Sisters of Misery

Sisters of Misery

4.4 19
by Megan Kelley Hall

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There are some girls who have everything...
She has the right clothes, the right friends, and the right last name, but fifteen-year-old Maddie Crane sometimes feels like an outsider in her clique in the wealthy, seaside town of Hawthorne, Massachusetts. And when her gorgeous, eccentric cousin Cordelia LeClaire moves to town, Maddie is drawn toward her ethereal,… See more details below


There are some girls who have everything...
She has the right clothes, the right friends, and the right last name, but fifteen-year-old Maddie Crane sometimes feels like an outsider in her clique in the wealthy, seaside town of Hawthorne, Massachusetts. And when her gorgeous, eccentric cousin Cordelia LeClaire moves to town, Maddie is drawn toward her ethereal, magical spirit and teeters even more toward the edge of her friends' tightly-knit circle...

Then there are the jealous ones...
Kate Endicott and the Sisters of Misery-a secret clique of the most popular, powerful girls in school-are less than thrilled by Cordelia's arrival. When Kate's on-again, off-again boyfriend Trevor takes an interest in Cordelia, the Sisters of Misery become determined to make her pay...

Now Maddie must choose between the allure and power of the Sisters of Misery and her loyalty to her beloved cousin. But she'll have to give up on ever fitting in and accept the disturbing truth about the town, her friends, her mysterious cousin, and even herself as she faces the terrifying wrath of the Sisters of Misery...

"An exciting, dangerous, and mysterious world! Megan Kelley Hall has crafted a story that'll keep you guessing until the last page." --Richelle Mead, author, Vampire Academy series
"A dazzling and dishy portrait of magic, mystery, and coming of age. Readers will eat this up and come begging for more." --Laurie Stolarz, author of the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series

"One of the very best things in life is discovering an author you want to read more of. Sisters of Misery makes me want to read a whole lot more of Megan Kelley Hall." --Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank and Impulse

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Maddie Crane has always lived in Hawthorne, where a family name means everything and membership in a cruel, all-girl secret society, the Sisters of Misery, is required for social success. When Cordelia and Rebecca LeClaire, Maddie's cousin and newly widowed aunt, move back to Hawthorne, Cordelia's beauty, bohemian style and interest in fortune-telling draw negative attention from the preppy Sisters of Misery, especially their leader. On Halloween Night they subject Cordelia to a brutal hazing on Misery Island (from which the society gets their name)-and by the next morning she has vanished. Wracked with guilt about throwing her cousin to the Sisters, Maddie becomes obsessed with finding Cordelia. While the viciousness of the Sisters of Misery can, at points, seem extreme, the mystery of Cordelia's disappearance is compelling. Hall maintains suspense until the very end. This story's dark, sinister edge, coupled with the clever use of runes to frame each chapter, will satisfy those fascinated by witchcraft and premonitions. Setting up a sequel, Hall will leave readers eager to know what happens next in her standout addition to a popular YA genre. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Sisters of Misery
By Megan Kelley Hall
Copyright © 2008 Megan Kelley Hall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-2679-2

Chapter One JERA


Anticipation and Excitement Before aMajor Turning Point in Life


"Isn't that girl up yet? Today, of all days, she decides to sleep in. I don't care if it's summer vacation. She needs a good dose of work ethic, or else she's going to be a bum just like her father."

Maddie could hear her mother's muffled words as she ranted and stormed around the kitchen. Her nightmares were getting worse and more detailed; she'd been waking up more exhausted than when she went to sleep the night before. Ever since Madeline Crane learned that her cousin would be moving in with them, Cordelia LeClaire had appeared in her dreams again and again.

After showering and drying her hair, she padded down the uneven staircase to the kitchen. Her grandmother, Tess, was clad in a faded bathrobe, and was in a high state of amusement watching Maddie's mother.

"Good afternoon, Madeline. So glad you could make it up in time for lunch," Abigail Crane scolded without turning to look at her daughter. She continued to swipe the impeccably clean counter even though breakfast had long since been cleaned up. Maddie rolled her eyes, but Tess winked and patted the chair next to her, motioning for Maddie to join her at the kitchen table.

"Mom, it's only ten o'clock, and it's going to be a long day," Maddie said, sighing heavily and trying not to laugh as Tess rubbed herfingers together in a tsk-tsk gesture.

