Shadowland (Mediator Series #1)

Overview

"You're dead. You don't belong here."

Susannah just traveled a gazillion miles from New York to California in order to live with a bunch of stupid boys (her new stepbrothers). She hasn't even unpacked yet, she's made her mother practically cry already, and now there's a ghost sitting in her new bedroom. True, Jesse's a very attractive guy ghost, but that's not the point.

Life hasn't been easy these past sixteen years. That's because Susannah's a mediator -- a contact person for ...

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Overview

"You're dead. You don't belong here."

Susannah just traveled a gazillion miles from New York to California in order to live with a bunch of stupid boys (her new stepbrothers). She hasn't even unpacked yet, she's made her mother practically cry already, and now there's a ghost sitting in her new bedroom. True, Jesse's a very attractive guy ghost, but that's not the point.

Life hasn't been easy these past sixteen years. That's because Susannah's a mediator -- a contact person for just about anybody who croaks, leaving things...well, untidy. At least Jesse's not dangerous. Unlike Heather, the angry girl ghost hanging out at Susannah's new high school....

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The inaugural installment of The Mediator series introduces high school sophomore Suze, who, in her words, has "this unfortunate ability to communicate with the dead." As a "mediator," the girl helps ghosts put unresolved issues to rest so they can move on to the next world. When her mother remarries, Suze moves from New York City to California, where she and her three stepbrothers attend a Catholic academy headed by a priest. Conveniently, the priest is also a mediator (the first of her kind that Suze has ever met). During the course of this rather repetitious and intermittently sluggish caper, Suze encounters two ghosts: a handsome young man from the 19th century who haunts her bedroom and a girl who was a student at the academy until she killed herself when Bryce, her boyfriend, broke up with her. As Suze attempts to protect Bryce from the angry apparition's wrath, the ghostly girl grows determined to get revenge on both her former beau and Suze. Suze finally resorts to an exorcism to get rid of her. As a narrator this teen is a bit too tough-talking and cocky to be credible. Still, the intriguing premise of a 16-year-old with a sixth sense may stand more than a ghost of a chance at snaring teen readers. Ages 14-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671787912
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 11/1/1900
  • Series: Mediator Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.52 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to writing adult con-temporary fiction, she is the author of the bestselling young adult fiction series The Princess Diaries. She lives in Key West, Florida, with her husband.

Biography

Meg Cabot knows that one of the best cures for feeling gawky and conspicuous is reading about someone who sticks out even more than you do. Her books for young adults invariably feature girls who have extraordinary powers that carry extraordinary burdens. Cabot's Princess Diaries series offers up the secret thoughts of Mia Thermopolis, who discovers at age 14 that she is actually the princess of a small European country. This revelation adds significantly to her extant concerns about crushes, friendships, school, and other matters falling under adolescent scrutiny.

Cabot, a native of Indiana weaned on Judy Blume and Barbara Cartland, was already a successful romance novelist (as Patricia Cabot) before she began writing for young adults; her alter-alter ego, Jenny Carroll, began a new series shortly after The Princess Diaries debuted. The Carroll books are divided between the Mediator series, starring a girl who can communicate with restless ghosts; and the 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU books, in which a girl struck by lightning acquires the ability to locate missing people.

Cabot writes her books in a conspiratorial, first-person style that resonates with her readers. She has obviously kept a grip on the vernacular and the key issues of adolescence; but what makes her books so irresistible is the mixing of the mundane with the fantastic. After all, who wouldn't like to wake up and be a princess all of a sudden, or a seer? Cabot takes such offhand notions and roots them firmly in the details of average, middle-class American life. She has also tiptoed into mystery and paranormal suspense with other YA novels and series installments.

Cabot continues to write adult novels under various permutations of her given name (Meggin Patricia Cabot): from 19th-century historical romances to contemporary chick lit. And, as with her books for teens, these romances have earned praise for their lighthearted humor and well drawn characters.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Cabot:

"I am left handed."

"I hate tomatoes of any kind."

"I really wanted to be veterinarian, but I got a 410 on my math SATs."

"Writing used to be my hobby, but now that it's my job, I have no hobby -- except watching TV and laying around the pool reading US Weekly. I have tried many hobbies, such as knitting, Pilates, ballet, yoga, and guitar, but none of them have taken. So I guess I'm stuck with no hobby.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Meggin Patricia Cabot (full name); Patricia Cabot, Jenny Caroll
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in fine arts, Indiana University, 1991
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

They told me there'd be palm trees.

I didn't believe them, but that's what they told me. They told me I'd be able to see them from the plane.

Oh, I know they have palm trees in Southern California. I mean, I'm not a complete moron. I've watched 90210, and everything. But I was moving to Northern California. I didn't expect to see palm trees in Northern California. Not after my mom told me not to give away all my sweaters.

"Oh, no," my mom had said. "You'll need them. Your coats, too. It can get cold there. Not as cold as New York, maybe, but pretty chilly."

So I wore my black leather motorcycle jacket on the plane. I could have shipped it, I guess, with the rest of my stuff, but it kind of made me feel better to wear it.

So there I was, sitting on the plane in a black leather motorcycle jacket, seeing these palm trees through the window as we landed. And I thought, Great. Black leather and palm trees. Already I'm fitting in, just like I knew I would...

...Not.

My mom isn't particularly fond of my leather jacket, but I swear I didn't wear it to make her mad, or anything. I'm not resentful of the fact that she decided to marry a guy who lives three thousand miles away, forcing me to leave school in the middle of my sophomore year; abandon the best -- and pretty much only -- friend I've had since kindergarten; leave the city I've been living in for all of my sixteen years.

Oh, no. I'm not a bit resentful.

The thing is, I really do like Andy, my new stepdad. He's good for my mom. He makes her happy. And he's very nice to me.

It's just this moving to California thing that bugs me.

Oh, and did I mention Andy's threeother kids?

They were all there to greet me when I got off the plane. My mom, Andy, and Andy's three sons. Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc, I call them. They're my new stepbrothers.

"Suze!" Even if I hadn't heard my mom squealing my name as I walked through the gate, I wouldn't have missed them -- my new family. Andy was making his two youngest boys hold up this big sign that said Welcome Home, Susannah! Everybody getting off my flight was walking by it, going "Aw, look how cute," to their travel companions, and smiling at me in this sickening way.

Oh, yeah. I'm fitting in. I'm fitting in just great.

"Okay," I said, going up to my new family real fast. "You can put the sign down now."

But my mom was too busy hugging me to pay any attention. "Oh, Suzie!" she kept saying. I hate when anybody but my mom calls me Suzie, so I shot the boys this mean look over her shoulder, just in case they were getting any big ideas. They just kept grinning at me from over the stupid sign, Dopey because he's too dumb to know any better, Doc because -- well, I guess because he might have been glad to see me. Doc's weird that way. Sleepy, the oldest, just stood there, looking...well, sleepy.

