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Wrecked

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Overview

Dear anyone who cared about Cameron,

I was the driver of the “other” car.

The police and my mother and my father and plenty of people are saying that I didn’t kill her. But I know I did. That’s what her parents must believe. And my brother, Jack. He always sees what’s true. I want to tell him how sorry I am about the accident. I want to say a lot of things to him and to everybody — like how Cameron was smart and beautiful and kind in a way that...

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Wrecked

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Overview

Dear anyone who cared about Cameron,

I was the driver of the “other” car.

The police and my mother and my father and plenty of people are saying that I didn’t kill her. But I know I did. That’s what her parents must believe. And my brother, Jack. He always sees what’s true. I want to tell him how sorry I am about the accident. I want to say a lot of things to him and to everybody — like how Cameron was smart and beautiful and kind in a way that isn’t all that common in high school. Like how much Jack loved her and how sometimes I can hear him crying through the wall at night. I want to say how bad everything can get.
In one split second.

Upside down and shattered.

Just like that.

Wrecked.

After a car accident seriously injures her best friend and kills her brother's girlfriend, sixteen-year-old Anna tries to cope with her guilt and grief, while learning some truths about her family and herself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Frank's (Life Is Funny) newest book deals with a family torn apart when 16-year old narrator Anna kills her brother's girlfriend, whose car swerves into Anna's lane as she drives home from a party. "The day I killed my brother's girlfriend started with me handpicking leaves off our front lawn," the novel begins, alternating between the present and flashbacks. At its best, the structure allows for moments of clarity as Anna makes sense of her family's tensions, such as a scene involving her cleaning her parents' glass collection and her controlling father asking, "Remember when Jack broke the bud vase?" Anna takes the opportunity to admit that she had broken that vase six years before, marking a sea change within her. At times, however, these juxtapositions of past and present are not as fluidly integrated, serving to distance readers from the characters. As the novel goes on, the pace picks up. Frank offers a nakedly honest portrayal of the ups and downs that plague Anna day in and day out as she attempts to deal with the aftermath of her trauma. She experiences guilt and a fear of love, and eventually gains the knowledge that whatever life throws one's way, "mostly you realize you can handle it." With her powerful staccato writing style and her aversion to fairytale flourishes, Frank creates credible, all too human characters figuring out life as they go. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
Sixteen-year-old Anna kills her brother's girlfriend Cameron in a car crash after drinking at a party, but she was not drunk. Her best friend Ellen is also seriously injured. To make matters worse, Anna and her brother have an emotionally abusive father, a weak and distant mother, and this problem has driven a wedge into their relationship even before the trauma of the accident. This is a story of grief and the different ways people are changed by extreme events and how they heal. It is also the story of the power of friendship and the need for other people in our lives and suggests the necessity of forgiveness for the weakness of others. In addition, it explores the use of EMDR therapy to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Frank's use of language and her powerful flashbacks, accompanied by her insight into the human condition, make this novel rich and compelling, one whose images linger in the memory after the last page. Frank (author of America, Friction, and Life is Funny) allows her characters to speak for themselves. No authorial voice jumps in to make pronouncements. The characters chide, comfort, warn, and get angry at each other and ultimately their interactions are an essential part of the healing process. This novel's themes and execution make it an excellent read for all adolescents, though younger teens may not appreciate it as much as older teens because of its sophisticated imagery. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Simon & Schuster, 247p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Myrna Marler
Children's Literature
"The day I killed my brother's girlfriend started with me handpicking leaves off our front lawn" begins narrator sixteen-year-old Anna. Her problems began long before the accident with her controlling, angry father and distant brother, but life was comfortable enough. After the accident, all hell breaks lose and Anna has to wade through many levels of self-hatred and self-recrimination to put her shattered world back together. Anna begins the long and awkward path to healing after the accident with the unusual Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMCR) treatment. Memories of the accident and her life merge to reveal a girl suffering from deep troubles. This is a quick read, though the detailed therapy sessions interrupt the story flow at times. Still, the subject and the author's handling of it make it an involving YA read. 2005, Simon and Schuster, Ages 12 up.
—Susie Wilde
KLIATT - Myrna Marler
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2005: Sixteen-year-old Anna kills her brother's girlfriend Cameron in a car crash after drinking at a party, but she was not drunk. Her best friend Ellen is also seriously injured. To make matters worse, Anna and her brother have an emotionally abusive father, a weak and distant mother, and this problem has driven a wedge into their relationship even before the trauma of the accident. This is a story of grief and the different ways people are changed by extreme events and how they heal. It is also the story of the power of friendship and the need for other people in our lives and suggests the necessity of forgiveness for the weakness of others. In addition, it explores the use of EMDR therapy to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Frank's use of language and her powerful flashbacks, accompanied by her insight into the human condition, make this novel rich and compelling, one whose images linger in the memory after the last page. Frank (author of America, Friction, and Life is Funny) allows her characters to speak for themselves. No authorial voice jumps in to make pronouncements. The characters chide, comfort, warn, and get angry at each other and ultimately their interactions are an essential part of the healing process. This novel's themes and execution make it an excellent read for all adolescents, though younger teens may not appreciate it as much as older teens because of its sophisticated imagery.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Anna is driving a very drunk friend home from a party. Moments into the journey, a head-on collision leaves Ellen with a punctured lung and other serious injuries, Anna with a lacerated eye, and the other driver dead. The dead teen happens to be her brother's girlfriend. Anna clearly remembers Cameron's final screams, and she suffers nightmares. Her father is an emotionally repressed tyrant who at first won't allow his daughter to receive counseling. Frank develops and sustains credible characters whose problems are realistic and interconnected. Brief flashbacks allow readers to become acquainted with Jack as he was before Cameron's death and even as he was when he and Anna were children. Their father's brittle personality is not evil or even cruel, but clearly riddled with flaws bred of deeply held fears. In spite of some plot twists that seem convenient rather than realistic, such as the teens' pre-Thanksgiving trip to Florida with Ellen's parents, this story is compulsively readable both because Anna is likable and imperfect and because Frank's writing is so fluid. Rather than being a didactic anti-drinking or pro-counseling story, this is a psychological drama that is definitely worth teens' time.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A teen copes with post-traumatic stress disorder after the car she is driving home after a party collides with one driven by her brother's girlfriend, killing her. Sixteen-year-old Anna has not had it particularly easy before now: Her tyrannical father is given to capricious orders and towering rages, and her mother is caring but distant. Before the accident, however, she had been drawing closer to her brother Jack after a period of adolescence-induced hostility, a detente significantly threatened by the event. Frank once again offers a compelling tale of psychological renewal, weaving Anna's post-accident present-tense narration through with her memories of significant moments in her family's past. An innovative therapy (a process called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) proves successful for Anna, and by story's end, she and her family are on the way to healing, albeit some more smoothly than others. Lacking either the searing intensity of America (2002) or the psychological subtlety of Friction (2003), this offering smacks rather more of problem-novel than purely literary effort. Anna's voice and situation are both entirely genuine-and scarily relevant-however, and both make this a highly worthwhile read. (Fiction. 12+)
From the Publisher
"Convincingly genuine."
-- School Library Journal, starred review

