What makes you feel alive?
Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a long line of risk-takers and is an avid thrill-seeker in her own right, until she takes a terrible fall and shatters her leg. Her life used to be about bike racing and rock climbing; now it's about staying home, except for attending physical and group therapy sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center her mom has chosen. Dyna's boyfriend saw her accident and supports her newfound desire for safety, but a young Iraq war veteran she meets at rehab challenges her to think about what she's really avoiding in her old life and to take chances againeven with her heart.
Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton is a heart-pounding young adult novel about facing your fears.
“Fast-paced and full of heart. It’s a story about figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and who you love and the breathless challenge of being remarkable.”Kelly Bingham, author of Shark Girl
“Her sharp, smart writing makes it zing. . . . Put this on the shelf next to Jenny Han and Simone Elkeles.” Booklist
About the Author
Laurie Boyle Crompton is the author of Adrenaline Crush, Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) and The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High (Sourcebooks). She lives near New York City, but she loves to escape to the mountains in New Paltz, New York, where she and her family can often be found climbing over rocks or tromping through the forest.
Read an Excerpt
By Laurie Boyle Crompton
Farrar, Straus and GirouxCopyright © 2014 Laurie Boyle Crompton
All rights reserved.
The soldiers were all exactly alike, excepting one, who had only one leg; he had been left to the last, and then there was not enough of the melted tin to finish him, so they made him to stand firmly on one leg, and this caused him to be very remarkable.
Hans Christian Andersen
"The Steadfast Tin Soldier"
My dark hair whips my bare back as I gain on the form cycling through the trees up ahead.
I may have just found my afternoon plaything. A perfect male specimen riding through the forest alone.
Exactly what I need.
Thrusting my shoulders over the handlebars of my mountain bike, I pedal faster. My tires gobble up the dirt trail as I close in.
My boy-toy-to-be turns his head and I get a glimpse of his profile under his helmet's visor. I recognize that face. Jay Something-or-other from school. My front tire wavers for just a breath.
I had been hoping for some random boy to have fun with, but this is a boy from my class who is way too serious. Bordering on lame. Don't get me wrong, Jay's intelligent and I like a challenging conversation. But I'm not looking for a conversation today.
I'm looking for an afternoon fling.
I churn my strong legs back up to speed. He may not be the most exciting mark, but I'm trying to escape a nearly catatonic state of boredom. An hour ago I was lying on my deck, too hot to read the trail guide I'd laid over my face, when I heard a wasp chewing on the wood railing. The munching sound got louder and louder until I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I finally shouted, "Go chew on somebody else's damned deck!"
To a wasp.
Clearly, Dyna is ready to spend a little time with her own species.
"Heads up!" I stand on my pedals, lean over, and give two solid knuckle raps to Jay's helmet as I glide by.
Technically, I should be wearing one, too, but I ache for the wind. It's the reason I'm wearing just my bikini top and shorts and would probably ride naked if it wouldn't get me arrested. I glance back at a surprised-looking Jay, shift to a fast coast, and leave the next move in his hands.
Do you have the spirit of an adventurer hidden in there somewhere, Mr. Serious- bordering-on-lame?
I keep my eyes on the trail, but a smile spreads across my face as Jay catches up. Okay, game on. I change gears and pedal faster. The trail we're on connects with the woods behind my house and runs sixteen miles to the north and south. I usually prefer spending time on it by myself, no matter what season it is.
Nature is most pure when experienced alone.
But I'm always up for a fun drive-by encounter with a boy when I'm bored.
I'm impressed Jay manages to match my pace and notice that his arms are actually quite muscular for a pale and overly serious type in a dorky bike helmet. "You're Dyna, right?" he pants.
"The one and mighty." I glance at his chin-strapped face. While he's not my type, he is probably what some girls consider swoon-worthy. His green eyes are rimmed with blond lashes, and even at this speed his straight teeth charm me when he smiles. I, personally, am not a swooner, and I don't really get girls who are, but I may have underestimated my afternoon plaything.
I call to him, "It's so hot my tits are melting off!" Jay takes this as an invitation to turn his head and openly check out my rack.
"Still there," he confirms with a grin.
"Thanks for keeping an eye on them for me."
"Anytime." He's obviously not looking for a deep and meaningful relationship.
I just want to stir up this simmering July afternoon. And while fooling around is a definite possibility, I'm not about to hand over my pink. Past attempts have been made by a few bold boyfriend-types, but I'm keeping that territory unexplored until I find the right guy.
"What do you have planned for the summer?" he asks as I slow our pace.
"Hanging on the mountain." I look over at him. "Literally. Hanging. I've gone rock climbing almost every day since break started."
School finished nearly two weeks ago and I've been hooking up with a few random climbing buddies on the ridge. Our conversations basically consist of calling out things like "On belay!" "Tension!" and "Climb on!"
After a few pedals Jay says, "Yeah, I've been superbusy, too. Working on building my clips."
He interprets my silence as a desire for more details. "That's sort of like a portfolio for writers. I need them for my college applications."
"And here I figured you meant you'd been scrapbooking."