"How was your flight, kiddo?" Andy took my bag off my shoulder, and put it on his own. He seemed surprised by how heavy it was, and went, "Whoa, what've you got in here, anyway? You know it's a felony to smuggle New York City fire hydrants across state lines."

I smiled at him. Andy's this really big goof, but he's a nice big goof. He wouldn't have the slightest idea what constitutes a felony in the state of New York since he's only been there like five times. Which was, incidentally, exactly how many visits it took him to convince my mother to marry him.

"It's not a fire hydrant," I said. "It's a parking meter. And I have four more bags."

"Four?" Andy pretended he was shocked. "What do you think you're doing, moving in, or something?"

Did I mention that Andy thinks he's a comedian? He's not. He's a carpenter.

"Suze," Doc said, all enthusiastically. "Suze, did you notice that as you were landing, the tail of the plane kicked up a little? That was from an updraft. It's caused when a mass moving at a considerable rate of speed encounters a counter-blowing wind velocity of equal or greater strength."

Doc, Andy's youngest kid, is twelve, but he's going on about forty. He spent almost the entire wedding reception telling me about alien cattle mutilation, and how Area 51 is just this big cover-up by the American government, which doesn't want us to know that We Are Not Alone.

"Oh, Suzie," my mom kept saying. "I'm so glad you're here. You're just going to love the house. It just didn't feel like home at first, but now that you're here...Oh, and wait until you've seen your room. Andy's fixed it up so nice...."

Andy and my mom spent weeks before they got married looking for a house big enough for all four kids to have their own rooms. They finally settled on this huge house in the hills of Carmel, which they'd only been able to afford because they'd bought it in this completely wretched state, and this construction company Andy does a lot of work for fixed it up at this big discount rate. My mom had been going on for days about my room, which she keeps swearing is the nicest one in the house.

"The view!" she kept on saying. "An ocean view from the big bay window in your room! Oh, Suze, you're going to love it."

I was sure I was going to love it. About as much as I was going to love giving up bagels for alfalfa sprouts, and the subway for surfing, and all that sort of stuff.

For some reason, Dopey opened his mouth, and went "Do you like the sign?" in that stupid voice of his. I can't believe he's my age. He's on the school wrestling team, though, so what can you expect? All he ever thinks about, from what I could tell when I had to sit next to him at the wedding reception -- I had to sit between him and Doc, so you can imagine how the conversation just flowed -- is choke holds and body-building protein shakes.

"Yeah, great sign," I said, yanking it out of his meaty hands, and holding it so that the lettering faced the floor. "Can we go? I wanna pick up my bags before someone else does."

"Oh, right," my mom said. She gave me one last hug. "Oh, I'm just so glad to see you! You look so great...." And then, even though you could tell she didn't want to say it, she went ahead and said it anyway, in a low voice, so no one else could hear: "Though I've talked to you before about that jacket, Suze. And I thought you were throwing those jeans away."

I was wearing my oldest jeans, the ones with the holes in the knees. They went really well with my black silk T and my zip-up ankle boots. The jeans and boots, coupled with my black leather motorcycle jacket and my Army-Navy Surplus shoulder bag, made me look like a teen runaway in a made-for-TV movie.

But hey, when you're flying for eight hours across the country, you want to be comfortable.

I said that, and my mom just rolled her eyes and dropped it. That's the good thing about my mom. She doesn't harp, like other moms do. Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc have no idea how lucky they are.

"All right," she said, instead. "Let's get your bags." Then, raising her voice, she called, "Jake, come on. We're going to get Suze's bags."

She had to call Sleepy by name, since he looked as if he fallen asleep standing up. I asked my mother once if Jake, who is a senior in high school, has narcolepsy, or possibly a drug habit, and she was like, "No, why would you say that?" Like the guy doesn't just stand there blinking all the time, never saying a word to anyone.

Wait, that's not true. He did say something to me, once. Once he said, "Hey, are you in a gang?" He asked me that at the wedding, when he caught me standing outside with my leather jacket on over my maid of honor's dress, sneaking a cigarette.

Give me a break, all right? It was my first and only cigarette ever. I was under a lot of stress at the time. I was worried my mom was going to marry this guy and move to California and forget all about me. I swear I haven't smoked a single cigarette since.

And don't get me wrong about Jake. At six foot one, with the same shaggy blond hair and twinkly blue eyes as his dad, he's what my best friend Gina would call a hottie. But he's not the shiniest rock in the rock garden, if you know what I mean.

Doc was still going on about wind velocity. He was explaining the speed with which it is necessary to travel in order to break through the earth's gravitational force. This speed is called escape velocity. I decided Doc might be useful to have around, homework-wise, even if I am three grades ahead of him.

While Doc talked, I looked around. This was my first trip ever to California, and let me tell you, even though we were still only in the airport -- and it was the San Jose International Salinas Airport -- you could tell we weren't in New York anymore. I mean, first off, everything was clean. No dirt, no litter, no graffiti anywhere. The concourse was all done up in pastels, too, and you know how light colors show the dirt. Why do you think New Yorkers wear black all the time? Not to be cool. Nuh-uh. So we don't have to haul all our clothes down to the laundromat every single time we wear them.

But that didn't appear to be a problem in sunny CA. From what I could tell, pastels were in. This one woman walked by us, and she had on pink leggings and a white Spandex sports bra. And that's all. If this is an example of what's de rigueur in California, I could tell I was in for some major culture shock.

And you know what else was strange? Nobody was fighting. There were passengers lined up here and there, but they weren't raising their voices with the people behind the ticket counter. In New York, if you're a customer, you fight with the people behind the counter, no matter where you are -- airport, Bloomingdales, hot dog stand. Wherever.

Not here. Everybody here was just way calm.

And I guess I could see why. I mean, it didn't look to me like there was anything to get upset about. Outside, the sun was beating down on those palm trees I'd seen from the sky. There were seagulls -- not pigeons, but actual big white and grey seagulls -- scratching around in the parking lot. And when we went to get my bags, nobody even checked to see if the stickers on them matched my ticket stubs. No, everybody was just like, "Buh-bye! Have a nice day!"

Unreal.

Gina -- she was my best friend back in Brooklyn; well, okay, my only friend, really -- told me before I left that I'd find there were advantages to having three stepbrothers. She should know since she's got four -- not steps, but real brothers. Anyway, I didn't believe her anymore than I'd believed people about the palm trees. But when Sleepy picked up two of my bags, and Dopey grabbed the other two, leaving me with exactly nothing to carry, since Andy had my shoulder bag, I finally realized what she was talking about: brothers can be useful. They can carry really heavy stuff, and not even look like it's bothering them.

Hey, I packed those bags. I knew what was in them. They were not light. But Sleepy and Dopey were like, No problem here. Let's get moving.

My bags secure, we headed out into the parking lot. As the automatic doors opened, everyone -- including my mom -- reached into a pocket and pulled out a pair of sunglasses. Apparently, they all knew something I didn't know. And as I stepped outside, I realized what it was.

