell flickers out, and the girl sleeps on her cot.  Every morning the lights come back and she wakes up, though she’s never truly sure why.

And there are meals, three every day.  They come in and out the same chute, and there’s a separate chute for her toilet pail.  At one point, they even sent her a new set of loosely fitted grey clothing.  She’s thought about starving herself, or rejecting the clothes.  Yet she doesn’t.

She goes through all the motions of living.  Sleeping.  Waking.  Eating.  Wondering.  Though she always feels like part of her is sleeping, and even with plenty of food, she never feels full.  With all her wondering, she’s never found a single answer.  Who is she?  Who are her family, her friends, her fiends?  Who put her here and why?

She wonders if perhaps she’s done something awful, something so awful that she deserves this fate.  Some instinct tells her she isn’t that sort of a person, but sometimes this voice can’t be heard over the screeching silence that only prison can produce.

The girl doesn’t know who would bother to take such good care of a former criminal.  She only knows that if she spends much more time here, she’ll go insane.  She can’t remember anything, no matter how hard she tries.  If she ever needs people, it is now.  But she’s hopelessly alone, without any contact or help.  If she ever needs memories, it is now.

So she waits.  Whether it is for change, truth, insanity, or death she isn’t sure.

The thing she is waiting for comes on Day Five.  She’s lying in a puddle of misery when without warning, one of the seemingly impenetrable walls parts, allowing room for a woman in a grey suit to walk in.  “Come with me,” she orders brusquely.

The girl lifts her head and uncurls from her fetal position.  “Come?  I’m leaving?” she croaks with her unused voice.

“Yes.  Up now.  We don’t have all day.”  The woman gives her a critical stare as she types a few notes on her board.  It’s then that the imprisoned girl sees a single word printed on her liberator’s chest.  Auroran.

“Are you my imprisoner or my liberator?” she asks.

The Auroran, as the girl comes to think of her, gives her a smile as warm as an ice storm.  “Both.”  Then she turns on her heels with a sharp click, staring down a long grey hallway.

Who is she?  Can the girl trust her?  Probably not, but this may be her only chance out of prison.  Peeling herself from the floor, she follows after the Auroran.  “Where are we going?”

“Save your questions for later,” is the curt response.

When they arrive in front of a set of metal double doors, the Auroran makes a sharp turn to face the girl.  “I’m going to explain everything to you in a condensed, brief manner, so it would serve you well not to interrupt.  Your name is Lacey Gorse.”

“No.”  The response slips out before she can bite back her tongue.  After all of the hours she spent trying to recall her name, she never produced any results, but some instinct tells her that’s not it.

The Auroran’s eyes narrows as she makes a discreet mark on her board.  “I told you no interruptions.  Your name is Lacey Gorse.  Your past was bleak with a grey future, so when the Aurorans offered you a chance to take the Evaluation, you readily accepted.  Since you scored among the top twenty percent, you earned yourself a place at the Auroran Learning Institute, commonly known as ALI.  Your results are here.”

The Auroran makes a pause to hand the girl… Lacey a formal piece of paper.  She ravenously reads the information in hopes of discovering something of herself, but finds her mind is whirling too quickly.  She’s learned more about herself in the last five minutes than she has in the last five days, yet… if the Auroran lied about her name, what else could she be lying about.  “What’s the Evaluation?” Lacey asks, trying to fill one of her hundreds of holes of knowledge.

“An accurate measure of beauty, intelligence, personality, creativity, and strength.  You just completed the final part.”

Lacey’s eyes widen.  “The prison… and the memory loss was part of a test?  Does that mean I can have my memories back now?”

The Auroran keeps her eyes trained on the door.  “The prison was a test of emotional strength, yes.  The memory loss I’m afraid was an unfortunate side effect.”

“Why… how did it happen?”

“I’m afraid I don’t have time to explain.”  The Auroran checked her board.  “When that door opens in thirty seconds, you will begin your life at ALI.”

“What do I do there?”

“You learn.  You live.  You prepare for liability.  You’re liberated.”  The door opens to a stage with a crowd of young people around it.  “Come now.  The assembly is waiting.”