He laughs, and I turbo-blast down the trail. I'm nearly flying, but he speeds up and manages to keep less than a bike's length between us.
Now things are getting interesting.
I launch my bike over a protruding stone just as a striped caterpillar with a suicide wish inches into my pathway. Twisting my handlebars sharply, I avoid running the little guy through.
The caterpillar is spared, but my landing is shit and my back tire slides in the dirt.
My arms tense.
Frack! I struggle to keep from veering off the trail but plunge into a full-on skid.
A sour taste fills my mouth as I'm thrust toward a solid row of trees.
CrankinShitFrack! The wall of bark is coming at me fast. Leaning hard, I aim my bike so it's sliding sideways, tires first. I tense for impact.
In the background Jay shouts, "Ohmygod!"
I grunt and dig in.
Pine needles and dirt form a violent cloud as I spin my wheels.
Come on, Dyna!
Powering through with everything I have, I finally grab traction. Regain control. I graze lumpy roots with my pedal, just clearing the tree.
Jay stops to process my near-blow, but I don't even slow down. My heart pumps pure adrenaline as I devour the trail. Tingles surge through my limbs. A rabbit makes way, and the air is filled with chirps and chatters.
I am the most alive thing in the woods right now.
I look back and toss a laugh to Jay. He lunges forward to catch up, but I keep my advantage all the way to the Wallkill River. When I reach the bridge I automatically rise, stand on my pedals, and let go of the handlebars. As I glide along the rumbling wooden planks I lock my knees, fling my arms open wide, and surrender to the river's vastness. The fresh air embraces me.
This is the only romance I'll ever need.
Jay speeds by me and my bike falters. What the hell? I grab my handlebars and he swings into a sideways stop, blocking my way.
My tires yelp against the brake pads. "What do you think you're doing?" I jump off my pedals onto the bridge's even planks.
"I could ask you the same thing." He reaches to steady my bike and looks at me the way my parents might if they were the type to give stern parental glares. "You almost ate it back there."
"I'm fine. It was no big deal."
He laughs incredulously. "Are you always so wild? I mean, I heard you were a daredevil. You have a pretty epic reputation at school. But I didn't know you were semi-suicidal." His eyes are wide and the crease of concern in his forehead softens me. I wonder if he'll kiss me later.
"Don't worry, I'm not some psycho chick with a death wish. I've never even had a broken bone." Jay is gripping my bike so tight his knuckles look ready to pop. "Hey. Sorry if I scared you. It's just sort of my family's motto: Risk nothing. Do nothing. Die anyway."
Mom and Dad both have that saying tattooed on their shoulders in the form of a flying raven. My brother, Harley, rebelled and had his put on his rib cage, but I'm thinking the shoulder will work fine for me. I have a few other tats in mind, back of the neck, hip, inner wrist, but Dad's making me wait until I'm eighteen. He's pretty sure once I start with the ink I won't want to stop. He might be right.
Jay shakes his head, and I wonder if I should be looking for someone else to hang out with. Someone who won't look at me this intensely.
Finally, he moves his hand from my bike to my bare waist. His touch sends a tickling wave across my stomach, but it's probably just that human contact thing I've been lacking.
"Nice family motto. Can we try that 'Do nothing' part for the next hour or so while I catch my breath?"
I look down the bridge and see a couple lounging on one of the wooden benches in an intimate embrace.
"Sure," I say. "But not here. Let's go do nothing down by the swim hole."
"Swim hole?" Jay looks up and down the trail.
"Figures," I tease. "How long have you lived here? I'll show you." Veering around him I head off down the bridge and challenge, "But you've got to keep up, Scrapbook Junkie."
I glance back to see Jay leap onto his pedals. His straight teeth are set in a grimace as he flies past the stagnant couple and bears down on me.
I laugh with delight and speed up.CHAPTER 2
As we race down the path, Jay explains he doesn't usually ride the trail. He was on his way to the library to do some writing and spotted a flyer with a picture of a lost dog. The sign said the dog was last seen around here and he decided to take a detour to see if he could find it.
"So, you're telling me you went searching for some stranger's runaway dog? Like that's your job or something?"
Jay gives me a sheepish nod and I can't decide if this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard or the most adorable.
I make a sharp right turn onto the hidden path that leads to the swim hole and grind my bike to a halt. Jay stops, loops around impressively fast, and pedals after me again. The water isn't very far off the main trail, but it is well hidden.
"Did that sign back there say 'No Trespassing'?"
"Pshaw." I laugh. "Just the water company. They don't really mean it."
When we reach the swim hole Jay sucks in his breath. "Holy shite, I never knew this was here."
"Cool, huh?" I try to imagine the oasis as if seeing it for the first time and have to admit it is pretty picture-freaking-esque. The water reflects the sheer, towering rock face that closes the swim hole in along the back and one side. Trees leap at every imaginable angle and splotches of sunlight dance in their shadows. To our right the woods rise up sharply with a well-worn path that leads to an enormous moss-covered rock outcropping. The natural diving platform peers over the swim hole and butts up against the rock face about halfway up the sixty-foot cliff.