It's sunny here.

Not just sunny, either, but bright -- so bright and colorful, it hurts your eyes. I had sunglasses, too, somewhere, but since it had been about forty degrees and sleeting when I left New York, I hadn't thought to put them anywhere easily accessible. When my mother had first told me we'd be moving -- she and Andy decided it was easier for her, with one kid and a job as a TV news reporter, to relocate than it would be for Andy and his three kids to do it, especially considering that Andy owns his own business -- she'd explained to me that I'd love Northern California. "It's where they filmed all those Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase movies!" she told me.

I like Goldie Hawn, and I like Chevy Chase, but I never knew they made a movie together.

"It's where all those Steinbeck stories you had to read in school took place," she said. "You know, The Red Pony."

Well, I wasn't very impressed. I mean, all I remembered from The Red Pony was that there weren't any girls in it, although there were a lot of hills. And as I stood in the parking lot, squinting at the hills surrounding the Salinas Municipal Airport, I saw that there were a lot of hills, and the grass on them was dry and brown.

But dotting the hills were these trees, trees not like any I'd ever seen before. They were squashed on top as if a giant fist had come down from the sky and given them a thump. I found out later these were called cyprus trees.

And all around the parking lot, where there was evidently a watering system, there were these fat bushes with these giant red flowers on them, mostly squatting down at the bottom of these impossibly tall, surprisingly thick palm trees. The flowers, I found out, when I looked them up later, were hibiscus. And the strange looking bugs that I saw hovering around them, making a brrr-ing noise, weren't bugs at all. They were hummingbirds.

"Oh," my mom said when I pointed this out. "They're everywhere. We have feeders for them up at the house. You can hang one from your window if you want."

Hummingbirds that come right up to your window? The only birds that ever came up to my window back in Brooklyn were pigeons. My mom never exactly encouraged me to feed them.

My moment of joy about the hummingbirds was shattered when Dopey announced suddenly, "I'll drive," and started for the driver's seat of this huge utility vehicle we were approaching.

"I will drive," Andy said, firmly.

"Aw, Dad," Dopey said. "How'm I ever going to pass the test if you never let me practice?"

"You can practice in the Rambler," Andy said. He opened up the back of his Land Rover, and started putting my bags into it. "That goes for you, too, Suze."

This startled me. "What goes for me, too?"

"You can practice driving in the Rambler." He wagged a finger jokingly in my direction. "But only if there's someone with a valid license in the passenger seat."

I just blinked up at him. "I can't drive," I said.

Dopey let out this big horse laugh. "You can't drive?" He elbowed Sleepy, who was leaning against the side of the truck, his face turned toward the sun. "Hey, Jake, she can't drive!"

"It isn't at all uncommon, Brad," Doc said, "for a native New Yorker to lack a driver's license. Don't you know that New York City boasts the largest mass transit system in North America, serving a population of thirteen point two million people in a four thousand square mile radius fanning out from New York City through Long Island all the way to Connecticut? And that one point seven billion riders take advantage of their extensive fleet of subways, buses, and railroads every year?"

Everybody looked at Doc. Then my mother said, carefully, "I never kept a car in the city."

Andy closed the doors to the back of the Land Rover. "Don't worry, Suze," he said. "We'll get you enrolled in a driver's ed course right away. You can take it and catch up to Brad in no time."

I looked at Dopey. Never in a million years had I ever expected that someone would suggest that I needed to catch up to Brad in any capacity whatsoever.

But I could see I was in for a lot of surprises. The palm trees had only been the beginning. As we drove to the house, which was a good hour away from the airport -- and not a quick hour, either, with me wedged in between Sleepy and Dopey, with Doc in the "way back," perched on top of my luggage, still expounding on the glories of the New York City Transportation Authority -- I began to realize that things were going to be different -- very, very different -- than I had anticipated, and certainly different from what I was used to.

And not just because I was living on the opposite side of the continent. Not just because everywhere I looked, I saw things I'd never have seen back in New York: roadside stands advertising artichokes or pomegranates, twelve for a dollar; field after field of grapevines, twisting and twisting around wooden arbors; groves of lemon and avocado trees; lush green vegetation I couldn't even identify. And arcing above it all, a sky so blue, so vast, that the hot air balloon I saw floating through it looked impossibly small -- like a button at the bottom of an Olympic sized swimming pool.

There was the ocean, too, bursting so suddenly into view that at first I didn't recognize it, thinking it was just another field. But then I noticed that this field was sparkling, reflecting the sun, flashing little Morse code SOSs at me. The light was so bright, it was hard to look at without sunglasses. But there it was, the Pacific Ocean...huge, stretching almost as wide as the sky, a living, writhing thing, pushing up against a comma-shaped strip of white beach.

Being from New York, my glimpses of ocean -- at least the kind with a beach -- had been few and far between. I couldn't help gasping when I saw it. And when I gasped, everybody stopped talking -- except for Sleepy, who was, of course, asleep.

"What?" my mother asked, alarmed. "What is it?"

"Nothing," I said. I was embarrassed. Obviously, these people were used to seeing the ocean. They were going to think I was some kind of freak that I was getting so excited about it. "Just the ocean."

"Oh," said my mother. "Yes, isn't it beautiful?"

Dopey went, "Good curl on those waves. Might have to hit the beach before dinner."

"Not," his father said, "until you've finished that term paper."

"Aw, Dad!"

This prompted my mother to launch into a long and detailed account of the school to which I was being sent, the same one Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc attended. The school, named after Junipero Serra, some Spanish guy who came over in the 1700s and forced the Native Americans already living here to practice Christianity instead of their own religion, was actually a huge adobe mission that attracted twenty thousand tourists a year, or something.

I wasn't really listening to my mother. My interest in school has always been pretty much zero. The whole reason I hadn't been able to move out here before Christmas was that there had been no space for me at the Mission School, and I'd been forced to wait until second semester started before something opened up. I hadn't minded -- I'd gotten to live with my grandmother for a few months, which hadn't been at all bad. My grandmother, besides being a really excellent criminal attorney, is an excellent cook.

I was sort of still distracted by the ocean, which had disappeared behind some hills. I was craning my neck, hoping for another glimpse, when it hit me. I went, "Wait a minute. When was this school built?"

"The eighteenth century," Doc replied. "The mission system, implemented by the Franciscans under the guidelines of the Catholic Church and the Spanish government, was set up not only to Christianize the Native Americans, but also to train them to become successful tradespeople in the new Spanish society. Originally, the mission served as a -- "

"Eighteenth century?" I said, leaning forward. I was wedged between Sleepy -- whose head had slumped forward until it was resting on my shoulder, enabling me to tell, just by sniffing, that he used Finesse shampoo -- and Dopey. Let me tell you, Gina hadn't mentioned a thing about how much room boys take up, which, when they're both nearly six feet tall, and in the two hundred pound vicinity, is a lot. "Eighteenth century?"