"Gripping, unsettling."
-- Booklist, starred review

"Bold, perceptive."
-- Bookpage

"A wrenching tour de force."
-- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Amazing grace from E. R. Frank."
--New York Times Book Review

"A raw, moving story."
-- Teen People

"A piercing, unforgettable novel."
-- Booklist, starred review

"A powerful story of forgiveness."
-- Publishers Weekly, starred review

• A New York Times Notable Book
• A School Library Journal Best Book
• An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
• An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

• An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
• An IRA Children's Book Award Notable Book

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455857838
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 11/29/2011
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 15 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

E.R. Frank is the author of America, Friction, and Dime. Her first novel, Life Is Funny, won the Teen People Book Club NEXT Award for YA Fiction and was also a top-ten ALA 2001 Quick Pick. In addition to being writer, E.R. Frank is also a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. She works with adults and adolescents and specializes in trauma.
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Read an Excerpt

Wrecked


By E. R. Frank

Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books

Copyright © 2005 E. R. Frank
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689873832

Before

The day I killed my brother's girlfriend started with me handpicking leaves off our front lawn.

"Did you lose an earring, Anna?" Mrs. Caldwell called. She was wearing navy blue sweats with white racing stripes up the sides.

"Um," I called back. "Yeah." She stepped onto our brick pathway, probably to help me look.

"Oh," I said, loud, before Mrs. Caldwell could get too close. "Got it." I held my hand high in the air, as if I was showing her something I'd found. She nodded and then turned around right as my brother, Jack, backed the Honda out of our garage, music blasting.

"You want to help?" I called. I mean, he could have helped.

"Nope." He let the car roll slowly backward. "Sorry." He didn't sound sorry. But still. I guess I wouldn't have helped either. He cranked the music up even louder.

"What is that?" I shouted. He's always listening to bands nobody's heard of.

"Barking Duck!" Which is what it sounded like.

"Do you like it?" he asked, turning the volume down.

"Very funny," I said. "And don't forget, I have the Honda tonight."

"You won't need it if you don't finish the lawn."

And then he left me there, picking up crunchy brown leaves the size of hair clips. Picking them up, one by one, and dropping them into a plastic grocery store bag. Exactly the way my father had insisted. Not raking, because that might damage the grass. Not leaf blowing, because the noise was too loud and the gas smelled. Not watching some crew, because why should my father hire other people to do his lawn work when he had two perfectly able-bodied teenagers?

My mom poked her head out our front door, holding my cell. Damn. I thought I had it clipped to my back pocket. "It just rang." She had the top flipped up. "I think it was Ellen."

I blew out a big breath of air and straightened.

"Do you want company?" She has a bad back, so it went without saying that she wasn't going to help.

"No, I don't want company," I snapped. "I want not to do this."

"Is it such a big deal?" My mom handed me the cell.

"It's ridiculous, Mom." I put a lot of emphasis on the dic of ridiculous.

"Well," she said. Then she went back into the house.

I picked up two more leaves and dropped them with the others. And then something weird happened. I didn't plan it. I hadn't even been thinking about it. But all of a sudden I opened the plastic grocery bag, turned it upside down, and dragged it through the air. I watched the leaves scatter sideways and then spiral downward toward the wispy blades peeking up from where my father had made Jack sprinkle seed last weekend. How do they say it? In one fell swoop. Well, in one fell swoop I dumped out all those leaves I'd been so stupidly gathering up. Just dumped them right out.

I remember that moment as clear as the accident. Sometimes clearer. Who knows why.

Chapter One

We're at Ellen's. She's flattening her brown hair, slicking it back into one long ponytail.

"It's too early to leave," she's saying. "Things won't get going until at least twelve."

"Well, it's twelve now," I tell her. "And we're still not ready."

"You want to call Lisa and them, and see where they are?"

I dial, and some guy answers. "What's up?" There's giggling in the background.

