Fifteen-year-old Rachel Glass lived a quiet but happy life in upstate New York.
When her reality is shattered by a tragic act of school violence, she is forced to move her life across the country, to Los Angeles, California. There, Rachel comes face to face with her estranged father and the family he replaced her with. In this new environment, she must overcome the trauma of her past, deal with her present circumstances and prepare for an uncertain future.
Targeted Age Group:: Teens
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I started writing this book when I was 13, after hearing about the Columbine shooting. I believe it is even more relevant today. I was a shy kid so I lived vicariously through my characters and eventually wanted to share their stories.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Rachel is very much me as a teenager, with a few elements of who I wish I was, as well as who I have become. Her family is a combination of my family, relationships I wanted to have and the essences of characters from beloved universes.
I watched, transfixed, as the rain poured onto the windshield. It was easier to concentrate on that than to think about what just happened, to try and look past the rain, at the building that looked so calm while my imagination ran wild. All I could hear was the way the drops pounded on the roof. The rest of the world was quiet while the 3 of us sat in the van and waited. None of us dared to put our thoughts into words. I could tell that even though Kyle wasn’t saying anything, he was as terrified as I was.
When mom ran into the building, I was the one who reached out and grabbed onto my brother’s hand, but he was holding on pretty tight now too, and not just to make me feel better. He was looking for the same comfort I was.
I bit my bottom lip to stop the tears, because crying would mean I thought something bad had happened, and I was not ready to go there.
“When is nana coming back?” Katie, my 4-year-old niece broke the silence. Even she felt how serious this was, because she never stopped talking, unless she was eating or sleeping, and even then, it was debatable.
I turned away from the school and watched her try to understand what was going on. She held on to her little yellow soccer ball as you would a stuffed animal.
I realized I was looking at her like she was speaking a foreign language, so I tried to come up with an answer, but I couldn’t.
“She’ll be back in a few minutes sweetie, don’t worry.” Kyle, who was usually the funny one, assured her with a smile even she could tell was fake. Still, she nodded and accepted it, because we had never given her a reason not to trust us before.
Katie went back to looking out the window, but Kyle fixed his green eyes on me, the fear in them telling me he was just as worried as I was. My niece was young enough to think the loud noises were thunder, even though there was no lightning. As for me, I flinched every time we heard a gunshot. The silence unnerved me, but the sounds that ripped through the rain and chilled my bones were so much worse.
“Is she okay?” Katie asked after another series of gunshots. She was used to noise, because our house was normally bursting with all kinds of arguments, telephone conversations, loud music, video games, TV shows, and some occasional singing. This noise was different though, and I couldn’t tell if the rain was muffling the screams, or if I was imagining them.
I couldn’t tell how long it had been since my mom went into my high school, but it felt like hours. I knew it was actually less than 10 minutes, because I couldn’t hear sirens, and we had called the cops as soon as she left us. Katie asked us questions every minute or so, whenever she got the courage to disturb the silence, and we took it in turns to tell her nana would be okay, that she didn’t have to be afraid.
“Is nana coming back?” She asked when the rain and gunshots stopped. This time, no one answered her. It wasn’t that we couldn’t find the words. We just knew, or rather felt, our assurances would be untrue. I couldn’t tell you the exact moment it happened, or which gunshot did it, but we both knew that at some point between the last reassurance and Katie’s final inquiry, our world fell apart.
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