Salvador is such an idiot!
He has a crush on Elizabeth but he's going out with Anna. Yeah, that Anna. His best friend. The person whose heart he would least like to break.
Could the situation possibly get any worse?
Don't answer that.
Read an Excerpt
"So. What did you do today?" Salvador del Valle asked me--again. It was Sunday night, and we were having another one of our boring, awkward phone calls, the kind we'd been having all week.
"Not much," I answered. I didn't want to tell him that I'd been staring at my computer screen all day. Writing and rewriting the same poem over and over. I didn't want Salvador to think that I'd lost my mind. "I just hung out in my room."
"It was really sunny. The Doña wanted to play Frisbee, but we couldn't find one," Salvador said. The Doña was Salvador's kooky grandmother. His parents were in the military and traveled a lot, so Salvador lived here, with the Doña.
"Oh," I answered. I couldn't think of anything else to say. What were we talking about anyway?
'Well, I'd better go finish my homework," I said.
"Me too," Salvador answered. Then he hesitated. "Is everything all right, Anna?" he asked.
"Yes," I answered, surprised. "Fine." "Okay. Well . . . see you tomorrow," Salvador said. "Sleep well."
"You too. Bye."
I hung up and stared at the words I had written before Salvador called, so crisp and formal on my computer screen.
Every time I pass your room
I wish I heard your music
Every time I watch TV
I wish I felt your hand
Grab the remote.
It was garbage.
Garbage that I'd spent all day trying to write.
I love to write, especially poetry. My English teacher had even suggested that over spring break I go to a special creative-writingcamp for teens in Lake Tahoe. The application was due in the mail any day now.
But lately my mind had been wandering--I couldn't focus. And everything I wrote sounded stale and stupid.
I moved the cursor to the first word. My finger hovered over the keyboard.
Then I pressed down the delete key and held it.
One by one, the letters of my poem disappeared from the screen, like one of my grandmother's crocheted afghans unraveling into a ball of yarn. Till at last the entire poem had been unwritten. Gone. Totally erased from the universe.
I stared at the blank screen, the cursor blinking, waiting for me to write something.
I started again. Death . . .
My eyes watered as I stared at the word. Then I typed control Z--undo. The word instantly disappeared.
I sighed. Our principal once told us in an assembly at school, "Your life's a novel, and you are the author."
Yeah, right. If only.
If only I could edit out all the horrible, unwanted parts of my life as easily as I deleted stupid poems from my computer screen.
Then my big brother, Tim, would still be in his room next door, annoying me by playing his hip-hop CDs too loud. Chasing me down the hall to tickle me for calling him lamebrain. Hiding my shoes before school in the morning right before the bus came and refusing to tell me where they were unless I promised to make his bed and be his slave for a whole week. Being totally obnoxious. And totally the best ever brother in the whole wide world.
Instead of lying cold and dead in a cemetery beneath a pot of ridiculous plastic lilies.
I shoved my chair back from my desk and got up to look out the window. The full moon cast a surreal glow on our backyard, and everywhere I looked, I saw reminders of my brother. The cement driveway where he'd helped me learn to ride a two-wheeler. Our tree house, where we'd hidden from Mom and Dad when they called us to do chores.
The moon had been full that night too, exactly a year ago, when we got the call. A teenage boy coming home drunk from a party had slammed into my brother's car head-on. The other kid had stumbled out of his car without a scratch, they said.
Ambulances raced Tim to the hospital, and he was already in surgery by the time we got there. But nothing could save him. Not the doctors' skilled hands. Or my father's assurances. Or my mother's prayers. Or my tears. I always thought that after a while people just got over someone dying. That was before it happened to me.
I know now that you're never over it. It doesn't go away or get better. It just changes you. It becomes a part of who you are--Anna Wang: Black hair. Petite. Korean heritage, good grades . . . dead brother.
Sometimes I wake up and think, It's not true! It's a mistake. Or a dream. Or a weird, cruel joke, like when a prankster sends you pizzas you didn't order or when you accidentally get someone else's mail.
I keep imagining a plot twist, like the strange, convoluted ones they dream up on soap operas when they want to revive a character they killed off but now want back in the story line....
The doorbell will ring, we'll all race into the living room, and Tim will waltz in the front door, smiling like always, and explain that it was all just one big, horrible mistake....
I'm never going to be over it. It's not like a sore throat that gets better. Or a broken arm that heals. Or a bad haircut that grows in.
I let the curtains drop and sat back down at the computer. I reached for the keyboard and rested my fingers lightly on the keys, like on a Ouija board, looking for answers.
There's so much I want to say. But just then the words wouldn't come. With a sigh I shut down my computer. Too bad I couldn't use a few swift keystrokes to shut down my feelings as well.
Call Sal back, I told myself. He's your best friend. Talk to him. He'll 1isten. He'll understand. I reached for the phone. But just then I heard someone knocking at the door. My mom poked her head in. "Are you ready for bed, Anna?" she asked me. "It's late."