"Seth!" the giggler goes. I think it might be Lisa. "Give it back!"

"Is Lisa there?" I ask.

Ellen and I are sort of between groups right now. Last year we hung out a lot with this other Anna, and Katy and Slater and Kevin and Trace. But the other Anna switched schools, and Katy and Slater started wearing black lipstick and shaving their heads and telling us we were conformists, and Kevin and Trace started dating each other and never hanging out with anybody else, and things just sort of dissolved from there.

"Give it!" I hear Lisa shouting over her own giggles.

"What's going on?" Ellen asks.

"I think it's Seth. That guy who wears the sleeve," I say. A sleeve is this thing that looks sort of like a combination of a glove with no finger coverage and a sock that fits all the way up to your elbow. Other than the sleeve, Seth's pretty cute.

"Oh," Ellen goes. "Sleev-eth."

"Listen," I tell the phone. "Could you put Lisa on?" I try to sound sarcastic and bossy, but I'm not so good at that. Ellen is slightly better at it than I am. Neither of us is nearly as masterful as the Ashleys. Which is fine, because we have no desire to be complete bitches. Just to know how when necessary.

"Who's this?" Seth asks.

"Who is it?" I hear Lisa say.

"Give her the phone, man," some other guy complains.

"This is Anna," I say. "Ask Lisa if she's going to the party at Wayne's."

"Yeah." It's still Seth. "We're going. Is this Anna Lawson?"

I cover the phone with my hand. "Ellen," I whisper. "Sleev-eth knows who I am."

"Good," she goes.

"How do you know who I am?" I ask into the cell.

"It's me," Lisa says. I guess Sleev-eth gave hers back. "We're leaving in fifteen minutes."

"Us too," I say. "Ellen's taking forever to do her hair."

"I am not," Ellen goes. "Ask if they have beer." Ellen's developed a taste for alcohol lately. I haven't. I don't like beer, for one thing. For another, I do like knowing what's going on.

"Do you guys have beer?" I ask.

"Yeah, plus Jack Daniel's."

"They've got Jack Daniel's," I tell Ellen.

"Where did they get that?"

"Anna?" It's Sleev-eth again.

"Seth!" I hear Lisa scream. Then the signal goes dead.

I flip down my phone. Ellen tugs at her ponytail and then turns from her mirror to look at me.

"You don't want to go, do you," she says.

"Yeah I do."

"You wanted to bitch some more about your father and then see Rocky Horror."

"Maybe. But it's too late." Rocky Horror always starts at midnight.

"I kind of like parties now," Ellen tells me. Neither of us used to. Last year we would go to the mall instead. Or to Top Hats, our favorite diner. We thought parties were stupid up until about a month ago.

"I like parties too," I lie.

"No you don't. You always nurse a beer and stay in one place the whole time."

I don't know what to say to that. Ellen's been my best friend since we were nine. She knows me better than anybody. Really, anybody.

"You don't like me anymore," I sulk. "You're going to get in with the Ashleys and break them up and be one of their best friends and dump me." I'm only half kidding.

"Don't be stupid," she goes. "I just want to have some fun."

"Well, I do too," I say.

"Since when?"

"Since today."

"Oh, yeah?" she asks. "Do I have your dad to thank for that?"

"Whoever you want to thank," I tell her. "But I'm going to have fun flirting with Sleev-eth. And I'm going to have fun drinking."

She's always said I'm more of a stoner than a drinker, if I ever had the guts to do either. I've always said it's not about guts. It's just that I don't want to do drugs because if I got caught or something bad happened, my father would kill me. That's where Ellen usually rolls her eyes, and I wonder if she actually knows me better than I know me, and then I get nervous if I don't switch the subject in my head.

"Well, don't have too much fun," Ellen's warning me now, "because one of us has to be able to drive."

"Okay," I say. "Then, I'll just flirt."

"Good," Ellen goes. "Let's leaf now."

"Ha," I tell her.

Wayne's house is sort of like mine. Old and big with a huge front and back lawn. Which makes me think about my father and the fight we had before I left.

"You will not leave this house until that grass is taken care of," my dad said. He isn't used to me not doing what he asks. I'm not used to it either. But whatever it was that made me dump out those leaves earlier wouldn't let me give in.

"No," I argued. I was already late. I'd told Ellen I'd be there ten minutes ago. I was working hard to keep my head from going fuzzy, the way it gets when my father has me trapped somehow. Because even though I'm usually sure that it's something the matter with him that starts it all, I always end up feeling like there's something worse the matter with me for not seeing things his way.

So I tried to sound reasonable. My dad likes reasonable. "I'm sorry I didn't do it already," I said, as calm as I could. "But it's dark out now. Plus, it doesn't make sense to hand pick up leaves. I'll rake tomorrow, but tonight I'm going to Ellen's." Then I held my breath and started walking through the kitchen. Jack was at the table, waiting for his girlfriend to come over and typing some new movie review, probably, onto his Web site. Or maybe checking his UCLA admissions status.

"Stop," my father ordered. I didn't stop. "You stop right there." The fuzz went black while he moved in front of me to block the mudroom door. Jack didn't even look up. He can get so absorbed in whatever he's doing that he wouldn't notice if a hurricane hit.

"Dad!" I said.

I heard my mother's hard-soled shoes clack on the stairs. My father was standing so close I could feel the heat of him on me. "Give me the keys," he ordered.

"No. You're being totally unfair!" The black was getting worse, the way it does when he won't back off, which is all the time, and you can't do anything, you're just stuck, and everything turns into a massive knot of confusion. Jack glanced up at both of us right then, but only for a second.