My mother must have heard the panic in my voice, since she turned in her seat and said, soothingly, "Now, Suze, we discussed this. I told you there's a year's waiting list at Robert Louis Stevenson, and you told me you didn't want to go to an all-girls school, so Scared Heart is out, and Andy's heard some awful stories about drug abuse and gang violence in the public schools around here -- "

"Eighteenth century?" I could feel my heart starting to pound hard, as if I'd been running. "That's like two hundred and fifty years old!"

"I don't get it." We were driving through the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea now, all picturesque cottages -- some with thatched roofs, even -- and beautiful little restaurants and art galleries. Andy had to drive carefully because the traffic was thick with people in cars with out-of-state licences, and there weren't any stoplights, something that, for some reason, the natives took pride in. "What's so bad," he wanted to know, "about the eighteenth century?"

My mother said, without any inflection in her voice whatsoever -- what I call her bad-news voice, the one she uses on TV to report plane crashes and child murders, "Suze has never been very wild about old buildings."

"Oh," Andy said. "Then I guess she isn't going to like the house."

I gripped the back of his headrest. "Why?" I demanded, in a tight voice. "Why am I not going to like the house?"

I saw why, of course, as soon as we pulled in. The house was huge, and impossibly pretty, with Victorian-style turrets and a widow's walk -- the whole works. My mom had had it painted blue and white and cream, and it was surrounded by big, shady pine trees, and sprawling, flowering shrubs. Three stories high, constructed entirely from wood, and not the horrible glass-and-steel or terra-cotta stuff the houses around it were made of, it was the loveliest, most tasteful house in the neighborhood.

And I didn't want to set foot in it.

I knew when I'd agreed to move with my mom to California that I'd be in for lots of changes.

The roadside artichokes, the lemon groves, the ocean...they were nothing, really. The fact was, the biggest change was going to be sharing my mom with other people. In the decade since my father had died, it had been just the two of us. And I have to admit, I sort of liked it like that. In fact, if it hadn't been for the fact that Andy made my mom so obviously happy, I would have put my foot down and said no way to the whole moving thing.

But you couldn't even look at them together -- Andy and my mom -- and not be able to tell right away that they were completely gaga over each other. And what kind of daughter would I have been if I said no way to that? So I accepted Andy, and I accepted his three sons, and I accepted the fact that I was going to have to leave behind everything I had ever known and loved -- my best friend, my grandmother, bagels, SoHo -- in order to give my mom the happiness she deserved.

But I hadn't really considered the fact that, for the first time in my life, I was going to have to live in a house.

And not just any house, either, but, as Andy proudly told me as he was taking my bags from the car, and thrusting them into his sons' arms, a nineteenth century converted boarding house. Built in 1849, it had apparently had quite a little reputation in its day. Gunfights over card games and women had taken place in the front parlor. You could still see the bullet holes. In fact, Andy had framed one rather than filling it in. It was a bit morbid, he admitted, but interesting, too. He bet we were living in the only house in the Carmel hills that had a nineteenth century bullet hole in it.

Huh, I said. I bet that was true.

My mother kept glancing in my direction as we climbed the many steps to the front porch. I knew she was nervous about what I was going to think. I was kind of irked at her, really, for not warning me. I guess I could understand why she hadn't, though. If she'd told me she had bought a house that was more than a hundred years old, I wouldn't have moved out here. I would have stayed with Grandma until it came time for me to leave for college.

Because my mom's right: I don't like old buildings.

Although I saw, as old buildings went, this one was really something. When you stood on the front porch, you could see all of Carmel beneath you, the village, the valley, the beach, the sea. It was a breathtaking view, one that people would -- and had, judging from the fanciness of the houses around ours -- pay millions for; one that I shouldn't have resented, not in the least.

And yet, when my mom said, "Come on, Suze. Come see your room," I couldn't help shuddering a little.

The house was as beautiful inside as it was outside. All shiny maple and cheerful blues and yellows. I recognized my mom's things, and that made me feel a little better. There was the pie-safe she and I had bought once on a weekend trip to Vermont. There were my baby pictures, hanging on the wall in the foyer, right alongside Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc's. There were my mother's books in the built-in shelves in the den. Her plants, which she'd paid so exorbitant a price to have shipped because she'd been unable to bear parting with them, were everywhere, on wooden stands, hanging in front of the stained-glass windows, perched on top of the newel post at the end of the stairs.

But there were also things I didn't recognize: a sleek white computer sitting on the desk where my mother used to write out checks to pay the bills; a wide-screen TV incongruously tucked into a fireplace in the den, to which shift-sticks were wired for some sort of video game; surf boards leaning up against the wall by the door to the garage; a huge, slobbery dog, who seemed to think I was harboring food in my pockets since he kept thrusting his big wet nose into them.

These all seemed like obtrusively masculine things, foreign things in the life my mother and I had carved out for ourselves. They were going to take some getting used to.

My room was upstairs, just above the roof of the front porch. My mother had been going on nervously for almost the entire trip from the airport about the window seat Andy had installed in the bay window. The bay windows looked out over the same view as the porch, that sweeping vista that incorporated all of the peninsula. It was sweet of them, really, to give me such a nice room, the room with the best view in the whole house.

And when I saw how much trouble they'd gone to, to make the room feel like home to me -- or at least to some excessively feminine, phantom girl...not me. I had never been the glass-topped dressing table, princess phone type -- how Andy had put cream colored wallpaper, dotted with blue forget-me-nots, all along the top of the intricate white wainscoting that lined the walls; how the same wallpaper covered the walls of my own personal adjoining bathroom; how they'd bought me a new bed -- a four-poster with a lace canopy, the kind my mother had always wanted for me and had evidently been unable to resist -- I felt bad about how I'd acted in the car. I really did. I thought to myself, as I walked around the room, Okay, this isn't so bad. So far you're in the clear. Maybe it'll be all right, maybe no one was ever unhappy in this house, maybe all those people who got shot deserved it....

Until I turned toward the bay window, and saw that someone was already sitting on the window seat Andy had so lovingly made for me.

Someone who was not related to me, or to Sleepy, Dopey, or Doc.

I turned toward Andy, to see if he'd noticed the intruder. He hadn't, even though he was right there, right in front of his face.

My mother hadn't seen him, either. All she saw was my face. I guess my expression must not have been the most pleasant, since her own fell, and she said with a sad sigh, "Oh, Suze. Not again."

Copyright © 2000 by Meggin Cabot

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

They told me there'd be palm trees.

I didn't believe them, but that's what they told me. They told me I'd be able to see them from the plane.

Oh, I know they have palm trees in Southern California. I mean, I'm not a complete moron. I've watched 90210, and everything. But I was moving to Northern California. I didn't expect to see palm trees in Northern California. Not after my mom told me not to give away all my sweaters.

"Oh, no," my mom had said. "You'll need them. Your coats, too. It can get cold there. Not as cold as New York, maybe, but pretty chilly."