"It's only nine-thirty," I said, hoping she'd take the hint and go away.
But she didn't. "I brought you some warm milk," she said as she shuffled into the room.
"Some what?" I asked, incredulous.
She stared back at me, her eyes rimmed with dark circles that never seemed to disappear. A year ago her hair would have been perfectly combed, but now it was a mess of tangles and fly aways. Her pink bathrobe hung open, revealing the white flannel nightgown she wore day in and day out.
"Warm milk," she repeated. "My mother used to make it for me when I was a little girl. It will help you sleep." She set the cup and saucer down on my nightstand, then took me by the shoulders. "Come on. Bedtime!"
"But Mom, I--"
"No arguments. You'll get sick if you don't get your rest. It's almost flu season, you know."
There was no point in arguing. I stood up and climbed into bed.
My mom plumped up my pillows, then tucked the covers around me like I was a small, sick child. A lot of kids wouldn't have found this unusual at all. But I did.
My mother used to work as a nurse in a hospital. She was always very organized and into time management, trying to keep her work schedule and home responsibilities running smoothly.
But after Tim died, she just totally lost it. She took a "long vacation" from her career that had stretched from "a month or two" to nearly a year. Now I wondered if she would ever go back.
For months she did nothing. Really nothing. I'd come home from school and find her still in her nightclothes. Or not find her because she'd have locked herself up in her room, crying. Things were left undone. My dad worked longer and longer hours, so sometimes I had to do stuff, like make dinner or talk to the plumber.
Dad said we needed to give her time.
But just this past week or so, it was like Mr. Hyde had turned into Dr. Jekyll. It was like she suddenly remembered she had another child too, and she wouldn't leave me alone. As if taking extra-good care of me would somehow make up for not being able to protect Tim from that drunk driver.
But it felt weird--wrong somehow. Like the whole time she was mothering me, she was thinking of him.
At last Mom stopped fussing and brushed my forehead with a kiss. "Good night, sweetheart," she said dreamily.
As soon as she wandered back out into the hall, I jumped up and closed the door, then got into bed again. I reached for my phone. Salvador's line was busy. "Thanks a lot, Sal," I said into the receiver, as if he'd done it on purpose.
I turned off the overhead light, leaving on the little lamp on my nightstand, like I always do. I thought it might be good to just fall asleep and forget about everything--Tim, my mother, homework....
But it was Salvador I couldn't get out of my mind.
Salvador and I have been friends since kindergarten. We'd shared so much. And now things had changed.
Since the first anniversary of my brother's death was coming up, I've been really upset lately--missing Tim and feeling lonely. Last week Salvador came over to talk. He was so sweet. He put his arms around me and just let me cry and tell him stories about Tim. And then--out of the blue--he kissed me.
And it actually made some of the hurt go away.
I was totally surprised.
I mean, I'd never really admitted to myself that I could like Salvador as anything more than a friend. And I'd always kind of suspected that he had a big crush on Elizabeth Wakefield. Ever since the first day of school this year, we'd been sort of a threesome. Best friends, inseparable.
Elizabeth has been really great, listening to me talk about Salvador--it's nice to finally have another girl to talk to.
And it just seems so right that me and Salvador should be more than friends. Sure, it's kind of weird--like on the phone tonight We're not sure how to act now that our relationship has changed.
On the first day after the kiss, when I saw him at school, I was really nervous, and Salvador was kind of shy and awkward, which he never is!
I started to give him a kiss on the cheek at his locker, but we knocked heads instead--not very romantic. And Salvador blushed, which he never does either.
But I guess that's to be expected when a friendship changes like this. When it develops into something . . . else.
It will get better once we get used to it, I thought. Going out with Salvador is going to make everything better.
I'm so lucky to have Salvador.
And Elizabeth too.
I don't know what I'd do without their friendship.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I liked this book. But, one thing I don't like about Sweet Valley Junior High Books is that they are all the same. There's never a change. I think Sal is so funny and cute not to mention stupid!!! Okay, yeah Anna was messed up about what happend with her brother and all but c'mon would you kiss your best friend on the lips to comfort her? Ever heard of a warm, friendly hug? And I'm sick of Anna, she's always getting in the way. I'm so glad that she later finds Toby, so that she can get out of Sal and Liz's way and let them be together. Liz and Sal are meant for each other and no one can change that, another person who needs to step out of the way is Blue. I can't stand his character. I like ANNA better than him!
this is so dumb! i mean anna's nice and everything but come on-- sal and liz were soooo meant 2 be! i mean i feel bad that her brother died and all but all she's doing is breaking up a perfect couple!
How could Sal do such a thing! Elizabeth is the one for him!! Just go Anna! Shoo! Away!
I love this book but I'm sick of ANNA!!!