"Harvey," my mother said, clacking into the kitchen. "What's going on?"

"She didn't pick up the leaves." The vein over his left eye was popped out. His face was shiny.

"I saw her pick up the leaves," my mother told him in that ultrapatient tone of voice she gets when he's like this. His jaw muscles started jumping.

"So did I." Jack snapped closed his laptop, scraped back his chair, and walked out.

I tried to clear the messiness in my head. It works better if you stay calm. Even though my father never does. His face was turning purple. I looked at my mom. "I told him already," I said evenly. "I'll rake tomorrow."

"Not rake!" my father exploded. He was frothing at the mouth. Seriously. Spit was gathering at the corners like he had rabies or something. "Not tomorrow. Pick. Up. Now!"

My mother was just standing there, lips in a tight, straight line. That This is not right, but there's nothing I can do look. I couldn't take it. I wasn't going to let him ruin my whole night. Make me get on my knees under the spotlights out front, as if I were some kind of psych patient, when he was the insane one.

I stepped around my father and through the mudroom, into the garage.

"If you leave this house, you will be extremely sorry!" he shouted right as I was yanking open the car door.

I jumped into the Honda. "If I come back to this house," I shouted back through the open window, "you will be extremely lucky!" And then I cried the whole way to Ellen's.

Wayne's got two sound systems going: one on the third floor and one on the first. Outside you can hear them both. House from the top. Disco from the bottom. They don't mix too well.

"See anybody we know?" I ask Ellen. We're trying to make our way inside. Ellen's always cold, so unless it's seriously summer, we never stay outdoors.

"No." She weaves through the crowd. Then when we walk in through the garage, she points. "There's Jason." I don't really know Jason. He's this guy in her history class Ellen has a crush on. He sees us and waves us over.

"Lisa and her friend were looking for you," he tells Ellen. "They went up to the third floor."

"Come with us," Ellen invites him. "This is Anna. Anna, this is Jason."

"Hi," we both say, and then we all start trooping upward.

On the stairs someone has taped signs that read, PLEASE DO NOT PARTY ON THE SECOND FLOOR. They're written in red marker on graph paper.

"There they are," Lisa says when she sees us. We're in a bedroom. Wayne's probably. It's got posters of bands and supermodels all over the place and beer-can pyramids everywhere. Lisa and Seth and a couple of other people are sitting on the bed. The house music is pounding. You can feel it buzz in your chest. Thrum, thrum. "You want some?" Seth offers us a bottle of Jack Daniel's with his right hand. With his left he's eating a peppermint patty.

"You guys know Jason?" Ellen asks, taking the whiskey. Everybody nods. My whole body keeps thrumming with the beat of the music. Thrum, thrum. "Where did you guys get it?"

"Bought it," Lisa goes. "Seth's got a fake ID." He does look sort of old. Not twenty-one, exactly. But with a fake ID I guess he can pass.

"You're Jack's little sister, right?" Seth asks me. This never used to happen.

"Where's your sleeve?" I ask him back.

"We convinced him to lose it," Lisa says.

"How do you know my brother?" I ask, even though I know how. But Seth's popped the rest of the peppermint patty into his mouth, so he can't answer.

"Ohhh," Jason goes instead. He takes a drink of Jack Daniel's. "Jack Lawson? You're Jack Lawson's little sister?" I still can't get used to having a brother who, practically overnight, has become a household name.

"Everybody knows your brother this year," Ellen tells me, like she's reading my mind. Which she kind of does a lot of the time.

"Cameron," I guess. Seth sighs. Jason and Lisa nod.

"Cameron Polk," they all say at once. Thrum, thrum.

Cameron Polk is Jack's girlfriend. His first girlfriend ever. They've been dating since the second week of school.

"Late," I said to Jack from his bedroom door, on the night I found out. He was sitting on that ergonomic chair in front of his laptop with the phone in his hand. He looked a little out of it. "Dinner," I said. "It's three minutes past." My parents had sent me to get him. My father wouldn't let me yell up the stairs. I had to walk up.

"Cameron Polk just agreed to go out with me Saturday night," Jack said.

"Really?"

He nodded. As far as I knew, he hadn't asked anyone out since he was in the eighth grade, when Trisha Todd told him no because he was too short. He'd grown more than a foot since then, and mostly I thought of him as this annoying, gawky guy who lived in my house. Nobody ever messed with him exactly, and he and his best friend, Rob, weren't total outcasts or anything. But it wasn't like people loved Jack either. Then again, when I thought about it, looking at him with the phone in his hand, I realized that a lot of kids had started talking to him at the end of last year. Had he been getting cool, and I hadn't noticed it?

"The Cameron Polk?" I asked him.

She moved here the last month of school last year. She's one of these girls that you sort of can't believe. Nobody could stop looking at her. She's got smoky skin and shiny blond hair and this square jaw, with a little bit of slant to her eyes. She transferred into all the honors classes, and she seemed actually nice. No attitude. It took only three days before the Ashleys asked her to sit with them at lunch. She did a few times. But she sat with other people too. You can't get much classier than that.

"We're in French Five together," Jack told me.

I noticed that his shaggy hair and something about his jeans and T-shirt looked like this ad I'd seen in some magazine lately. Those ads where the guys never seem as if they care what they look like, but they look good anyway. Weird.

"Saturday's my night for the car," I reminded him.

"I know." He looked at the phone in his hand. "But."