So I wore my black leather motorcycle jacket on the plane. I could have shipped it, I guess, with the rest of my stuff, but it kind of made me feel better to wear it.

So there I was, sitting on the plane in a black leather motorcycle jacket, seeing these palm trees through the window as we landed. And I thought, Great. Black leather and palm trees. Already I'm fitting in, just like I knew I would...

...Not.

My mom isn't particularly fond of my leather jacket, but I swear I didn't wear it to make her mad, or anything. I'm not resentful of the fact that she decided to marry a guy who lives three thousand miles away, forcing me to leave school in the middle of my sophomore year; abandon the best — and pretty much only — friend I've had since kindergarten; leave the city I've been living in for all of my sixteen years.

Oh, no. I'm not a bit resentful.

The thing is, I really do like Andy, my new stepdad. He's good for my mom. He makes her happy. And he's very nice to me.

It's just this moving to California thing that bugs me.

Oh, and did I mention Andy's three other kids?

They were all there to greet me when I got off the plane. My mom, Andy, and Andy's three sons. Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc, I call them. They're my new stepbrothers.

"Suze!" Even if I hadn't heard my mom squealing my name as I walked through the gate, I wouldn't have missed them — my new family. Andy was making his two youngest boys hold up this big sign that said Welcome Home, Susannah! Everybody getting off my flight was walking by it, going "Aw, look how cute," to their travel companions, and smiling at me in this sickening way.

Oh, yeah. I'm fitting in. I'm fitting in just great.

"Okay," I said, going up to my new family real fast. "You can put the sign down now."

But my mom was too busy hugging me to pay any attention. "Oh, Suzie!" she kept saying. I hate when anybody but my mom calls me Suzie, so I shot the boys this mean look over her shoulder, just in case they were getting any big ideas. They just kept grinning at me from over the stupid sign, Dopey because he's too dumb to know any better, Doc because — well, I guess because he might have been glad to see me. Doc's weird that way. Sleepy, the oldest, just stood there, looking...well, sleepy.

"How was your flight, kiddo?" Andy took my bag off my shoulder, and put it on his own. He seemed surprised by how heavy it was, and went, "Whoa, what've you got in here, anyway? You know it's a felony to smuggle New York City fire hydrants across state lines."

I smiled at him. Andy's this really big goof, but he's a nice big goof. He wouldn't have the slightest idea what constitutes a felony in the state of New York since he's only been there like five times. Which was, incidentally, exactly how many visits it took him to convince my mother to marry him.

"It's not a fire hydrant," I said. "It's a parking meter. And I have four more bags."

"Four?" Andy pretended he was shocked. "What do you think you're doing, moving in, or something?"

Did I mention that Andy thinks he's a comedian? He's not. He's a carpenter.

"Suze," Doc said, all enthusiastically. "Suze, did you notice that as you were landing, the tail of the plane kicked up a little? That was from an updraft. It's caused when a mass moving at a considerable rate of speed encounters a counter-blowing wind velocity of equal or greater strength."

Doc, Andy's youngest kid, is twelve, but he's going on about forty. He spent almost the entire wedding reception telling me about alien cattle mutilation, and how Area 51 is just this big cover-up by the American government, which doesn't want us to know that We Are Not Alone.

"Oh, Suzie," my mom kept saying. "I'm so glad you're here. You're just going to love the house. It just didn't feel like home at first, but now that you're here...Oh, and wait until you've seen your room. Andy's fixed it up so nice...."

Andy and my mom spent weeks before they got married looking for a house big enough for all four kids to have their own rooms. They finally settled on this huge house in the hills of Carmel, which they'd only been able to afford because they'd bought it in this completely wretched state, and this construction company Andy does a lot of work for fixed it up at this big discount rate. My mom had been going on for days about my room, which she keeps swearing is the nicest one in the house.

"The view!" she kept on saying. "An ocean view from the big bay window in your room! Oh, Suze, you're going to love it."

I was sure I was going to love it. About as much as I was going to love giving up bagels for alfalfa sprouts, and the subway for surfing, and all that sort of stuff.

For some reason, Dopey opened his mouth, and went "Do you like the sign?" in that stupid voice of his. I can't believe he's my age. He's on the school wrestling team, though, so what can you expect? All he ever thinks about, from what I could tell when I had to sit next to him at the wedding reception — I had to sit between him and Doc, so you can imagine how the conversation just flowed — is choke holds and body-building protein shakes.

"Yeah, great sign," I said, yanking it out of his meaty hands, and holding it so that the lettering faced the floor. "Can we go? I wanna pick up my bags before someone else does."

"Oh, right," my mom said. She gave me one last hug. "Oh, I'm just so glad to see you! You look so great...." And then, even though you could tell she didn't want to say it, she went ahead and said it anyway, in a low voice, so no one else could hear: "Though I've talked to you before about that jacket, Suze. And I thought you were throwing those jeans away."

I was wearing my oldest jeans, the ones with the holes in the knees. They went really well with my black silk T and my zip-up ankle boots. The jeans and boots, coupled with my black leather motorcycle jacket and my Army-Navy Surplus shoulder bag, made me look like a teen runaway in a made-for-TV movie.

But hey, when you're flying for eight hours across the country, you want to be comfortable.

I said that, and my mom just rolled her eyes and dropped it. That's the good thing about my mom. She doesn't harp, like other moms do. Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc have no idea how lucky they are.

"All right," she said, instead. "Let's get your bags." Then, raising her voice, she called, "Jake, come on. We're going to get Suze's bags."

She had to call Sleepy by name, since he looked as if he fallen asleep standing up. I asked my mother once if Jake, who is a senior in high school, has narcolepsy, or possibly a drug habit, and she was like, "No, why would you say that?" Like the guy doesn't just stand there blinking all the time, never saying a word to anyone.

Wait, that's not true. He did say something to me, once. Once he said, "Hey, are you in a gang?" He asked me that at the wedding, when he caught me standing outside with my leather jacket on over my maid of honor's dress, sneaking a cigarette.

Give me a break, all right? It was my first and only cigarette ever. I was under a lot of stress at the time. I was worried my mom was going to marry this guy and move to California and forget all about me. I swear I haven't smoked a single cigarette since.

And don't get me wrong about Jake. At six foot one, with the same shaggy blond hair and twinkly blue eyes as his dad, he's what my best friend Gina would call a hottie. But he's not the shiniest rock in the rock garden, if you know what I mean.

Doc was still going on about wind velocity. He was explaining the speed with which it is necessary to travel in order to break through the earth's gravitational force. This speed is called escape velocity. I decided Doc might be useful to have around, homework-wise, even if I am three grades ahead of him.

While Doc talked, I looked around. This was my first trip ever to California, and let me tell you, even though we were still only in the airport — and it was the San Jose International Salinas Airport — you could tell we weren't in New York anymore. I mean, first off, everything was clean. No dirt, no litter, no graffiti anywhere. The concourse was all done up in pastels, too, and you know how light colors show the dirt. Why do you think New Yorkers wear black all the time? Not to be cool. Nuh-uh. So we don't have to haul all our clothes down to the laundromat every single time we wear them.

