Title: Skater Boy
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: NLA Digital Liaison Platform LLC
Length: 50,000 words
Sub-Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult (YA)
Dawn Miller is sick of being good. Her parents have scheduled her to within an inch of her life and her popular friends can only think of hooking up and shopping. She's ready for a serious boyfriend, and it's definitely not the obnoxious rich boy everyone wants her to date.
Then she meets Starr, the headmaster's punk rock daughter who refuses to play by the rules. The differences between them are night and day but Dawn is fascinated. Starr introduces her to a world she didn't even know existed: hip indy record stores, all night raves, and cute skateboarders who hang out underneath a parking deck downtown.
Skateboarders like the gorgeous Sean, who's sweet, smart, and curiously serious --everything Dawn's always wanted in a boyfriend. Soon she finds herself head over heels and doing the unthinkable, lying to her parents and friends. Deep down she knows her parents will never approve of this boy from the wrong side of town...and her secret life is finally catching up to her. Will Dawn be forced to choose between the girl she was and the girl she is meant to be? And if she chooses, will she lose her skater boy forever?
"Mancusi has scored a hit. Dawn is likeable, and any teen girl--wealthy or not--should identify with her typical problems. From boys to friends to parents, the author covers it all. She even manages to include one or two deeper messages in the form of "straight edge" teens and a "perfect" wealthy boy who turns out to be a real jerk."-- Alexandra Kay, RT Book Reviews
“Hey, that’s pretty good!”
I look up with a start. I’ve been so wrapped up in my world that I hadn’t realized the new girl, the supposed Satan-worshipper who drinks snake blood, has sat down at the desk beside me and is eyeing my paper.
Up close, I realize she has several piercings to go along with her already punk-rock look—a diamond stud in her nose and a silver hoop embedded in her eyebrow. Her face is pale white, almost as if she’s powdered it, and her eyes, a striking blue, are rimmed with a ton of black.
“You read my poem?” I ask, feeling my cheeks flush. I mean, sure, I realize that if I win the poetry contest lots of people will end up reading it, but still, her peeking over my shoulder without permission seems a grave invasion of privacy. And what if she goes and tells everyone that I, Dawn Miller, friend of the Ashleys, was seen writing poetry in detention? I might as well put in my application for the loserville lunch table right now.
Then again, she said it was good. Since I’ve never shown my scribblings to anyone before, I’ve never gotten an unbiased opinion on them. I mean, sure, I like them, but obviously I’m a bit prejudiced.
“Are you just saying that?” I ask. “ ’Cause you so don’t have to.”
She shakes her head, causing her straight black hair to flip from side to side. “No way,” she says. “I never say things I don’t mean. Life’s too short.” She pauses, then adds, “I was assuming it’d be bad, actually. But I guess you can’t judge a Barbie by its cover.”
I frown. “I’m not a Barbie.” I just hang out with them. She shrugs. “Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. Honestly, I don’t care either way. But you are a good writer.”
A good writer. She thinks I’m a good writer. No one’s ever told me that before. I feel a warm pride settle over me and I decide to ignore the Barbie comment. Or at least prove her wrong.
“Thanks,” I say. “There’s this poetry contest I want to enter it in and—”
“Oh, the one in Faces?”
I stare at her in shock. “How do you—?”
“I read Faces all the time. It’s a great mag.”
Wow. She actually reads literary magazines. My friends wouldn’t be caught dead reading literary magazines. In fact, we have a saying: If it’s not Cosmo, it’s crap.
“I’m Dawn,” I say, extending a hand.
“Starr.” She shakes my hand. I notice she has on black fingernail polish that’s half flaked off.
Starr. What a cool name.
“You’re the headmaster’s daughter, right?” I ask, assuming at least that part of the Satan-worshipping, snake-eating rumor is true.
“Yeah. Got kicked out of my European boarding school and so I’m stuck in this hellhole now.”
Wow. I wonder what she did to get kicked out. It had to be something pretty bad, I’d think. What would it be like to be a bad girl? Not to care what people think of you? To break the rules and buck authority? I bet her parents don’t dare schedule her life. And if they try, she probably laughs in their faces and then goes out and gets a new tattoo, just to spite them.
“. . . and first day here, Sister Wart Nose catches me smoking in the bathroom and sentences me to detention,” Starr is explaining. “I mean, for smoking! In Europe, everyone our age smokes. Massachusetts is so puritanical. It drives me absolutely insane.”
I nod sympathetically, not sure how to respond. Of course I’m not a smoker, so I can’t relate. But suddenly, I have the undying urge to impress her somehow. Make her see I’m more than just an airhead who happens to be able to write. Which is odd, since most people at Sacred Mary’s do everything in their power to try to impress me and my crowd, not the other way around. But Starr doesn’t seem to care that I’m one of the Populars. On the contrary, that status seems a negative in her book. Which makes her seem even cooler, somehow.
“That ring rocks,” I say at last, noting the silver spider on her index finger. One thing I’ve learned from the Ashleys—when stuck for something to say, compliment their wardrobe. Works every time.
She smiles and waves her hand in the air, allowing the ring to catch the light and sparkle. Evidently even punk rock chicks aren’t immune to flattery. “Thanks. I got it at this really cool thrift store in Boston.” She pauses for a moment, as if deciding something. Then she says, “You know, I’m planning on heading there after detention, if you want to come.”
I raise my eyebrows. “You’re going to Boston? How are you going to get there? Do you have a car?”
“Nah.” She shakes her head. “I’m only fifteen. No license. But there’s a train about a block away.”
She planned to hop a train? I try to imagine what The Evil Ones would do to me if they found out I’d hopped a train to the big city. Would they kill me quickly or devise a slow, torturous death to make sure I’m really, really sorry I disobeyed?
“Come with me!” Starr says eagerly. “I know some killer used record stores.”
I shake my head. “I’m already missing gymnastics ’cause of detention. My parents will totally kick my butt if I miss my Japanese tutoring as well.”
Starr raises a pierced eyebrow. “Oh,” she says, her tone a bit colder than before. “I understand.” But she doesn’t sound like she understands. In fact, she sounds more like she thinks I’m the lamest girl on the planet.
Boring Barbie, that’s me.
It’s so not fair. I never get to do anything fun. Run off to the big city on a whim. I suddenly envy Starr and her laissez-faire attitude on life.
Envy her and want to be her.
Maybe I could call my tutor and tell him I’m sick. And then call The Evil Ones and tell them I’m going over to one of the Ashleys’ houses to work on a class project after my lesson. That should buy me at least ’til nine o’clock. Plenty of time to hit Boston and get back before they realize I’m gone.
I feel a strange thrill well up deep inside. You know what? I’m going to do it.
For once, I’m going to be a bad girl.
“Maybe I will go to Boston with you,” I say, trying to keep my voice casual as my excitement takes hold. “Sounds like fun.”
Also available on iBooks
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Two time Emmy award winner Mari Mancusi used to wish she could be a vampire back in high school. But she ended up in another bloodsucking profession--journalism--instead. Today she works as a freelance TV producer and author of books for teens, including the award winning Blood Coven Vampire series published by Penguin Books. When not writing about creatures of the night, Mari enjoys traveling, cooking, goth clubbing, watching cheesy horror movie and her favorite guilty pleasure--videogames. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon and dog Mesquite. You can find her online at www.marimancusi.com.
And don't forget to check out Mari's other blog stops! You can find them here.