TITLE: SHINE BRIGHT, MAD GENIUS
GENRE: Upper MG Contemporary Mystery
The store, with its sun-dappled aisles lined with glowing jars of beets and pickles, was not the place for a reunion, if Saskia could even call it that. Nor was it the right occasion. After a whole summer stocking inventory, Uncle Peter had left her in charge for the first time, and she needed to focus on customers, not old neighbors.
And definitely not a former best friend (emphasis on the “former”) who’d moved away to a different school, and stopped writing to Saskia altogether. Nope. Chloe Lim might have walked into the store thirty-two minutes ago with her little brother March in tow, but she could not expect to walk back into Saskia’s life as if the last three years hadn’t happened.
Saskia splayed her fingers across the cash register, glancing at the side where the Lims had settled into their old positions. Most people would have the social graces to leave once the small talk— hi, parents dropped us off, now live ten blocks away, starting at Hadfield High too, umm—died. The Lims, however, were content to linger in silence, oblivious to Saskia’s irritation. Chloe, face masked by a black helmet of hair, bent unmoving over some detective novel, and March was equally absorbed gluing stamps into his album. At least they were keeping to themselves.
The wind chimes sounded. Customer. Saskia snapped her attention to the entrance. Despite the summer heat, the customer wore a battered fedora and a trench with bulging pockets. He wasn’t a regular.