BLUE Excerpt: The Book Project

In this scene, Blue and her newly-acquired boyfriend, Devon, are working on a class project that requires them to select a book to preserve for posterity and write a presentation on it. Blue grabs a book from her MLM-loving mother’s bookshelf, and she and Devon brainstorm some talking points until it all takes a turn.

Mindfulness Over Madness: Your Guide to Self-Realization Through Negation Release,” Devon reads. “This is your book?”

“It’s one of my mom’s. I had to grab something. Should be easy to talk about.”

His brow crinkles in surprise. “You don’t have a favorite book?”

“I have a few,” I say defensively. “I’ve been so busy with school and work. I haven’t read a lot lately.”

“There’s got to be at least one book you can think of,” he says.

I feel my cheeks go slightly red. “I like to read romance.” I drop my voice down so nobody hears me. “Not like, all the time–just as an escape.”

He reaches across and puts his hand over mine. “I don’t know why you’re embarrassed about that. Books are a great escape. You like to escape into love stories. That’s no less valid than escaping into a horror story or a sci-fi story, or a story about a seagull who wants to break the sound barrier before he poops out all the french fries he ate on the beach today.”

“I’m not going to talk about a romance story.”

He holds up his hands. “Just a thought. So tell me about Mindfulness over Madness. What makes it worth preserving after civilization falls?”

“It’s going to enable me to step forward confidently into my best life,” I say, with faux fervency. “And if I can empower women to walk a mile in my patterned leggings before embracing their inner boss-babe-radiant-skinned warrior, maybe we can all share a spirulina shake and change the world.”

He gives me an incredibly earnest look as he grabs his notebook and opens it. “I am intrigued by your premise, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter,” he says, placing his hand over his heart.

“This brave new world will be our downline. Write that down.” I tap his notebook with my pen, and then I notice the drawing on the open page. It’s a woman’s face—I think. But in some weird, very colorful pattern.

“That’s interesting. Is it for Graphic Arts?”

“Nope, just for fun,” he says. “It’s your face but you probably don’t recognize it with the pattern. I borrowed the idea from one of those pairs of leggings.”

“You gave me legging face?” I didn’t realize I said that so loud until Mrs. Linza’s head turns in our direction.

“Blue? Devon?” She strolls over as Devon casually flips the notebook page and starts writing notes. “How’s it coming along?” she asks.

“Good,” I lie. “Really good. I’m going to empower what’s left of our fallen civilization, and Devon is going to discuss the psychology of seagulls.”

She glances down at our books. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a favorite of mine,” she says to him. He gives me a smug look, riding high on her validation. Then her gaze moves over to my book.

“Looks like you’re interested in self-help,” she says. Her fingers reach out and rest lightly on my shoulder. “That’s a positive step for you, Blue.”

And just like that, my lousy mood that had started to improve goes right back to lousy again. Everybody in the class is looking at me because they were all expecting her to come down on us for goofing off. Instead, she makes it sound like I’m badly in need of my mother’s crappy empowerment book. I want to throw it at her.

“She didn’t mean anything by it,” Devon whispers after she moves away.

“Sure she did,” I grumble. “I’m the psycho sister of the guy who drives around killing people, haven’t you heard? I punch teachers and suppress minorities and I need all the help I can get.”

BLUE is out October 26th!

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