"Well, let's get one thing straight," Abigail continued her tirade. "Breakfast always has been and always will be at eight AM sharp. There are some things that I refuse to let slide around here. If you miss it, then you have to fend for yourself. I don't need to deal with any more aggravation than I already have. Understood?"

Maddie's mother hadn't adjusted well to the news that her flighty older sister Rebecca was moving back to Hawthorne and would be living with them at Ten Mariner's Way. The grand old Victorian belonged to Tess, and Maddie and Abigail were technically guests, though they'd lived there for most of Maddie's life. So when Tess gave word that Rebecca and her daughter, Cordelia, were moving in, Abigail didn't have a say in the matter, something that she apparently wasn't handling very well.

Maddie imagined that this was what it would be like to have Martha Stewart as a mother-living with someone with an unyielding desire for perfection and control.

And with that, Abigail stormed out of the kitchen, leaving Maddie and Tess looking sheepishly at each other like two bad little girls getting scolded by their teacher.

Maddie cringed, knowing that her mother's mood was only going to get worse once Cordelia and Rebecca arrived later that day. While Maddie typically dreaded field hockey practice on the hot, sticky days of August, it was a great excuse to get away from the house and all the last minute preparations for their relatives.

Maddie gathered her things and got ready to head down to the field for practice. She bent over to give her grandmother a kiss on the cheek and whispered, "Are you going to be okay with her today?"

"Humph," Tess snorted, fighting a smile that tugged at the sides of her mouth. "I've tackled bigger battles than this in my day."

* * *

Preseason field hockey practices were always tough, but this one seemed especially brutal. Kate Endicott had naturally been chosen team captain of Hawthorne Academy's junior varsity squad, and she was determined to beat the school's varsity team in an upcoming scrimmage. Maddie jogged down to meet the girls and waved excitedly to her best friends Hannah, Darcy, Bridget, and, of course, Kate. Maddie didn't remember actually choosing these girls as friends; they were just part of the fabric that had made up her everyday life for as long as she could remember.

Growing up, Abigail Crane had made certain Maddie's social calendar was filled with every opportunity that she felt she had been denied as a girl. Horseback riding with Darcy Willett, ballet and piano lessons with Bridget Monroe, tennis tournaments with the Endicotts, and golf outings with Hannah Sanders-if there was a lesson to be taken or a social opportunity to attend, Abigail made sure that Maddie was there. But what her mother didn't realize was that there was a darker side to their friendship. Things that they did together that bonded them as "sisters" as well as friends. Bonds that could never be broken without paying the consequences.

"Get out there, Crane," Bronwyn Maxwell called. She was also a Hawthorne Academy alum and a recent college graduate. Bronwyn was the all-time field hockey champion of Hawthorne Academy, and the school had offered her the chance to lead their teams to victory once again, this time as a coach. Hawthorne Academy always took good care of its own.

Maddie pulled on her cleats, the sweat already dripping down her back. She would be completely spent later on that day when her relatives were scheduled to move in.

Ugh, she sighed, exhausted by just thinking about it. After running a couple of warm-up laps, Maddie collapsed onto the fresh-mown grass, feeling the prickles of the blades against her steaming skin.

"Crane, you loser, get up." Kate laughed as she dropped down next to her. She stretched her toned legs out in front of her and arched her back like a cat, allowing her long, honey-blond hair to graze the ground. She looked seductively over her shoulder, knowing she had the boys on the Hawthorne soccer team practicing on the next field as an audience. "Oh, I see, you're checking out the lawn boy. He's pretty cute for a townie."

Maddie looked up to see a dark-haired guy riding a lawn mower on the other side of the field. His shirt was off, revealing a deep tan and sinewy muscles. Maddie hadn't even noticed him, but he seemed to be watching them intently. "Maddie and the lawn boy sittin' in a tree ..." Kate sang, giggling.

"Not today, Kate," Maddie warned, hoping to fend off Kate's usual bitchy remarks. She'd grown accustomed to Kate's taunts and teasing-even expected them as part of her daily ritual-but for some reason, she knew she couldn't handle them today. Not with the craziness going on in her own house. Today, of all days, she just couldn't deal.