"Anna!" we heard my dad yell up the stairs. "Jack!" He had that edge to his voice. It meant he'd be screaming for five minutes once we got down to the dinner table.

I stood there trying to think over the noise of my dad. I should let Jack have the car. It was a date. It was Cameron Polk. Obviously I should. It was just that I'd promised to drive to Jake Lowell's party so that Ellen could drink, and I didn't want Ellen to be mad...

"Forget it," Jack said, and he had that expression I hate. That one where it's obvious he thinks I'm a disgusting human being. "Get out of my room."

"Anna!" my father shouted. "Jack!"

"Get. Out." When I didn't move, he stabbed a key on his keyboard, stood up, and brushed by me into the hallway.

"All right," I said to his back. "Fine. You can have the car on Saturday."

"Jack!"

"You know what?" my brother said, stopping at the top of the stairs. "Sometimes you are so small."

So now I get it. "Is that how you know who I am?" I ask Sleev-eth. He's holding out the whiskey, and I take it.

"Are you really going to drink tonight?" Ellen asks me.

I ignore her and keep talking to Seth. "Because you know who Jack is because everyone knows who Cameron is?" Then I take a huge, and I mean huge, swallow. And nearly choke to death. Jason kindly pounds me on the back for a while.

Ellen says, "Take a smaller swallow and go slower."

While I do, Seth goes, "No. I'm always seeing your hair in the hall." Thrum, thrum.

I have copper-colored corkscrew hair. No joke. Coils and coils of the stuff. It would be bad enough to have just the color. And bad enough to have the corkscrews. Having both is the worst. Ellen and my mother say it's "adorable" and "striking." Right. Try freakish.

"I've been dying to pull it all year," Seth says. Then he reaches out, grabs a curl, stretches it down straight, lets it go, and watches it bounce right back.

"Supreme," he says.

"If we were in third grade," I inform him, "you'd so be in the corner right now."

"If we were in the third grade," Seth informs me, "I'd so be kicked out of school right now." He reaches out and pulls another curl.

"I hated that in the third grade," I warn him.

"She loves it now," Lisa says with a smirk. As if she even knows me.

I hold out the bottle to Ellen. She takes it and drinks.

"We're co-opting your liquor," I tell Sleev-eth. I'm having fun.

Here's when I first noticed Jack trying with me, after a lot of years of not. It was this past summer, the first Friday of our annual two-week beach vacation at Commons End. We'd just arrived at that year's rental house after a five-hour drive. Which should have been three hours, but the shortcut my father thought would shave off ten minutes ended up getting us lost. So whatever.

"Anna," Jack called up to me. I was on the elevated deck, hauling my suitcase and my mother's. It was dusk but still hot from the sun of the day. I could feel my skin prickle from sweat and aggravation.

"What?" I asked him.

"You want me to unpack so you can go check out the water?"

"Huh?"

It's always Jack and me who have to take everything out of the car and indoors. My father usually insists on packing the trunk before we leave, which involves a lot of impatience and yelling because he's sure that not everything will fit. Then, on the arrival end, he never helps unload. And with her bad back, my mom can't do much either.

"I'll unpack," Jack said. "You want to go see the ocean before it's dark, right?"

It was something we usually raced each other for. Who would get their half finished the quickest, jog the two blocks, scramble up the narrow dune path, and reach the peak first. Who would get to throw off shoes, slip-slide down, pad across the warm sand, and wade into the undertow, looking out onto the choppy green water, before the other one even showed up. It was usually too late to actually swim. But most years getting that first piece of the beach on the day we arrived was a part of starting things off.

"You mean, you'll unpack the whole car?" I asked Jack.

"Yeah." I watched his face, trying to figure out the trick.

"Okay," I said finally.

When I got back, we ate dinner, and after that Jack wandered through my door, listening to his iPod. My room had twin beds with ugly flowered curtains that matched the bedspreads, and a fake bamboo chair. I was on my cell phone, lying on the floor with my feet up on one bed. Jack did the same next to me. Not knowing what else to do, I said to Ellen, who was planning to come down three days later, "So, this is weird. Jack just came into my room and, like, made himself comfortable. He doesn't even have his laptop with him or anything."

He didn't so much as blink, and with his music on I couldn't even be sure he'd heard me. When I hung up with Ellen a few minutes later, Jack said, "Do you like Straw Man Proposal?"

I rolled my eyes. "You know I've never heard of them."

"Listen to this," he said instead of telling me what a moron I was. And he leaned over to plug his earphones into my ears.

I listened. It wasn't bad.

Chapter Two

Somehow me and Ellen and Seth and Lisa and Jason and these two other guys and this one other girl wearing a hot pink jean jacket end up in Wayne's basement playing pool. Which is fun, especially since I'm sort of good at it, and Sleev-eth and I are on the same team, and he's good too. Three swigs of the Jack got me way drunk for a few hours, but now I think I'm sobered up. For a while there I thought I was going to puke, but Ellen walked me twice around the entire house, even all around the second floor.

"Walking off too much alcohol doesn't exactly count as partying," she said when we passed some of those red-markered signs.

"Yeah, but we're not supposed to be here," I moaned. "The second floor! Wayne will be soooo mad."

"Wayne is soooo stoned right now he wouldn't be able to tell the second floor from the fifteenth," Ellen told me. "Now, keep walking."

"Do you think I'm going to pass out?" I was sort of hopeful. I'd never passed out before.

"Nah," she said. "If I thought you were that far gone, I'd throw you in the shower." That probably got me sober faster than anything.

"You're the best, El," I told her.

"Ugh," she said. "You are not a cute drunk."

