TITLE: The Intimacy of Fire
GENRE: Contemporary Young Adult
When sixteen-year-old Rachel kisses Tom, the blue-eyed loner rumored to have killed his parents in a house fire, embers of truths ignite full-force - she's already on fire. The flames reach her older brother whose secret is too hot to handle, and her sex-crazed BFF who is nothing but a cloud of dark smoke. The burn scar on Tom’s chest reveals more than the truth that he is NOT a cold-blooded killer, but intimately connected to Rachel as her true love.
My anger made me sweat. It was the kind of summer morning so sticky-humid that it made me feel dirty. As I sat on a weather-faded, splinter-giving wood bench outside the Billingstown bus station, I looked around and fumed.
An old man in a light brown trench coat bent down to put his leather suitcase on the cracked cement sidewalk. A new bead of sweat formed on my upper lip just looking at him. A trench coat? Seriously? I breathed in deeply. Then wished I hadn’t because I swallowed the stink of another man wearing a dark black business suit walking past me. The station and the people in it matched my mood – sweltering and rank.
I couldn’t believe I had to go away to Tillsdale for the whole summer with my older brother Alex. He got a swimming scholarship at Tillsdale University – Go Tigers! (Gag me.) We had to stay with our loopy Aunt Millie too.
It was all so cliché, and yet, here I was living it. To make it worse our parents sold our house so coming home would be…well, it wouldn’t be coming home.
I shifted my heavy backpack to the other shoulder. It knocked Alex (my “perfect” brother) who was sitting beside me surfing on a laptop.
“Ouch,” he said. “Why you gotta be all up in my grill?”
“Really?” I said. I stared at him. Being forced to go with him was the cherry atop my tragically dilapidated layer cake of a life.