But that didn't appear to be a problem in sunny CA. From what I could tell, pastels were in. This one woman walked by us, and she had on pink leggings and a white Spandex sports bra. And that's all. If this is an example of what's de rigueur in California, I could tell I was in for some major culture shock.

And you know what else was strange? Nobody was fighting. There were passengers lined up here and there, but they weren't raising their voices with the people behind the ticket counter. In New York, if you're a customer, you fight with the people behind the counter, no matter where you are — airport, Bloomingdales, hot dog stand. Wherever.

Not here. Everybody here was just way calm.

And I guess I could see why. I mean, it didn't look to me like there was anything to get upset about. Outside, the sun was beating down on those palm trees I'd seen from the sky. There were seagulls — not pigeons, but actual big white and grey seagulls — scratching around in the parking lot. And when we went to get my bags, nobody even checked to see if the stickers on them matched my ticket stubs. No, everybody was just like, "Buh-bye! Have a nice day!"

Unreal.

Gina — she was my best friend back in Brooklyn; well, okay, my only friend, really — told me before I left that I'd find there were advantages to having three stepbrothers. She should know since she's got four — not steps, but real brothers. Anyway, I didn't believe her anymore than I'd believed people about the palm trees. But when Sleepy picked up two of my bags, and Dopey grabbed the other two, leaving me with exactly nothing to carry, since Andy had my shoulder bag, I finally realized what she was talking about: brothers can be useful. They can carry really heavy stuff, and not even look like it's bothering them.

Hey, I packed those bags. I knew what was in them. They were not light. But Sleepy and Dopey were like, No problem here. Let's get moving.

My bags secure, we headed out into the parking lot. As the automatic doors opened, everyone — including my mom — reached into a pocket and pulled out a pair of sunglasses. Apparently, they all knew something I didn't know. And as I stepped outside, I realized what it was.

It's sunny here.

Not just sunny, either, but bright — so bright and colorful, it hurts your eyes. I had sunglasses, too, somewhere, but since it had been about forty degrees and sleeting when I left New York, I hadn't thought to put them anywhere easily accessible. When my mother had first told me we'd be moving — she and Andy decided it was easier for her, with one kid and a job as a TV news reporter, to relocate than it would be for Andy and his three kids to do it, especially considering that Andy owns his own business — she'd explained to me that I'd love Northern California. "It's where they filmed all those Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase movies!" she told me.

I like Goldie Hawn, and I like Chevy Chase, but I never knew they made a movie together.

"It's where all those Steinbeck stories you had to read in school took place," she said. "You know, The Red Pony."

Well, I wasn't very impressed. I mean, all I remembered from The Red Pony was that there weren't any girls in it, although there were a lot of hills. And as I stood in the parking lot, squinting at the hills surrounding the Salinas Municipal Airport, I saw that there were a lot of hills, and the grass on them was dry and brown.

But dotting the hills were these trees, trees not like any I'd ever seen before. They were squashed on top as if a giant fist had come down from the sky and given them a thump. I found out later these were called cyprus trees.

And all around the parking lot, where there was evidently a watering system, there were these fat bushes with these giant red flowers on them, mostly squatting down at the bottom of these impossibly tall, surprisingly thick palm trees. The flowers, I found out, when I looked them up later, were hibiscus. And the strange looking bugs that I saw hovering around them, making a brrr-ing noise, weren't bugs at all. They were hummingbirds.

"Oh," my mom said when I pointed this out. "They're everywhere. We have feeders for them up at the house. You can hang one from your window if you want."

Hummingbirds that come right up to your window? The only birds that ever came up to my window back in Brooklyn were pigeons. My mom never exactly encouraged me to feed them.

My moment of joy about the hummingbirds was shattered when Dopey announced suddenly, "I'll drive," and started for the driver's seat of this huge utility vehicle we were approaching.

"I will drive," Andy said, firmly.

"Aw, Dad," Dopey said. "How'm I ever going to pass the test if you never let me practice?"

"You can practice in the Rambler," Andy said. He opened up the back of his Land Rover, and started putting my bags into it. "That goes for you, too, Suze."

This startled me. "What goes for me, too?"

"You can practice driving in the Rambler." He wagged a finger jokingly in my direction. "But only if there's someone with a valid license in the passenger seat."

I just blinked up at him. "I can't drive," I said.

Dopey let out this big horse laugh. "You can't drive?" He elbowed Sleepy, who was leaning against the side of the truck, his face turned toward the sun. "Hey, Jake, she can't drive!"

"It isn't at all uncommon, Brad," Doc said, "for a native New Yorker to lack a driver's license. Don't you know that New York City boasts the largest mass transit system in North America, serving a population of thirteen point two million people in a four thousand square mile radius fanning out from New York City through Long Island all the way to Connecticut? And that one point seven billion riders take advantage of their extensive fleet of subways, buses, and railroads every year?"

Everybody looked at Doc. Then my mother said, carefully, "I never kept a car in the city."

Andy closed the doors to the back of the Land Rover. "Don't worry, Suze," he said. "We'll get you enrolled in a driver's ed course right away. You can take it and catch up to Brad in no time."

I looked at Dopey. Never in a million years had I ever expected that someone would suggest that I needed to catch up to Brad in any capacity whatsoever.

But I could see I was in for a lot of surprises. The palm trees had only been the beginning. As we drove to the house, which was a good hour away from the airport — and not a quick hour, either, with me wedged in between Sleepy and Dopey, with Doc in the "way back," perched on top of my luggage, still expounding on the glories of the New York City Transportation Authority — I began to realize that things were going to be different — very, very different — than I had anticipated, and certainly different from what I was used to.

And not just because I was living on the opposite side of the continent. Not just because everywhere I looked, I saw things I'd never have seen back in New York: roadside stands advertising artichokes or pomegranates, twelve for a dollar; field after field of grapevines, twisting and twisting around wooden arbors; groves of lemon and avocado trees; lush green vegetation I couldn't even identify. And arcing above it all, a sky so blue, so vast, that the hot air balloon I saw floating through it looked impossibly small — like a button at the bottom of an Olympic sized swimming pool.

There was the ocean, too, bursting so suddenly into view that at first I didn't recognize it, thinking it was just another field. But then I noticed that this field was sparkling, reflecting the sun, flashing little Morse code SOSs at me. The light was so bright, it was hard to look at without sunglasses. But there it was, the Pacific Ocean...huge, stretching almost as wide as the sky, a living, writhing thing, pushing up against a comma-shaped strip of white beach.

Being from New York, my glimpses of ocean — at least the kind with a beach — had been few and far between. I couldn't help gasping when I saw it. And when I gasped, everybody stopped talking — except for Sleepy, who was, of course, asleep.

"What?" my mother asked, alarmed. "What is it?"