Lacey slowly creeps through the doorway, lingering behind as the Auroran steps to the front of the stage.  “Students of ALI,” she begins.  “Today Lacey Gorse will be joining you.”

A wave of whispers passes over the crowd, making Lacey want to slink behind and crawl back into her prison cell.  No, she decides.   Nowhere could be worse than there.  She needs to be here, where there are people.  Where someone might know something.  She holds her head up, pretending that the crowds’ eyes aren’t turning her stomach into knots.

“Now we know you thought no one else would be joining, but these are unusual circumstances,” the Auroran continues, silencing the crowd.  “You also need to know that Lacey has unfortunately experienced amnesia, which may cause some trouble to her adjustment, but we’re sure we can leave her in your care from this point on.”

Without another word, the Auroran walks off the stage and through the door, which closes behind her with a soft click.

S1: Talking Horses and Other Such Nonsense

When I first heard about this assignment, I was kind of terrified because I don’t watch TV.  Much less reality TV.  I’ve been thinking/ worrying about this all week, when suddenly BOOM it’s Tuesday night and I have an idea.  Yipeee!!!  By the way, I hope this counts as reality TV.

a lovely picture of a Clydesdale

Ella slips into the stable and sighs in relief.  Horses.  Horses should have better sense than humans shouldn’t they?  She pats a tall Clydesdale on its nose.  “You won’t speak any nonsense like people do, now will you?”

“Absolutely not,” the horse snorts.

Ella flinches.  A talking horse?  After all of the strange things she’s lived to see, this still is one of the strangest.  She lets out a nervous laugh.  “Well, either I’m going as insane as they say I am, or you just spoke.”

“You’re not insane.  I really do talk.”

“Interesting…”  Although Ella’s mind is racing, she continues to calmly pet the horse.  “And what might a horse such as yourself have to say?”

The horse gives a slight shake of its mane.  “Well, I know who’s going to win the upcoming horserace.  Listen to me and you’ll win all of the bets.”

A smile tugs at the edge of Ella’s lips.  There’s a trick to this; she’s sure.  A hidden microphone somewhere maybe…  “Very well then,” she says.  “I wouldn’t mind making a little money.”

“First place will be Chestnut.”

Ella glances down at the sign on the horse’s door.  “That would be you.”

“Sure thing.  I’m the fastest one here, if I don’t say so myself.”

Ella tries not to roll her eyes.  The horse before was clearly bred to be a show horse and nothing more, just like all of the other horses in this stable.  Although she doesn’t gamble, she’s willing to bet Chestnut doesn’t ever move faster than a canter.  Couldn’t the person behind this at least have done research to make this plausible?  “And who will come in second?” she asks.

Chestnut nuzzles her hand.  “My best friend Pepper.”

“Hmm…” Ella muses.  What could someone possibly get from making a horse appear to talk?  She couldn’t let them know she’s caught on.  Not until she finds their motives.  “And third place?”

“I hate to say it, but probably Speckles.  He’s not half as special as he thinks he is, if you ask me.”

look, it’s Speckles

“Hello there,” interrupts a voice from behind.  Ella turns around to find a white-haired man wearing a black suit and a smile.  “See you’re having a nice conversation with that horse.”

She smiles.  “Yes, I am.”  Is he behind this?

“You seem very calm about it.  Don’t find it strange at all?”

Is he meant to distract her?  Can she get information from him?  “No stranger than I am.”

The man laughs genially and points to a corner.  “Now, could you do me a favor and smile over there?”

Ella takes a step back.  “Why would I do that?”

“You’re on Candid Camera!”  The smiling man stands there as if his words are supposed to have a powerful significance.  After a long silence, a look of confusion replaces his grin.  “You know, the show on TV where we make funny things happen to people and film it?  And then they smile at the camera?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The man’s jaw drops, then he recomposes.  “You see, we put a microphone on that horse.  It’s a prank.”

“Yes.  I figured as much.”

“And we put a camera there to film people talking to him.  You know how it works, don’t you?”