But now I'm fine, and Ellen is having a hard time holding her pool cue. She had four beers on top of three shots of Jack Daniel's, all in the last hour and a half. And right as I'm realizing that I also realize our curfews are way over.

"Oh my God," I say, scratching my shot.

"What's wrong?" Sleev-eth asks. He's finishing another peppermint patty. I think I've seen him eat four tonight. And he's not even a little bit fat.

"Ellen, we have to go." I stand up and hand off my pool cue to Jason. "I'm in such deep shit."

"About time," Ellen says to Jason and the others. "She never does Anna-thing wrong." It's hard to believe she can do her word thing so drunk. Then again, Anna-thing is an old one.

"You have to go now?" Seth sounds bummed, which is nice.

"Just stay," Lisa goes. "You're already late anyway."

"You don't know my dad," I tell her.

"You're not driving," Jason warns Ellen.

"I am," I say, pulling the keys out of my back pocket. My key ring is a teeny, tiny glow-in-the-dark planet Earth. If you sit in the pitch black with it, it's got all the greens and blues and whites and the shapes of the continents and everything. Ellen gave it to me the day I got my learner's permit. "Now you've got the world at your fingertips," she'd said.

"Bye," I tell everybody. Seth pulls one of my curls.

"See ya," they say.

"Bye." Ellen flaps her hands at them and stumbles.

"Come on," I go, and I lead her from the pool table, up the stairs and out the front door, down the street, to the Honda.

"Eech," Ellen goes on Ocean Road.

"You want me to pull over and walk you around a little?"

"Eech," she says again. Then she leans over and against her seat belt to crank up the radio. It's that old U2 song. That ancient one: "Hoow loong to sing this soong? Hooow looong, hooooow loooong, hoow loong..." Ellen cranks it loud, and then she turns to me and she goes, "Do you think -- "

And then there's this deafening smacking sound and the smell of new plastic, and Ellen in my lap, dripping with blood, and there's pieces of something falling and all this dust everywhere and chips flying up from the floor, and Ellen bloody with her head pressed hard against my collarbone, and the sharp brush of her ponytail sticking my right eye. "Hooow looong, hoow loong, hoow loong...," and the sound of somebody screaming and screaming and screaming, and then somehow my door opens and I fall out with bloody Ellen half on top of me and her ponytail still sticking me in my eye, and I think, How could she be in my lap and how could we fall out with our seat belts on? And I keep hearing that screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming, and then I hear the screaming stop, and instantly I vomit all over myself and all over Ellen's head. "To sing this sooong?" And a man's voice says, "Three seven oh one," and there's a siren and somebody's holding a blanket, and another man's voice says, "Can you talk?" and I say, "My friend is bleeding," and then Ellen slides away, and her ponytail slides away with her, and the music stops, and then there's three policemen standing over me, and one of them wears Harry Potter glasses, and one of them is licking his lips, and the other one is saying something, only I can't make out the words, and I go, "I can't hear you," and I see the glow-in-the-dark earth dangling from somewhere really high up, and I'm looking at it and telling the cop, "I was going to do it tomorrow. I swear. I was going to do it tomorrow," and he stops talking to me, and he looks at the other two, and the Harry Potter one pulls off his glasses and turns away, and the one who was licking his lips turns with him, and I'm watching the earth swing gently back and forth, and that last cop leans down to me and tries again, and this time I hear him, and he's saying in this really friendly voice, "Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay."

Copyright © 2005 by E. R. Frank



Continues...


Excerpted from Wrecked by E. R. Frank Copyright © 2005 by E. R. Frank.
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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2008

    Loved it!

    We had silent reading in English class one day so i went to the Library at my school picked up this book randomly becuase i liked the cover. First couple pages i was hooked on it i absolutley loved this book its one of my faves.I felt like i got connected to the characters and i cried at some points in the book becuase I got so connected i kind of put myself in her shoes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Great

    This book is a good. Its a thriller to most and exciting to others.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 12, 2011

    good book

    wow i live this book its so emotional and cute highly reccomended

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  • Posted October 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    WRECKED.

    this book is really good. it makes you look at things differently. i say you read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    okay

    i thougt this was a pretty good book! it was kind of boring at some parts, though. i wish that it had a little more drama! i recommend this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    Great

    When you really think about how this must have affected Anna you cant help but cry because this book is so sad and wonderful at the same time . Anna is stong,independent and loving she can be a role modle far anybody who has had something this tragic happen to them.This book is one of the most wonderful i have read in a long time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    Good Book

    Wrecked was really good.It was so real.I say you read it.It makes you see things different.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2008

    good good good great!!

    this book was really good. it made me think and took me out of the normal boy meets girl scenario. it was sad and great all at the same time. the family was so real. the book was so real. read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    omg MUST READ

    When you first open this book, and read the first few pages, you think 'Wow. Another book about some teenage girl who gets drunk.' But are you in for a surprise. Anna, the protagonist, gives the readers real hard facts and experiences about what happened to her, her brother, and her closets friends after she and her best friend, Ellen, had a little to much to drink at a party and got in a fatal accident. This story will have your eyes glued to the pages and will keep you up at night even though your parents told you to go to bed already.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2008

    Amazing!

