Books of Fellby M. E. Kerr, M. E. Kerr
If things seem too good to be true, they probably are.
A fateful car accident with a mysterious stranger sets a young man on a startling new path, tangled with promise, mystery, and danger. Presented with an offer too good to refuse, working-class John Fell gives up his name to run with the rich kids at a fancy prep school. It's a place ruled by an elite association… See more details below
If things seem too good to be true, they probably are.
A fateful car accident with a mysterious stranger sets a young man on a startling new path, tangled with promise, mystery, and danger. Presented with an offer too good to refuse, working-class John Fell gives up his name to run with the rich kids at a fancy prep school. It's a place ruled by an elite association of young men, whose members pledge to watch out for their own for life. Soon, like it or not, Fell is drawn into a complicated world. And even when the last thing he wants to do is get involved, it seems that somehow, he already is...and getting deeper by the minute.
About the Author
M.E. Kerr is a winner of the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2000 ALAN award from the National Council of Teachers of English. She lives in East Hampton, New York, and remembers clearly the hometown boy who chose not to fight when all the other young men, including her brother, were marching off to war.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.52(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 Years
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Read an Excerpt
On the night of the Senior Prom, I was stood up by Helen J. Keating "Keats" they called her in Seaville, New York.
This isn't a story about Keats and me, and it isn't about that humiliating event in my seventeenth year. But Keats is a part of the story, and that humiliation was responsible for everything that happened to change my life . . . and even my name.
The Keatings lived on Dune Road, at the top of a hill in a palatial home. Adieu, they had named it, and it looked down on Seaville as surely as they did. It was the last house Keats's father would ever build his good-bye to his profession. He was an architect of some renown, and certainly Adieu was an architect's dream. It was anyone's dream who wouldn't like living in that place?
But to me Adieu meant good-bye in another way, from the moment I first saw Keats up there. It meant hello and good-bye. It meant good-bye, you can never have that girl. Say hello; then say adieu.
What does your father do? was the second question I was ever asked by Keats's father. The first one was How are you? Mr. Keating didn't wait for an answer. He didn't care how I was. He cared what my father did.
I said, "My father was a detective."
"Was?" he said. "Is he dead?"
"Yes, sir. He died six months ago."
"I'm sorry to hear that, Fell. That's your name, isn't it?"
"Yes. John Fell."
I would have liked to say (and Mr. Keating would have liked to hear me say), But, Mr. Keating, sir, I am heir to a fortune and descended from William the Conqueror, bound for Harvard University when I graduate from high school, a Christian, a Republican, anhonor student.
If I could have said those things, he wouldn't have heard me anyway, for his plump behind was turned by then, and he was slapping his arm around Quint Blade, Keats's football star boyfriend. All of them up at Adieu that day would be seniors in the fall. I would be a junior.
I had been invited to that pool party by a fluke. I had waited on Keats in Plain and Fancy, the gourmet food shop where I had a part-time job. She'd wandered in there one afternoon after school to buy truffles with almonds in them, a quart of Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, and fresh everything from cherries to strawberries a shopping bag filled with goodies and charged to her father's Diner's Club account.
"Aren't you the new boy at school?" she asked me.
"Sort of new. I've been here a year," I told her. But I was new to her and her crowd. I was new to any crowd in Seaville. (And the less said about my old crowd in Brooklyn, the better.) That was when she invited me to Adieu.
In between that party up at Adieu and her Senior Prom, we fell in love, blown away by the kind of passion that made Dante write about Beatrice, Tristram hunger for Isolde, and my father's last client dog the steps of his young, unfaithful wife, who sneaked off to roadhouses where the jukebox roared and men drank beer from the neck of the bottle.
My father died sitting outside one of those places, waiting for something to report back to his anxious client. My father was always waiting outside someplace. A detective's life is not really filled with car chases and flying bullets. It is almost never what you see on TV. It is waiting with a thermos of coffee, and an extra pair of shoes in the backseat of your car, in case you're somewhere all day on your feet.
I had inherited his patience and his determination . . . and I would need them to be Helen J. Keating's lover. Love is never enough when there are parents whose dream for their only daughter does not include someone whose father had a heart attack in a 1977 Dodge Dart while waiting for a roundheels to leave a bar with someone she'd picked up inside. It does not include someone whose mother has gone over her $1000 limit on every charge card in her purse. (The morning of the Senior Prom, I'd found a Born to Shop decal in a store next to the florist, bought it, and attached it to the back of my mother's rusting white Volkswagen.)
Keats's mother we could handle. She was most famous in Seaville for her book reviews in The Seaville Star. She'd once reviewed a book called Coke Is Not It!, about kids who put themselves through college dealing drugs, with this lead paragraph: If anyone's child is using pot or cocaine, I have yet to meet the parents, and I pride myself on getting out and about in my community. So who is to believe this author with her alarmist Henny-Penny warnings?
That was Mrs. Keating . . . a tiny, smiling woman, suntanned in winter from visits to Palm Beach, forever warning Keats "Don't tell Daddy!" when she allowed us to go places and do things Mr. Keating would have denied us.
Once Mr. Keating got the idea that Keats and I were captured by a chemistry between us that compelled us to head for the dunes, or the game room in the basement of Adieu, or the backseat of the old Dodge I'd inherited from my father, he began to put his foot down. But Mr. Keating traveled as a consultant and a lecturer, and his foot was often miles away from Seaville, New York.
One day in late May we felt the full weight of that foot when he arrived unexpectedly at Adieu...
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