by Lorie Ann Grover
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
After receiving a full-ride scholarship to Mills College for Girls, it appears Sarah’s future is all laid out before her … that is until she walks into a poetry class led by Mr. Haddings, a student teacher from the nearby University of Washington. Suddenly, life on the UW campus seems very appealing, and Sarah finds herself using her poetry journal to subtly declare her feelings for Haddings. Convinced Mr. Haddings is flirting back, she sets off for school in the rain with a poem in her back pocket—one that will declare her feelings once and for all.
Mr. Haddings has noticed Sarah’s attention; the fallout from any perceived relationship with a student is too great a risk, and he has decided to end all speculation that morning.
But everything changes when Mr. Haddings feels a thud on his front bumper when he glances away from the road, and finds Sarah in the street with blood pooling beneath her.
Pulling out into traffic, listening to Pink Floyd, I drive down the dark road toward the school. My headlights illuminate the steady shower skimming the tall firs.
In our last class, I read the poem I intentionally wrote to make the truth clear to Sarah. It hit home so well, she wouldn’t meet my eyes afterward. I glance in the rearview. “There can’t be anything between us.” Gripping the steering wheel, I practice the words in case, by some minute chance, I still need them.
As I shift into third and coast down the hill, I reach for my vibrating phone to check an incoming text. My mom: Have a nice day. Ahead, someone exits the upcoming crosswalk, leaving the road clear. I go to tuck my cell into my inside jacket pocket, but I can’t find the opening. I look down, letting go of the wheel for just a second.
Lorie Ann Grover is an awarded YA novelist whose work includes Kirkus Prize Nominee Firstborn. As a literacy advocate, she co-founded readergirlz and readertotz. Living in the foothills of Mt. Rainier, Lorie Ann practices weapons tai chi and is currently working on her next young adult novel.