    I loved this book! It was so interesting I couldn't put it down!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    Get ready to Freak

    A great book showing what can happen to your life in a metter of seconds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2007

    great book!

    great book for young adults i enjoyed it the whole way through

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    oh my gosh. this book is soooo good! it captivates you as soon as you read the first page. i think everyone who likes suspenseful and intriguing books should read this book. it is about a girl named Anna who gets in a car accident with her friend Ellen and ends up killing the driver of the other car, Cameron, who is also her older brother's girlfriend. she spends a while greiving and feeling miserable until she finally goes to a therapist. that's about where i am right now. i love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    Not quite finished

    this book, wrecked, i am about 3/4 of the way done with. so far, i find it captivating, ,even though some of the parts are a bit drawn out, such as when Anna goes to see her therapist, Frances, and its continuously the same thing. but, this book all in all, its intriguing. you know that something like this could happen in real life. its heartfelt. Frank seems to know what he is talking about with this novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2006

    This Book Is Anything But Wrecked

    Wrecked is about a girl who kills her brother¿s girlfriend in a car accident after coming home from a party where she drinks, but not a lot. She and her friends try to live past this event. The book starts out with a very odd scene of her picking up leaves. It is very hard for her to get through this because it was her brothers girlfriend, who was killed. This book also talks about family problems. The accident is a very minor conflict in this book the big one is how to live after it happened. Ellen, the main character and the person in the accident. Ellen by through the help of her friends, but she is also in a situation of doubt. This book also alternated between the present and the past. There is a lot of detail in this book, which makes it easier to picture. Her brother, Jack is occupied with music and movies, which nobody has ever heard of. He is also very depressed through out the book. Anna, Ellen¿s best friend who was also in the car, and hurt much badly. Ellen & Anna¿s friends are very close to her and help them get through the accident. Her mother tries to confront her in the book with along with her counseling, but it does not help that much. Their family is very different from each other. Ellen just cannot get over the fact that at her age, she killed somebody. Even though she was a little drunk, she could still tell what was going on. Her being drunk caused a lot more doubt on herself. This book deals with murder, drugs, alcoholism, sexuality, and family issues, as well as friendship. It also constantly refers back to the scene of the accident and how things throughout the book relate it. They get a new car, but the dad is still himself, even though is daughter almost died. She did kill somebody. She still has to live with it. This book is very mature which is why teens will like this book and continue to read it. To find out more, or how she does live with it read the book, Wrecked by E.R. Frank. If you liked, America, Life Is Funny, Friction, Cut, Speak, and FireGirl, then you probably will like this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2007

    wrecked

    The book that I read was called ¿Wrecked¿. All in all the book was pretty good. It had some really interesting parts and also some exciting parts. But it wasn¿t as good as a book as I thought it was going to be. The book is about a young girl named Anna and her friend Ellen. And the big thing about them is that they are really big party people. They love going to parties. So one night, they were planning on going out and going to a party. Then they decide to go early so they could get more to drink. So they both go home and start getting ready for the big night. And since Anna is the only one that has her license she is going to be able to drive them both there and back. So later that night Ellen comes over to Anna¿s house and they leave on the way there they were all excited. And when they got there they jus said that they didn¿t want to drink too much because they didn¿t want there parents to know. Well instead of jus little bit, they had a lot of drinks. Sooner then later it was the end of the party. And Anna was still hung over a little bit from the drinking, but she wanted to drive home anyway because that¿s the only way that they were getting home and they had to be home within the next hour. At first on the drive home she was doing ok. But then later her buddy Ellen started throwing up and then she started getting sick, and when she lifted her head up all she sees is another car and in a split second they collide. Both Ellen and Anna were sent to the hospital. Well later when Anna woke up she as in the hospital, and her parents told her the news that they totaled the car. But then she was told that the driver to the other car was killed. But that wasn¿t the worst part of the news. The worst of it was that the other driver was Anna¿s brother¿s girlfriend. And through out this book, she is trying to deal with the problem and blame of herself that she killed her own brother s girlfriend. I would strongly recommend this book to people who like a jumpy book. For this book I would halved to give it an 3 out of 5, but it still was a good book. But if you want to find out if she will survive the horror then you should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2006

    It was an Accident!

    I read the book Wrecked and it¿s about a girl named Anna who went to a party with her best friend Ellen, and got drunk and drove Ellen and herself home. Before the girls get home they crash and another driver hits them. It turns out to be Anna¿s brother¿s girlfriend Cameron. Cameron dies in the crash and the girls both live. After the accident, Anna and Ellen are taken to the hospital. Anna has a cut in her eye, and Ellen has a collapsed lung, three broken ribs, and a broken leg. Once out of the hospital, Anna finds out that Jack, Anna¿s brother, has been grieving over the loss of Cameron, and that Ellen is still in the hospital. Anna has no idea what to do next. To find out what happens next, you will have to read the book. Anna is the main character and she¿s old enough to drive, and is in high school. Anna is kind of shy, but is more social around her friends. Through the book she become more social with people but at the same tries to deal with the agony of killing someone. Ellen is the kind of girl who likes to party and get drunk, which is exactly what she does right up to the accident. During the accident she passes out, so she doesn¿t remember anything about the accident, unlike Anna. When Ellen finally gets out of the hospital, her ribs are still broken along with her leg. Anna has to wheel Ellen around in a wheel chair at school for months. I give this book two out of five dots. I thought this book would have a lot of action since it was about a car crash, but it turned out to be boring. Anna, the girl telling the story, went back and fourth with these flashbacks of her life. Also the beginning is the only good part of the book it gets the book started and makes you want to read on. After Anna gets out of the hospital, the book goes downhill with tons of boring flashbacks and about Anna going to a therapist. In all respect, I just didn¿t like the book at all. I just feel that the book didn¿t live up to my expectations. This book needs more pizzazz and action instead of talking about things that have nothing to do with the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2006