"Nothing," I said. I was embarrassed. Obviously, these people were used to seeing the ocean. They were going to think I was some kind of freak that I was getting so excited about it. "Just the ocean."

"Oh," said my mother. "Yes, isn't it beautiful?"

Dopey went, "Good curl on those waves. Might have to hit the beach before dinner."

"Not," his father said, "until you've finished that term paper."

"Aw, Dad!"

This prompted my mother to launch into a long and detailed account of the school to which I was being sent, the same one Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc attended. The school, named after Junipero Serra, some Spanish guy who came over in the 1700s and forced the Native Americans already living here to practice Christianity instead of their own religion, was actually a huge adobe mission that attracted twenty thousand tourists a year, or something.

I wasn't really listening to my mother. My interest in school has always been pretty much zero. The whole reason I hadn't been able to move out here before Christmas was that there had been no space for me at the Mission School, and I'd been forced to wait until second semester started before something opened up. I hadn't minded — I'd gotten to live with my grandmother for a few months, which hadn't been at all bad. My grandmother, besides being a really excellent criminal attorney, is an excellent cook.

I was sort of still distracted by the ocean, which had disappeared behind some hills. I was craning my neck, hoping for another glimpse, when it hit me. I went, "Wait a minute. When was this school built?"

"The eighteenth century," Doc replied. "The mission system, implemented by the Franciscans under the guidelines of the Catholic Church and the Spanish government, was set up not only to Christianize the Native Americans, but also to train them to become successful tradespeople in the new Spanish society. Originally, the mission served as a — "

"Eighteenth century?" I said, leaning forward. I was wedged between Sleepy — whose head had slumped forward until it was resting on my shoulder, enabling me to tell, just by sniffing, that he used Finesse shampoo — and Dopey. Let me tell you, Gina hadn't mentioned a thing about how much room boys take up, which, when they're both nearly six feet tall, and in the two hundred pound vicinity, is a lot. "Eighteenth century?"

My mother must have heard the panic in my voice, since she turned in her seat and said, soothingly, "Now, Suze, we discussed this. I told you there's a year's waiting list at Robert Louis Stevenson, and you told me you didn't want to go to an all-girls school, so Scared Heart is out, and Andy's heard some awful stories about drug abuse and gang violence in the public schools around here — "

"Eighteenth century?" I could feel my heart starting to pound hard, as if I'd been running. "That's like two hundred and fifty years old!"

"I don't get it." We were driving through the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea now, all picturesque cottages — some with thatched roofs, even — and beautiful little restaurants and art galleries. Andy had to drive carefully because the traffic was thick with people in cars with out-of-state licences, and there weren't any stoplights, something that, for some reason, the natives took pride in. "What's so bad," he wanted to know, "about the eighteenth century?"

My mother said, without any inflection in her voice whatsoever — what I call her bad-news voice, the one she uses on TV to report plane crashes and child murders, "Suze has never been very wild about old buildings."

"Oh," Andy said. "Then I guess she isn't going to like the house."

I gripped the back of his headrest. "Why?" I demanded, in a tight voice. "Why am I not going to like the house?"

I saw why, of course, as soon as we pulled in. The house was huge, and impossibly pretty, with Victorian-style turrets and a widow's walk — the whole works. My mom had had it painted blue and white and cream, and it was surrounded by big, shady pine trees, and sprawling, flowering shrubs. Three stories high, constructed entirely from wood, and not the horrible glass-and-steel or terra-cotta stuff the houses around it were made of, it was the loveliest, most tasteful house in the neighborhood.

And I didn't want to set foot in it.

I knew when I'd agreed to move with my mom to California that I'd be in for lots of changes.

The roadside artichokes, the lemon groves, the ocean...they were nothing, really. The fact was, the biggest change was going to be sharing my mom with other people. In the decade since my father had died, it had been just the two of us. And I have to admit, I sort of liked it like that. In fact, if it hadn't been for the fact that Andy made my mom so obviously happy, I would have put my foot down and said no way to the whole moving thing.

But you couldn't even look at them together — Andy and my mom — and not be able to tell right away that they were completely gaga over each other. And what kind of daughter would I have been if I said no way to that? So I accepted Andy, and I accepted his three sons, and I accepted the fact that I was going to have to leave behind everything I had ever known and loved — my best friend, my grandmother, bagels, SoHo — in order to give my mom the happiness she deserved.

But I hadn't really considered the fact that, for the first time in my life, I was going to have to live in a house.

And not just any house, either, but, as Andy proudly told me as he was taking my bags from the car, and thrusting them into his sons' arms, a nineteenth century converted boarding house. Built in 1849, it had apparently had quite a little reputation in its day. Gunfights over card games and women had taken place in the front parlor. You could still see the bullet holes. In fact, Andy had framed one rather than filling it in. It was a bit morbid, he admitted, but interesting, too. He bet we were living in the only house in the Carmel hills that had a nineteenth century bullet hole in it.

Huh, I said. I bet that was true.

My mother kept glancing in my direction as we climbed the many steps to the front porch. I knew she was nervous about what I was going to think. I was kind of irked at her, really, for not warning me. I guess I could understand why she hadn't, though. If she'd told me she had bought a house that was more than a hundred years old, I wouldn't have moved out here. I would have stayed with Grandma until it came time for me to leave for college.

Because my mom's right: I don't like old buildings.

Although I saw, as old buildings went, this one was really something. When you stood on the front porch, you could see all of Carmel beneath you, the village, the valley, the beach, the sea. It was a breathtaking view, one that people would — and had, judging from the fanciness of the houses around ours — pay millions for; one that I shouldn't have resented, not in the least.

And yet, when my mom said, "Come on, Suze. Come see your room," I couldn't help shuddering a little.

The house was as beautiful inside as it was outside. All shiny maple and cheerful blues and yellows. I recognized my mom's things, and that made me feel a little better. There was the pie-safe she and I had bought once on a weekend trip to Vermont. There were my baby pictures, hanging on the wall in the foyer, right alongside Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc's. There were my mother's books in the built-in shelves in the den. Her plants, which she'd paid so exorbitant a price to have shipped because she'd been unable to bear parting with them, were everywhere, on wooden stands, hanging in front of the stained-glass windows, perched on top of the newel post at the end of the stairs.

But there were also things I didn't recognize: a sleek white computer sitting on the desk where my mother used to write out checks to pay the bills; a wide-screen TV incongruously tucked into a fireplace in the den, to which shift-sticks were wired for some sort of video game; surf boards leaning up against the wall by the door to the garage; a huge, slobbery dog, who seemed to think I was harboring food in my pockets since he kept thrusting his big wet nose into them.

These all seemed like obtrusively masculine things, foreign things in the life my mother and I had carved out for ourselves. They were going to take some getting used to.

My room was upstairs, just above the roof of the front porch. My mother had been going on nervously for almost the entire trip from the airport about the window seat Andy had installed in the bay window. The bay windows looked out over the same view as the porch, that sweeping vista that incorporated all of the peninsula. It was sweet of them, really, to give me such a nice room, the room with the best view in the whole house.

