TITLE: The Purple Wars
GENRE: YA Contemporary
The dining room is where the ghosts and monsters play. That’s what Jacob said back then, our necks curling around the half open door, eyes blurting fright. Twelve years on, it’s still my least favourite room in the house; it’s where adults endure dinner parties, where serious topics are discussed, and it smells of calla lilies instead of brownies and popcorn.
And it’s the only room in the house where I can’t see the Purple Woods.
So when Dad and Coach Kominsky invite me to take a seat at the solid jarrah table, the cream-cushioned chairs imprinted with the bums of ghosts, I wrap my arms around my chest and respond with a brisk, “I’m good here.”
Of course it’s Coach K who starts talking in his clipped Czech accent. Abrupt, cutting; the words may as well be tennis balls smashing into my chest. Even now, at the point of ambush, I’m pretty impressed by his perfectly round shaved head—no freckle, bump or indent daring to blemish it.
I grip the high-backed chair; add some flint to my stare. “How can you say I’m not good enough, Coach Kominsky?” My voice wobbles. The earth shifts beneath my feet. “I’m only seventeen—”
“Seventeen and a half, Harper,” replies Coach, fingertips tapping each other. He’s trained me to become a world class tennis player for over five years and I don’t even know his first name.
“Dad?” Dad glances at me, but for him it’s like staring into the sun.