    Wrecked

    I read the story WRECKED. It was a pretty good book because I¿m sure it¿s happened in real life. It¿s about a high school girl who gets in a terrible car wreck and kills her brother¿s girlfriend. She is devastated by what she has done because she was driving. Ellen was in the car with her and got seriously injured. They just left a party where they were drunk and Ellen was still drunk. Anna has to go through therapy so she doesn¿t have nervous break downs. Sometimes she thinks she has a heart attack and breaks down. The main characters are Anna, Ellen, Jack, The Mom, The Dad, and two of her friends named Seth and Jason. It doesn¿t tell the main characters name for a while and that¿s kind of what made me keep reading. It kind of bothered me that the car crash happens right away. Then the book went on and there was more drama than action. And the action was most certainly the best part of the book. There were also way too many flashbacks that ruined the flow of the book. It made you lose track of what was going on. But I must say the flash backs did hold my attention. It skipped time quickly with out telling you. A few pages after the accident it says thirteen days after the accident. It surly did not seem like thirteen days after the accident. If you are a girl you will definitely enjoy this book. The characters are girls and one of the guys is gay. (And I¿m sure all girls enjoy will that.) It¿s more about feelings than the aftermath of a car accident. I would probably give this book a B- on the letter grade scale and a 7 on the number scale. If you are under 14 you probably shouldn¿t read this book. It is not appropriate for the younger kids. They say cuss words which really isn¿t that bad but they talk about sex and what she did with her boyfriend. This is mild and doesn¿t go into detail, but if you¿re young or have an immature mind you probably shouldn¿t read this. If you see this book at the library you should pick it up even though it¿s over two hundred pages. But it¿s a good book and I would recommend it to girls but maybe not as much to boys.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2006

    Wrecked

    Wrecked Review by Drew Butler I read the story WRECKED. It was a pretty good book because I¿m sure it¿s happened in real life. It¿s about a high school girl who gets in a terrible car wreck and kills her brother¿s girlfriend. She is devastated by what she has done because she was driving. Ellen was in the car with her and got seriously injured. They just left a party where they were drunk and Ellen was still drunk. Anna has to go through therapy so she doesn¿t have nervous break downs. Sometimes she thinks she has a heart attack and breaks down. The main characters are Anna, Ellen, Jack, The Mom, The Dad, and two of her friends named Seth and Jason. It doesn¿t tell the main characters name for a while and that¿s kind of what made me keep reading. It kind of bothered me that the car crash happens right away. Then the book went on and there was more drama than action. And the action was most certainly the best part of the book. There were also way too many flashbacks that ruined the flow of the book. It made you lose track of what was going on. But I must say the flash backs did hold my attention. It skipped time quickly with out telling you. A few pages after the accident it says thirteen days after the accident. It surly did not seem like thirteen days after the accident. If you are a girl you will definitely enjoy this book. The characters are girls and one of the guys is gay. (And I¿m sure all girls enjoy will that.) It¿s more about feelings than the aftermath of a car accident. I would probably give this book a B on the letter grade scale and a 7.5 on the number scale. If you are under 14 you probably shouldn¿t read this book. It is not appropriate for the younger kids. They say cuss words which really isn¿t that bad but they talk about sex and what she did with her boyfriend. This is mild and doesn¿t go into detail, but if you¿re young or have an immature mind you probably shouldn¿t read this. If you see this book at the library you should pick it up even though it¿s over two hundred pages. But it¿s a good book and I would recommend it to girls but maybe not as much to boys.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2006

    Wrecked Gets in a Wreck!

    In Wrecked, by E.R. Frank, a girl named Anna gets in an accident ¿ a bad accident. And when I say bad accident, I mean she-kills-someone-and-injures-two people accident. It all started when Anna was drunk along with her friends. They were driving home. She killed her brother¿s girlfriend, who was In the opposite car. Anna is trying to get over the fact that she killed someone, but it¿s hard to deal with. She comes out of the wreck with nothing but a bruised eye, and deep regret. Anna also put one of her friends in the hospital, which Is fortunately not dead. Thankfully, soon after the wreck, the family takes a vacation to Florida for Thanksgiving Break. It helped Anna get some things off of her mind, or at least try. When Anna gets home, Anna and her mom decide to go to therapy, and she finds out she has post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, Anna becomes a girlfriend to a boy named Seth. Meanwhile, Anna¿s friend gets out of the hospital and ends up in a wheelchair temporarily. Unfortunately her mom decides to not stop continue unlike what she said she was going to. Anna decides to start driving again, and then Anna and her dad get in a fight because Anna let her boyfriend inside her bedroom. Later on, Jack, Anna, and Ellen get drunk at a Christmas party. What I liked about this book was it can relate to someone because it could be a true story. Anna got in the wreck, and many people get in wrecks each day so they can relate to Anna. Anna killed her friend in the wreck. Although that doesn¿t happen that often in real life this book gives reasons why drunk driving is a bad idea. The book had many flaws. The wreck wasn¿t fully explained and neither were a few other parts of the book such as the personality of the characters. Also, the book had many transitions and it could get very confusing for people who don¿t follow along with books very well. It goes from one part, to another, back to the first part, etc. Other parts were explained TOO much and then became boring quickly so I didn¿t really have the energy to want to finish the book. Also, there were many characters in the book which made it very confusing. If you¿re an advanced reader this is a good book for you, and is better for teenagers since younger children could get confused very easily. Also, if you enjoy reality-fiction books, this is the right kind of book to read for you.

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