Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Someone knows who I really am - Naked by Stacey Trombley

 Now she has a chance to be normal again. Back in school, she meets a boy who seems too good to be true. Cute, kind, trusting. But what will he do when he finds out the truth about her past?


The best place to hide is in a lie…

I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much. I ran away to New York City…and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad.

Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad.

The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York.

Someone knows who I really am.

And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed…

What's "normal", anyway? 

I've never been a fan of normal, honestly. Why strive to be like everyone else? Why should I like this music just because everyone else does? Who needs matching socks, anyway?

Don't get me wrong, I was still intimidated by my peers but I didn't let that fear tell me who I could be. I just didn't shout my oddities off the roof tops. And in that respect, I really wasn’t that different from, well, everyone else. 

Normal basically means "like everyone else" but really, that’s impossible. The things we try so hard to achieve in order to be normal (cool clothes, makeup, watching the cool movies, having the right friends, the right boyfriends or girlfriends) are really meaningless. They're just there to mask the things that make us un-"normal". And we all have those things. 

Honestly, I think the one thing that makes us like everyone else are the secrets we hide. The good, the bad, the quirky. All those things that make you YOU. Those things are more normal than the things we show to the rest of the world. They're what makes us human. 

My "normal-for-me" things? Growing up, my mother had a mysterious illness that kept her in bed pretty much always (she's now diagnosed with Lupus.) 
My father quit his steady job as a machinist and started a business as a magician/balloon man. 
My parents divorced when I was in middle school and it left my father bankrupt. 

Not everyone knew these things about me. Most of the people I met at school would never know them. (well, except for my father's job since my first car was a minivan with "Extreme Family entertainment" signs all over it) 

We're all a little weird. We all have secrets. 

And THAT'S what makes us normal.


There’s a strange tapping on my window. My heart pounds in my chest as I remember the last time. Nothing happened then, but I do sort of wish I had Zara with me now.
                I take a deep breath and tiptoe to the window and peer out. A happy face peers back at me. I blink and then slide open the window.
                “What the hell are you doing here, Jackson?” His eyes are bright and alive, and I realize I’m very happy to see him.
                “I want to show you something,” he says.
                “Normal people come to the door, you know?”
                 He shrugs. “You told me your parents were strict—figured this was the safe way.”
                I shake my head. He’s crazy. And sneaking around my parents with a boy, even a boy as innocent as Jackson, probably isn’t the best idea in the world. Especially after what happened at dinner. I narrow my eyes. “Is it important?”
                 He nods eagerly, and I sigh. Good thing I didn’t change out of my school clothes yet. Besides, the chances of my parents coming to my room are nonexistent. After that big speech, my dad will want to bask in his own glory while he gives me time to think over his “lesson.” I grab a pair of tennis shoes from my closet, flick off the light so my parents think I’m sleeping, and climb out the window.
                “Okay, what’s so important?”
                He grabs my hand and laces his fingers through mine, which makes my heart patter in a completely idiotic way. And then he runs, pulling me with him. I notice he’s wearing a backpack. We run down the street and behind one of the houses, back to the field with the honeysuckles and my mini Central Park.
                Then we stop. The sky is a dark blue, but there’s still a little bit of light peeking out over the horizon. The field is right in front of us, with the little specks of lights flickering in the darkness.          “Fireflies,” I say.
                Jackson turns to me, his eyes bright. “You are human!” he says with a sly smile that makes my stomach tumble.
                 At least my cheeks don’t get hot. I do have some composure. “But they’re actually called lightning bugs.”
                “What? You made that up.”
                “Did not!”
                I laugh, and we both grow quiet and watch the little specks of light in the dark field.       
                “My family used to go camping in the summer when I was little,” I say. “My mom and I caught fireflies together. But we haven’t done it since I was eight or so.”
                “What happened after that?”
                “I don’t know. My dad started working more, we stopped talking to our cousins and even my grandparents for some reason, and my parents got stricter and stricter.” I shrug, wondering if that was actually the beginning of the end of my parents’ relationship, and I just hadn’t seen it. The same way they didn’t see the way those changes affected me. “That’s around the time that everything changed for me because they wouldn’t let me out to play with kids my age, and they stopped playing with me, too.” I’m telling him more than I’m supposed to.
                “Loneliness sucks.”
                I nod.
                He takes off his backpack and pulls out a jar. “Maybe we can make her a present.”
                “My mom? You don’t think she’ll say they’re too…you know…childish?”
                 He takes my hand. “Maybe. But maybe she needs to remember what it was like when things were good.”
                “What do you mean?”
                “Just some things you’ve said… It sounds like you guys haven’t been happy in a long time.” He’s right. It’s been a long time since we were happy. Not just me. My mom. My dad.
                Then he tugs on my hand and brings me into the field, thankfully saving me from having to confirm or deny anything. I wonder why they’re even still here, the fireflies. It’s September; aren’t they usually gone by now? There aren’t as many as there are in the spring and summer, but there’s enough for me to catch about ten in Jackson’s jar. When we’re finished, he pokes tiny holes in the lid of the jar and hands it to me. We walk back to where he left his backpack, and I set my jar down.

                “Is the night over?” he asks, his eyes alight with something else. Something very unchildish, and it kind of scares me. My whole body feels alive. At his look, heat rises into my cheeks. Thankfully, it’s too dark for him to see. I don’t know what Jackson and I are, but I do know that I don’t want to go home. Not yet.

About the author:
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.

She wants to bring something new to the world through her writing, but just giving a little piece of herself is more than enough.

Keep a look out for her debut novel NAKED, coming from Entangled Teen in 2015


Patrick Siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Arf2-D2 said...

Interesting choice of excerpt - light, cute, innocent and belies the darkness of the synopsis.

Unknown said...

This sounds like a great balance of a book. I look forward to reading it - despite the age of the characters. I generally steer clear, but I'm adding this to my TBR. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a really good book. Can't wait to read it. I added this to my To Be Read list. Thank you for posting!!

Ally Swanson said...

I enjoyed reading the guest post and the excerpt. This book sounds like an interesting read. I will totally have to add it to my "to-read" list.

CCAM said...

our "normal" is different from person to person :))
I like the premises of this story - TBR short list