GENRE: YA Contemporary Fiction
The day after Mia finds out that the only way she can get off academic probation is to sign up for the Wilderness trip, she goes out to a birthday dinner with her parents and her best friends, Val and Blade.
After dessert, Blade slides a shoebox-sized present in front of me. “Happy Birthday.”
I slide the top off. Inside are four pairs of wool socks and a flashlight.
“That’s the kind of flashlight I used last year,” Blade says. “It gets dark early in the mountains.”
I gasp. “I haven’t even signed up yet!”
Blade smiles. “I have a feeling you will.”
Mom sets down her wineglass. “Honestly, girls. Traipsing around with snakes and bears and sleeping in dirt?”
“Wilderness is a life-changing experience,” Blade says. “It gets you in touch with who you really are inside…your best moral self.”
“By living like an outdoor savage?” Mom bursts out in drunken laughter like it’s the funniest thing.
"I think most people are better than they think they are,” Blade says. “More honorable.”
“That’s very inspiring.” Mom says. “I like you, Blade. I hope you can be Mia’s co-leader so you can look out for her. And while we’re on the subject of Mia, why don’t you ask her out sometime? On a real date?”
“Mom!” My ears are on fire. Blade’s face flames red.
“What?” Mom says innocently. “You are seventeen, you should go on a date. With a young, responsible gentleman. Prom is just around the corner.”
Dad tries to hush her up. “Cherie, stop. You’re embarrassing Mia…”
“Alright, alright, it’s just when I was her age…” Mom says.
Blade gives me a shy smile.
I want to die.