And when I saw how much trouble they'd gone to, to make the room feel like home to me — or at least to some excessively feminine, phantom girl...not me. I had never been the glass-topped dressing table, princess phone type — how Andy had put cream colored wallpaper, dotted with blue forget-me-nots, all along the top of the intricate white wainscoting that lined the walls; how the same wallpaper covered the walls of my own personal adjoining bathroom; how they'd bought me a new bed — a four-poster with a lace canopy, the kind my mother had always wanted for me and had evidently been unable to resist — I felt bad about how I'd acted in the car. I really did. I thought to myself, as I walked around the room, Okay, this isn't so bad. So far you're in the clear. Maybe it'll be all right, maybe no one was ever unhappy in this house, maybe all those people who got shot deserved it....

Until I turned toward the bay window, and saw that someone was already sitting on the window seat Andy had so lovingly made for me.

Someone who was not related to me, or to Sleepy, Dopey, or Doc.

I turned toward Andy, to see if he'd noticed the intruder. He hadn't, even though he was right there, right in front of his face.

My mother hadn't seen him, either. All she saw was my face. I guess my expression must not have been the most pleasant, since her own fell, and she said with a sad sigh, "Oh, Suze. Not again."

Copyright © 2000 by Meggin Cabot

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    okay

    it's okay but i like her other books a lot better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2005

    *****FOR ALL AGE RANGES WELL, UP TO 16!!!*****(SHADOWLAND)

    'Read this one you'll like it!' I was told by a friend. You see, I'm not into horror books I'm more of a teen scene type of girl but, once I got into this, energetic, humourus, mystical book I couldn't put it down. Suze must be one of the most evied girls in storyland because she gets to share her room with a hunky spanish boy!!!(Ok, so he's a ghost but that dosn't matter). For all you people out there that say that this is a book for the 9-14's your wrong, becasuse I am 15 going on 16 and found this book really interesting but humouring at the same time. I really felt sorry for her when her date for the pool party on saturday night was geting attackted by his suicidal ex- girlfriend (a ghost). First the breezblocks in the courtyard of the school nearly kills him, which gets suze reconized more than she would like on her first day in a new scholl, in a new state. Then the crucifix in the reception falls on him and injers his collar bone preventing him to take Suze out to a huge pool party on saturday. She then gets the fright of her life when she realised that the head of her school was a mediator and her new step-brother was one two!!! Can't say much more it's quite late and amercan pie is on. HOPE YOU LIKE IT

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2004

    Read Me!!!!!!!!

    This is a great book! I loved it and all the other books in the series. This is a book almost everyone would love! 0:)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    Loved the book

    I really enjoyed this book. The author totally captures the mind of a 16 year old!! The whole plot was good and Susannah's tough chick personality was enjoyable and funny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2004

    My new favorite Book

    This book is so good i can't even really put it into words. its one of those books that you want to pass on to your friends. Well, I did! So, if your into really fun book about ghosts for teenage girls get this book and definately pass it on to all of your friends!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2004

    Great!!

    This is now my all time favorite book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2004

    The ghost seeker

    The book was good because it involved a girl who had a special feature which alowed her to see ghosts. I thought that the girl had a power in which no one else had and it was funny how every one that knew her thought she was crazy. But overall I thought the book was very good and shows how people can do something unimaginable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    One Word

    ...Superb

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2004

    Fantastic!!!!

    i absolutely Love this book! its fantastic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2004

    Loved it!!!!!!!

    I really loved all of the mediator books. I too, accidently read the Haunted book first and so I had to go all the way back to the begining but it was worth it. The story is great, and the way meg cabot/jenny carroll writes made me laugh out loud. When is the next book coming out??!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2003

    Jenny Carrol = Meg Cabot

    I kind of got off to a bad start with this series. I read 'Haunted' by Meg Cabot first. But, in case you're wondering, Their is no Jenny Carrol. That's just a name Meg Cabot wrote the Mediator series under. This book, like all of Meg Cabot's, was really neat. I enjoyed the whole series. I just think she should have wrote 'Haunted' under the same name as the rest of the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2004

    Can You Believe An Adult Wrote This?

    I'm sorry, but the way the author writes this story, you wouldn't know she was an adult. The thing that really keeps you into this story (not that the actually story doesn't) is the fact that Suze is just a magnet for trouble, and the growth of the relationship between Suze and Jesse...I mean a relationship with a hot dead guy that'll probably never work out? Whats more interesting than that?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2003

    BEST SERIES EVER!!!

    This book is about a mediator, a contact person for the dead, whose name is Susanna, who basically goes to California to live with her new step-father and step-brothers. The book is part of a series so you have to read it from book one to...whatever number the series has stopped at to get the whole story line. I think this book is the best book ever and should be read by everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2003

    WOW!!!!

    This book was the book that got me hooked on reading. This book is about a girl, Sussannah Simon, who is a mediator. A mediator is a person who can see, talk, feel, and kick a ghosts butt. This first book is about how Suze has to move to California from New York, to live with her mother who just married. Her step-father has three sons of his own. If you thought having three step-brother was the worst her life can get- well think again! Suze finds a ghost, Jesse, who is living in her room. When Suze goes to school she realizes that Father Dominique- the principal of the school- is a mediator, also. Suze also finds a ghost of a girl, which she is gonna find herself helping. Well, if i say too much more, I'm going to be revealing the whole book to ya before you can read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2003

    The whole Mediator Series is AWESOME!!

    Shadowland is the first book in the Mediator Series and it was totally awesome. This book -as well as the whole series- was so good that I found that I couldnt put it down and managed to read it in less than a day. As soon as I finished this one I HAD to run out and buy the other 4 in the series (as well as HAUNTED by MEG CABOT). I recommend u buy them at all at once or at least borrow them from the library over a short period of time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2003

    love it

    I am at the moment reading Reunion and have read the last two, I have got to say I am hooked. I have put all my other books on hold and have spent this Australian winter in bed reading Jenny's books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2003

    EXCELLENT BOOK!!!!!

    Alright it's official this series is the best ever!!!!! I mean I can't even believe how good of a series this is. I suggest to anyone who reads at all to read this book. It's great!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003

    best books ever!

    this series is one of the best YA series out there... just wanted to let you all know. They're really exciting and Jenny Carroll even uses enough vocabulary words that you can get away with reading them for a class. THESE BOOKS RULE! suspense, romance, action, adventure...awesomeness!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2003

    Almost as good as chocolate

    This book is the first in a series written by Meg Cabot. I was so intrigued that I read the entire series in three days. If the next one doesn't come out soon, I will probably stop breathing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2003

    warning! quite addictive!

    Seriously, Meg has written literary crack - you kow you want more. So even though I'm in college, her YA novels are lighthearted, funny, and in the the case the the Mediator series, absolutely enthralling. Cheers ;)

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