"What's the matter, Maddie? Feeling a little hungover? Didn't you have fun at my party?" Kate asked innocently.

Just then Hannah, Bridget, and Darcy jogged over. "I was just asking Maddie if she liked the party last night. Did you girls have fun?"

They all giggled. Something was up.

The party was just like all the others Kate threw. Drunken guys in baseball caps, girls in overpriced outfits, tons of beer and alcohol, and the inevitable "get thrown into the pool fully dressed." Then everyone would either skinny-dip in the ocean or get more wasted in the hot tub. It was like there was an unwritten script that every Endicott party had to adhere to.

"Kate had fun."

"Lots of it."

More giggles and hushed laughter.

Bronwyn saw them sitting down and blew her whistle. "Get up, you lazy bitches. I need to see some hustle out there."

Maddie grabbed hold of Kate's wrist before they headed back down to the field for dribble practices. "What happened last night?"

"Trevor and I finally did it," Kate said, smiling as if she had really expected Maddie to believe that she hadn't lost her virginity long ago. Maddie clearly remembered the night it happened. It was one of those parties at Fort Glover where the older guys ended up preying on the "new blood." Kate got so wasted that she gave it up to her older sister Carly's boyfriend on the dirt floor of the old fort. Maddie remembered warning her not to go off with Carly Endicott's boyfriend that night, but Kate hissed that she knew what she was doing and that she could take care of herself. "I guess you can say I'm no longer part of The V Club."

Maddie rolled her eyes. Honestly, the V Club? Kate had always acted as if she was the most worldly and the oldest of the group. Back when they were all first initiated into the Sisters of Misery, a select group of girls from Hawthorne Academy, Kate was so anxious to please the older "sisters" that she would do anything to be accepted as one of them. There was never a question that Kate would be part of the clique. Her older sister Carly made sure she was inducted into the not-so-secret society of girls who were known to have the best parties, date the cutest boys, and hold secret meetings out on Misery Island. Maddie wasn't sure how far back their group had begun and it wasn't something she would ever question. Like the monstrous Ravenswood Asylum at the center of town, it was something that was always there, bigger and more powerful than any of them. But once inside, you never got out.

Kate, not wanting to be the only girl her age in the group (and the sole target of the older girls' taunts), brought Maddie and her other friends into the mix. This pleased Abigail to no end, but Tess grew more and more concerned every time Maddie took off with her group of friends. Even though she'd had playdates with the girls since grade school, taking ballet lessons, sailing courses, anything and everything that Abigail could sign Maddie up for, she still felt like an outsider. It was as if she didn't really "know" them, and they would never understand her. Maddie just assumed that's how all friendships were-on the surface and for show.

"So Trevor's not with Nicole anymore?" Maddie had heard that Kate's on-again, off-again boyfriend had been hooking up with another girl in their grade recently. Kate obviously felt she needed to get the upper hand and win Trevor back by sleeping with him.

Kate looked out at the field, smirking as Nicole ran up and down the field, going through the rigorous drills. "Like he was ever serious with that fat ass?"

Nicole looked as though she'd been crying, her eyes red and puffy. But it wasn't enough for Kate to take her boyfriend. Nicole's red and puffy eyes had a matching puffy lip by the end of the practice after Kate "accidentally" smashed into her head-on. It was just par for the course for Kate Endicott. No one ever got in her way.

Chapter Two GEBO


Partnerships, Relationships, and Unions Are ReachedThrough Sacrifice and Balance

After a particularly grueling field hockey practice, Maddie was dead tired. Her coltish legs felt like rubber, and her long brown hair was sticking to the back of her neck and the sides of her face. The humidity was almost too much to bear as she trudged toward home, but she could always count on the extraordinarily icy Victorian to cool her down once she passed through the front door.

When Tess had informed them a few weeks earlier about her plans for Rebecca and Cordelia's arrival from the West Coast, it didn't seem set in stone. Rebecca was known for planning a return visit to Hawthorne, only to end up in some distant, exotic location. But this time, it seemed like the real deal. They were, without question, moving to Hawthorne, and Abigail was, in Tess's words, fit to be tied.

"Mark my words, we are not going to let them spoil everything I have worked for," Abigail hissed when she first learned of their homecoming. From the beginning, she was dead set against the return of her sister.