“No, actually.  I don’t watch TV.”

“But surely you’ve heard of Candid Camera.”

“I try not to pay attention to trivialities.”  Ella starts to walk away.  At least now she knows why someone would make a horse talk, although she finds the whole thing rather ridiculous.

“Wait!  Aren’t you at least going to smile for the camera?” the no longer smiling man begs.

Ella turns to face him.  “If Chestnut could talk, he would know he’s not a runner and that none of these horses race.  Besides, if any of these horses were to win a race—which, may I remind you is highly unlikely—it would be Speckles the Caspian.”

The man attempts another smile.  “Well now, that’s beside the point, isn’t it?  We’re just here to have fun.  Now if you could smile at the camera…”

“You could have at least had your horse give correct information, or say something a little more interesting.  It’s a terrible thing to hear horses talk as ignorantly as humans do.”  Ella turns on her heels, leaving the smiling man feeling much the way he would if he were a target to one of his own jokes.

S: Brilliance or Insanity? (Probably Insanity)

For this lovely sandbox assignment, we were to write about some one’s reaction to our completed novel project.  For the sake of the assignment, I decided to be extraordinarily arrogant and assume my book would be published, become popular, and that you will react exactly how I want you to.

Ignore the fact that the girl is not you and picture yourself in her place


You trail your fingers on the book bindings as you walk along the library bookshelves in search of a new book.  Read it, read it, not interested, why was that even published, read it.  Oh, the woes of a teenage bookworm. Then you see something that catches your eye.  It’s Subliminal by Eira Conall.

You pull the book off the shelf and examine the cover.  Strange that you would find it, since it’s usually checked out.  You’ve heard people talk about it but never read it yourself.  One of your friends said that it was really interesting and weird at the same time.  Actually, you had kind of been wanting to read it.  With a shrug, you check it out.

When you arrive home you plop down on your couch and crack open the well-worn book.  From the beginning, you’re drawn in.  What’s going on?  What kind of a story is this?  Without really thinking about it, you flip past the first few chapters.  Your friend was right—the book is a little different.  You thought it would be just another young adult dystopian novel, but something about this one feels unique.  Maybe it’s the characters, the setting, the style— you’re not quite sure.

Though at the same time, it rings true.  You relate to the characters’ confusion and inner turmoil.  Although you thankfully don’t live your life in such a dark setting, you feel like you face the same things they do.  You hate the pressure society and peers put on you, and the more you read, the more you see how it affects you and other people.  You hate it when people are fake, but now you wonder if you’re fake too.  Subliminal fills your head with so many questions about yourself and life that you’re not exactly sure what to do.  So you keep reading.

What’s up with this Rowena character?  And Chase, something seems strange about him, too.  Actually, there seems to be something up with all these characters; it’s making your head spin.  And what did happen in Lacey’s past?  You keep turning pages to find out…

Wait?  What?  Did you read correctly?  Yes.  What is going on?  You didn’t expect this to happen.  Or this.  Or this.  There’s always something happening you didn’t expect, and each surprise shocks you more than the last.  Where’s the crazy author going with this?

Finally, it looks like you’re there.  The end.  With a shaking hand, you turn the last page.  What’s going to happen?  There’s no way everything is going to be fixed, or even all the loose ends tied.  Not on one page.  You read it.  Then you read it again.  No, really?  That’s the end?  You frantically keep turning pages as if that will somehow make more words appear.

You don’t want it to end like this.  It’s so bleak, so hopeless.  Yet so full of hope too.  You stare at the wall for a moment and try to figure out what happened, try to sort through all the emotions you’ve gone through since opening that infernal book.  Then, the more you think about it, the more you like the end.  You see that’s what really happens; that’s how it works.  It was probably best way to end the book hopefully and realistically at the same time.

For the next several days, weeks, months, the book is in your head.  You see it everywhere: yourself, life, other people.  You want to know what happens next yet feel satisfied with the ending.  You want a movie yet don’t trust Hollywood to make it.  Through it all, there is one conclusion you are completely sure of.

Someone needs to put that author in a mental institution.