But the most unique part is the set of rusted railroad tracks that arch down from the top of one of the cliffs into the water. The rails have a crazy drowned-roller-coaster appearance that gives the surrounding beauty a perfect touch of amusement park quirkiness.
It's one of my favorite places, and points go to Jay for the reverent look on his face right now. At least he gets it.
He asks, "Was this some sort of rock quarry?" At my shrug he squints up to where the tracks jump off the top of the cliff. "There were a bunch of cement factories around here at one time. I'll bet the tracks carried mined rock up there to the kilns."
"Wow, that's nearly fascinating," I mock.
"The water must be supercold. Who knows how deep down it goes."
"It is really cold, but it only gets deep over to the right." I let my bike drop to the ground, kick off my shoes, and smoothly pull my shorts down, revealing my bikini bottoms. "You coming in?"
Jay's eyebrows jump in appreciation. We grin at each other as he takes off his helmet, hangs it on his bike handle, and lifts his shirt. He is pale as milky quartz, but he must own a Bowflex or something because, Damn!
I give a wink, turn, and break into a running start toward the swim hole. Aiming for the deep end, I skim the surface in a perfect dive. The icy water seeps into me. I stay submerged, running my hands along the slimy rocks as my lungs plead for air.
I resurface, anticipating Jay's dive, but he's still back by our bikes, emptying the pockets of his shorts into his helmet. I dip underwater again and swim to where the tracks are swallowed by deep blackness. Diving down, I explore until the pressure boxes my ears. Jay must be right about this being an old rock quarry. When I'm forced up for air he's taking pictures of the swim hole with his phone and starts typing something into it.
"You taking notes or jumping in?" I call.
He tosses his phone into his helmet and charges toward me, arms and legs pumping the air as he leaps into the water. I squeal appreciatively when he resurfaces beside me and splashes my face.
"Easy! I'm a delicate flower!" I grab on to his shoulders in a way that is not at all flora-like and pull him under.
He rises back up. "More like wildflower." Laughing, he grabs me by the waist and easily tosses me off to the side. Which is kind of cool since I was half trying to hang on to him and I'm pretty strong.
I sputter and cough when I resurface, and Jay is beside me asking, "You okay?"
"Always." I smile.
He leans back in the water. "This place is incredible."
"I know. You should write a poem about it."
"I'm a journalist, not a poet."
"That's a shame." I put my hand on his shoulder and lean in. "I'm really into poets."
He wraps an arm around me and his gaze deepens. "Well then, I may need to work on my iambic pentameter."
Arching my back, I look directly at his lips. His arm tenses up when I close my eyes. I move closer and ...
"Psych!" I splash his face, break from the embrace, and swim gleefully toward shore.
"Dy-na!" He laughs.
Pulling myself out of the water, I pound my feet around the dirt trail toward the rock platform and scramble up the easy climbingholds to the outcropping connected to the cliff. Jay is still treading water when I step forward onto the ledge about thirty feet above his head. The soft moss against my calloused soles makes me feel buoyant. I raise my hands above my head, mimicking a dive.
"Please tell me you're not serious," Jay calls up.
"Yeah, right." I'm still over the deep end of the swim hole, but I'm much too high up to dive without risking a broken neck on the surrounding rocks if my aim is off. And it just so happens I was telling the truth when I said I'm not some psycho chick with a death wish. I swing my arms back to build momentum and spring out, propelling myself over the water as far as I can get. I aim my feet for Jay, but he moves smoothly out of the way before I slice through the surface.
The water suspends me in its green coolness. I raise my arms over my head, open my eyes, and let my body go limp. Everything slows in this underwater world.
I want to stay here. Grow gills and extend this perfect summer moment forever. My hair floats gently as my mind etches every detail onto itself. The stillness. Jay's headless underwater body so white it glows. Light piercing the water from above, stroking the rocks with its bright fingers. My weightlessness as I'm drawn slowly upward.
I unfreeze my arms, but only to thrust them several times, pushing myself back down to the depths. Holding on a minute longer.
Finally, I float upward and smooth my hands over my wet hair as I emerge. If I was alone, I'd head back below. Instead, I look at Jay's grin.
"You really are wild," he says, and I want to reward him for seeing me. With a flourish so smooth it would make a mermaid gasp, I dart to him and wrap my hands around his shoulders. He keeps an amused look, waiting for the splash and tease as I draw closer. Water drips down his face. When I'm so close we're breathing each other's breath, his expression turns serious.
I resist the temptation to psych him out again and brush my lips lightly against his. Barely touching. He presses back with growing pressure. When our kiss deepens, his mouth is a few degrees cooler than mine and he tastes like spearmint. Nice. I pull back quickly and see naked desire in his eyes. Giddiness bubbles up over winning this game. I push off him and head back for dry ground.
This time he follows me to the edge. "Dyna—"
But when he stretches his Bowflex arms to pull himself out after me, I say, "No, wait here." He obeys, bobbing back in the water to his neck, and I rush up the trail along the side again.
"Are you almost done playing around?" he calls.
Excerpted from Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton. Copyright © 2014 Laurie Boyle Crompton. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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