TITLE: Outside In
GENRE: Contemporary Young Adult
A bright red B. Oh my God. My lowest grade ever.
I rubbed my cheek as hard as I could and stuffed the paper into my binder before anyone could see it. I didn’t bother to check the comments—plenty of time to memorize those later.
My throat closed up and I couldn’t draw a full breath. One full grade less than an A. My G.P.A. would sink. Miranda would pass me in class rank.
One single B could ruin everything.
Dr. Shah wound her way through the rows of students. She handed a paper back to my friend Miranda, who grinned in triumph and scanned her comments. An A for sure.
How could I be such a fool? I clenched my teeth and my hands shook. I should have spent more time on the paper until it was flawless.
Dr. Shah passed out the last of the papers, but I barely noticed. Chairs scraped. Someone sneezed. There was a giggle from somewhere behind me. But all I could see was the afterimage of a—
The bell rang, and Miranda and I headed out the door together. Once we were in the hallway, she burst out, “I got an A! What about you?”
“Mmm,” I said, half-nodding.
She prattled on about her comments and each word stabbed at my stomach.
I couldn’t listen to her any longer. “I have to pee.”
I made it to the safety of a stall before the dam burst and the tears rushed down my cheeks.