Maddie, however, was ecstatic. She had grown up hearing stories-ones that had almost a fairytale-like appeal-about the eccentric and willful Aunt Rebecca who fell in love with Simon LeClaire, an ornithologist (Abigail always referred to him as "the crazy bird guy") who had come through Hawthorne conducting research on the migrating pattern of brown-speckled sandpipers. Abigail always said it was one of the happiest days of her life when her newly pregnant sister and her boyfriend had taken off for the West Coast in search of a warmer climate and the endangered Snowy Plover. Maddie, on the other hand, always wished that Rebecca would return with her daughter Cordelia. It would have been like growing up with a sister, despite her mother's insistence that Sisterhood was highly overrated.

It wasn't until a few months after Uncle Simon's death that they learned of Rebecca's plans to come home. Abigail used every opportunity to show Tess how small the house was, how expensive it would be to have two more people in the house, how difficult it would be for Rebecca to readjust to life in Hawthorne after so many years away. But Tess wouldn't have it. They were as welcome in her home as Maddie and Abigail were, and she never failed to remind Abigail whose house Ten Mariner's Way really was.

Tess had brought Maddie and Abigail in after Malcolm Crane deserted them and they had nowhere else to go. Abigail used to run around behind him, picking up the evidence of his destructive outbursts, formulating excuses for the noise if the neighbors dared to mention the commotion the next day. But no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't put the broken pieces of the family back together again. Now Malcolm existed only as a drunken, bullish figure in the recesses of Maddie's early childhood memories.

"It's a good thing that he took off when he did," Tess often replied when Maddie asked about her deadbeat dad. "If he ever pulled any of that nonsense with you that he pulled with your mother, he'd be six feet under by now." Maddie loved hearing her frail grandmother talk about how she'd protect Maddie against the big brute of a father who had left them long ago. Abigail, on the other hand, was only concerned about town gossip. She kept their dire financial situation a secret, guarded it like a sore. Coming from a wealthy seaport town on Boston's North Shore and having a prestigious last name like Crane, they had everyone fooled. Abigail made sure of that.

* * *

Despite the aloof coolness Maddie tried to maintain around her friends-Kate especially-she could barely contain her excitement about the arrival of Rebecca and Cordelia. As Maddie approached the house, Abigail came outside in a huff, her thin brown hair swept tightly into a severe bun, her long face pulled into its usual grimace. Tess stood next to Abigail her face, in stark contrast, brimming with excitement.

"So, are they here yet?" Maddie asked her mother.

Abigail's body visibly stiffened. The blades of her shoulders twitched beneath her Talbots linen tank dress. She stood erect, spine perfectly straight, head held high.

"Just get inside already," Abigail Crane said in an exasperated tone. "Our guests have already arrived." Abigail was obviously hoping their stay wouldn't be permanent, and from the stories Maddie had heard about Rebecca, she didn't seem to stay rooted in one place for too long. But Maddie had a feeling this time would be different, and she hoped her premonitions were true.

Maddie moved past her mother and threw her arms around her grandmother's frail body. "Hi, Grams. So they're really here? Can you believe it? Are you excited?"

"You have no idea," Tess said brightly. The wrinkles in her face deepened as she smiled widely. She was so tiny, fragile like the porcelain dolls Maddie's mother had given her as a child. Maddie could look at them but was never allowed to touch. "All my girls back together again. It's simply magical!"

"Don't get too comfortable," Abigail warned, ignoring her mother. "Remember, we're going to the Hamilton's for a cookout, and I'd like you to look presentable." She eyed her daughter up and down, silently appraising her appearance, and then added, "Well, the best that you're capable of. Don't worry. We're not bringing them."

Maddie followed her mother's gaze up to the guest room window of the old Victorian and caught a glimpse of a pale girl's face peering out the window. The moment they made eye contact, the red-haired girl vanished from the window, leaving the curtains fluttering.

Tess nodded toward the house. "Rebecca is getting ready for the farmer's market since we're going to be fending for ourselves for dinner tonight," she said. "Cordelia's upstairs in the guest room. It will be a nice change for you to get to know some real folk, not just those uppity girls your mother's always forcing on you." Maddie's mother threw her hands up in the air and stormed inside.


Excerpted from Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelley Hall Copyright © 2008by Megan Kelley Hall.Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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