TITLE: Revising the Catch-Up Plan
GENRE: YA Contemporary
When her younger brother’s drug addiction escalates to violence, seventeen-year-old MacKayla is sent to live with relatives in the deep South. She’s beginning to adjust to her new life when tragedy strikes twice: a hurricane hits town and her brother, back home, disappears. Mac must choose between leaving to search for her runaway brother or staying to assist the storm-ravaged community – and family – she’s grown to love.
Five days in Alabama and I’d already discovered three undeniable truths:
1. Pale Minnesota skin was not made for Southern sun. Two minutes in direct light and I was as pink and sticky as State Fair cotton candy.
2. “Sweet Tea” would be better named “Sugary, Delicious Goodness.” How had I gone seventeen years without this amazing beverage?
3. One week and a thousand miles was not enough time or space to erase an unwelcome memory.
I pushed my legs fiercely against the front porch, propelling the old rocking chair into a creaky sway of motion as I tried, once again, to forget that night. My glass of Sugary, Delicious Goodness was sweating against my palm, forcing me to grip it tightly as I took an oversized gulp. I closed my eyes and imagined I was sitting on our deck back home, my long-anticipated summer plans still awaiting me.
The sound of a truck crunching onto the gravel driveway pulled me into the present. I was not at home. I was in po-dunk Alabama, staying with my Great Aunt and Uncle who I hadn’t seen since I was a toddler.
“Hi there, MacKayla,” Aunt Shirley called, smiling and scooting her plump body out the truck’s passenger door. Uncle Joe turned off the engine and nodded a silent greeting, the large bald strip across his head shiny as he unloaded several large bags. I scurried to help, the former Girl Scout in me unable to stand by and let a seventy-five-year-old haul groceries on his own.