GENRE: YA Contemporary Sci-Fi
The moment Noelle sits across from me at lunch, an excited gleam in her eye, I can predict how this conversation will go.
“Come with me to Patrick’s back-to-school party.”
I smile apologetically. “You know the answer.”
Squeezing a dollop of ketchup beside my fries, I can feel her roll her eyes at me.
“But you’re a senior. Your dad has to let you go out sometime.”
At the mention of Agent Stephens, my adoptive father, I instinctively touch my sleeve to confirm it’s covering the red, puckered scar from my last torture session in the White Room. Twenty-seven people died in the earthquake I caused — the most I’ve ever killed in one session. Nausea rolls through me, and I fight the urge to push my tray aside.
“Earth to Alanna?”
I shift my hand away from the scar, sliding my smile back into place. “Sorry, what did you say?”
“Can’t you ask your dad about giving you some freedom this year?”
For once, I tell her the truth. “He’s not really the negotiating type.” I avoid the D word — dad — whenever possible. “So what are you going to wear?”
Thankfully, she takes the bait.
Noelle is my favorite of Gina’s friends, and she’s the only one who still talks to me. When you don’t belong to any teams or clubs and say no to every non-school-mandated event, people don’t become more than acquaintances. Before Noelle, Gina was the one person who never gave up on me.
If she had, she’d be alive.